The 280 Outrage sits dead center in a line of 7 Outrageous Whalers, all dedicated to being seaworthy and comfortable offshore center consoles that can fish hull-to-hull with any boat on the market. But the 280 has also been designed with the family in mind. Whaler has evolved this model into what is, in our opinion, an excellent coastal day cruising boat, and she can do a lot more than just fish.
Welded stainless steel low-profile grab rails
Integral swim platform with grab rail and covered stainless steel ladder
Full-length coaming bolsters
Pressurized aerated livewell (40 gal.) with clear top window and blue interior
Adjustable captain’s chair and stationary companion seat
Freshwater system with tank (28 gal), sink at leaning post and transom shower
200-gallon aluminum fuel tank
Bow anchor locker with drain
VacuFlush toilet, holding tank, overboard discharge and dockside pump-out
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2011-) Captain's Report
The 280 has a LOA of 27'7" (8.34 m) and a beam of 9'4" (2.8 m). Her weight of 6100 lbs. (2,767 kgs.) puts her in the middle when we compare her to other boats in class.
It goes without saying that the 280 Outrage is designed for serious fishing with no fish features omitted.
But the 280 Outrage is also designed to be a good all-around family day boat for cruising and entertaining. With seating at the helm, just forward of the outboard well, and forward of the console six people can ride comfortably at speed. Slow her down a bit and you can put a gang forward in the wraparound seating. Add a table, and you have a great location in the bow for lunch or cocktails at anchor -- and this is exactly how many people use their 280s.
The new Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is a powerful contender for the serious offshore angler’s business.
With over 50 brands of center console boats on the market it is not an easy task for a consumer to make an educated buying decision. All of the boats look pretty in the pictures and shiny at the boat shows, so what is the difference? Further, the price differences are also fairly broad among center consoles in any class, so what are you getting for the extra money?
Infrastructure. It is not often talked about, but one of the most important things that separate the men from the boys in the center console boat building business is the infrastructure of the builder. Few if any builders in this class have the depth of engineers, designers, service and warranty personnel that Boston Whaler has. It means that boats are not designed and engineered by a couple of people with their own ideas as to how things should be done, but rather by a team of experts who check and double check every aspect of a boats development. When something goes wrong in the after market, there is a staff to help the customer.
On-water testing. Boston Whaler has a "best practices" quality assurance program in its plant to make sure every part and boat is built to spec. Moreover, each boat that Boston Whaler builds is tested on the water before it leaves the plant to make sure that all systems are working.
Abaft the helm seats is the bait prep area with a 40 gallon (151.4 L) livewell in blue. Tackle drawers are below the sink with pull-out nozzle. Note the vertical rod holder for use while rigging. The port and starboard fishboxes have pump-outs and drains.
Unibond construction process. Boston Whaler pioneered the concept of foam floatation in boats and today has a proprietary process of glassing the decks to the hulls and then filling the interior with foam that produces a boat that is essentially one, large piece of composite material.
Level flotation when swamped. The 280 Outrage and all Boston Whaler boats have a rated weight-carrying capacity when swamped. In the case of the 280, it is 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kgs.) which means that if the boat is swamped it will float level with as much as that weight of people and gear in the boat. The key phrase here is "float level." Boats over 20' are not required by the USCG to float level when swamped and most of them -- even top brand names -- do not. Boston Whaler is one of only a couple of center console boat builders that makes the level floatation claim in print and backs it up with the weight capacity.
The 280 Outrage is also made for entertaining when in cruising mode. This optional table stows in the head compartment. A hatch below the pedestal holds anything you want including 5-gallon buckets for gear or casting nets.
Modern styling. Few boats in class have the soft styling that appears on the 280 Outrage with is reverse transom, tumble home and graceful rounded radius curves in its console and on most of the interiors area of the boat.
A 23-degree deadrise at the transom. When it comes to comfort in a center console at speed, there is no substitute for a sharp entry and a deep deadrise at the transom. A deadrise at the transom of 25-degrees is the most we have seen on a production CC, so the 23-degrees of the 280 is nearly as deep as they come.
