While center console boats under 26 feet in length understandably remain the most common-size vessels on fresh and salt water, boats 26 to 30 feet are also very popular with saltwater anglers. That mid-size vessel can be trailered and launched with relative ease, and its size gives it optimal offshore fishing capability.
Most 26- to 30-foot center console boats carry twin outboards, although with today’s larger outboard options, many can run with a single engine. If you’re in the market to buy a new boat in this category, it helps to start with a trusted list of the best center console boats under 30 feet. In search of something bigger? Check out our best center consoles over 30 feet.
Here are 15-plus (we’ve added a few more) offshore fishing boats that measure 26 to 30 feet that are currently on the market. The boats are listed alphabetically by brand.
Though Blackfin initially might have built its name crafting inboard sport-fishers, the company has since redefined itself with a full lineup of outboard powered center and dual consoles. The 272CC features a full composite stringer grid bonded into the hull with carbon-fiber reinforcement for strength and rigidity. At wide-open throttle with twin 300 hp Mercury Verados, it tops out at more than 61 mph. For anglers, its port aft 30-gallon livewell features adjustable Gemlux drains and valves; the helm unit comes with a full bait-prep station and sink.
Boston Whaler 280 Outrage
Select features from a Sport Fishing review of the 280: Twin chairs coddle the helmsman and co-pilot with lumbar and thigh support. Fully padded fold-down armrests offer lateral support, while footrests at the base of the helm let you prop up your feet. Flip-up bolsters offer backside bracing while standing.
A tempered-glass windshield, integrated seamlessly with the powder-coated aluminum frame for the optional hardtop, quells wind noise enough to allow for conversations at the helm without shouting. A motorized vent atop the front panel ushers in fresh air on sultry days.
A pressurized 30-gallon baitwell lies abaft the helm seats and features an adjacent tackle-prep station. A second livewell in the port quarter adds another 17 gallons of bait capacity. Twin 54-gallon lockers with pump-outs flank the cockpit, and anglers will find lockable rod storage within the garage — the spacious compartment beneath the forward-console lounge.
From an SF Fishing Machines column: Calcutta’s 263 features a transom that disappears into a recess in the deck when lowered; the company calls it a sea gate. “It’s not just a splash board; it’s a sealed door,” says Steve Ellis, president of Calcutta Boats in Palmetto, Florida. “There’s also nonskid on the side of the door.”
With the sea gate lowered, the entire aft deck of the catamaran is open and flat. Ellis says it measures 6 inches above the waterline. “I’ve got guys who will fight fish onto the deck. Florida State University uses the boat for its shark and grouper research vessels,” he says. “One guy in Venice caught a 104‑pound wahoo. All he had was a 2-inch gaff. He was afraid he’d lose the fish, so he let down the door, grabbed the fish by the tail and slid it in backward.”
Caymas 28 HB
The Caymas 28HB utilizes a Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel hull, designed by Michael Peters, to deliver speed, fuel efficiency, and dry ride. Fishing features include a non-skid casting deck, massive built-in storage compartments, two 35-gallon aerated livewells, a backlit console display, and a 120-gallon fuel tank. Family and friends will feel at home with cushioned seating at the bow and stern, and will appreciate the extra elbow room afforded by the boat’s nearly 10-foot beam. High freeboard and deep gunwales also provide extra safety and security. The Caymas 28HB is rigged with a single Yamaha, Mercury, Suzuki, or Evinrude outboard up to 425 horsepower.
Cobia 301 CC
Cobia’s 301CC uses the same proven running surface as the 296CC but with a redesigned deck that maximizes cockpit space, comfort and fishability. The new console integrates the hardtop frame, creating more spacious walkways. Fishing features include a pair of 28-gallon pressurized transom livewells, an inward-opening tuna door, twin overboard-draining fish lockers under the forward seating and another pair of macerated lockers under the aft deck. With twin Yamaha F300s, the 301CC tops out near 60 mph; it reaches 30 mph in just 6 seconds.
As with every Contender, you can order the 30ST equipped the way you want it. The stepped-hull offers efficiency and speed, as well as a smooth, dry ride. Twin 40-gallon pressurized livewells keep you well supplied with bait. There’s an insulated 130-gallon in-sole fish box forward, and another 70-gallon fish box, which can be converted to a livewell, under the aft deck. With available twin Yamaha F300 outboards, the 30ST offers 265 gallons of fuel capacity. Raise the forward console seat for walk-in access to the head compartment. An oversize electronics panel offers plenty of room to flush-mount displays.
EdgeWater first created the 280cc to fill a market gap. The 28-footer features EdgeWater’s Single-Piece Infusion lamination process, which involves encasing the hull inside a plastic bag, vacuum sealing the bag, and then pushing resin into the hull. Fishing features include a walk-through transom door, two 100-gallon in-floor fish boxes, vertical rod holders fore and aft, and a 28-gallon transom livewell. An additional 30-gallon leaning-post livewell is an option. Powered by a Yamaha F250 outboard, it tops out at 53.8 mph.
