Mission of the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
Hard as it is to believe, the new 230 Vantage (and her 270 Vantage big sister) will be the first dual console models in the current Boston Whaler fleet. The 230 is a multi-functional boat designed to do everything from serious coastal fishing to leisurely cruising, sunning, on-board entertaining and watersports. By maximizing interior volume inside a 8'6" (2.59 m) beam, creating a cockpit depth of 28" (70 cm), having a private head compartment, and making all seating extra plush and versatile, the 230 should be inviting for the whole family. By offering a long list of activity-specific options, boaters can literally build a 230 Vantage that fits their specific watersports activities.
I tested the 230 with just over 80 gallons of fuel, no water, two people and minimal gear which gave us a test weight of approximately 4,820 lbs. (2,190 kgs.) The weather was not cooperating and winds steadily blew from 15 to 20 knots throughout the day which meant that we would not be able to get maximum speed out of the boat because of the sloppy conditions. We call that a "real world" test.
Prop Geometry is Important.
The first thing that was readily apparent about the 230 is how well she feels at any speed. Our test power was a single Mercury Verado 300-hp outboard turning a 14 ¼ X 18 four-blade Revolution prop. Since the 230 was designed as a utility dual console, Boston Whaler's choice of the four-bladed prop indicated that they were going for low-end torque, rather than top-end speed, exactly what many towing enthusiasts would do.
I recorded a top speed at wide open throttle of 43.1 mph at 5950 rpm while burning 29.80 gph. Best cruise from a miles-per-gallon standpoint was at 4000 rpm where we recorded a speed of 26.6 mph while burning 10.2 gph giving us a range of 260 statute miles. I found however that I was driving most of the day at approximately 5000 rpm with a speed of 37.3 mph while burning 18.3 gph which reduced my range to 203 statute miles.With the 230 Vantage in sportboat mode, most towing will be done between 18 and 22 mph. At these speeds our rpms were between 3500 and 3700 with an average fuel burn of approximately 7.0 gph. I should note that the 230 was a very solid ride at this towing speed.
Turning was precise and she smoothly eased in and out of each turn leveling back quickly from a minimal roll. When accelerating from a dead stop she lifted out of the water with an ever-so-brief bow rise of 20 degrees, caused largely by the increased torque of the four-blade prop. The bow quickly came down on plane and the 230 had a nearly flat running angle.
Will She Be Wet?
In hard over turns she pushed into a roll and came around smoothly with no pounding, even when coming back around and turning out over my own wake. In addition to the wind and chop, there was a large amount of big boat traffic on the ICW which churned the water up even more. The 230 Vantage didn’t seem to notice as she pushed through. The spray was kept low and was thrown well to the sides keeping the interior of the boat and the occupants dry. I tried hard to see if I could get spray into the boat by cutting through the wake of our camera boat, but no luck. This boat was dry despite the stiff breeze.This is an all-new hull design for Boston Whaler and I could not find any bad habits during our test. To the contrary, she seemed remarkably stable both in a slop and even when tied up at the dock and hit by a passing wake.
We have investigated five other boat brands that build dual console boats in the same class (size and price point) as the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage in order to discover areas where the 230 is different. What we found was that in many ways the boats appear similar on paper, but when specific features are checked there are a number of elements that set the 230 Vantage apart from the rest. ●
Off-center Windshield Walkthrough.
Because the windshield walkthrough has been moved slightly to starboard the 230 Vantage is the only dual console in class that has a double-wide companion seat and a commensurately larger head compartment. But the differences do not end there.●
Wide Bow on Deck.
All of the dual consoles in class have a conventional pointy bow, unlike the 230 Vantage. Boston Whaler has designed the boat this way in order to get more room in the bow for entertaining and casting. Not only can more people sit comfortably in the bow around the optional table, but when the optional sun lounge is in place it makes a huge sun bathing platform. The wide bow also makes handling the anchor easier as well as providing a large space for the optional beach boarding ladder.
Large Swim Platform.
A compromise that virtually all outboard-powered boats have is the lack of a large swim platform. The reason, of course, is because the outboard engine or engines take up most of this prime real estate. The problem has been greatly mitigated on the 230 in two major ways. First, the boat is designed to be powered by a single engine, not twins, which permits a much wider platform to be placed on either side. Second, the 230 has a flat "walkway" surface behind the transom and forward of the outboard well which allows easy transit from one side of the boat to the other. ●
Boston Whaler has made it easier to access the swim platform by putting in a transom gate on the starboard side, the only boat in class to do so.
Through-the-Stem Anchor System.
