Boston Whaler’s 280 Outrage has been redesigned from the keel up for this newest model year. Under the waterline she has a redesigned hull that includes a flat running pad providing quicker times to plane and less bow rise upon acceleration. Above the water line the interior has been completely redesigned based on customer feedback to provide more comfort, functionality, and simplicity of operation.
First and foremost, this is an Outrage so it's obviously going to be a fishing boat. It’s simply what the product line is best known for. Those fishing features start with 20 rod holders conveniently placed throughout the boat, including five rocket-launcher style holders at the aft end of the hardtop. In the forward lounge area, fishing rods can be stored inside the seat and bungee cords provided will keep the rods secure. On the standard boat, a T-top is provided, but here we have a deluxe hardtop that is part of a premium package upgrade. This hardtop comes with a lot of features including spreader lights, life jacket storage, a two-color dome light and overhead electronics box. At the topside are mounting points for outriggers and antennas.
There were two livewells
, one being the optional portside transom livewell with a 20-gallon (75 L) capacity and the second being the optional leaning post livewell at 30-gallons (114 L). This deluxe leaning post is also part of the optional premium package upgrade.
The cockpit features plenty of wide-open space for fishing. Bolsters running all the way around the inside of the cockpit vary in height starting at 21” (53.34 cm) and going up to 29” (73.7 cm). Down low on the sides of the cockpit are stainless steel toe rails, adding a measure of safety. Just above are under-gunwale rod storage racks. On both sides of the cockpit are in-deck fishboxes that measure in at 55-gallons (208 L). At the bow, there is an elevated casting deck with a nonskid surface. In fact, the entire foredeck is also treated with nonskid.
Transitioning to family features is part of the versatility of the 280 Outrage and it’s a pretty seamless transition. Assuming that the boat didn’t just come back from a fishing trip, in which case we would add a hose down to the following list of tasks. At the stern of the boat is a two-person bench seat that deploys from the transom, making the cockpit into an instant social area. The leaning post can do double duty as a food serving area and the sink will again come in handy as will the pull-out sprayer.
To the starboard side is the gate leading out to the swim platform. The recessed reboarding ladder is concealed under a hatch to the starboard side. Directly adjacent is a grab handle, and right at the entrance to the cockpit is a pull-out sprayer for a freshwater shower.
Forward we have a bow area that has been given the lion’s share of the interior redesign for this model year. Gone are the days of a center console having V-seating along with a simple cooler seat at the front end of the console. Here, just ahead of the console is a beautiful forward-facing lounge seat, doublewide, with flip down armrests to both sides. Underneath is roomy storage with two holders for 5-gallon (19 L) buckets, four holders for scuba tanks, and lots of room for storing additional gear. There are also two steps leading into the storage compartment that are treated with rubberized nonskid.
The forward seating
has also been given a touch of re-design and now features a bench seat that occupies the whole front of the bow area. This aft-facing seat will easily accommodate four-across. Padded bolsters and seat cushions, part of the premium package, increase the comfort factor. More important though, is the fact that we now have excellent opposing seating so this gathering area is even more inviting for entertaining.
There’s no point in even starting a discussion of family features in a boat if there’s no head onboard, and on the 280 Outrage, it’s in the expected place inside the console. This one has just a little short of standing headroom with an overhead height of 5'5" (1.65 m). This is also where the cockpit pedestal table is stored, in a dedicated holder against the aft bulkhead. Our test boat was equipped with a VacuFlush toilet and a pullout shower wand, also included in the premium package.
Boston Whaler did a great job on the helm of the 280 Outrage. Our test boat was fitted with a pair of optional 12” (30.5 cm) Raymarine flatscreen navigation displays. The 4” (10.1 cm) SmartCraft display was in the center and just above that was the Precision Pilot control for the Mercury outboard engines. This was also fitted with some optional features such as Skyhook and Auto Heading. The helm is mounted to the left hand side and the wheel is mounted to a tilt base. The steering knob was a welcome feature to have. Lenco trim tabs have LED indicators, while the digital throttle and shift binnacle is mounted in the center of the panel.On the right hand side of the binnacle was the Mercury outboard joystick. This joystick allowed us to maneuver the 280 into position at the marina with expert precision — and it was among the tightest areas that we’ve been faced with.
Below the helm is a footrest and below that is a recessed toe relief area for the toes of boat shoes to slide into when running while standing, a common practice when operating any center console. The helm seats are two across and individual seats are fitted for the operator and companion. Both have flip-up bolsters, flip-down armrests, and are adjustable fore and aft.
In the center of the cockpit deck is a large hatch leading to an equipment room. This is where the engine start batteries are located, the house batteries, all of the filters, and bilge pumps — all within easy reach.
With a pair of 300-hp 6-cylinder Mercury Verado’s turning 20” (51 cm) pitch Rev 4 props, we reached our top speed at 6300 rpm of 49.6 knots. At that speed we were burning 60 gph, giving us a range of 138.3 nautical miles. Best economy was measured to be at 3500 rpm and 25.5 kts. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 17.4 gph and increased the range to 245.1 nm, while still holding back a 10% reserve of fuel in the bank.
Driving the 280 Outrage is a pleasure and a lot of this has to do with the redesign of the hull. For this model year, the new architecture includes a flat running pad at the keel to provide quicker times to plane and shorter hole shots and it seems to work. We reached planing speed in 4.1 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 5.3 seconds and 30 mph came and went in 8.8 seconds. At speed she is a very light and agile boat. She's sensitive to the trim tabs, so we weren’t too vigilant about using them. But we did add a bit of tab to bring the bow down to a more comfortable running attitude.
Running into head seas, we could cause a little bit of pounding at full throttle — no surprise there because it could happen in any boat. But pulling back to a more reasonable cruise speed mitigated any pounding and increased the ride comfort dramatically. Running at an angle just off of the head seas further eliminated any discomfort to the ride.
Running in a beam sea caused the ride to smooth out considerably and we could actually increase speed to whatever we wanted. We were catching a little bit of air now and then at full speed, but other than that the ride was excellent and we could've kept going like that forever.
The ride got even better in a following sea. This is really where the 280 Outrage is in her element. She simply cruised from one wave to the next, skimming across the tops of them, showing no tendency to drop her nose and stuff the bow. While our test day showed relatively calm seas, we did have ocean swells that gave us a good idea of how she handles during these conditions. And true to form with every Boston Whaler, we were very pleased with the handling. It appears that Boston Whaler’s redesign of the hull has succeeded. To sum it up, the handling is agile and predictable on all points.
After dark the 280 Outrage takes on an entirely different persona. There were optional blue underwater lights on our test boat that added ambiance. Inside there are two courtesy lights to both sides of the bow lounge seat and we’d certainly like to see some added to the cockpit. Other lighting consists of a dome light over the helm that can be switched to either white or red, plus there are spreader lights for fishing after dark.
Boston Whaler has achieved another success with the 280 Outrage redesign. Boston Whaler’s goals were to embrace simplicity of operation, versatility, and comfort and we think that the company scored well on all counts. She's a pleasure to be on, a pleasure to handle, and thanks to her new redesigned hull she has an all-new level of handling that will define the brand.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2016-) is 57.0 mph (91.7 kph), burning 60.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 227.1 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (2016-) is 29.3 mph (47.2 kph), and the boat gets 1.7 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.72 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 282 miles (453.84 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Mercury Verado.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
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