Dual console boats are incredibly popular, especially among family boaters who want to enjoy saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing one day, and watersports or day cruising the next. But this type of boat has gone through some major evolutional changes in the past decade.
What is a Dual Console Boat?
At its core, a dual console is simply a boat that has two consoles—one to starboard where the helm is located, and a second one to port for a passenger or passengers to sit behind. They’re very comparable to bowriders or fish-and-ski boats, which usually share a similar basic layout. Most dual consoles, however, are designed for a wider range of uses as opposed to being crafted with single or even dual purposes in mind.
Dual Console Evolution
That much has remained unchanged through the years. Beyond that, however, the dual console of today bears little resemblance to those built in years past. The biggest difference? Most models of around 22 feet or more (and some even smaller ones) now house an enclosed head inside the passenger’s side console. You can pull a latch or turn a handle and back of the console swings open, providing easy access to your own private bathroom.
Another big change that’s taken place in the dual console world is just how large they get. Ten years ago you would have been hard-pressed to find a dual console, or “DC” as they’re often called, over 26 feet. Today, however, dual consoles pushing 40 feet are on the market. These larger models are often just as luxurious as you might expect, with air-conditioned cabins inside the consoles and every available accessory you can imagine ranging from entertainment centers to full galleys.
Advantages of Dual Console Boats
The biggest perk of owning a dual console is that these boats can be used for virtually any purpose you can imagine. Some more specific advantages include:
- Expansive seating, thanks to having both bow and stern cockpits. Some larger models will have seating for well over a dozen people, and even smaller models usually have seating for at least six adults.
- Swing-out doors and center windshields on most models can be used to close off the helm from the bow, providing excellent protection from the wind and weather.
- Since DC boats are available in all sizes and at all trim levels, there’s a dual console boat to fit every budget. See our Boat Loan Calculator, to find out just how affordable a model that’s caught your eye might be.
- Many dual console models are made specifically for anglers who are also family boaters, so they tend to have far more fishing features (like integrated fishboxes, gunwale rodholders, coaming bolsters, and livewells) than many other multi-use designs.
Disadvantages of Dual Consoles
Like any boat designed for multiple purposes, duel consoles do tend to have some down-sides when it comes to specific uses. These include:
- Anglers don’t get the 360-degree fishability provided by a center console.
- While watersports enthusiasts will get a boat as good as any for basic tow sports like kneeboarding and tubing, they probably won’t be able to enjoy the advanced features of many dedicated ski and wake boats like wake-shaping trim tabs or ballast tanks.
- The head compartments and/or cabins are significantly smaller than they would be on a power cruiser or a walkaround of the same size.
Is a Dual Console Boat Right for You?
It’s always a tough call when you’re trying to pick out the very best boat for yourself and your family. But for many people, a dual console is gong to be the top pick—a fact that’s been proven by their incredible popularity.
As we mentioned earlier, the DC design is a great one for anglers who have family members who also enjoy other waterborne activities. Thanks to the copious seating dual consoles provide they’re also a top pick for people who want to entertain aboard, and may want to invite along lots of friends. And for people relatively new to boating who may not know exactly which activities they enjoy the most just yet, a versatile design like a DC is ideal since it allows you to try out countless options. And they are truly countless, because owning a dual console means you can dive into the action and try just about everything the lakes, bays, rivers, and oceans have to offer.