Whether you’re looking to enjoy a day on the lake, cruise the back bays, or even head out into the open ocean, few boat styles are as enjoyable or as easy to captain as a center console. Center consoles are especially attractive for anglers, as their layout is picture-perfect for fishing, allowing you to access every corner of the deck when you’re fighting your next trophy fish.
Center consoles are typically packed with performance and convenience features, and they hold their value well. Finding a worthy center console boat under $50,000 is a challenge, but there are still some excellent options out there on both the new and used markets.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best center console boats under $50k, and we’ll share everything you need to know to narrow your search and find the perfect boat for you.
Top Five Center Consoles Under $50,000
Without further adieu, let’s jump right in and profile the five top choices for a center console boat under 50 grand.
The 201CC is Cobia’s smallest center console, but it’s every bit as feature-rich and ready to fish as Cobia’s larger center consoles. The 201CC offers a deep V-hull to make quick work of chop as you cruise through the lake, bay, or even the ocean.
This boat maximizes its space well, providing seating for eight, including a smartly designed aft bench seat that folds down to reveal fiberglass rod storage for all your fishing gear. There’s also a step-down head with a well-appointed interior and plenty of storage, including a fish box that drains out of the boat and a generously sized 26-gallon live well.
This beautiful CC has a base price of just over $28,000, and you can have it in the water with enough money left in your $50,000 budget for beers back at the dock after you take your first fishing trip with it.
- Makes excellent use of deck space
- Feels much larger than its 20’ form
- Tons of options available
- Can accommodate outriggers, which is almost unheard of on a 20-footer
- Limited motor choices available from the dealer
The Sailfish 220CC is one of the most popular center consoles on the market, and it’s feature-rich and fishing-ready. The 220 represents a step-up in price from the Cobia 201, but for the extra expense, you’ll enjoy a larger boat with far more convenience and performance options.
This Sailfish offers a world of comfort and convenience features, including tons of comfortable seating, a large cockpit with lots of room for electronics and customization, and expertly designed tackle management, including 16-rod holders as part of the standard package.
With plenty of room for eight, a world of convenience and angling features, and plenty of room for customization, the Sailfish 220CC is an ideal boat for boaters and anglers who want to keep their base price under $50k without sacrificing luxury or performance.
- Excellent use of seating and deck space
- Plenty of motor options
- Tons of rod and tackle storage standard
- Offers an excellent ride, even in heavy chop
- A bit expensive, especially when you start adding options
The Ultra 219 from Sea Hunt offers the perfect blend of performance and value. This center console is a true fishing machine, yet it provides many luxury and convenience appointments that make it an excellent choice for cruising the bay with the family.
The Ultra 219 is full of standard features that most manufacturers consider pricey upgrades, such as a Seastar tilt helm, Yamaha Command Link gauges, stainless steel Yamaha prop, Garmin electronics package, JL Audio Media Master sound system, comfortable bow bolsters and cushions, and premium rear bench seating.
You can drop this CC in the water for just over $48,000 with a Yamaha XB150. Many of Sea Hunt’s available upgrades are reasonably priced too, so you should be able to outfit the Ultra 219 and turn it into your dream boat without breaking the bank.
For serious anglers who need a boat to pull double-duty on weekends with the family, the Sea Hunt Ultra 219 could be the best choice on the market. It’s virtually impossible to find a boat that’s as fishable as this one while still providing so many family-friendly features.
- Delivers more value than any other CC under $50,000
- Beautifully designed helm
- JL Audio sound system standard
- Includes Garmin accessories standard
- Feels a bit underpowered with a 150HP engine
This affordable CC from Bayliner is an excellent option for anglers and families who need a reliable boat to enjoy the water in. Anglers especially are sure to appreciate the T22CC as the beam is far forward, providing more room to move about in front of the console.
The ride isn’t quite as smooth as some of the other boats we’ve covered, but it’s still smooth and comfortable in most conditions. While it may have the offshore appeal of the Sailfish or Sea Hunt boats above, it’s still a capable vessel for enjoying the lake or nearshore.
The Trophy T22 is available in two different models to suit everyone’s needs. Anglers will gravitate to the CC model, which provides the ultimate in fishability, while families are sure to prefer the CX version, which offers more bow seating.
This model comes with everything you’ll need to enjoy the water, but the standard features aren’t quite as generous as what you’ll receive from Sea Hunt or Sailfish. If you start getting into upgrades, you can send the T22CC well north of $60,000. Still, the T22CC starts at under $45,000 with your choice of 150 or 175HP outboards.
