|Max Headroom||open||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.|
|Std. Power||1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax XXL|
|Tested Power||2 x 150-hp Mercury FourStroke|
2 x 150-hp Mercury 4-stroke XL
1 x 225-hp Mercury Verado XXL
1 x 250-hp Mercury Verado XXL
1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado XXL
2 x 150-hp Mercury Verado XL
Faster than a speeding advertisement, the Mako 234 CC has a remarkable story to tell: she is a bluewater center console with amenities and engine options that will make most anglers stop in their wakes.
The mission of the Mako 234 is to provide offshore anglers with a capable platform to take them out safely and bring them back, even in snotty conditions. Otherwise her layout, amenities and equipment have been refined over the last 40 years or so to provide virtually everything that serious anglers need.
She is not a dual-purpose, ski-and-fish, do-everything boat. She's a workboat.
Finally, the Mako 234 CC has been priced to be competitive with the numerous price-point center console brands that are now on the market, but at the same time provide many more important features as standard equipment.
We say don't hide your light under a bushel! Our test boat cut quite a figure on the water.
With the majority of the center consoles being sold today in the low price-point category -- a place where Mako has lived since being bought by Tracker Marine Group many years ago -- it is important to point out the differences between the 234 CC and many of her competitors. The items listed below are often not found on price-point boats in this size range--
• Standard canvas T-top
• 6' (1.82 m) headroom in the console compartment
• Console interior with gel coated finish
• Manual reset circuit breakers, not auto-type fuses
• Trim tabs with indicators and auto-retract feature
• Tempered safety glass windshield with aluminum frame
• Close-molded hatch covers with integrated gaskets
• Dual Interstate batteries and emergency parallel switch
• Freshwater shower with pull-out spray head
• Foredeck dodger mounting boss
• Freshwater and raw water washdown pumps
• Pre-wired circuitry for anchor windlass
• Pre-wired for optional stereo system
• Cockpit scuppers with removable screens and transom valves
• Lockable, sealed glove box
• Extra-large electronics mounting surface
• Dedicated 5-gallon (19 L) bucket storage compartment
• 2,000-gph bilge pump
• Dedicated cleat for the anchor rode
• Opening portlight in head compartment
The layout of the Mako 234 CC shows a typical center console with plenty of storage and room to move about and fish with 360-degrees of rail space.
Many of these features are standard on many price-point boats, but among the ones that are be sure to note capacities and sizes.
• Leaning post bait-prep station with 31 gal. (117 L) aerated, anti-slosh livewell, and rod holders
• Tackle box storage port and starboard in leaning post console
• Starboard bait prep area with knife and pliers holder, frozen bait tray, utility compartment
• Fishboxes port and starboard in cockpit deck
• Molded-in port and starboard stern platforms with cooler mounted flat between
• Rod holders (4) mounted in cockpit gunwales
• Rod racks (6) under port and starboard gunwales, up to 7' (2.13 m)
• 1,100-gph livewell pump
• High-speed raw water intake
• Recessed electric trim tabs
The trim tabs are recessed into the hull and the bottom lies flush with the hull. This creates a more efficient flow across the tabs so a small deflection goes a long way towards affecting the handling. It also avoids snagging a line by a desperate fish. Underwater lights are optional.
The Mako 234 CC has a LOA of 23’4” (7.11 m), a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m) and a hull draft of 18” (55 cm). With an empty weight of 4,100 lbs. (1,859 kg), 88 gallons (333.1 L) of fuel, two people and test power we had an estimated test weight of 6,387 lbs (2,739 kg).
With a pair of 150 Mercury 4-strokes turning 17-pitch propellers, we reached a top speed of 46.6 mph at 5900 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 28 gph giving us a range of 209 statute miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 23.6 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to only 7.7 gph which translated to a range of 385 statute miles and an endurance of 16 hours and 24 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve.
That flat running surface at the keel did it’s trick as we had a time to plane of 2.7 seconds, reached 20 mph in 4.8 seconds, and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 7.2 seconds.
Click on the tab at the top of this page that says "Test Results" for access to the complete performance table, charts and data.
The flat pad at the bottom of the hull gave us quick planing times.
The 234 CC is such a good handling boat and fun to drive. She’s also one of the most responsive boats I’ve ever driven. She comes up 18-degrees upon acceleration and that will block the view past the bow, at least for me, so the proper technique is to throttle up all the way and after she comes up on plane, which is under 3 seconds remember, then pull the throttles back to cruise.
Trimming Tip. Just a little bit of trim will get the spray back to the stern as she gets into her optimum running angle of 5-degrees bow high. I only needed the trim tabs to correct for an uneven distribution of weight thanks to the chunky cameraman, but certainly not to correct any performance deficiencies. There’s just a clean slice through the waves as we crossed back and forth across the wake and she remained perfectly dry with hardly any spray coming off the wide flared bows.
