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Bay Boat vs Center Console

bay boat vs center console
Two main types of boats are popular among fishers and boaters alike: Bay Boat and the Center Console. Most bay boats are classified as center consoles due to the positioning of their steering station. However, we cannot call our center consoles bay boats.

This article will compare and contrast these two choices to show you the subtle yet important differences between them to help you make the best decision for your needs.

What Are Bay Boats?

A Bay Boat is a vessel designed specifically for shallow water fishing.

  • They are usually between 18 and 26 feet long, with a shallow draft that allows them to maneuver in tight spaces.
  • Bay Boats also have a wide beam, which provides stability when fishing in rough waters.
  • Some of the other features that are common in Bay Boats include fish finders, live wells, and outriggers.
  • Bay boats often come with semi V-shape hulls
  • Most Bay Boats have live wells, which are perfect for keeping your bait or catch fresh and alive.
  • Many Bay Boats also have fish finders and GPS systems installed, making them great for locating the best fishing spots.
  • They come with raised casting decks for easy spotting fish

What are Center Console Boats?

Center Console boats are versatile vessels that can be used for a variety of purposes, including fishing, cruising, and watersports.

  • They are available in various sizes, from the small 16-foot boat up to large 42-foot models.
  • Center Console boats typically have a deep V-hull design, which provides good stability and tracking in rough waters.
  • Some of the other features that are common in Center Consoles include fish finders, live wells, and stereos.
  • However, they often come with fish finders and GPS systems to help you locate the best fishing spots.
  • Additionally, Center Consoles typically have more storage space than Bay Boats, making them ideal for long fishing trips.

Which one suis your needs better?

what are center console boats

1. Overall Design

Bay boats are designed with shallow drafts and wide beams, making them ideal for cruising in inshore waters. Their hulls are also designed to provide a smooth, dry ride even in choppy conditions.

On the other hand, center consoles have deep-V hulls that provide a smoother ride in rough seas. However, their shallower drafts make them more suitable for coastal waters.

2. Capacity

Bay boats typically seat six to eight people, while center consoles can seat up to 12.

Meanwhile, large-sized center consoles can host 20 passengers, making them the better choice if you plan to go fishing or boating with a large group of people.

3. Price

Bay boats cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. You can get an affordable bay boat at around $10,000, and their highest quality models can go as high as $230,000.

Center consoles typically cost $30,000 to $80,000. Some of them can go up to $1,150,000, while the used one can cost only around $11,000.

4. Features for Fishing

Bay boats typically come with fishing features like live wells and rod holders, while center consoles usually have amenities like GPS and fish finders.

Center consoles also have more storage space than bay boats, which can be useful if you plan on spending extended periods on the water.

When it comes to fishing, both Bay Boats and Center Consoles have their advantages.

  • Bay boats can get into shallow areas where fish may be hiding.
  • Center consoles, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to go offshore to fish in deeper waters.

5. Comfort

Regarding comfort, bay boats typically have more seating and storage space than center consoles. They also tend to have better visibility from the cockpit, making them easier to navigate.

Center consoles, on the other hand, typically have less seating and storage space than bay boats. However, they often have a higher vantage point from the bow, making them ideal for spotting fish in the water.


Bay boats and center console boats are both popular choices for fishing enthusiasts. Still, there are a few key differences that may make one style of the boat more appealing to you than the other.

We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each type of boat so you can decide which is right for you. Have we convinced you to try out a bay boat? If not, maybe center console boats have your name written all over them!

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