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Boston Whaler 280 Vantage (2021-)

2 x 300-hp Mercury AMS JPS



Brief Summary

Even though Boston Whaler has a winning recipe with the 270 Vantage, it was not an excuse to sit back and give a toast to the design team.  That’s not the Boston Whaler way.  The next step was to sit back down at the table and improve on the design.  For that, Whaler needed to look no further than the “voice of the customer.”  There’s no better yardstick than a customer’s opinion.  Armed with this data, the design team set to work at making a winning boat even better.  And the result is the 280 Vantage. 

Test Results

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG STAT. MILE NM dBa
600 3.9 3.3 1.6 2.4 2.1 401 348.4 54
1000 6.3 5.5 2.9 2.2 1.9 368 320 62
1500 8.4 7.3 4.7 1.8 1.5 296 257.2 68
2000 10.7 9.3 8.4 1.3 1.1 211 183.6 76
2500 13.3 11.5 9.3 1.4 1.2 239 207.4 79
3000 26.9 23.4 13.6 2 1.7 329 286.4 82
3500 32.9 28.6 15.9 2.1 1.8 345 300.1 82
4000 39.2 34 21.8 1.8 1.6 299 260 85
4500 44.7 38.9 28.3 1.6 1.4 263 229.1 84
5000 50.6 44 38.8 1.3 1.1 217 189.1 87
5500 56 48.7 45.5 1.2 1.1 205 178 93
5900 56.7 49.3 47.2 1.2 1 200 173.9 91

Specifications

Length Overall 29'1"
8.86 m
Beam 9'6"
2.74 m
Dry Weight 6,940 lbs.
3,148 kg
Tested Weight 8,949 lbs.
4,059.2 kg
Draft 21"
53.34 cm
Deadrise/Transom 21
Bridge Clearance 9'1"
2.77 m
Weight Capacity 3,911 lbs.
1,773 kg
Person Capacity 12
Fuel Capacity 185 gallons
700.3 L
Water Capacity 20 gallons
75.71 L
Total Weight 8,949 lbs.
4,059.2 kg

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.5 seconds
0 to 30 7.1 seconds
Props 16 x 20 Echo Enertia

Engine Options

Tested Engine 2 x 300-hp Mercury AMS JPS

Captain's Report

By Capt. Steve

The Boston Whaler 280 Vantage is an example of the builder’s continual commitment to improve on itself. 

Mission

The Vantage line, by definition, is a cross-platform dual console boat.  It brings to the table the best features of a family day boat, mixes in a solid dose of fishing features and puts it all on a foundation of a premium level offshore performing hull. 

Major Features

  • Sleek, redesigned bow available with both windlass and boarding ladder
  • Convertible portside lounge seating adjusts to an array of configurations
  • Easy access from the dock or the water via the standard portside dive door
  • Integrated hardtop and windshield provide great weather protection and clear visibility
  • Hardtop can be equipped with an electrically actuated cockpit Sureshade
  • Dedicated fishing features include cockpit fishboxes, transom livewell and strategically placed rod holders
  • Cockpit grill station makes for easy entertaining and stows away when not in use

Performance

The Boston Whaler 280 Vantage has an LOA of 29’1” (8.86 m), a beam of 9’6” (2.74 m) and a draft of 21” (53.34 cm).  With an empty weight of 6,700 lbs. (3,039 kg), 40% fuel, three people and test power, we had an estimated test weight of 8,949 lbs. (4,059 kg).  With a pair of 300-hp Mercury Verados with advanced mid sections turning 16 x 20 Echo Enertia props and spun up to 5900 RPM, our speed topped out at 56.37 mph.  Best cruise came in at 3500 RPM and 32.9 mph.  At that speed, the 15.9 gph fuel burn translated into 2.1 mpg and a range of 345 statute miles - all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat's 185-gallon (700 L) total fuel supply. 

Handling

Being a Boston Whaler, she has the predictable handling characteristics of good handline and quick throttle response.  Pin the throttles forward and she’ll jump up on plane in an average of 3.5 seconds, cruise through 20 mph in 5.8 and pass 30 mph in 7.7 seconds. 