Fit-and-finish. Most boats in the top tier of quality in this class (and price) of boats have good fit-and-finish. What sets the 280 Outrage apart in our mind is the extent to which the builder has gone to make this boat as perfect as possible, even in places that are hard to see. Details such as recessed hinges, gel coated bilge surfaces, 316L alloy stainless hardware are all examples of this level of the build.
To both sides of the console are two optional "trolling seats" that fold up out of the way under the gunwale. These are one of the most creative and welcome innovations on the 280. They allow anglers to sit in the shade of the hardtop while facing aft watching the baits.
With 2 x 225-hp. While we haven't yet tested this boat to verify the numbers, Boston Whaler has. In its tests of the 280 powered by twin 225 Verados, the boat reached a top speed at 6200 rpm of 50.8 mph with a 47.4 gph fuel burn. Best cruise came in at 4000 rpm and 30.1 mph. At that speed, Boston Whaler reports a fuel burn of 17.7 gph for a range of 307 statute miles. Reported test weight was 8,790 lbs. (3,995 kgs.)
With 2 x 250-hp. Bolting on 250-hp Verados with the same props as on the 225s (14-1/2"x17") paid little dividends in terms of speed or efficiency. Boston Whaler reports that the 280's WOT speed with these engines at 6400 rpm was 52.6 mph. Best cruise was at 4000 rpm where the boat went 30.3 mph getting 15.5 mpg. We'd stick with the 225 Verados, and pocket the up-charge. Reported test weight was the same as with the 225s.
With 2 x 300-hp. Twin 300-hp Verados move the WOT needle to 58.0 mph at 6250 rpm. At 4000 rpm, best cruise, the 280 was reported to have traveled 32.5 mph getting 1.69 mpg. Again, because of the cost differential, we would opt for 225-hp engines and save the money. Speed freaks know what to do. Test weight was not available.
The curved reverse transom and rounded gunwales make the 280 a leader in styling in class.
What the Customer Wants
Boston Whaler had been doing some serious market research not only among its owners, but also among those of its competitors. What the builder found out was that the market had become more sophisticated and was getting particular about what it expected – and knew it could get – in a new center console.
“We discovered that consumers wanted a soft, dry ride, more seats, better weather protection, greater storage, increased space behind the leaning post or helm seat, larger livewells, and finer finish even in the bilges of the boat,” said Ron Berman, Vice President of Product Development and Engineering for the company. "The 280 Outrage provides all of that and more."
With a choice of six pastel and earth-tone colors, we think the two-tone look is attractive. It also makes the freeboard appear lower than it really is. The colors will also signal to fellow boaters that this is a Boston Whaler.
The lighter-toned colors are not only distinctive but also more easily repaired than are darker ones. You will not find the traditional dark, rich colors such as navy blue, British racing green and fire engine red on the option list for that reason.
Whaler has eliminated the large, ugly aluminum piping that traditionally held up the T-tops on center consoles. The 280 Outrage's integrated system improves visibility greatly. All aluminum is powder-coated.
Console Windshield with Hardtop
Now let's get to the most innovative part of the boat. The huge, ugly, in-the-way, vision-robbing, hard-to-keep-shiny aluminum pipes that many builders still use to hold up their hardtops has been eliminated.
Whaler has artfully placed the aluminum piping in the radius of the four corners of the console. You have window mullions, but no offensive piping. Most of the piping that is visible is for hand holds – and is the proper diameter for that purpose – and all are powder-coated in white.
Adding the hardtop to the 280 Outrage will yield a bridge clearance of 8' 9" (2.7 m), and if you opt for radar, the clearance will then become 10' 1" (3.1 m).
The 280 Outrage comes standard with a “thru-the-bow” anchor hawse pipe just like the big yachts have. The windlass is optional and includes the anchor and rode.