This wide flared bow with narrow entry allows the 234 to slice cleanly through the waves. The chines carrying forward to form spray rails keeps a dry ride.
Turning Gs. She turns like she’s on rails, and with me pushing her performance envelope, I found that she will easily out-turn everyone on board, so go easy on the cranking and banking. Full power turns will have her bleeding off speed to the point that she’ll spin out, but normal operations show her maintaining her speed quite well. She leans 21-degrees into the turns and that helps keep the turn comfortable as she clings to the water. And the props showed no signs of ventilating, even while maneuvering with both engines remaining in the trimmed position.
When taking power off she settles back into the water stern first and the bow comes up again.
Since the Mako 234 CC is clearly a fishing machine, and one designed to be fished hard, let’s start by taking a look at some of her fishing features. She has port and starboard aft bolsters. Rods store in the usual places… under gunwales and in four rod holders in the caprails. More rod storage is available in the T-top rocket launchers and in rod holders at the bait station. The day's catch can be stored in either two in-deck storage compartments that are self draining and include diaphragm pumps, plus the 86 quart (81.39 L) storage under the bow seats if the fish are really coming over the rail.
The standard canvas T-top can be optioned out for this fiberglass hardtop with anodized aluminum frame, port and starboard outrigger mounting plates, spreader lights, navigation light, electronics box and 4 rod holders ($1,500).
Four rod holders are mounted into the caprails, and notice the Mako logo.
Spreader lights allow for extending the fishing well after the sun goes down, and the rocket launchers can allow for putting out an extended spread or having separate rigs always at the ready.
Lure tubes, additional tool storage, or tackle storage is accommodated at the forward side under the helm seat.
A 31-gal. (117.35 L) aerated anti-slosh livewell has a clear lid and blue interior with rounded corners to reduce the shock affect on live bait. The grab rail comes in handy, and notice the rod holders. This makes a convenient spot for rigging the equipment.
Under gunwale rod storage can accommodate six rods up to 7’ (2.13 m) long.
This was clearly made for prepping frozen bait. It includes a deep receptacle and the lid doubles as a cutting surface. A convenient washdown is right next door.
Tackle storage boxes are to either side of the bait station.
There are two in-deck storage compartments that are self draining and include diaphragm pumps.
In addition to the in-deck fish lockers, the bow seats can be converted from storage to fish lockers just by adding ice. These are self-draining.
The best of fishing boats is only doing half its job if it’s uncomfortable to be in and on. Crew needs somewhere to sit, the console needs to be ergonomic if we’re to spend hours getting out to the fishing grounds, and we have to be able to take a break and just sit while the lines are out on a drift.
Comfort for the fight is provided with padded bolsters around the port and starboard aft sides of the 234 CC. Optional 360-degree bolsters are available ($1,250). Notice the rails are recessed inside the caprails to reduce snags.
The head is accessed from the side of the console. It has 6' (1.82 m) headroom. Here Mako has installed an electric head with overboard discharge ($1,690).
A trash receptacle is just inside the head door. When not in use, the holder folds up and clips to the inside of the door.
A carry-on 72-qt. cooler also serves as a seat just ahead of the console. Notice the custom embroidery in the seat back.
All of the hatches are closed molded, gasketed and held open by gas struts. No need to use one hand to hold the hatch open while adding or retrieving contents. The tops are all molded with diamond non-skid. This compartment has a 396-qt. capacity.
Creature comforts may not make a big difference in and of themselves, but when put together as a collective, they can really make the difference between a good boat and a great boat.
A flip-up rumble seat is an option ($1,595) we’d go for on our 234 CC. It adds another comfortable spot to sit while heading out to the fishing grounds.
Tools are right at the ready for quick access in the cockpit whether cutting a line or retrieving a swallowed hook.
Even extra line is at the ready.
Even security is covered with removable knobs on the battery switches. Even if some ne'er-do-well manages to get into the head compartment, he can’t activate the boat or it’s systems.
Mako went with a three-piece windshield instead of the single-piece wrap-around acrylic version we usually see in class. Here, when the sinker goes flying into the glass, only a single piece needs to be replaced rather than the whole thing.
While it’s easier to just mount the cleats to the top of the caprails, it creates a snag hazard right in the prime fishing real estate. Instead Mako went with under gunwale cleats accessed from a hawse hole.
An optional anchor davit is bolted to the foredeck here. The rode storage is offset to the starboard side. Notice the molded notch for the rode to run through. And the entire working area is elevated so it’s not only easier to work here, the whole body has better leverage when hauling the anchor up. Note that the cleat for the anchor rode is right where it should be. The bow is pre-wired for an optional windlass.
How does she feel, is she functional or just pretty? These are the questions that are important beyond how well the boat is built and how well she looks. It’s about the functionality.
