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The boat is rated for up to 600-hp but also runs well on a single outboard. 

The boat is rated for up to 600-hp but also runs well on a single outboard. 

Boston Whaler bills the new 280 Dauntless as the flagship of the company’s bayboat series. It is one of the most innovative and feature-rich center consoles I’ve seen in this size range.

Length overall is 28 feet, 8 inches, including the outboard and swim platform, and the beam is 9 feet. The boat draws 18 inches and weighs 7,410 pounds with outboards. Fuel capacity is 160 gallons. The hull has an 18-degree transom deadrise, and Whaler offers a variety of engine packages in single and twin configurations, with a pair of Mercury 300-hp V-8s maxing out the power rating at 600 horses.

The 280 Dauntless has 23 inches of freeboard at the transom and 27 inches at the bow to provide a secure feel underway. The aft casting platform, with a 30-gallon live well to port and a walkthrough to the swim platform to starboard, lifts to reveal a transom seat. The seat lifts to access stowage that includes clamps for the boarding ladder and dropdown swim platform. The stowage space also provides access to the house batteries, seacocks, bilge and live well pumps, and control valves. The layout of this space is very user friendly.

The bow offers both seating and a casting deck.

The bow offers both seating and a casting deck.

The innovative bench-style helm seat has armrests and leaning bolsters for driving from a standing position, but with the push of a button it converts to an aft-facing mezzanine seat. An optional deluxe seat includes a sink, rigging station, tackle storage, and either a second live well or a compartment for a gyroscopic stabilizer.

The console and hardtop have a three-sided tinted glass enclosure with an electric, opening vent at the top of the windshield. The starboard-side door opens into a compartment with 5 feet, 3 inches of headroom that can be equipped with a head.

Boston Whaler is owned by Brunswick Corp., which also owns Simrad and C-Zone. You’ll see these brands in the electronics package and digital switching system. The dash is designed for a flush-mounted 16-inch MFD or twin 12-inch displays, and both configurations can control all of the boat’s systems. With twin-engine installations, Mercury’s Joystick Piloting is available.

The optional drop-down platform is very handy when swimming or hanging out at the sandbar.

The optional drop-down platform is very handy when swimming or hanging out at the sandbar.

On the forward part of the console is a large lounge seat that lifts to reveal a dry-stowage compartment for the bow table and other items. A removable platform provides access to the three batteries that power either the optional 36-volt trolling motor or the gyro.

The bow seats have reclining backrests and stowage beneath. The bow hatch conceals a windlass and cleat for the anchor rode, and a retractable bow ladder. A large in-deck fishbox with pumpout is between the bow seats.

A single Mercury Verado 400 gives the boat a top end of 48 mph; with twin 300-hp V-8s, speeds reach just shy of 60 mph. Both offer similar cruising speeds, with mileage ratings of 2.2 and 2.1 mpg, respectively.

Boston Whaler pulled out all the stops on the 280 Dauntless, from its good looks to its excellent performance and handling, and loaded it with innovative features for use as a serious fishing machine, a family boat or just about anything in-between.

LOA: 28’8”

BEAM: 9’

DRAFT: 18”

WEIGHT: 7,410 pounds (full)

MAX HP: 600 hp

FUEL: 160 gallons

WATER: 18 gallons


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