Historically, Contender Boats have been well known for their wave-slicing abilities, comprehensive fishing armaments, and rock-solid build. What they haven’t always been so well known for is their family friendliness. Well it’s time to take a fresh look, Captain Dad — the Contender 24 S checks all the expected Contender boxes and tosses in a few twists and tweaks that will make Captain Mom and the kids all smiles when the whole family goes fishing.

contender 24 s on the ocean
The Contender 24 S turns fishing into a family affair.

First note the seating arrangements, which are unlike anything we’ve seen in a Contender before. The leaning post is a straightforward affair with pipework sized to fit an 85-quart super-cooler underneath. The seat flips up with stowage for your tackle underneath, and there are four rocket launchers across the back. But up in the bow things get a bit more interesting. Contender molds in flanking seats (with 59 gallons of stowage underneath each), bolsters all the way around for backrests, and includes a drop-in insert and cushion that turns the entire bow into U-shaped seating. There’s also a (small) forward console seat with a drink box underneath. But in the stern the seating is even more interesting. Two aft seats (which flip forward to access the bilge) are integrated on either side of the 26-gallon centered livewell.

Next, consider the long list of family-friendly features and options: a head in the console compartment, a freshwater washdown for the cockpit and a freshwater shower for the transom, a four-speaker Fusion stereo system, and 10 drink holders. The family-friendliest of all, however, may be this boat’s entry and egress both on the water and at the dock. The 24 S has an integrated full-width swim platform/motor bracket behind the transom, with a pull-out ladder hidden behind a small door. It’s completely inobtrusive, and collapses and stows inside of the bracket itself so it’s always handy but never in the way. Or, you can opt for exiting via a side entry door with a telescopic ladder. This will also aid in boarding, especially when you have passengers who may have difficulty with a big step from the dock over the gunwale and to the deck.

ladder on contender 24 s
There's more than one way to get on to - and off of - a Contender 24 S.

Setting the design and features aside, we’ve also got to consider how this boat performs when rigged with a Yamaha V-6 F300. You think the kids will enjoy blasting across the Bay at speeds topping the 50 mph mark? Cruising to the fishing grounds in the mid-30s at 4500 rpm? Slicing smoothly through the waves with that 22.5-degree deep-V? Yes, yes, and yes.

You already know about fishing accouterments like the livewell and rocket launchers (add four more across the back of the hard top), but the 24 S also has a leg up on the competition in another department: fish-stowing capabilities. This boat has a gaping 94-gallon fishbox in the bowdeck, a 43-gallon box just behind it, and a pair of 30-gallon boxes in the aft deck. Hitch up the trailer and roll for the inlet, and you’ll have a tough time plugging the fishboxes on this boat even if there’s an utterly epic tuna bite going off.

Maybe you used to own a Contender in your pre-kid days. Or maybe you’ve looked at them and thought “if only…” Either way, if you go by the moniker Captain Dad it’s time to check out a new Contender 24 S.

Contender 24 S Specifications

  • LOA – 24’6”
  • Beam – 8’6”
  • Displacement – 5250 lbs.
  • Draft – 1’6”
  • Transom Deadrise – 22.5 degrees
  • Fuel Capacity – 130 gal.
  • Max. Power – 300 hp
  • Area Dealer – In Maryland, Cedar Point Marina, Grasonville, (410) 827-9300; In Virginia, Leagasea Marine, Yorktown, (757) 898-3000.