Boston Whaler has been building a 28’ long Outrage for years—along with models in the line ranging from the 18 Outrage (which has been replaced by the 190 Outrage) all the way up to the monstrous quad-engine 420 Outrage. For 2016, however, the offering got a redesign, in the form of the all-new 280 Outrage. And while it shares a number of traits with the 28’ Outrages of years past, the 280 has been brought up to date with a slew of features found on its larger siblings. Before we start digging into the details, check out this video boat review of the 280 Outrage.
The first big change is in the bow design, which shows a shift away from blood-and-guts fishing and towards comfort and family-friendliness. Instead of an open deck, the bow now incorporates a “social area” with aft-facing U-shaped seating up front, a removable cocktail table, and an extended console seat facing forward. Yes, extending the console seat by several feet and building in the U-shaped seating does eat into the bow cockpit’s fishing space, and in fact, with the table deployed there’s virtually zero casting space left over. This won’t worry trollers one bit since they see most of their action in the stern cockpit, but light tackle casters will be a bit hampered unless they opt to strip off the cushions, leave them at home, and use the forward seating as a casting deck.
When it comes to cocktail cruising, of course, this arrangement does provide a huge leg up over an open, fishing-oriented bow. The console seat in particular is incredibly comfortable. That extended length means you can stretch all the way out, there’s room for two, and flip-down arm rests are on either side. Added bonus: pull up the seat bottom hatch, which rises easily thanks to a pair of gas-assist struts, and underneath there’s a cavernous dry-stowage area.
Farther aft, another update you’ll note is the console design, which is integrated with the hard top and tempered-glass windshield. It looks slick but more importantly, since the structural supports are all built into the powder-coated aluminum frame, there isn’t any pipework obstructing your forward view. That top also has integrated bow and stern spreader lights, life jacket stowage, recesses/reinforcement for mounting outriggers, and a brace of five rocket launchers across the back. Nice.
The leaning post has been thoroughly upgraded, too. It sports a pair of exceedingly comfortable flip-down bolster seats with arm rests, and aft, has a sink and a lighted (in red to preserve your night-vision) 30 gallon livewell. Three tackle drawers and a garbage can are housed in the sides, unless you opt for the slide-out cooler to chill down those frosty beverages.
Speaking of chilling things: the 280 Outrage has a pair of fishboxes integrated into the deck, and as is always the case with Whalers, they’ll hold ice a lot better than the average fishbox. This is a pleasant side-effect of the way these boats are constructed: A hull and liner are laid up, then are pumped full of expanding foam while encased in molds that are bolted together. Most of you probably have already heard about Whaler’s foam-filled construction and know that this produces a strong, sound-deadening single-piece foam-sandwich hull. But not everyone realizes that it also means your in-deck fishboxes are far more insulated than the norm since they’re surrounded by foam, foam, and more foam.
One thing that hasn’t changed with this new iteration of the Outrage is performance. Boston Whaler has placed an emphasis on this characteristic for a long time, and they aren’t about to stop now. With a pair of 225 HP Mercury Verado outboards, the 280 Outrage pushes close to the 50 MPH mark. Cruising speed at 4500 RPM is a spiffy 35 MPH, while the engines burn 22 GPH for about 1.6 MPG. You say you want even more zing? No problem—as you saw in the video, our test boat had a pair of 300's, which takes top end close to 54 MPH. And this boat can even handle hitching a pair of Mercury Verado 350’s to the transom, which boosts cruise up to 44 MPH, cruising efficiency doesn’t budge, and top-end hits 61 MPH.
One final thing you’ve got to keep in mind, when considering the 280 Outrage: Boston Whalers enjoy a resale value that’s far beyond the norm for recreational powerboats. Just peruse some listings for used 28 Outrages and you’ll probably be a bit surprised at just how much value they command, years down the line. And while that might make it tougher to buy a used Whaler, it means that if you buy one new, you’ll get more of your investment back in the long run. And that’s true whether you get a Whaler that’s rigged purely for hardcore angling, or one that’s laid out as a cocktail cruiser.
Other Choices: Boaters who tilt a bit more towards fishability but still want family basics like bow seating might also be interested in the Regulator 28 FS. And if you like the center console design but tilt even farther towards luxury and comfort, check out the Chris Craft 29 Sun Tender.
For more information, visit Boston Whaler.
See current Boston Whaler 280 Outrage listings.
|Fuel capacity||186 gal.|
|Water capacity||26 gal.|