Center console-style boats were designed for anglers who needed open deck space fore and aft – and the ability to get from one end to the other when rigging, working baits or fighting fish. Boston Whaler knows that and wrote the book on doing it right. The 230 Dauntless is a good example of getting the basic layout harmonious. Features such as stand-up operation and the visibility it lends, complemented by the ease of movement on deck, also make the 230 a good platform for other watersports as well.
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Captain's Report
Captain's Report by Capt. Steve--
To offer a boat with the traditional qualities of a Boston Whaler fishing model with options to expand its use as a comfortable platform for enjoying other watersports and to be functional as a comfortable family day boat.
Tricked out with options to allow the boat to serve as a base for active watersports, the 230 Dauntless can be used for cruising, fishing and tow-sports and even scuba diving.
• Multi-operational bow features. Sure the bow has cushions for lounging, and if you remove the cushions you have a casting deck. The aft end of the V- seats lift up to form forward facing loungers, and an optional bow table ($778) transforms the bow into an alfresco dining area.
• Wide bow. Boston Whaler's trademark design always features a wide bow that carries the beam much farther forward than your typical V- hull. Because of this, whatever activities you choose to enjoy in the bow, are so much easier.
• Aft bench seat. The 230 Dauntless has a standard full beam bench seat with storage underneath. Additionally, the seatback flips down to form part of an aft casting deck that is molded with nonskid.
• Foam cored hull. When the deck and hull sections come together, expandable foam is injected into the entire length of the hull to not only add flotation, but also add strength and a bonding component as well. It's an interesting process the can be seen in our Boston Whaler factory tour video. See our construction video...
• Level flotation. In the worst conditions all open boats are vulnerable to being swamped by breaking waves. Boats over 20' (6.09 m) are not required by the USCG to float. All Boston Whalers not only float, but float level, according to the builder. This is an important safety consideration.
The console-forward area of the Dauntless shows traditional fishing features such as a large, easy-access anchor locker, recessed cleats and navigation lights and a spacious, elevated casting deck. Notice how the cleats are mounted to recessed areas outside the caprails eliminating the need for chocks. An anchor roller ($291) is an option for owners who plan to spend considerable time on the hook.
Performance and Handling
The Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless has a length overall of 23'6" (7.16 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.6 m) and a hull draft of 12 inches'' (38 cm). On test day with a hull weight of 2900 lbs (1315 kg), half fuel, two people and the 250- hp Mercury Verado we had a test weight of 4201 lbs (1906 kg).
The 250-hp Verado four-stroke reached a top speed of 5800 rpm which had us traveling at 48.6 mph. At that speed fuel burn was measured at 26.9 gph which translates to a range of 128 sm. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 24.8 mph. Now the fuel burn was only 7.35 gph for range of 239 statute miles. We had a time the plane of 3.4 seconds, reached 20 mph in 5.3 seconds, and accelerated through 30 mph in 7.8 seconds.
Our test indicated a max bow-high angle of 12.5-degrees when getting underway.
Upon accelerating, the 230 Dauntless has a bow rise of 12.5-degrees which allows the operator to maintain a clear view of the horizon. Upon entering a hard turn her maximum bank angle was only 5-degrees and a very slight slide ensured that everything in the boat stayed put, including passengers.
Where she really shines is in wave penetration. She seems to be absent from any of the pounding that you might find when going through chop, and in fact seems to penetrate cleanly and smoothly through each wave. Some passing yachts creating large wakes showed that the 230 Dauntless will launch off a wave and remain in a level attitude with a gentle reentry and penetration into the next wave.
The 230 Dauntless manages to throw water well off to the sides and keep it down low for a dry ride.
Bow. Unlike many fishing boat models where much of the action takes place aft of the helm, good center console designs like the Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless create efficient fishing stations both on the bow and in the stern. Raised decks up front are often provided to allow sight-casters better visibility, range and room to fish. In this case, the roomy deck measures 6’2" (1.9 m) wide by 5" (1.52 m) fore and aft.
By adding cushions, Boston Whaler allows the front deck on the Dauntless to convert into a comfortable lounging area when angling isn’t on the agenda. With rail height at 25" (63.5 cm) they serve as a comfortable backrests at just the right height.
