High-Performance Center-Consoles on the Used Boat Market

Back when the Great Recession hit, the performance boating market tanked. Banks piled up losses on repossessed performance boats—many of which were stripped of the most valuable parts—and they raised their lending standards in terms of credit-worthiness. Go-fast boats have never been cheap to insure, either, and that still isn’t improving. Then, of course, there’s the added maintenance that comes with so many high-performance things, plus prodigious fuel consumption and, though always decreasing, the chance of breakdown.

The Statement 34 is a good example of a high-performance center-console.

The Statement 34 is a good example of a high-performance center-console.

About that time, say around 2007, performance boatbuilders began to offer center-consoles as a way to stay in business. For most of them it worked, and performance-oriented buyers snapped them up. They liked the speed they offered, the deck space, and the fact that a center-console is much more user-friendly than an offshore V-bottom or catamaran.

Until that point, most center-consoles traditionally had been oriented to fishing, which isn’t something you do on a poker run or rafted up in your favorite go-fast boat hangout spot.

Today there’s no shortage of high-performance builders supplementing their catalogs with the type of center-console that has become so alluring to performance boaters. “They don’t want to buy a Sea Ray or a bowrider or a pontoon or a yacht,” said Terry Sobo, marketing director for Nor-Tech boats in Fort Myers, Fla.  “They still want to go fast. They still have that speed in their blood, and these center-consoles are capable of still running in the 70-mph range,  so it satisfies their need for that — and they can put a dozen or 15 people on board and still run fast.”

Former Fountain Powerboats owner Reggie Fountain famously used his fishing boat designs to subsidize his racing efforts and prop up his bottom line. The same could be said about Baja and Donzi.

“You better be building to best of your ability,” said Wayne Schaldenbrand, president of Sunsation Powerboats in Algonac, Mich. “You better have done your homework up front, because there’s not a lot of room for error out there any more.”

Why is all this important? Because some of those high-performance center-consoles are now 7 to 8 years old, and many buyers are looking to sell and get something new. That means the used-boat marketplace is poised to benefit from that trend. If you’ve been eyeing speedy center-consoles, now may be a good time to home in on them.