I hate when we get flat calm conditions when testing a Whaler because they perform so well when the seas are building, but we can’t create wind so we were left with running through random wakes to verify the usual lack of hull slap with a dry ride.  Turns were met with no slide or chine walk and didn’t get aggressive to the point where everything and everyone would get tossed to the outside of the turn, but instead they had enough bank to plant you in the seat. 

Engines/Engine Room

Available engines include…

  • 250 V8 White Dual Mercury Verado engines with hydraulic power steering
  • 300 V8 Black Dual Mercury Verado engines with hydraulic power steering
  • 300 V8 White Dual Mercury Verado engines with hydraulic power steering
  • 350 L6 DTS Black Dual Mercury Verado engines
  • 350 L6 DTS White Dual Mercury Verado engines
  • 400 L6 DTS Black Dual Mercury Verado engines
  • 400 L6 DTS White Dual Mercury Verado engines
  • 250 V8 Black Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 250 V8 White Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 300 V8 Black Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 300 V8 White Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 350 L6 DTS Black Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 350 L6 DTS White Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 400 L6 DTS Black Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting
  • 400 L6 DTS White Dual Mercury Verado engines with Joystick Piloting

Boat Inspection

Cockpit

The open cockpit provides plenty of room for gathering.  It measures 4’ x 7’8” (1.22 m x 2.38 m) and it's protected by the 28” (71.12 cm) high bulwarks.  There are two seats forward and we can easily add to the seating by deploying the transom bench, and in true Whaler fashion, it’s among the easiest to deploy and stow that we’ve seen.   To the port side is a standard hull-side dive door.  It opens inward so it can also be used for boarding against a dock or another boat’s swim platform.  A flip-out grab handle aids in reboarding and the ladder is beefy enough to hold an overgrown adult with dive tanks and weights.  When boarding from the starboard side, the gate at the swim platform will be used. 

We really have to hand it to Boston Whaler.  Everyone makes a flip-out transom bench seat, but few make it as easy to deploy and stow as they do. 
The dive door is not a standard feature on the 280 Vantage.  It’s held in the open position by a mag-latch. 

There’s a refreshment center to the starboard side.  It includes a covered sink that can be swapped out for an electric grill.  Dedicated storage for the cover is right alongside.  Below is storage that can be swapped out for a cockpit refrigerator.  Just abaft, Boston Whaler made good use of the space by adding another seat.  Directly across, there's a versatile seat that starts out as forward-facing seating 33” (83.82 cm) across.  There’s a grab handle to the side that includes a release trigger allowing the seatback to flip and an aft-facing seat or lay down to create a sunpad.  The aft cushion then lifts to convert the seating to a forward-facing chaise. A pedestal table can be added to the aft section.  Additionally, there’s storage underneath two of the seat cushions. 

There’s a refreshment center that can be ordered with a sink or grill at the top and storage or refrigeration at the bottom. 
The portside seating can be converted to four different positions.  There are two storage compartments underneath. 

Protection overhead is from the beautiful hardtop 6’8" (2.03 m) off the deck and includes grab rails, a dome light, courtesy lights, speakers and grab rails.  The forward supports are integrated into the windshield frame, and a canvas package allows the whole area to be closed off.   We can also order a SureSHADE retractable awning for the trailing edge.

Very Fishy

Of course, it's a Boston Whaler so it's got to have fishing features.  This boat comes standard with a 19-gallon (71.92 L) livewell, two 25-gallon (94.64 L) macerated fish lockers. We can add five rod holders to the twelve that are standard on the boat in addition to having rod storage under the starboard bow seat that runs all the way into the helm console.

The 280 Vantage comes standard with two 25-gallon (94.64 L) fish boxes.  Notice the 16-gallon (60.57 L) livewell to the port transom.  Boston Whaler says that any bait put into that livewell will be guaranteed to catch a fish… or die trying. 

Head

At the observer’s seat, the bolsters continue all the way around.  There's a speaker facing inward and a long powder-coated grab handle.  Forward, there's glove storage and then the head compartment door opens and latches open by a magnetic catch.  Inside, there’s 4’6” (1.37 m) of headroom that leaves 3’ (.91 m) of sitting headroom.  There’s a Corian counter and some laminated wood cabinetry along with the sink.  

The head compartment includes some upscale features in true Boston Whaler fashion. 

