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Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless (2012-)

1 x 90-hp Mercury Four-Stroke

Brief Summary

Boston Whaler has taken its popular Dauntless line and extended it lower with the all-new 170 Dauntless. This center console has been carefully designed to perform a number of missions for an active water-oriented family: fishing, towing, sun bathing, swimming, and just cruising along the coastline with friends or the family dog. Because she weighs only 1,680 lbs. (762 kgs.), without the engine, she can be easily trailered. With a 6'10" beam (2.08 m) she is a cinch to launch and will fit in virtually any garage.

Key Features

  • All hardware 316-L stainless steel
  • 8” cleats – bow (3), stern (2)
  • Self-bailing cockpit sole
  • Stern deck mounted stainless steel rod holders
  • Analog instrumentation and electrical switch panel with circuit breaker protection
  • Cooler (54 qt) with cushion seat and backrest
  • Reversible pilot seat with locking backrest and storage
  • Galvanized trailer with swing tongue

Test Results

750 2.6 2.3 0.3 8.67 7.54 273 237 57
1000 3.5 3 0.4 8.75 7.61 276 240 57
1500 5.4 4.7 0.8 6.69 5.82 211 183 63
2000 6.5 5.6 1.25 5.16 4.49 163 141 66
2500 7.5 6.5 1.95 3.82 3.32 120 105 68
3000 9.9 8.6 3 3.3 2.87 104 90 75
3500 21 18.3 3.2 6.56 5.71 207 180 78
4000 26.3 22.9 4.15 6.34 5.51 200 174 80
4500 30.9 26.8 5.4 5.71 4.97 180 156 80
5000 34.8 30.3 6.85 5.08 4.42 160 139 83
5500 38.3 33.3 8.2 4.67 4.06 147 128 86
6000 42.2 36.7 10 4.22 3.67 133 116 97


Length Overall 17' 0'' / 5.18 m
Beam 6' 10''
1.85 m
Dry Weight 1,680 lbs.
762 kg
Draft 11''
3.35 cm
Deadrise/Transom 15 deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance 6' 5''
1.96 m w/suntop
Fuel Capacity 35 gal.
113.56 L
Water Capacity none


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 2.8 sec.
0 to 30 11.0 sec.
Ratio 2.33 : 1
Props N/A
Load 2 persons, full fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 55 deg.; 75% humidity; wind: 0-5 mph; seas; calm

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 90-hp Mercury Four-Stroke
Std. Power 1 x 90-hp Mercury Four-Stroke
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Captain's Report by Capt. Steve

170 Dauntless Mission

The mission of the 170 Dauntless is clear and concise: Provide a stable, dry, safe platform that can effortlessly be used for watersports of any kind, including towing, fishing and cruising.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

The blue hull of our test boat is offered as an option($1,096)and you can also choose green or tan.

Distinguishing Features

The distinguishing features that separate the 170 Dauntless from others in class include…

Fully foam cored.

When the two pieces of the Dauntless hull are joined together, the void areas are filled with high density expandable foam. This foam not only bonds the hull and deck together but, as the foam is so dense, it provides strength and solidness to the hull. And, of course, it is this foam that allows the boat to float level if swamped.

Interior safety.

User safety is always foremost in the minds of Boston Whaler engineers and a good example of this is the fact that the boat's freeboard is augmented by a 316 stainless steel railing around the gunwale of the boat that is 29" (73 cm) high -- 5" (12.7 cm) higher than required by ABYC standards.

Very solid ride.

After having tested hundreds of boats, when the ride turns out markedly different than most others in class I tend to notice it. Such is the case with the 170 Dauntless -- she feels solid, and that is probably why the word "solid" keeps popping up in this report.

Efficient operation.

At best cruise -- 21 mph -- the 170 Dauntless gets 6.6 miles per gallon, making her one of the most fuel efficient boats in class. See below.

Performance and Handling

Our test boat was powered by the Mercury 90 ELPT EFI four-stroke, the only engine offered with this boat. She had an empty weight of 1750 lbs. (793.8 kg), and with full fuel, engine, two people and test gear on board we had a test weight of 2780 lbs. (1261 kg). Top speed was reached at 6000 rpm and 42.2 mph. At that speed we had a fuel burn of 10 gph while getting 4.2 mpg for range of 133 miles.
Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 21 mph. That produced a fuel burn of 3.2 gph while getting 6.6 mpg for range of 207 statute miles. We reached planing speed in only 2.8 seconds and accelerated through 30 mph in 11 seconds.


Overall the 170 Dauntless was a joy to handle. She's very responsive to the helm in both acceleration and turning. Turns are accompanied by a very slight bank angle that feels comfortable and doesn't have a tendency to throw everyone to the outside of the turn. The fact that there is no deep keel in the 170 Dauntless also contributes to the docile performance characteristics.
While the turning may be very comfortable, what really stands out is the rock-solid stability of the 170 Dauntless, something that is terribly important in a small boat. Whether cutting through our own self-generated wakes, or the large wakes created by passing yachts on the Intracoastal Waterway, the 170 Dauntless tended to go through the waves with a clean slice and gentle reentry. These handling characteristics had me thinking more along the lines of, say a catamaran, rather than of a V-bottom mono-hull and it was a very pleasant feel.
Additionally, as the 170 Dauntless has a relatively low freeboard I thought it might be consistent with a wet ride, but despite my best efforts I was unable to get any spray to come over the rails, regardless of the angle or speed I cut through the wakes.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

The hard chine comes fully forward to form spray rails which are quite effective at knocking down spray in providing a dry ride.

