Mission of the Key West 219 FS
The builder has two things in mind with the 219 FS -- 1) the option of partaking in family watersports; and, 2) a boat capable of going offshore when the conditions are right. As with any Key West boat, she is intended to be a good value for the money.
The 219 FS has a full liner, relatively high freeboard, and a transom door for ease of boarding. Other features include--●9" x 12" trim tabs●20 gallon livewell with LED lights●94-qt. cooler in the leaning post●Molded anchor locker with anchor●Fully-lined rear stowage compartments●21-degree deadrise at the transom●Fishbox forward along with storage forward and aft●Cockpit bolsters all around●Sea Star hydraulic steering●Interior courtesy lights●Back rests for cushions in the bow
Details of Design
The folks at Key West are fully aware of all of the center consoles on the market so any place they can replicate the features of boats twice the cost they happily do so. For example, the hand-holds extending to the bow from the area of the helm is placed in a carved out radius in the gunwale. The cleats are pop-up, the cockpit is self bailing, and the transom quarters are rounded.Her 21-degree deadrise tells us that Key West intends the owner to be running the boat at speed offshore where that deadrise and higher freeboard will come in handy. The console has a windshield as well as stainless steel handholds port and starboard for those crew standing by the console as she roars along. For 2014, the two-tone cushions are standard for which give the boat a snazzy look and break up the tedium of fiberglass white. The casting platform in the stern when the cushions are down becomes an extremely wide aft seat and is probably the most comfortable place in the boat.
The Key West 219 FS appears to be built using conventional boating industry practices and modern materials. For example, no wood is employed in the transom, stringers or anywhere else in the boat. She has a molded fiberglass inner liner and the cockpit is self-bailing. The boat is foam filled and is said on the builder's website to have "positive level and upright flotation" when swamped.
The most unusual aspect of Key West's construction method is the insertion of a thin sheet of plastic in the hull sides over the fiberglass and resin laminate. This sheet of plastic is intended to keep the floatation foam from adhering to the hull sides. Interestingly, this is precisely what many builders want to happen. Once the liners and deck is in place and bonded together, foam is blown into the hull filling voids in the hull sides and parts of the bottom -- but not into the keel under the stringers.
No Wrinkles in the Hull.
The reason that Key West does not want the foam to stick to the hull laminate is because temperatures affect the expansion and contraction of the fiberglass laminate and the foam differently. As a result, because these two materials are stuck together the hull surface can become distorted in the hot sun. (This is one reason some boat builders like white hulls -- they reflect more heat than a colored hull.) The result can be ripples in the hull which can be seen when light plays across the shiny surface.
No Foam in Keel.
Key West leaves the keel devoid of foam in order that it will fill with water in the event that the boat is swamped. Open boats in a swamped condition are likely to turn turtle because of the free surface effect. No boat builder can do much about that law of nature but Key West has taken the step of creating what amounts to "ballast" in the boats keel in order to help keep the boat upright.
The concept is to as much as possible permit the keel of a Key West to act like the lead ballast in the keel of a sailboat. (Whether or not this enclosed water ballast is heavy enough to have any noticeable affect against the free surface effect, we don't know.)
On its website Key West says that all of its boats if swamped will float "level and upright." Few builders will say such a thing in print and most say that they have "basic" flotation, which simply means that if swamped some part of the boat will float above water. It is usually the bow. "Level flotation" as defined by the ABYC means that the boat will float level when swamped with the engine aboard. However, it is important to recognize that even the best built open boats when swamped can easily turn turtle because of the free surface affect of water shifting in the boat. A boat that will float level when swamped should also float level even if it is upside down. That offers boaters a measure of protection from hypothermia.
Starting forward where there are cushions over the lockers and bow casting platform, the 219 FS has two optional seat backs ($385 for both) that fit into the raised platforms. In this way two guests can seat facing forward, with legs and feet stretched out in front of them, in the bow.There is a seat in front of the console that is padded both on the bottom and the back. An optional livewell can be put under this seat. Inside the console is a changing room that is the biggest of all Key West's boats . A portable toilet is an option ($110).In the transom there is a long fixed seat with cushion. A towing pylon is optional. There is a small swim platform on either side of the outboard with a 3-step boarding ladder to port.
The most expensive piece of optional equipment that should be considered is a T-top for protection against sun and rain. Key West offers two versions, one with a fabric top ($4,445) and one that is rigid ($5,695). Both have radio boxes and other features. The least expensive sun protection is an aluminum Bimini top with boot ($725). A stainless steel Bimini top with boot is ($1,135). We recommend the latter one. A casting seat with pedestal ($295) should be considered by keen anglers and seat bases ($55 ea.) can be put in several strategic locations. For those who would prefer not having a leaning post, it can be traded out for twin captain's chairs on pedestals at no charge.
The standard Key West 219 FS with pre-rig for outboard has an MSRP of $25,650. Equipped with a Yamaha F150XA 4-stroke engine the retail base price is $41,090 scaling up through the horsepower range to the Yamaha F250XCA 4-stroke for $52,300. All other brands are available.
When it comes to boats at the lower price points it is natural to wonder what the builder left out, what corners were cut, or is the hull weaker? The company uses 24-oz. and 36-oz woven roving, just like most other builders. Her hardware is stainless steel. Most of her components such as bilge pumps, rod holders, the compass and the like all come from the same suppliers that many other boat builders use. In some cases, such as Key West's use of aluminum and a high-density light-weight foam in the transom laminate, the builder goes a step or two beyond some of its competitors. For example, it uses no wood in the hull, deck or the seats. Not only does that save a lot of weight that the engine does not have to push around, but it also won't rot or soak up water.
For Freshwater, Too.
While center consoles are mostly used in saltwater locations and on the Great Lakes, there is no reason why they can't be used in smaller freshwater lakes and in rivers as well. In fact, water police all over the U.S. tend to use center console boats for their work because of their great utility.
The Key West 219 FS is available in a number of colors and we heartily recommend taking this option. Color ads excitement and beauty to any boat and helps distinguish one's boat from the mass of white fiberglass on the water. The cost of this option is $696, or $1,080 for midnight blue. We think this is the best investment one can make in options because color makes most boats look like a million bucks.
We would characterize the Key West 219 FS as a "few frills" boat designed to get the job done for a reasonable price. But there are "frills" on the option list so that owners can take the boat in the sporting direction they would like to go. That way they only pay for the amenities wanted.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|