Visibility is the Name of the Game
Look at the pictures here and note that there are no ugly cross bars in front of the helmsman’s field of vision. Note there are not any aluminum poles bolted to the deck in front of or beside the center console to trip over or restrict passage on either side of the console.
There are other aspects of this design that are not so apparent, but they are also important. Boston Whaler has gone to some trouble to eliminate bolts and nuts going through the pipes and aluminum bases both on the deck and in the hardtop. That means you are not going to have bolts rattling loose, drips of water from the overhead, and stains emanating from “stainless” steel fastenings.
The glass used in the windshield and side curtains is tempered, tinted and bonded to the window frame with the same materials that are used in auto industry windshields.
With the rumble seat deployed, you take up a bit of deck space, but have a great spot to ride out to the fishing grounds. When it's time to go to work, one person can easily stow it with no fuss.
With the rumble seat stowed there is access to the pump room. Notice the gutters leading to the deck drains. All hatches have gaskets, are back gelled, and are supported by gas assist struts. Fuel lines connect to the tank under the round, plastic screw-off plate in the center. All bilge surfaces are gel coated for easy cleaning.
Designed For Offshore Work
A well-built, well equipped 26' to 30' center console is as big as most fishermen need for serious offshore work. The Boston Whaler 280 falls right in the middle of that range and we wouldn't hesitate to take her across the Gulf Stream to Bimini or out to the Jersey canyons on a decent day.
Displacement. She weighs 6,100 lbs. (2,767 kgs.). When we compared her with five other top-of-the-line center consoles in class, we discovered that she comes out right in the middle on weight, slightly heavier than some, and lighter than a couple of others. That means that Boston Whaler designers have taken the middle course and she should be competitive in terms of speed and fuel-efficiency.
Add a pair of large 250-hp Verados and she will have a weight of 7,790 lbs. (3,540 kgs.), dry.
Both seats have moveable bolsters or “thigh rises” as Boston Whaler calls them. The helm seat slides fore and aft.
The Console Inside and Out
We like the tilt wheel and the two foot rests for the skipper, VHF is handy to both skipper and companion, and compass is in front of the helm, not centered (which is as it should be). Here you can see a pretty optioned-up panel with twin 12" (30.5 cm) displays, Vessel View, and autopilot. The sun visor is a welcome addition. Switches are up high for less hunting.
Inside the console, on the aft bulkhead are the two battery switches and the two ignition keys. While this is a fine place for the electrical buses and fuses, we can think of better places for the ignitions, battery switches, and stereo. Our guess is that owners will leave the keys in and simply lock the door to the head when they leave the boat.
This looks like the standard center console cooler-seat-with-backrest, but it is a lot more than that. Just move the cooler forward and place in the bow-seating niche and you have a casting platform or a sunpad. How cool is this? The cooler is custom-molded to nestle in the bow. Plus the tapered front edges allow for more room to walk around without whacking your shins.
If you don't care for the low profile rail, then the split bow railing is an option. European boaters who moor with the bow to the dock will appreciate how easy it is to get off the boat. It also makes handling the anchor easier and kids will love being able to dive off the bow.
There are four tackle drawers in the port quarter. This is a good use of space. Note the rumble seat in the stowed position and the heavy stainless steel gear to hold it.
Perhaps the best news of all about the Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is her price. With standard twin 225-hp CXXL DTS Verado 4-stroke outboards with hydraulic steering, the MSRP price is $161,261. This price is surprisingly competitive with other boats we have looked at the top level of boat building in class.
Opting up to 250 Verados will run you another $3,899, and a pair of 300's will add $10,445.
Given all of the standard equipment, the size of the engines, all of the innovations and the build quality, we’d say if you are in the market for a center console this size, the 280 Outrage should definitely get your attention. She is priced competitively with her high-quality peers, and no builder has a better reputation. Moreover, few builders can make the level flotation claims that Boston Whaler has built its business upon.
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Washdown: Raw Water
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2011-) Warranty
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2011-) 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 280 Outrage (2011-) Price
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2011-) 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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