Coming to a mutual agreement on a new boat can sometimes be a difficult thing for a couple. One spouse comes home talking about a new fishing boat and the other one has to jump in to bring up the three children they have to entertain. Does a perfect setup even exist? Well, we certainly think we found one great option when we tested the SunDeck Sport 231 OB. And the best thing about it? It comes with the Hurricane name so you know you are getting a quality boat.
Since 1974, Hurricane deck boats have been around, providing the market with family fun boats that come at an all-around great value.
"America has really embraced Hurricane," says Brand Manager Bob Wachs. "We were outboard before outboard was cool and that experience allows us to define the market." There is a ton of multi-purpose layouts for customers to choose from that make fishing, cruising or skiing easy. Known for their high-capacity seating and storage, it's obvious to think of Hurricane deck boats like floating SUV's. No one has to stay behind. When building deck boats, Hurricane has an extremely established way of looking at it.
"There are five basic principles of our deck boats," says Wachs. "Safety, shallow draft, quick planing, stable and wide in space. We don't classify anything as a deck boat unless it meets all of that criteria."
During the test, it was easy to see why it's tagged as the family boat with the heart of a fishing boat because it really is the best of both worlds. Another great quality is this boat can't be discussed without using the words safe and secure.
"Safety is our number one priority," adds Wachs. "We are believers in safe boats and that is what we concentrate on at every level of design."
The safety features are numerous, but one of the best ones is the non-skid surface that encompasses the entire floor plan, even under the carpet. You and your little ones will always feel secure when walking around, no matter how soaked you or the boat gets. One of our favorite features is the Berber carpet that unsnaps in sections for easy cleaning. If it gets stained beyond repair, only a small section has to be replaced instead of ripping out the entire flooring.
"With the SunDeck Sport 231, we created a hybrid of the fishing and cruising models," says Wachs. "We put in family elements such as the changing room, but really upped our fishing amenities as well."
The fishing package on this boat is top-of-the-line. A forward pedestal chair sits prominently on the bow, but can easily be removed when necessary. There are two livewells, located at the bow and the stern. A recessed rod holder is available for storage when you're traveling to your destination, and there are 9 trolling rod holders above the helm for when you get there.
The built-in tackle trays makes storage easy, which is always a plus for the family that loves to fish but doesn't have time to constantly be organizing gear. Are these enough reasons for you to be convinced this truly is a great fishing boat? Wait, there's more. An overstuff pad is perfectly placed on the rail for you to dig your knees into as you cast out in the standing position. No more having to brace yourselves with your hands because this usually wastes valuable arm motion while you are reeling in the big one.
Powered with a Honda 225 outboard, this coastal boat is built for medium to heavy water and the unique center console design gives you a feeling of total control. The center console also makes an enclosed, lockable head possible and it's the perfect size for a portable toilet or tons of extra life jacket storage, whichever one makes the most sense for the individual needs of the customer. This compartment is a much larger changing room that you would typically expect to find on a 23-foot deck boat.
Above the console is a stainless steel grab handle for additional security. The adjustable steering wheel, contrasting gauges and removable windshield make the boating experience even better for the captain. There is also a built-in Garmin 531 fish finder, which is a nice option and completes the overall look of the dash panel. The glovebox compartment is huge and can easily fit the 10-12 cell phones that you will most likely have onboard when you invite your friends and family out for a spin. The telescopic boarding ladders have three rungs so getting back in the boat from the water is nearly effortless.
When it comes to the rest of the boat, storage is the magic word. In true deck boat fashion, every time we turned around we were finding more place to store our things. There is a ton of storage under the seats, built into the floor and recessed into the side walls. The built-in cooler and floor storage lockers are all self-draining, which creates such ease after a long day of fun. The floor is also polylined for low maintenance.
The test boat had two sinks, one on each side and one with an electric sprayer with a fresh water supply. This is perfect for cleaning your hands between catches or cleaning up before lunch with the kids. There is a built-in anchor locker with special grooves on either side to eliminate chaffing as well.
The overstuffed upholstery has a beautiful and classic design, which goes along perfectly with the exterior of the boat. There are cup holders all over so you can expect to have easy access no matter where you're sitting. The U-shaped lounge in the stern is a perfect size for more personal conversations, but it still allows for you to feel part of the action.
This boat is incredibly fun to cruise around in. The performance with the included Honda motor was impeccable and it held corners at high speeds extremely well. She responded well and got up on plane quickly. Simply put, it will get you to your honey hole before anyone else on the water even knows what's going on.
You can tell just by looking that the boat has a sturdy build and you feel that while moving as well. It would be ideal for early morning fishing, followed with playing with the family on tubes and skis. The boat was equipped with night docking lights so staying out past daylight is not a problem so your fun doesn't have to end when the sun goes down.
For those in need of a great fishing boat, but has a spouse that says the kids come first, you truly can have it all. You can fish in comfort knowing your family is also loving the boat for an entire set of different reasons.