Content courtesy ofThe Mako 234 is a classic design and has probably pumped more saltwater out of its collective bilges over the decades than most designs have run over. Nonetheless, the folks at Mako have redesigned her and revamped her to once again be tough competition on the offshore circuit. Further, she is priced within reach of nearly everyone. Equipped with a 250 XXL Mercury OptiMax she has a US MSRP of $52,995.
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Captain's Report by Christopher Hughes
While most of the overall specs of the boat are the same, the fact is the new Mako 234 is some 600 lbs. (272 kg.) heavier than the old model. That speaks volumes about what the new equipment and heft that Mako has put into the new 234. Some of the many new features onboard the new model include a bait station built into the leaning post, complete with a baitwell, tackle tray storage, upgraded electrical layouts, a more exceptional plumbing system, and new injection-molded hatch lids.
Power and Performance
For the first part of our test we were in 20 mph winds and 2-3 foot chop. The new Mako 234 measures-in with a length overall of 23’4” and beam of 102” and a test weight just over 5,000 lbs. with her engines. Her draft is 18” and she has a deadrise of 21 degrees. Our test boat was powered by a pair of Mercury 150-hp four-stroke engines being fed by the 150 gallon fuel tank. In those less than ideal conditions we recorded a top speed of 45 mph in a following sea and 44.3 in a head seas for an average top speed of 44.7 mph at 6000 rpm while burning 25 gph which gave us an average range of 241 statute miles. Cruising along at 3500 rpm we had an average speed of 27.6 mph while burning 9.1 gph for an average range of 409 statute miles. Her minimum planing speed when decelerating was right around 18 mph. When going up from a stop she got up on plane right around 3200 rpm or 21 mph.Our time to plane averaged 4.9 seconds and our 0-30 mph time averaged 8.1 seconds. Our bowrise was approximately 12 degrees for less than three seconds, but this was not a factor given the low height of the console and I never lost visibility. She leaned nicely and smoothly into and out of turns at high speed.
I did several figure eights in the afternoon in high wind, crossing back over my own wake, but was unable to get water over the side; she stayed dry the entire time.
Handling at the dock was very good; she did not drift or pull to either side when reversing out of the slip. In my opinion, the best handling feature was the cutting through rough water. The smooth ride will definitely be appreciated if you have an hour or two to ride out to your fishing spot.As far as handling goes, in a beam sea she wanted to stay level and had only leaned ever so slightly into the wind. We sliced through each wave without any pounding. When we put her through hard turns at 35 to 40 mph she tracked true and stable. After a while of yanking and banking it became clear that this redesigned fishboat can handle big water just as well as the classic model.
The helm console has a clean simple layout. Mako positioned the gauges low and just in front of the wheel and the switches are all the way to starboard, out of the way on their own raised platform. The result is a large piece of real estate with enough room for you to customize with appropriate nav screens. The wheel is positioned to port. The trim tab control was between the wheel and the engine control which made it a little tricky to get to, but I found the 234 did not require much tab on test day.
To starboard below the switches is a lockable storage compartment which was handy for my phone and some test paperwork. There is a molded-in foot rest. All around the helm console there are places for companions to grab onto, but what I liked and appreciated most during the test was the height of the console. A boater of practically any height can see over the console with ease.
Behind the console is a double-wide helm seat with a full size back rest. Behind the seat is an arch with three rocket launchers and an integrated grab rail. Forward of the console is a double-wide seat with a 72-qt insulated cooler.
The Console Head
You access the console on the starboard side through a door that swings forward and can be tied off to the hardtop support. Even at 6’3” I had no problem fitting inside and standing. Inside is a large dome light and facing aft; just above the deck is access to battery switches and the main electrical panel. This space was large enough that if needed, one could use it as a changing room. Exiting was made easy with a fold down step.
The bow design features a deep offset anchor locker with large custom-branded stainless cleats to port and starboard and a stainless chock on the cap rail. The stainless handrail is recessed and mounted on a 45 degree angle with bow seating below to port and starboard. Below the seating are two large finished 86-qt insulated storage bins. The lids have gas-assist struts and gaskets. In the center of the deck is access to another storage area measuring 396 qt. in size.
Nothing gets more abuse on a center console than hatches. All the hatch covers are manufactured using the closed-molded process. This means that each part is one solid piece with a finish on the outer and interior surfaces. Each hatch is then completed with a thick gasket and stainless hardware.
There are insulated port and starboard aft in-floor fish boxes with drains and diaphragm pumps. There is a starboard aft bait prep area with utility compartment, knife and plier holder and frozen bait tray/sink with a lid that doubles as cutting tray. Port & starboard under-gunwale rod racks hold 6 rods up to 9' long.
The cockpit is surrounded with thick coaming bolster cushions with an average height of 25''. The hardtop has four rocket launchers and has an option for the installation of outriggers. Mounted below the rocket launchers on the hardtop are two large work lights. The gunwales have a molded-in non-skid surface and two additional rod holders on port and starboard side each.
Behind the helm seat is a bait station with a 31-gal. aerated anti-slosh baitwell. Just above the deck to port and starboard are two pull-out storage bins with slots for tackle management boxes. The stern has a latching hatch and walkthrough to port and molded-in flat walking surface behind the transom. Located on top of the transom to starboard is a wand-style fresh water shower/washdown.
We think that the new Mako 234 is the best of both worlds. The classic hull wasn't broke and wasn't fixed. But the rest of the boat was pretty much totally revamped and modernized. The builder has addded stainless steel hardware and premium fittings on the boat. That, together with her new fishy features and new interior design, mean that hardcore fishermen who are looking for value need to check out the new Mako 234.
Test Result Highlights
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Pricing Range: $52,995.00Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.