The 230 Vantage has its anchor mounted below the deck in the stem of the boat. This keeps both the anchor and anchor roller off the deck and makes for a smooth and easy way to both deploy and retrieve the ground tackle.
The new Boston Whaler 230 Vantage dual console weighs 5,595 lb. (2,538 kgs.) with an outboard engine. With an 8'6" (2.59 m) beam she is the right size for towing down the highway without a permit in all states. A mid-sized SUV can tow the rig. The 230 Vantage has an optional aluminum trailer package with dual torsion axles, disc brakes, LED lights, radial tires and a spare.
The 230 Vantage comes standard with a 225-hp XL L6 DTS Mercury Verado 4-stroke outboard with power steering. A SmartCraft deluxe gauge package is standard. We think that is all the power most boaters will need with this vessel, but for those who want more, Boston Whaler offers a 250-hp Mercury Verado and a 300-hp Verado. (The latter one should be used with 91-octane fuel.)The boat has a fuel capacity of 111 gallons (421 L).
Level Flotation if Swamped
All open boats can run some risk of being swamped in unusual conditions offshore, in challenging inlets, or from improper boat handling (such as anchoring by the stern). Boston Whaler publishes the "Swamped Capacity" of each of its boats. In the case of the 230 Vantage, it is 4,000 lbs (1,814 kgs.) which means that the boat can support that much weight in addition to the weight of the boat and water in a swamped condition. BoatTEST.com has made a good video on how Boston Whalers are built, including a section on how the foam flotation material is injected into the boat. See it here…
Noteworthy Standard Equipment
The 230 has far too many items of standard equipment to list here but a few items stand out as being particularly noteworthy. Of particular interest is the Cockpit Utility Center. This console has a cutting board, sink and 36-quart cooler. The head has an interior light and a molded-in sink with drain, storage hooks and a portable head with pump out. Other important standard equipment includes recessed electric trim tabs with indicators, a SmartCraft deluxe gauge package and a stainless steel prop for the outboard.
Activity-Specific Option Packages
The 230 Vantage has been designed from the keel-up to be a multi-purpose boat and for that reason the basic boat can be taken in several different directions by the options selected by the owner. Consumers who want to be more serious about fishing or watersports can select a single package tailor-made for their specific pursuit.
The standard boat has rod holders and gunwale bolsters. The cockpit sole compartment on the centerline can be used for rod storage and is lockable. To this can be added the "Fishing Package" which includes a 14 gallon livewell, a prep station, raw water washdown, stainless steel toe rails and transom-mounted rod holders.
There is an aft-facing seat on the port side for a spotter and a locker in the sole for skis and wakeboards. It also doubles as storage for fishing rods. To this can be added an optional "Watersports Tower" which is welded aluminum, has a tow bit, navigation lights and 4 more rod holders. Wakeboarders will probably want to add tower-mounted speakers and wakeboard racks.
Day Boating and Entertaining.
The 230 Vantage has a USCG rated capacity for 10 people and on this boat that means 10 adults can be comfortably seated. The standard "utility center" is a good place to prepare sandwiches or snacks. The cockpit is 28" (70 cm) deep except at the transom where it is 25" (63 cm). The standard head makes boating much more enjoyable for the whole family.We would get the optional table which fits in a mount forward and aft. We have found that this is a delightful place for drinks and snacks. An added advantage of the dual console design is that it separates the boat into two areas so that kids can congregate at one end of the boat and adults at the other.
When the watersports tower is selected a Bimini top can be fitted to it and we recommend one for safe sun. People wishing to work on their tan may want the optional sun lounge for the bow. We would go for the freshwater shower package which has sprayers for the bow, stern, head and cockpit sink. This taps in to the boat’s 20 gal. (76 L) fresh water tank.
One of the aspects of this boat that should not be overlooked is that she can be used for coastal day cruising and exploring. Some options will help such as the optional weather curtain package and possibly one of the electronic navigational packages. A compass comes standard.
Regular readers know that we have been strong supporters for years of the dual console concept because of its tremendous versatility. It is simply a boat design that never goes out of style and as a family grows the boat can adapt to children’s changing watersports activities. The 230 Vantage may be the only boat some families will ever need, and given the age of the Boston Whalers we see in our neighborhood along the Connecticut coast, the boat should last a very long time, indeed. The 230 Vantage isn't cheap, but given the useful longevity of the boat because of its utility and bullet-proof construction, it may be one of the best boating investments one can make.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage (2014-) is 43.1 mph (69.4 kph), burning 29.80 gallons per hour (gph) or 112.79 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage (2014-) is 31.9 mph (51.3 kph), and the boat gets 2.34 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.99 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 234 miles (376.59 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|