Captain's ReportBy Capt. Ron SvobodaThe Mako 284 Express is a new venture for the legendary builder of fishing machines. Although Mako has built cuddy cabin boats before, the 284 Express is a vessel of a different kind, with serious thought and engineering focused on comfort. These almost luxurious overnight accommodations certainly have not compromised the boat's fishability.From the dock, the 284 Express has the profile of the venerable Mako, with high sheer lines, flowing transom and a sharp 21-degree deadrise running surface. On the deck is a curvaceous cabin exterior, large windshield and a stout hardtop. Working down from the aluminum framed fiberglass hardtop, is a cadre of rod holders accompanied by spreader lights, electronic boxes and numerous courtesy lights. The rigid top also provides sturdy mounting for the optional telescoping outriggers, radar array and antennas. Of course side curtains can be attached to seal out the cold and spray should the weather turn bad.High-Tech Console with ComfortUnder the shade of the hardtop is a spacious helm station. The deck level is raised to offer more space in the cabin, but more importantly it gives the pilot great sight lines over the bow and around the whole boat. Mako installed a plush captain’s chair that adjusts forward and aft, which swivels and has a thick flip-up bolster. From this vantage point, all of the engine instruments and electronic display panels are right in front of you. A key feature with Mako is that you can spec out how you want your dash to look. Depending on which engine manufacturer you choose, your gauges can be either analog or 100% digital, with flat panel displays providing all the data you could ever need. Although going digital shows off a high-tech look and compliments your chart plotter and radar screens, it does take some time to get use to. (Especially for us old-school guys.) Accessory power switches with breakers and a pair of cup holders is located within easy reach of the skipper’s seat. On the port side of the helm is comfy chaise lounge for the Mrs. to relax and read a book while you fight fish. An insulated beverage cooler is located just below the chaise’s cushion and can be easily removed for taking it beach-side.Family-Friendly Design BelowMaking your way down into the cabin is through a sliding companion way door and wood finished ladder. Once inside, the cabin is surprisingly spacious with decent headroom. A two person island berth is situated at the forepeak and doubles as a dinette for meal times. The best part is you certainly won’t have to rough it while away from home because the 284 Express has a complete galley to port. The wood veneer trimmed cabinets host a countertop with sink, AC/DC fridge, microwave and removable alcohol stove. The teak and holly soled cabin features a quarter berth aft for added guests, plus a head compartment to starboard. The head comes standard with a portable toilet, sink and faucet which are supplied by the on-demand fresh water system. A large, round overhead hatch allows fresh air into the cabin, and the side portholes help with ventilation too.Bring on the FishBut where this boat really shines is the cockpit. No doubt the focus of great attention by designers and engineers back at the factory, Mako’s are serious about fishing. For starters, the cockpit is roomy with fishboxes and storage compartments in the sole. A high gunwale surrounds the space and is capped off with a wide, texturized top cap. There are flush mounted rod holders on both sides of the cap rail, as well as secure rod storage below. Centered in the cockpit, is a super functional bait prep and tackle area. This two station system features a livewell and tackle storage on one side, with a sink, cutting board and storage drawers on the other. A pair of folding jump seats increases room for guests or can be used for relaxing while waiting on the fish to bite. Abaft of the bait station, is a folding bench seat mounted to the transom and accompanied by a port side gate for access to the molded swim platform.Power on this RigIntegrated into the swim platform is a shallow engine well for the boat’s two outboard engines. This is where things will get challenging for you when you order your 284. Mako offers a huge list of power packages to choose from which include Mercury, Honda, Suzuki and Evinrude are all on the list. Two and four stroke engines are available in a wide range of horsepower, but should you opt for the base boat, she’ll come with a pair of Mercury Optimax’s at the stern. Because this boat was a prototype unit, we were unable to test her performance. Additionally, some of the minor things that we found could use some adjustments were currently being improved. Once we do test this boat we’ll report back on these items. Otherwise, we were very impressed with the builder’s attempt to expand their line of fishing rigs and offering buyers more of what they are looking for.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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