The 295cc reflects Everglades’ penchant for impeccable fit and finish in a mid-size center console designed for anglers and cruisers alike. The console, hardtop and full-height three-sided glass windshield are incorporated into a single structure. The dash accommodates a pair of Garmin GPSMap 8616xsv displays. A work station abaft the twin helm seats includes countertop, sink and pullout freshwater sprayer. Everglades placed a 34-gallon livewell with a clear acrylic lid in the port quarter. There’s a 66-gallon fish box forward and 44-gallon fish box aft. Power comes in the form of twin Yamaha F300 outboards, and the boat carries 184 gallons of fuel.
Grady-White Canyon 271
From an SF review of the 271: With 100 gallons of fuel, full livewells and three adults on board, and turning Yamaha Saltwater Series II 19-inch-pitch, stainless-steel three-blade propellers, the Canyon 271 jumped on plane in 3.5 seconds and reached 30 mph in 6.4 seconds. I found a top speed of 56.2 mph at 6,000 rpm, where the twin Yamaha F300 outboards burned 51.9 gallons per hour for 1.08 mpg.
The most efficient speed came at 25.6 mph and 3,000 rpm, where the twin 300s consumed 12.4 gallons per hour for 2.06 mpg, translating to a cruising range of more than 380 miles based on the 186-gallon fuel capacity.
From an SF Fishing Machines column: Introduced in 2011, the 28 quickly became the brand’s top seller. As Regulator does across its model line, it added more standard equipment and options each year to the 28. Upgrades have included white-painted engines and a vanity sink in the head. For 2016, Regulator added options such as Taco Grand Slam 380 outrigger bases with 18-foot telescoping poles, removable forward-seating backrests, and factory-installed Garmin or Raymarine electronics.
“The 28 displays the signature Regulator features that have wowed customers and fans since the beginning, and the standout favorites that have built the brand’s reputation as a serious offshore sport-fisher,” Maxwell says.
From an SF First Glance column: Livewells behind the helm unit and in the transom offer plenty of bait storage, while 245 gallons of insulated fish-box space lets you store quite a catch. The transom bench seat flips down out of the way to open up the cockpit.
Standard features include a powder-coated hardtop with rod holders, electronics box, LED spreader lights and dual-color map lights; trim tabs with indicator lights; power-assisted hydraulic steering; and a walk-through transom door. The helm’s custom-bonded windshield comes with an overhead vent.
Scout 277 LXF
Scout’s LXF—luxury sportfish—models blend the features of a plush fish boat with a top-of-the-line cruiser. This near-28-footer comes with a transom door and a portside swing-in boarding door, an aft recirculating livewell, and twin in-floor fish boxes. An expansive cockpit provides anglers plenty of room to work rods and fight fish. The standard powder-coated hardtop with its integrated frameless windshield and aft rocket launcher provides protection and additional rod storage. A self-contained head below the console and a walkable swim platform, among other features, make the 277 LXF family friendly.
Sea Born LX26
The largest in Sea Born’s line of LX vessels, the LX26 serves multiple roles for anglers and families. Standard features include a side boarding door, multiple charging ports, an interior console head, LED lighting, a hardtop, and a two-position leaning post. LX models provide greater interior cockpit height compared with Sea Born’s bay boats, creating a more secure big-boat feel. The boat comes with a standard 20-gallon livewell aft, but two optional livewells can be added—one under the starboard cockpit seat and one under the forward console seat.
Sea Chaser 27 HFC
The 9½-foot beam of Sea Chaser’s 27 HFC creates notable stability while fishing. Twenty-five-inch walkways aside the console, a level deck and 360-degree coaming pads make fish-fighting easy and comfortable. Key features include a 40-gallon livewell in the leaning post and a 30-gallon tank in the port quarter, so you can separate bait species. At a cruising speed of 27 mph, powered by a Suzuki DF350A, the 27 HFC gets 2.46 mpg for a range of more than 400 miles, based on the 181-gallon fuel capacity.
Sea Hunt Gamefish 30
The Sea Hunt Gamefish 30 is a fishing and family boat with two interior layouts to choose from — one model features a coffin box ahead of the console with a sun pad on top, and the other features full bow seating. Popular standard features include a fiberglass T-Top with a full tempered-glass enclosure, Optimus power steering, an anchor windlass, a 60-gallon transom fishbox, and three insulated livewells. Options include dual 12-inch Garmin displays and a Seakeeper gyrostabilizer. For the family, the 30 offers amenities such as plush seating and a side-entry door.
Southport 30 FE
Southport set up the 30 FE (family edition) for cruising and fishing. Its wide beam and bow flare create a dry ride; they also provide a stable platform for throwing a cast net. The increased cockpit space for fishing and entertaining also means more room for features including a 35-gallon livewell, an insulated transom fish box (as well as in-deck fish boxes), newly designed mezzanine seating, aft swim decks and a comfortable console interior. With 232-gallon fuel capacity, the twin-outboard-powered 30 FE offers plenty of cruising range.
World Cat 280CC-X
From an SF First Glance column: World Cat’s first X-design catamaran, the 280CC-X, features aggressive new styling that includes a graceful sheer line terminating in a soft tumblehome aft, a swept-back glass dashboard at the console, and a surfboard-edge hardtop.
The 280 represents a completely new computer-assisted design from the waterline up, says World Cat president Andrew Brown. “The 280CC-X also offers advanced technology, including a fully customizable digital dash (including CZone digital switching), and a host of functional, comfort and convenience features.”