A trio of SmartCraft gauges not only provides selectable information but significantly reduce panel clutter.
Mercury’s DTS provides for a host of optional features including single lever operations, engine sync, troll mode and a low power setting for docking.
Rocker switches are mounted up high on the panel well clear of the knee strike zone. Notice how just a glance shows which button is for the horn.
Key ingredients to a well thought-out panel include drink holders, music within easy reach, lockable storage and these ancillary items are over to the observers side of the panel. The steering knob is standard.
Too often we see builders put the compass directly in the center of the panel because it looks good there. But that causes a built-in error when following a course. Here the compass is correctly mounted directly in line with the captain’s line of sight.
Mako went with a double-wide helm seat allowing for a second set of eyes looking ahead.
Access to pumps and thru-hull fittings couldn’t be any easier. Just pull a hatch at the transom and reach in.
The backside of the helm console is easily accessed for electronics installations. Here we’re looking at the back of the three SmartCraft gauges.
All cleats are logo cast and backed by large aluminum backing plates for added strength. The hull is chemically bonded to the hull which is all that is needed these days to keep them together. Mako goes the extra mile and adds a fastener every 6" (15.1 cm).
An electronics box is provided with the optional fiberglass hardtop. And just look at the sheer number of supports for the hardtop.
Engine Options and Pricing
Enter Mercury Marine. Once a decision has been made on brand, the next biggest dilemma is which brand and how much horsepower to strap on the transom. Mako's parent company -- Tracker Marine Group -- builds more boats by unit count than any other boat builder in the world. Every outboard engine maker would give their first born for some business here, but Mercury Marine has virtually 100% of Tracker Marine Group's business.
Saltwater Ready. While most of Tracker Marine Group's sales are freshwater boats, an increasing number are saltwater. We think it is noteworthy that Tracker Marine Group equips its Mako boats with Mercury, rather than going to another brand for this somewhat specialized application. To us that means that both Mako and Tracker Marine Group management feel that Mercury outboards are as saltwater-ready, as reliable, and as efficient as any other brand on the market.
6 Outboard Options. The Mako 234 CC may be powered by single engines ranging from a single 225-hp Verado ($60,995) to twin 150-hp 150 XL Verados ($70,995) -- plus freight and dealer prep.
The standard outboard package offered is the Mercury 250-hp OptiMax XXL for $58,995 -- plus dealer prep and freight.
The engine package we tested is none of the above, but rather the twin Mercury 4-stroke 150-hp XL outboards, with a MSRP of $65,995, plus dealer prep and freight.
We tested the Mako 234 CC with a pair of Mercury 4-stroke 150-hp engines. A work platform just ahead of the engines makes light work of the daily checks.
Which to Choose? There are lots to choose from here -- 2-stroke, 4-stroke, and supercharged 4-stroke (the Verados). Discounting the 225 Verado, there is only a 50-hp difference among the other packages. All things being equal, using a rule of thumb of 7.5 horsepower for every mph of increased top speed, that means the 50-hp extra in the larger packages is worth about 6.7 mph at WOT.
A Weighty Matter. But things aren't equal, and rarely are in boating. The twin 150-hp Verados weigh 523 lbs. (237 kgs.) more than the single 250-hp OptiMax 2-stroke outboard, which is the lightest engine package available. But, compared to the single 300-hp Verado, it is only 138 lbs. (62.7 kgs.) lighter.
Fastest Option? The twin 150-hp 4-stroke Mercury motors we tested on the 234 CC weighed a total of 413 lbs. (187.7 kgs.) more than the standard 250 OptiMax power package. We have not tested the 234 CC with the 250 OptiMax, so can make no guess about which one might be faster -- does 50 more horsepower overcome 423 lbs. extra? However, we do think that the fastest WOT option is probably the single 300 Verado, particularly in hot weather.
Our Test Engines. As far as best fuel consumption at mid-range cruising speeds go, again we do not have empirical testing data to back up a suggestion, but we think that the 3 mpg that the twin 4-stroke 150s got in our test will be tough to beat, particularly when the fact that there is redundancy is thrown into the decision-making stew. In any case, the standard 250 OptiMax XXL outboard package is clearly a good one with both weight and price going for it, if nothing else.
It’s a pleasure to see a well thought-out boat, especially when it’s a boat that is intended to be worked hard. Mako’s 234 CC has what we think are the right ingredients to satisfy the needs of even the pickiest offshore anglers. Mako has also priced her competitively, but that’s always been one of the company’s strong suits.
Add to that the remarkable choice of engine options that Mako provides, we think that the Mako 234 CC is a compelling benchmark no matter how much one is prepared to spend on a 23' (7 m) center console.
|Washdown: Raw Water|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
= Standard = Optional
|Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.|