Features Walk-Through

To port is an extended swim platform with four-step re-boarding ladder. The ladder has been thoughtfully canted away from the engine (which of course should be turned off when people are in the water.) The fourth step in the ladder is another example of how the builder's engineers are making the boat family-friendly and encourage swimming and other watersports from the boat.
As you step aboard, the stern is basically made up of a casting platform. This is the start of the fishing-friendly features of the 170 Dauntless. The port and starboard sides of the casting platform both flip up to reveal comfortable jump seats. There are two rod holders between the jump seats, two rod holders abaft the jump seats, and a receiver for the optional ski tow pylon ($954) is directly in front of the engine. Already we are seeing the makings of a boat that effortlessly transitions between fishing and family outings.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

Here you can see the stern casting deck and the reversible helm seat now facing aft. The optional ski pylon is in place.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

With the casting deck flipped up you have two forward facing quarter seats and notice what a nice handhold the optional ski tow pylon ($954) makes.

Notice at the rear deck you have four flush-mounted rod holders and just under the helm seat is the 54 quart (51.1 L) cooler on a slide-out tray.


The console comes with a standard reversible double wide pilot seat with locking backrest and storage. Our test boat was equipped with the optional reversible pilot seat ($549) that includes a fiberglass base and a 54 quart (51.1 L) carry-on cooler on a slide-out tray. In lieu of this option you can choose a reversible pilot seat that includes a 19.5 gallon (73.8 L) livewell with blue interior ($1,761). Clearly the trend in versatility is continuing as we move forward.
The console itself is very basic but safe and functional with a stainless steel grab rail surrounding the windshield and coming down low to both sides. I found this rail not only comfortable while operating but also when moving forward it is a good thing to hang on to. The helm is well over to the port side of the console with the compass on a molded base directly in line with the hub of the steering wheel as it should be.
Here's a good view of the console with some optional features. Notice the grab rail surrounding the windshield, the open space in the panel for a GPS/fishfinder.


There's analog instrumentation and rocker switches have circuit breakers right underneath. The center of the console has a socket for mounting the all-around nav light which is on a tall mast for night running. A small rubber mat lies just below a 12V power supply and that should keep any handheld electronics from sliding around too much.
Our test boat was equipped with the optional VHF radio ($806) and you can also add either a 5.7'' (14.5 cm) combination GPS, chartplotter, fishfinder ($1,896), or a 7'' (17.8 cm) unit ($3,033). Our test boat also had the optional Clarion stereo ($1,363).

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

A simple panel showing voltage, fuel, and tachometer. Simple is as simple does.

To the starboard side of the console is a recessed fire extinguisher receptacle. To the portside is a hatch to access the interior of the console for storage. Our boat was also fitted with the optional Bimini top ($1,333).


Forward of the console is a second 54 quart (51.1 L) cooler with a cushion on top. The bow features an elevated casting platform with a full nonskid deck. There are drink holders to port and starboard, and in the center of the deck is an overlarge hatch over the anchor locker that is self-draining over the side.
Want to use the boat for cruising? Then add the optional bow cushion ($863).
Want to cast comfortably from the bow? Then opt for the bow pedestal fishing seat ($496).
Want to turn the bow into a cushy sun pad for the friends to work on their tans? Then go for the sun lounge option ($2,624) that adds chaise-lounge functionality to the bow with the caveat of losing the forward cooler. While sitting on the cushion the bow rails come up to a comfortable 17-1/2"(44.5 cm).

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

The forward casting deck is all nonskid and oversize anchor locker is in the center. The hatch is fabricated in-house and is held in the closed position by a large pin (below) and socket (above).

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

With the optional bow cushion ($863) in place the foredeck makes a comfortable lounging area especially considering the height of bow rails.

There are two cleats to either side of the bow that are on recessed molded bases angling the cleats out so they won't snag fishing lines, nor will they stub toes on the deck.

Clever bow light.

Additionally a third cleat for the anchor is fully forward and I noticed it was directly in line with the combined nav light. I wondered about the possibility of the anchor line actually sweeping that light off of the bow, but upon closer inspection I realized that the nav light is also designed to function as a bow chock. Very clever.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

Here's a clever feature. The nav light combo is also designed to be used as a chock for the anchor line.

I also noticed that the cap rail surrounding the 170 Dauntless is treated with nonskid, and if you choose to trailer your boat and therefore board from the bow on a regular basis, then a split bow rail is offered as an option that you may want to consider ($106). Europeans who typically moor their boats facing the pier will opt for this configuration.

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless

Notice how all the cleats are on a recessed molded-in mount that angles out which eliminates the need for chafing gear among other attributes. The cleats are also mounted with four bolts instead of two to reduce stress on the gelcoat.


The 170 Dauntless has a base price of $36,694. With the blue, green or tan hull color ($1,096) and equipped like our test boat you'd be looking at a total of about $41,164. Certainly there are 17' (5.2 m) boats out there that can be purchased for less money but one doesn't buy a Boston Whaler to save money, at least not on the initial purchase. One buys a Boston Whaler in order to get a solid boat that will be around for generations.
It's a safe bet that most of us either had, or knew someone who had a small Boston Whaler when growing up, and guess what? Those boats are still around. The longevity of Boston Whalers is well-known, meaning this may very well be the last boat you ever buy. Not only will your kids appreciate it, but their kids, and their kids, and…
All of which points to another aspect of Boston Whalers that should be pointed out. They cost more than many boats this size, but when and if you go to sell the boat they will also fetch much more than most other boats on the used boat market. I know a number of people who have sold 30-year-old Boston Whalers for more than they paid. This factor means that the actual cost of owning a 170 Dauntless may be less than it at first appears.