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June 08, 2006

McKee Craft 24 Express

McKee Craft builds very advanced, unsinkable, high-quality boats that perform particularly well for a fair price...

McKee Craft builds very advanced, unsinkable, high-quality boats that perform particularly well for a fair price. Each Freedom 24 consists of 100-percent composite, closed-cell-foam coring. A pressure-bonding system locks the hull and deck molds together, then pumps closed-cell foam between the two under pressure so it fills every nook and cranny. You can cut the boat into as many pieces as you want, and they all float. Deck coring contains ceramic microfibers to boost strength while dropping weight at the same time; a vinylester resin barrier layer prevents osmotic blistering. Every fitting has a metal backing plate to ensure that no screws will ever pull out of the fiberglass.

Unlike many center consoles, McKee Craft maintains its deck flush from bow to stern rather than creating a step up in the bow. Fishing features include four in-gunwale rod holders and five more across the transom. If, like most people, you go for the optional T-top, you'll get five more holders across its back edge. A molded transom door where you can drag in those fish too big to lift comes



 24 ft.
 BEAM  8 ft. 6 in.
 DRAFT  1 ft. 10 in.
 DEADRISE  24.5 deg.
 WEIGHT  3,000 lb
 FUEL  180 gal.
 MAX HP  (2) 200-hp
 MSRP  $94,457

standard, as do the helm leaning post with backrest (deluxe models extra), fish-box macerators, pneumatic rams on every hatch and a 52-gallon aerated livewell with twin 800-gph pumps. The tackle center has three drawers, and the 24 has an additional two-drawer tackle box. You'll never need to bring a cooler aboard, either, since that same injected-foam insulation that produces structural strength and unsinkability also effectively insulates every box. And every owner will surely appreciate the standard Lenco electric trim tabs even though they may not be strictly a fishing feature.


We like that McKee Craft offers options that for many other boats come only from aftermarket sources. For example, you can choose among several T-top/outrigger arrangements. One offers Isinglass spray curtains, which every center console should keep available. The company also uses Weblon material in its T-tops; it looks terrific, like a hardtop, but it's a vinyl-and-ripstop composite. You get a lot of bang for your buck with McKee Craft.

McKee Craft

Fairmont, North Carolina