Cutwater C-288 Coupe Review: A Stylish Family Cabin Cruiser

Cutwater Boats have always grabbed attention by combining practicality with style. John Livingston, the driving force behind Fluid Motion (the parent company of Cutwater Boats and Ranger Tugs) has a knack for crafting compact cruising boats that appeal to the “boaterhoming” and “trailerable trawler” audiences. From self-avowed “tug-nuts” to weekend warriors who prefer an enclosed “sedan style” boat, the company has built a loyal following of owners and fans. With the new 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe, the builder has clearly come one step closer to mastering the art of cabin cruisers by constructing a smart, sporty vessel that not only maximize space but also emotes a “ready-to-roam” spirit of adventure – all wrapped up in contemporary Downeast-style package.

Overall Design

Based in Kent Washington, Cutwater boats are designed for the weather conditions of the Pacific Northwest, an area known for some fairly wet and chilly temperatures. In these regions, an enclosed and protected helm along with a ride-along passenger compartment is vital to enjoying time on the water. That cabin also doubles as a great platform for a compact live-aboard or mobile remote work office (check out the hashtag #workfromhelm on social media to see that trend taking hold).

The C-288 is built over a double-stepped deep-V hull with a length overall of nearly 31 feet (32’6″ with motors) and a stout 10-foot beam. With a beam that wide, there is space aboard for a generous interior cabin area and the width clearly helps with on-water stability too. Yet her size keeps her just within the trailerable segment of the market (albeit some road permits may be required). She also features Laminar Flow Interrupters and is designed with comfort and efficiency top of mind, yet delivers impressive performance numbers as well.

Cutwater C-288 Coupe Cabin Cruiser

Above: A 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe Cabin Cruiser. Photo by Cutwater Boats via the Pocket Yacht Company in Grasonville, MD.

Power Package And Performance

The Cutwater C-288 comes equipped with abundant standard power thanks to twin counter-rotating Yamaha F250 outboard engines. She handles moderate to heavy chop very well. Her wide 10 foot beam helps with stability and reducing roll. In comparison with inboard-powered cruisers the C-288 is a bit more stern heavy with outboard engines and heavier equipment located more towards the aft, meaning captains will have to adjust speed and trim to keep the bow where they want it. Fortunately electric trim tabs and Laminar flow interrupters are both standard on the C-288. The boat tops out around 50 MPH and can cruise in the low thirties. 

Cutwater C-288 Coupe

Above: Twin Yamaha outboard engines power the 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe. Photo by Cutwater Boats.

For those unfamiliar with Laminar flow interrupters, they are a series of ridges and troughs on the bottom of the hull that disrupt laminar flow along the boat that help stabilize the vessel during turning conditions, substantially reducing or eliminating the typical side-to-side oscillation. A bow thruster is also standard equipment which makes for easy maneuvering in small harbors and tight spaces at the dock.

Aft Deck

The highlight of the aft deck is certainly Cutwater’s new patent-pending convertible transom seat – a marvel of engineering that offers great versatility. This feature converts to three distinct positions, from a forward or aft facing seat to a utilitarian transom wall that maximizes aft deck space.

Transom Bench Seat on The Cutwater C-288 Coupe

Above: The unique convertible transom bench seat on the 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe. Photo by Cutwater Boats.

Off the stern, the boat also features what Cutwater calls the “Clear-Path Swim Platform” that extends beyond the outboards on either side and allows for easy access to the water and boarding at the dock. Also in the aft deck owners will find ample storage, rod holders, beverage holders, a livewell, electric grill and more.

Cutwater C-288 Swim Platform

Above: The “Clear-Path Swim Platform” on the 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe. Photo by Cutwater Boats.

The cockpit transforms into a social space providing seating for six with the convertible sunset seat, fold down gunwale seats and an opening glass bulkhead lounge. The overhead solar panel and sport racks allow for extended cruising and storage for SUPs, kayaks, bikes and more.

Cabin Interior

Stepping inside to the climate-controlled cabin interior main salon is like entering a mini luxury condo on the water. First there is the flip up port side rear glass window that allows the salon to open to the aft deck, or close in inclement weather. Sliding overhead hatches and opening portlights adorn the salon. Inside to starboard is a full galley featuring a stovetop, stainless-steel sink with pull-out rinse faucet, fridge/freezer combo, microwave convection oven, cabinetry, and a wine/water cooler. On the port side is a great convertible dining area.

Cabin Interior Cutwater C-288 Coupe

Above: The cabin interior on the 2022 Cutwater C-288 Coupe boat. Photo by Cutwater boats.

At The Helm

At the helm is a Garmin 8612xsv chartplotter, Garmin Autopilot, sonar, xHD radar, color engine displays and a twin-lever electronic throttle control. Down below, there are comfortable accommodations for six adults with a master forward stateroom, a spacious mid-berth and a private head with shower.

Options And Add-Ons

An optional aft station can make docking even easier or steering the boat while casting from off the stern. Rocket launchers, downriggers and a Bimini top for the aft are all available options as well. Built for adventuring and exploring, the boat has an optional overhead solar panel and sport racks that provide storage for bicycles, kayaks, SUPs and other water toys. Overall, the C-288 Coupe is definitely a complete, do-it-all package for extended cruising, fishing, remote work and family adventures.


Engines: Twin 250 HP Yamaha F250 outboards
LOA (rigged): 32′ 6″
LOA (molded): 30′ 10″
Beam: 10′
Fuel Capacity: 200 US gal
Water Capacity: 41 US gal
Holding Tank Capacity: 25 US gal
Bridge clearance (mast up): 11′
Bridge clearance (mast down): 9′ 2″

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Written by: Ryan McVinney

C. Ryan McVinney is a film director, writer and producer. As an experienced boater he regularly produces and directs on-the-water video shoots for major boat manufacturers, yacht brokers and dealers, as well as independent film and media companies. He is president of the National Soho House Film Club with chapters in Miami, FL, Manhattan, NY and Los Angeles, CA and regularly contributes content to YachtWorld, and Boat Trader.