For those who regularly fish from the bow, I'd like to see Whaler offer a half-height rail. The large cockpit feels just like a big boat, too. Don't expect to reach over and rinse your hands off in the ocean. With a cockpit deck about as far above the sea's surface as most 50-footers, you'll be gaffing fish rather than tail-grabbing them.
Boston Whaler has always done a good job of designing fishing amenities, and the 28 carries on the tradition. The helm seat sits atop a fiberglass "pod," or box, with cutouts for knives, pliers and rigs, in addition to containing a bait well, large tackle storage cabinets and a bait-prep station.
The best feature of the 28 Outrage has to be its room to move. Multiple anglers will have no problem, thanks to the 30-foot length (including the pulpit) and beam over 10 feet. Besides letting you move anywhere about the deck unobstructed, the 28's design makes for a rock-solid platform in all kinds of sea conditions.
Whaler refers to its totally foam-filled construction as Unibond. The company injects foam under pressure into the voids between hull and deck, bonding to each surface, which essentially results in a one-piece boat. While this certainly makes small boats virtually indestructible, I discovered it makes larger boats so quiet that it feels like you're driving from the cockpit of a 60-footer. I heard no water noise against the hull or thumping as we dropped the bow off a wave. Yes, it adds some weight to the boat, but remember: Weight and smoothness of ride go hand in hand.
A double berth fully 7 feet long with the insert in place provides the main sleeping arrangement, while an additional lower single bunk runs obliquely along the port bulkhead. You have to remove the insert to access the galley sink and stove, while the microwave mounts in the starboard bulkhead an arm's reach away and the refrigerator faces you at knee level. A small but functional stand-up head with shower finishes out the belowdecks accommodations. You'll find a locker that stores four rods and reels right at the base of the stairway that reaches down to the cabin's teak and holly sole.
Walk-arounds need hardtops just as most center-consoles need T-tops. Besides providing shade, they support additional rod holders, raise the outriggers up off the gunwales, provide more room for electronics in the overhead box and give you a place to attach enclosure curtains. The 28's hardtop provided a superb handhold for passengers who inevitably ride standing behind the helmsman. The top also sports ladder rungs and a cutaway section on each side, affording access to the upper station if you choose to put one up there.