Helm

The helm is well laid out and ergonomic. It starts with the compass on top of a soft-touch dash. There's a 12” (30.48 cm) display right underneath and it integrates with the twin Mercury outboards as well as the separate VesselView display.  There’s a Fusion stereo just above.  Two stainless-steel drink holders are alongside a self-draining cubby area that I'd like to see padded so we could put cellphones and other sensitive items in there, but it does have connectivity.  Just below are two rows of rocker switches to both sides of the wheel, which is mounted to a tilt base.  A VHF Ray marine radio is over on the port hand side.  To the starboard side are trim tab controls and ignitions.  There’s a separate sub-panel that houses the digital throttle and shift. Just behind that is the joystick for close-quarters steering.   

The helm console accommodates a 12” (30.48 cm) display screen in addition to the Mercury VesselView display. 

Bow

The bow still takes advantage of the design that continues the beam well forward, creating more interior space.  There are the two lounge seats with flip-down armrests, and a forward cushion connects the two creating seating all the way around the bow.  Thanks to the voice of the customer, the freeboard at the bow has been increased to 49” (124.46 cm), and that has an interior depth of 22” (55.88 cm).   There are speakers to both side bulwarks.  To starboard is a stereo and both sides include connectivity.   

The bow seating is wrap-around.  A pedestal table can be ordered to increase the functionality.  When lowered and a filler cushion is added, the entire area converts to a sunpad. 

Naturally, there's storage underneath the seats including a built-in cooler fully forward, and all are accessed by lifting the cushions and rotating a turn and lock latch.  I'd like to see the simple post and socket to hold the hatches, so we don't have to bring the cushions up and then snap them back in place again.   The starboard seat storage goes all the way back underneath the helm console which can also be accessed by opening up the airdam, and then another door alongside the console.  Being such a lengthy compartment, this can also be ordered to include rod storage.   

All the storage hatches are held open by a gas-assist strut.  The undersides of the hatches are finished off and include gaskets to keep water out of the compartments. 

 

Inside the starboard side storage, there’s even dedicated space for the pedestal table and a 5-gallon (18.93 L) bucket has side access for use as a trash receptacle. 

Rather than have a more squared-off bow, Boston Whaler went with a more traditional bow and simply offset the access hatch.  This allowed for the placement of an optional reboarding ladder that goes over to the starboard side.  A grab handle is alongside easing the reboarding.   A Lewmar windlass leads to a through the stem anchor roller and a polished anchor.  There’s an 8” (20.32 cm) cleat for holding the rode and there's plenty of access to the rode locker along with a convenient remote control.   

With the bow having more of a traditional shape, Boston Whaler was able to offset the reboarding ladder as well as include a windlass in the same compartment. 

Pricing and Options to Consider

The Boston Whaler 280 Vantage has a base price of $252,984 when powered by the twin 250-hp Mercury Verados.  Options include…

  • Fiberglass hardtop
  • Active Engine Trim
  • Air compressor system
  • Stainless steel anchor
  • Battery charging system
  • Beach boarding ladder
  • Bow tow eye
  • Corian countertop at utility center
  • Glovebox (port console)
  • Grey water system
  • Underwater LED lighting
  • Split bow rail
  • Toe rails (stainless steel) (starboard only)
  • White rub rail with stainless steel insert
  • Raw water washdown
  • Refrigerator at cockpit with dedicated storage and breaker for shut off
  • Rod holders (5) (in hardtop)
  • Rod storage (in console)
  • Shore power
  • Spotlight
  • Storage shelf (in head) (convertible for deployment)
  • Storage shelf (under gunnel over toe rail option)
  • Summer kitchen
  • Sunshade at bow
  • Sunshade at cockpit
  • Bow table with filler cushion
  • Cockpit table with dedicated storage
  • Trailer – aluminum with disc brakes, dual torsion axles, guide-on stanchions, LED lights, radial tires, spare tire
  • VacuFlush toilet

Observations

It’s impressive the way the roominess, functionality and comfort all come together with the new 280 Vantage.  The improvements definitely stand out from the previous model, the 270 Vantage. Yet again, Boston Whaler has shown that good is never good enough.  There’s always room for improvement, and by continually looking for ways to improve, it retains its position as the premium builder of all its boats… this crossover dual console included.