Underneath, there is lockable storage for three fishing rods on the port side, and a lockable general storage compartment to starboard. In the center is insulated storage that can be used as a sizable cooler or fish locker. All three lockers, plus the one for the anchor, feature stainless steel gas shocks and overboard drains. Options for the bow include a stainless anchor roller ($291), bow grab rails with drink holders ($204) and a split bow rail ($248).
The foredeck serves as a casting deck, sun lounge, and has plenty of storage underneath. Notice the optional split bow rails ($248).
The forward deck pads feature flip-up backrests to create a comfortable lounging area. How's that for a dual-purpose boat?
A pedestal fishing seat ($889) and base are options aboard the 230 Dauntless.
A convertible table ($778) is an option for Dauntless owners who may want to convert the forward deck into an entertaining area when at anchor.
The console was large enough to be comfortable but not so large that it was difficult to get around. There's 23" (58.42 cm) between the console and the bulwarks. Those bulwarks come up 22" (55.9 cm) and the rails above top out at 34" (86.4 cm). Our test boat was fitted with the optional t-top ($6099) that provided some much-needed shade on our hot test day. While the supports were bolted to the deck on the outside of the console, they didn't interfere with either the walking space around the console or visibility from the helm. In fact, the presence of these supports not only offered good handholds for walking around the 230 but for holding on while at the helm as well.
There was enough room beside the console to get around comfortably. Note the 2" (5.1 cm) deck drain at the aft end of the cockpit. This channels water overboard rather than into a bilge.
Forward of the console is the usual forward facing seat, but this time it's not just a cushion mounted to the top of a carry-on cooler held in place with bungee cords. Here, the cushion is on top of a 15 gal (56.8 L) aerated livewell. To both sides of this seat are three vertical rod holders and there are Velcro flaps in the t-top canvas overhead to allow longer rods to stick through. Behind the cushioned seatback is a strip containing several knife and pliers holders.
An insulated, aerated 15-gallon (56.8 L) livewell is built into the front of the console and features a lighted, blue-hued interior that is said to “soothe” its contents to keep them more lively. Note the gas-assisted shock, heavy-duty latch and sealing gasket on the underside of the combination seat/lid.
A full-featured, anodized aluminum T-top with four rocket launchers overhead ($6099) is an option offered with the 230 Dauntless. We like a canvas t-top because it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive.
The console hides a large compartment that serves as a changing room. The portable head is standard. If you opt for the freshwater shower ($837), the 12 gal (45.4 L) water tank is stored under the forward deck (to the right of this shot). An opening portlight is on the port bulkhead.
Helm. The helm is very straightforward with a leather wrapped three-spoke wheel mounted to the port hand side. In the center of the panel is a switch and gauge plate that features two SmartCraft gauges at the top and waterproof rocker switches with circuit breakers underneath. Options include either a 5.7" (14.5 cm) nav package ($2408) or a 7" (17.8 cm) package ($2890). To the starboard side our helm was equipped with the optional VHF radio ($697) and an AM/FM stereo ($1364).
The helm console is designed to accommodate flush-mounted large-screen electronics for navigation and fish-finding and comes with a magnetic compass as standard equipment. Note that the compass is centered on the steering wheel hub.
The engine was controlled with Mercury's digital throttle and shift system which provided a no feedback feel to speed adjustments. This engine control is mounted at nearly a 90-degree angle, but because of its effortlessly smooth handling I did not find this to be a problem even though it is ergonomically awkward.
Underneath the helm was a storage shelf to either side of the engine cut off lanyard switch, and below that a foot rest, with a recessed area underneath to tuck your toes into when standing close to the helm. While I found this to be wonderfully comfortable, I would also like to see the addition of a flip down foot rest at the base of the seat so that I can tuck my feet up underneath me, rather than have them committed to the forward position. I know this is a small gripe, but small gripes are all you're going to be able to come up with on the 230 Dauntless.
A SmartCraft Deluxe multi-gauge package is also standard in a center-mounted pod, as are lighted rocker switches with circuit breakers.
