In Boat Buying

Best Offshore Boat: Top 5 Must-Have Features

One thing we write about consistently is the top requested features within any particular type of boat. This time, we’re taking a run at what it takes to make the very best offshore boat possible. Why? The reason is simple, many boat buyers just don’t have the daily hands-on-boats experience to understand which features are must-have versus which are merely nice to have.

So in the spirit of good information (and also a little repetition *smiles), this time we’re identifying what’s inside the best offshore boats and why.

Modest Size & Functional Layout

For starters, the SX239 Offshore is a nice sized boat, not too large, not too small which is a good trait for a single-engine offshore boat. The hard and fast truth is that most buyers are seeking a boat they can trailer and pull down the highway using the truck or SUV that’s already in the garage. If the boat gets too large, outside of a bigger vehicle, you may also need additional outboards which certainly won’t help to lower the price tag. That aside and taking a look inside the boat, the use of the 239’s space makes it feel much larger. Rick Rials from Florida Sportsman Radio said, “It’s got a big boat feel with big boat features.” The reason for this, the 23’9” vessel uses her floor space smartly with wide pathways and ample console room without a cramped feel. At the transom, there’s a fold-up bench seat that maximizes floor space when fishing or working the rear of the boat. As for the layout particulars, the boat is offered in two configurations, an “Open” and “Classic” floor plan which allows buyers to decide if they want more fishing prowess or the ability to comfortably cruise with passengers in the forward U-lounge.

Food for thought: Only one in ten Sea Born SX239 offshore boats are built with an “Open” layout. Unless you’re a hard core angler, you’ll probably be much happier with the “Classic” version and its forward seating.

Sea Born SX239 Offshore

Stepped Hull

Sometimes it feels like we are beating a dead horse and saying the same things over and over but there’s a reason; stepped hulls improve performance and save fuel. In a recent article with Salt Water Sportsman, our own naval engineer Jeff Seyler explains, “Stepped-hull designs let the boats with a larger deadrise in the bow ride flatter in the water, they also create aeration that further reduce drag”.

The end result: Less fuel use and a little added zip in the throttle. To read more on stepped hulls check out, “Stepped Hull Benefits”.

SX239 Offshore Console

Large Console

Assuming you’re like most, the reason you’re considering an offshore boat is you want to run blue water which can often be quite the distance from the coast. To get the most out of your purchase, you’ll want a large console to allow for customization and your own electronics. Once the boat is yours, adding things like radar, radio, or other apparatuses is much easier. Also, to ensure your passengers are happy, put serious consideration to an onboard head.

Final thought here: Don’t scrimp on available console space as storage behind, below, and typically near the foot rest is of immeasurable value.

Nautical Freeboard

High Freeboard

As confusing as boat types can be, just remember that offshore boats have a higher freeboard that bay boats or traditional center consoles. In plain English, their sidewall height is taller and more so than not, you’ll be standing on or below the waterline when inside an offshore boat. You might be curious as to why, in a word, safety. That’s right; the higher freeboard of the vessel will protect you and your passengers from larger, higher seas.  For more info on freeboard, check out our boat school post, “What is Nautical Freeboard?

Tip: Be sure to check out the differences between bay boats, center consoles, and offshore vessel’s freeboard heights before you purchase. If family is a consideration, be sure they are onboard.

Sea Born SX230 T-Top

Looking for a Bay Boat?

If you’re interested in inshore and coastal fishing you may find a Sea Born bay boat better suited for your needs. Check out our Bay Boat Shootout or visit our recent post, “Bay Boats vs. Center Consoles – Making the Choice


Regardless if you are thinking canvas or hardtop, be sure to spring for a little cover overhead. As your day on the water continues, you’ll be thankful for the ability to step into a little shade but also, T-Tops provide additional storage, rod holders, and make for a great handrail. Another consideration for those warm days under the sun, you might consider a mister system to help you cool off. If you still uncertain if you should add a top or not, we invite you to check out, Should I add a T-Top to my new boat?

Standing Rule: Don’t buy an offshore boat without a T-Top. Not only will you be unhappy, the trade-in and resell value will suffer dearly.