I lived by a self-imposed never-buy-new rule until I laid eyes on an Everglades 255cc.

I never intended to buy a new boat. I figured others could deal with depreciation and working out the kinks. And then I broke my never-buy-new rule.

I had owned a Sailfish 2660, a 26-foot, 2-inch center console I bought when it was two years old. I’d still have that boat if I could have pruned 14 inches from it. In 2018, the condominium association that manages the dock at our Islamorada, Florida, townhouse began enforcing a 25-foot length limit. My boat’s days were numbered.

An exhaustive Web search led me to the Everglades 255cc. At 24 feet, 7 inches, it would pass muster with the association. And at 9 feet, 3 inches, it’s the beamiest boat in its class. I found my boat at Yacht Works, an Everglades dealer in Key Largo. The Caribbean-blue hull was “different,” but my wife and I concluded it matched the orange-and-blue palette of our alma mater, the University of Florida.

01-NewmanEverglades

We climbed aboard, and the build quality and comfort were immediately apparent. The patented front-sliding windshield, which travels on hydraulic rams, is ingenious. So is an electrically actuated stern seat hatch that provides unencumbered access to systems, batteries and the fuel filters for twin Yamaha F200s.

I looked at the price, choked and left Yacht Works, with the salesman promising that the “pencil could be sharpened,” as this was a leftover 2017 model with full warranties, including components’ coverage for five years. He explained that another customer had ordered it, but his wife disapproved of the hull color. Perhaps she graduated from a Gators’ rival?

After an unsuccessful search for a preowned 255cc, I returned to Yacht Works to talk price. The deadline for my Sailfish’s eviction loomed. We did a sea trial.

Initially, I was wary of the boat’s fly-by-wire steering and throttles. The stereo, with its booming amplifier and 10 speakers, seemed excessive. And I might need a NASA instructor for the 16-inch Garmin plotter. But my wife was extremely comfortable in the leaning post’s seats, and the three-sided enclosure and hardtop would make fishing more pleasant. And there was her favorite feature: an electric head.

After coming to terms, I called my 96-year-old dad, seeking emotional support. “You’re going to spend how much?” he queried. “On a skiff?”

He pondered a bit, then said, “Just do it, Andy. If it makes you happy, do it.”

A 1977 University of Florida graduate, Andy Newman has administered media relations for the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council for more than 38 years. He occupies a seat on the Florida Keys National Marine Advisory Council and is obsessed with saltwater fishing, as well as working on his boat.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Anglers Journal magazine.

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