Key West Boats have become very popular with fish guys over the years, and for good reason. This builder offers a capable platform for near-shore waters, has an eye for style and displays a price-point that deserves a second look. The newest release from the South Carolina builder is the 239FS (Family Sportsman). It’s a family influenced angler with the ability to cruise offshore.Clearly, Key West wants to make a design statement with the looks of the 239FS. All the lines of the boat are enhanced with the use of classy marine colors. The same hues are carried over into the cockpit upholstery where comfortable two-tone seating welcomes passengers on board.
Ready for Fishing
We measured a healthy 24.5 sq. ft. of working space in the aft cockpit, not including the transom bench seat that can also be used as a casting platform. Working fish from the stern there is easy access to the recessed rod holders located in the gunwale caprail. In addition to that, there are rocket launchers in the T-top and four more rod holders built into the grab rail just behind the helm seat. Naturally, there is storage for three rods on the inside of each gunwale.
A large 40 gallon (151 L) livewell with a Lexan door works as the boat’s bait station and is supported by a pair of tackle stowage lockers, one each located on the port and starboard sides, just below the helm seat.
The 239FS has a cockpit depth of 28’’ (.71 m). I liked that the builder used padded coaming bolsters throughout most of the boat, which makes for more comfortable fishing. In addition, the side decks are roomy, averaging 19’’ (.48 m) wide and were drained by a pair of large scuppers in the sole.
Up in the bow area is a small casting platform nestled between the two seats; this step also provides access to the anchor storage locker. Just aft of the bow seating is an insulated fishbox in the sole, it features a built-in macerator pump for easy clean up.
Although the Family Sportsman (FS) is about family and fishing, she also incorporates some bottom details that enhance her performance. For instance, a sharp entry makes breaking through waves smoother and her wide chines aid stability. Her single-step running surface aerates the bottom of the boat when on plane, breaking the surface tension of the water and making her run faster with less power.
Our Key West test boat was equipped with Evinrude's E-TEC G2 250, the latest in 2-stroke engine technology. It’s a powerful V6 with plenty of low-end punch to get the boat on plane quickly. This super responsive outboard also has the horsepower to race to the fishing hole so there is more time to play.
Even though our test day was windy with rough seas, the 239FS performed well. The ride was solid and predictable, albeit a little wetter than I would have liked. Handling in the slop was very responsive thanks to the snappy performance and quick acceleration from the fuel injected 2-stroke engine.
The 239FS’s top speed was impressive as we clocked 48.9 mph at 5500 rpm. Pulling back on the throttle we found the best cruise speed to be at 3500 rpm, delivering 26.5 mph and 3.4 miles to a gallon. Despite our 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg) test weight and rough sea conditions, we got on plane in only 3.5 seconds.
features wrap-around seating, both seat bottom cushions are hinged to give access to the compartments below. Bolster pads for back support and long stainless steel handrails flank both sides. The two-tone upholstery adds a rich look to this lounge space and is complete with the addition of removable seat backs for reclining. In the sole is a located compartment for a set of fenders and lines.
At the stern
of the boat, the flexible transom seating is well thought-out and beautifully finished. The full beam bench can seat up to five, or can be used to stretch out and get some sun. By folding the seat back down, a large casting platform is created once the seat cushions are removed. Deep, self-draining storage compartments are to port and starboard.
It’s nice to see that Key West designed a beam-width stern platform for the 239FS, port and starboard with a deep outboard well. Because the Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 has an internal steering mechanism, the outboard well is virtually empty and can be used for standing if necessary.
When it comes to the captain’s comfort, the helm is a bit narrow for my tastes [Our test captain is 6'3" (1.91 m) --Ed.]. But it does offer a beautifully polished, tilt steering wheel and a binnacle mount, digital shift and throttle controls. I especially liked the dash since the chartplotter is right in front of the pilot, as is the bank of accessory switches. The digital engine gauges and stereo remote control are located just to starboard, and there is enough room for a second flat screen monitor.
is a double-wide unit that is well padded and comes in detailed upholstery like the rest of the boat. There are also contoured flip-up bolsters for both occupants when the water gets rough. Shading this spot is an optional fiberglass T-top, finished in the same color as the hull sides, which looks great and cuts down on glare. The top incorporates a storage box, several courtesy lights, four rocket launchers, and a pair of floodlights.
The center console
provides a small cabin within, but it’s a bit tight for the optional day head that’s available. It does make good storage for foul weather gear though. Just forward of the console is a typical seat for one person to share in the conversation at the bow.
I was impressed with the Key West 239FS. She is a big improvement over some Key West boats that I saw years ago and it is clear that this builder is trying hard to provide many of the amenities and details usually found in far more expensive center consoles.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Key West 239FS (2015-) is 48.9 mph (78.7 kph), burning 21.15 gallons per hour (gph) or 80.05 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Key West 239FS (2015-) is 26.5 mph (42.6 kph), and the boat gets 3.44 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.46 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 310 miles (498.9 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 .
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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