- Two different bow configurations available
- Plenty of engine options
- Deep V hull provides a smooth ride
- Fairly small fuel tank
- Upgrades can be pricey
Robalo has honed a reputation as an excellent boat builder that delivers high-performance boats at reasonable prices, and their 202 Explorer is a testament to that. This small center console is one of the best-looking center console boats under $50K, and it includes enough standard features to keep everyone happy.
The 202 Explorer offers plenty of seating, and all the cushions are beautifully finished in your choice of sporty 2-tone coverings. The console is well designed and offers six vertical rod holders, an aluminum panel with stainless steel switches and circuit breakers, digital gauges, stainless steel steering wheel, and a water-resistant two-speaker stereo system.
With a trailer and a Yamaha F150XB engine, the 202 Explorer comes out to just under $45,000 before taxes and delivery. Keep in mind that many features, like a Bimini top, that seem to be standard from other boat builders constitute as upgrades with Robalo. With extras, the 202 Explorer could come in well north of the $50K threshold.
One thing to be aware of if you like to entertain on your boat is the weight capacity. Compared to the other center consoles on our list, this Robalo has a weight capacity that’s about 600-800 pounds less than the competition. All you need is a few adults, some fishing gear, and a packed cooler, and you’ll already be pushing the boat to its limits.
The 202 Explorer is ideal for 1-3 people, but we’d recommend going with one of the larger Explorers if you plan on entertaining.
- One of the best looking CC’s in the business
- Includes trailer
- Plenty of engine options
- Rides well in a variety of conditions
- Lacks many standard appointments
- Upgrades and extras can get pricey
- Limited weight capacity of 1,200 pounds
What to Consider When Shopping for a Center Console Boat
Chances are, you’ve done quite a bit of research on different boat types before deciding a center console boat is the best choice for you. Now that you have your heart set on a CC, there are some considerations you’ll need to make so you can select the best boat for the way you enjoy the water.
Before you get into the particulars of a model, you’ll need to nail down what your primary plans are for the boat. Are you looking for something the whole family can enjoy, or will your new CC primarily be a fishing boat? Or, perhaps you need a boat that’s equally equipped for fishing and fun.
Some CC’s cater more towards anglers, while others are better suited to enjoying a leisurely day on the water. There are also plenty of boats that provide plenty of fishing-centric features without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Once you have an idea of how you’ll be using your boat, you’ll be able to eliminate many boats in your price range that don’t fit the bill, which will make it much easier to identify the boats that do.
New or Used?
Finding a quality center console on a $50,000 budget is no easy task. You’ll find only a handful of new boats that fit your needs while staying within budget. If you consider used boats as well, you’ll have significantly more options to choose from.
A new boat will almost always be preferable to a used one. New boats come with solid warranties, and there are usually dealer incentives that help you keep your bottom line down. You’ll also have more flexibility to finance a new boat than you would with a used one.
On the other hand, you’ll be able to get much more boat for your money if you opt for something used. If you want a larger center console or a boat that’s loaded with attractive options, buying used is the way to go. Keep in mind that when you factor in maintenance and repair costs, you could lose much of the savings of purchasing a used boat.
Before purchasing a used boat, you’ll want to carefully inspect every inch of it to ensure that it’s seaworthy and in solid condition. Nothing is worse than purchasing a boat only to find that there’s tons of work needed before it’s ready for the water.
When inspecting a boat, don’t be a hero. If you’re not sure what you’re looking at or what you should be looking for, you should hire a surveyor. Many insurance companies include a surveyor as a policy perk, and it’s one you should take advantage of. Even if you have to pay out of pocket, the few hundred dollars it will cost is a paltry price considering what’s at stake.
Most reputable dealers or manufacturer sales staff members are happy to arrange a sea trial for serious buyers, and it’s the best way to get acquainted with a new boat. The internet has made it easier than ever to learn about a boat without ever seeing it in person. Still, the only proper way to learn about a boat is to take it out on the water.
Where possible, work with sellers that can provide a sea trial so you can truly understand whether it’s a good fit for you.
Stick to Your Guns
The road to a boat you’re disappointed with is paved with the best intentions. Too many shoppers make the mistake of compromising the things they want most because they met a slick salesman at the dealership.
There’s nothing wrong with making compromises with your new boat, provided you still get what you want. Don’t compromise the areas that are most important to you for the sake of locking in a deal and dropping your new boat in the water, and you’ll surely end up disappointed in the long run.
Finding your dream center console boat for $50,000 is a tall order, but it’s far from impossible. With a bit of patience and some shrewd negotiating, you’ll be standing at the helm of your dream boat in no time.
Before you start shopping for your boat, take an inventory of everything you need your boat to have, and think carefully about where you’re willing to compromise if you have to. Never settle on a boat that doesn’t get you excited, and stick to your guns at the negotiating table. Like we said, $50,000 may be a tight budget, but you can certainly make it happen.