Crownline has built... a fishing boat?! When a builder traditionally focused on bowriders and cruisers decides to build center console boats, it can deliver mixed results. They may miss fishing basics, but they also bring a new eye for design and styling. So when Crownline – known for building very high quality runabouts and cruisers – announced they had started a line of fishing boats, we were curious. Would their Finseekers make the grade?
Fast-forward to the U. S. Powerboat show, in Annapolis, MD. We’re walking down the docks when we spot a sporty-looking center console with very different lines than all the others, moored up at the Rhode River Marina display. A different take on styling? Check. The Finseeker 230 looks sleek in a sport-boat sort of way, with a two-tone hullside and a curvaceous sheerline. It’s also easy to see the Crowline influence in the boat’s flawless gelcoat work, and fit and finish. Naturally, we fired up the video camera and stepped aboard for a closer look.
But, Can It Fish?
The Crownline folks obviously did their research, and the boat has all the prerequisites: a livewell in the transom plus a second well in the back of the leaning post, four flush-mount gunwale holders plus two flush transom holders, four rocket launchers on the back of the post, and fishboxes in the deck. That checks all the basic boxes, but what really jumped out at us was that leaning post design. The livewell (which has a stand-pipe; that works fine but we’d rather see an overflow so it’s easier to scoop baits) is centered, and it’s flanked on either side by pairs of swing-down tackleboxes. There’s a bulk tackle stowage drawer down low, and a deep stowage pocket on the back. And forward, a Yeti slides out from underneath. All in all the design’s excellent, with as much built-in as you might expect from the leaning post on a 25- or 26-footer.
The T-top is also well designed and built, with integrated speakers, spreader lights, and an electronics box, but we have to call out the rack of six rocket launchers across the back of the top because they flexed; smart money says that this is just one of those fishboat-centric things Crownline hasn’t dealt with in the past, and after they get some dealer and customer feedback we’d bet they up-size it.
One thing that’s already been up-sized: the helm station and electronics. The dash houses a pair of standard-issue flush-mounted nine-inch Garmin Echomap 12X MFDs. Twin screens is another thing you simply don’t expect to see until you step up to a significantly larger boat. And if a grand total of 18-inches of LCD isn’t enough for you, there’s an option to upgrade to a pair of 12-inchers – yes, a pair of 12s, be still my heart.
The bow of the boat is laid out more or less as one would expect, with U-shaped seating and a forward console seat. The surprise up here comes when you look closer at the console seat, and realize it folds flush against the console to open up additional bow fishing space. Smart. Surprise number-two comes when you grab the handle next to that seat, pull, and discover that it’s also a front-entry door to the console compartment. We note that they designed dedicated pockets into the console compartment to stow the bow seat backrests, which is a good move because these things can be clunky and tough to find a place for when not in use, on many boats.
So: did Crownline manage to build an actual fishing boat? You bet – this is no bowrider in disguise, even if it does look rather sporty sitting among a fleet of center consoles.
Finseeker 230 Specifications:
- LOA – 22’9”
- Beam – 8’6”
- Displacement – TBD
- Draft (hull) – TBD
- Transom Deadrise – 20 degrees
- Fuel Capacity – 105 gal.
- Max. Power – 300 hp
- Area Dealers – Rhode River Marina, Edgewater MD, (443) 406-4796