Below the helm is a foot rest and a small area to tuck your toes into when standing close to the helm.
Adjustable Helm Seat
Boston Whaler really got it right when they created this helm seat. Our test boat had the standard seat configuration consisting of storage under the cushion, and a 54 quart (51.1 L) cooler on a slide out tray beneath that. The beauty of this double wide bench seat is not only that it is reversible, but there are notches to the seatback to provide multiple positions on its way to being aft facing. At the full back position you are sitting back comfortably but unable to reach the wheel. This is a nice position while sitting at anchor or drifting with the lines in the water.
Move the seat ahead to the first notch and now you're sitting up and able to reach the wheel and drive with your back supported. Move the seat forward to the next notch and now it serves as a leaning post to give you support while driving in the standing position. With the seatback fully forward you have an aft facing bench seat, great for watching the lines or the kids swimming off the stern. You cannot drive from this position.
The standard reversible bench seat is built atop a portable 54-quart (51.1 L) cooler, and can be upgraded to a leaning post with a 95-quart cooler ($1731) or a seat base containing a livewell ($1851).
There is PFDs storage under the helm seat.
The optional 25 gallon (94.6 L) livewell beneath the helm seat carries the same features as the standard one forward of the console, with the addition of a rack for pliers and rigging gear.
Seat position 1 – seatback is fully aft.
Seat position 2 – allows you to sit up while driving.
Seat position 3 – seatback serves as a leaning post.
Seat position 4 – aft facing seat.
The multifunction theme of the 230 Dauntless really comes through in the stern. It starts with an aft casting deck measuring 7" (2.2 m) all covered in nonskid. There are four flush mounted rod holders and two drink holders. As an option, you can add a pedestal fishing seat to this deck ($889). Of course sticking with the family theme you can opt for a simple ski pylon ($909), a tow arch ($910), or pull out all the stops with the All-Activity Tower ($1875) that includes a polling platform, ski and wakeboard racks, and ski pylon.
Put your hands underneath the edge of the casting deck and pull and you'll reveal a three-across bench seat with storage underneath. You can leave that storage as is, or outfit it with an optional fish box ($618).
The aft casting deck makes a great place to fish.
A convertible bench seat with backrest spans the aft end of the cockpit. Flip down the back and you have a solid casting platform.
The bench seat conceals a storage locker underneath that can be fitted with a fish box insert. Or, it can be used for storage. If you look closely you can see the left seat base extends under the right. This way, if you lift the left both come up, if you lift the right only a single comes up.
A small splashwell is fitted with a deck plate to offer access to the bilge. Note the outlet for the optional raw water washdown ($428), a standard feature with the aft livewell package.
A three-step boarding ladder is standard; Lenco electronic trim tabs ($1387) are an option.
The optional All-Activity Tower ($1875) combines functions as a tow pylon, wakeboard and fishing rod racks, elevated fishing seat and even as a poling platform.
On the other hand, powered by the optional 250 XL DTS Mercury Verado four-stroke outboard, the horizon’s the limit in terms of watersports that can be enjoyed from a custom-equipped 230 Dauntless.
Powered with a 225 XL DTS Mercury Verado four-stroke outboard the standard 230 Dauntless MSRP package is priced at $78,949; rigged with the optional 250-hp Mercury Verado and aluminum trailer, the MSRP is $87,910.
That’s a premium price for a quality boat that is worth every penny to boaters who value safety and reliability in a sophisticated boat they can customize to take full advantage of a variety of watersports.
Remember those small 14’ and 15’ Boston Whalers that everyone had when we were kids? They're still around, and that’s a testimony to the longevity of the brand. The 230 Dauntless is the quintessential Boston Whaler, an award-winning, do-it-all boat that has earned its standing as one of the most popular in its class.
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) is 48.6 mph (78.2 kph), burning 26.90 gallons per hour (gph) or 101.82 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) is 24.8 mph (39.9 kph), and the boat gets 3.37 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.43 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 239 miles (384.63 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Mercury Verado.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Washdown: Raw Water
= Standard = Optional
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Warranty
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Warranty Information
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.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Price
Boston Whaler 230 Dauntless (2012-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
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.
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