What’s the best thing about a Boston Whaler? That’s easy: the glass-foam-glass sandwich construction that makes the boat unsinkable, while also dampening vibrations and increasing stiffness to give the boat a better ride. And, what’s the best thing about dual consoles? Their versatility in serving equally well as fishing boats and as family boats. Put the two together and you get a match made in boating heaven in the Boston Whaler 240 Vantage.
Will this dual console really satisfy the anglers in the family? You bet. The boat comes right out of the box with cockpit coaming bolsters, four gunwale-mounted rodholders, and a 45-gallon in-deck fishbox. And that fishbox has a unique advantage over those found on other boats. Since all the belowdecks voids of the Vantage are pumped full of pressurized closed-cell foam, it’s insulated far better than any other fishbox you’ll encounter. Serious anglers will want to add the Fishing Package, which gets you a 14-gallon livewell, a raw water washdown, stainless-steel toe rails, and additional two transom-mounted rodholders.
On the flip side of the coin, family boaters will appreciate touches like the slick passenger’s side seat that converts into a lounger and sunpad, the fold-out transom seat, the 18-gallon freshwater system, the USB ports in the bow and at the helm, and the head compartment with a sink inside the passenger’s console. There’s also a unique perk to be found in the bow where the seating is contoured to create more legroom when you pop up the dinette cocktail table and kick back to enjoy lunch on the hook. Flip open the anchor locker hatch and you’ll discover a second surprise up there, because the 240 Vantage has a telescopic bow ladder for easy disembarking and reboarding when you beach the boat for a swim or some beachcombing.
Ready to jazz life up a bit? Get the watersports tower so you can pull the kids around on their wakeboards and water skis from the elevated tow bit, and you can also add wakeboard racks. Or opt for the hard top instead, and you’ll get a tow bit up top plus four rocket launchers for the days when chasing fish is in the plans.
Okay: ready for some real fun no matter what type of waterborne experience gets you excited? With the max-power Mercury 400-horse Verado on the transom, slam the throttle to the dash and hold on tight—in a matter of seconds, you’ll be shooting along the Bay at 52 mph. Go from Sandy Point to the Eastern Shore, look up, and laugh at that bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Bay Bridge. And when you pull it back to a reasonable 4500 rpm cruising speed of a hair over 30 mph, note that the boat’s quite efficient for a model this size and gets around 2.5 mpg.
As you sea trial this boat, also be sure to take note of how it feels in the seas. Again, Boston Whaler’s hull construction is the main factor in why the boat feels so dang solid. You won’t hear the creaks and groans of major part joints because that foam bonds to the glass and fuses the hull and deck into one piece. You’ll realize that unlike many competitors, the 240 Vantage is vibration- and rattle-free because there are no clanging pull-rings or vibrating hatches thanks to compression latches that dog down tightly. You’ll also realize that the grab rails are uber-solid, and like the other hardware on this boat, they’re stainless-steel, not plastic. On top of all that you’ll also discover that the 20-degree deadrise hull, flared at the bow, provides a surprisingly dry ride for a 24-foot boat.
Put the Whaler construction together with fishing aptitude and a family-friendly nature and what do you get? Fun, fun, and more fun. And as far as we can tell, there’s no better reason to buy any boat.
By Lenny Rudow
Boston Whaler 240 Vantage Specifications:
Displacement: 4360 lbs.
Max HP: 400
Fuel Capacity: 111 gal.
Water Capacity: 18 gal.
Price (MSRP): $127,264
Local Dealer: Chesapeake Whalertowne in Grasonville: (410) 827-8080; and Annapolis, MD: (410) 267-9731