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April 05, 2005

Mako 24

Mako's 284 replaces the long-running 282 model, and represents the first truly new model the company has brought to the market in quite some time.

Mako's 284 replaces the long-running 282 model, and represents the first truly new model the company has brought to the market in quite some time. While the 282 grew out of Mako's venerable 261 center console - a notched transom boat - the 284 came straight from a clean sheet of paper. It features a wider beam, along with a new aggressive look that's somewhat different from previous Makos. Designer Mark Biddison joined me for a ride in Fort Lauderdale, giving me a first-hand tour of the new boat.

Performance
With twin 250-hp Mercury Verado four-strokes, the 284 accelerates and gets on plane very quickly with minimal bow rise. Put the trim tabs down just a little, and you eliminate the bow rise almost entirely. We drove the boat in and around Port Everglades inlet on a very windy (and rough) day, and the 284 performed well. The boat's 21-degree deadrise cut through some surprisingly large chop without pounding, and we stayed mostly, if not completely, dry. Like most boats this size, it ran better with the tabs down slightly.

We ran up-sea and down, discovering no obvious bad sea-keeping traits, and the boat drifted well in a steep beam sea without snap-rolling. The 284 has a relatively high freeboard, especially forward, which contributes to the dry ride. I remain impressed with Verado power, although I'm still getting used to the electronic controls, and 4,500 rpm seemed like an optimal cruise speed. At that throttle setting, we traveled at 35.8 mph while burning 20.6 gph, for an efficiency of 1.7 mpg. At wide-open throttle (6,000 rpm), we reached 50 mph at 56.4 gph. Power options start with twin 200-hp Mercury EFI outboards and run up through twin 275-hp Verados.

Fishing
The boat's 9-foot-10-inch beam provides a roomy cockpit aft of the leaning post. Several big guys could work back there without stepping on each other's toes. The 284 sports an integrated engine platform, but Biddison opted to not put the boat's livewell or fish boxes in the transom bulkhead. As a result, fishing around the engines becomes much easier since the thin bulkhead keeps the angler closer to the boat's stern but still keeps water out, its primary mission.

Dual subdeck fish boxes along the hull sides drain into individual macerator pumps in the lazarette and extend forward beneath the deck, allowing you to ice down several truly large fish or a lot of small ones. The livewell resides in the massive leaning post and holds 50 gallons of water. The leaning post also contains a tackle storage unit to port, with six plastic tackle trays and two large StarBoard drawers, plus a small freshwater sink. A handy aluminum handrail along the aft edge of the unit provides a secure grip for passengers while underway.

Other notable fishing features include optional padded coaming all the way around the boat, and with the high freeboard, leaning into a fish is easy. Rod storage consists of four in-gunwale rod holders, four aluminum holders welded onto the aft side of the leaning post, and rod racks under each gunwale that hold three rods per side. You can store additional rods in the rocket launchers welded onto the standard T-top, and you can convert one of the in-deck fish boxes into a rod-storage box.

Design and Construction
Mako builds the 284 using hand-laid fiberglass, with gelcoated fiberglass stringers and liner. All hatches come standard with gaskets and gas rams, with both sides of the hatch finished in smooth gelcoat, a vast improvement over some previous models. Good access abounds, with a large lazarette just forward of the transom bulkhead, hiding the bilge, macerator, and fresh- and saltwater pumps, as well as providing access to the glassed-in transducer.

Beneath the console, a large head compartment comes standard with a freshwater sink boasting a pullout showerhead, a small hanging locker and courtesy lighting.  An electric head is optional. The console itself has plenty of surface area for mounting electronics, built-in drink holders, and a molded footrest covered in the same tough, nonskid pattern found on all walking surfaces. A small, wraparound acrylic windshield sits atop the console, and tilt-out bins in the hull sides on either side of the console provide storage.

Forward, raised passenger seating conceals even more dry storage, and there's a very deep storage box in the deck beneath the sole, between the seats. The seats don't extend all the way forward, so you can walk all the way to the bow, a nice feature when anchoring or docking. An oversize aluminum handrail surrounds the bow, and you access the anchor locker through a vertical hatch at the forward end of the seats.

The 284 should be a home run for Mako; the large, beamy, deep-V center console offers a soft ride and well-designed fishing features,the kind of boat that Mako popularized, if not invented. The standard equipment list is lengthy, so this boat is basically ready to fish right off the showroom floor, all at an attractive price. It's good to see the company return to its roots.