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Robalo R242EX (2019-)

1 x 300-hp Yamaha F300UCA

Brief Summary

The R242EX is Robalo’s latest addition to its Explorer series that introduces comfort features to a very fishable center console. The primary difference is the built-in aft bench seating that wraps the transom, the enhanced bow seating with swivel seat backs, and sophisticated glass dash on the helm console. The new Explorer also has 3-tone upholstery and a few other details that the family will like.

Key Features

  • Aluminum-framed, wraparound, tempered safety glass windshield
  • Deluxe helm seating with bolsters
  • Two 36-gallon (136.3 L) bow fishboxes with overboard drains
  • 16-gallon (3.79 m) aerated, recirculating livewell
  • Forward opening head compartment
  • Built-in aft L-shaped bench seating with livewell and storage beneath
  • Forward table that converts to a casting platform or sun pad with a filler cushion
  • Coaming bolsters forward, aft, and to the sides
  • Dual battery system with crossover switch
  • Battery charger
  • Washdown system with forward and aft connectors
  • Freshwater shower in cockpit

Test Results

600 3.6 3.1 0.6 5.5 4.8 693 603 64
1000 5.2 4.5 1.3 4.1 3.6 518 450.4 68
1500 7.2 6.3 2 3.5 3.1 446 387.7 71
2000 8.5 7.3 3.3 2.6 2.2 324 281.4 77
2500 10 8.7 5.4 1.9 1.6 233 202.8 80
3000 12.4 10.7 6.7 1.9 1.6 234 203.2 82
3500 24.2 21 8.1 3 2.6 375 325.9 88
4000 30.6 26.6 11.2 2.7 2.4 342 297.8 95
4500 34.7 30.1 14.3 2.4 2.1 306 266.4 88
5000 37.8 32.8 17.2 2.2 1.9 277 240.9 89
5500 42.2 36.7 21.6 2 1.7 246 214.3 96
6074 46.3 40.3 26.6 1.7 1.5 219 190.5 102


Length Overall 24' / 7.32 m
Beam 8' 9"
2.67 m
Dry Weight 4,800 lbs.
2,177 kg
Tested Weight 5,609 lbs.
2,544 kg
Draft N/A
Draft Up 20"
51 cm
Draft Down 35"
89 cm
Deadrise/Transom 22-degrees
Max Headroom N/A
Bridge Clearance 8' 7"
2.62 m
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity 12
Fuel Capacity 156 gal.
591 L
Water Capacity 13.5 gal.
51 L
Total Weight 5,609 lbs.
2,544 kg


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.5 sec.
0 to 30 8.2 sec.
Ratio N/A
Props 17P SWS II
Load 2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 60 deg., 42 humid.; wind: 10-15 mph; seas: calm

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 300-hp Yamaha F300UCA
Std. Power 1 x 250-hp Yamaha Four Stroke F250UCA 30" 4.2L V6 Digital
Opt. Power 1 x 300-hp Yamaha Four Stroke F300UCA 30" 4.2L V6 Digital

Captain's Report

Contents of Report


Robalo R242EX rugged fishing platform

Robalo’s vision for their Explorer series is to incorporate their rugged fishing platform into a family-friendly center console without compromise.

The Robalo R242EX is purposefully built for combining offshore fishing prowess with comfort for the family and fun on the water. That, together with a competitive price, should make this boat appealing to families who want a multi-use boat.

Major Features

Robalo R242EX seating arrangements

This overhead view displays the Robalo R242EX forward and aft seating arrangements as well as the copious, built-in swim platform and center console.
  • Glass-Dash Digital Helm. Optional single or dual Simrad 9” multifunction displays or optional single or dual Garmin 10” multifunctional displays
  • Fore and Aft Casting Platforms. Forward seating and aft L-shaped bench seating convert to casting platforms.
  • Improved Ground Tackle System. The anchor is set in a notch in bow, has a cleat on the centerline, and good rode locker access.
  • Built-in Swim Platform. Full width swim platform with covered re-boarding ladder and outboard well.
  • 36-Gallon Bow Fishboxes. Bow fishboxes with overboard drains.
  • Tempered Wraparound Windshield. With tempered glass, the windshield provides long-lasting clarity without crazing that can occur with acrylic windshields.
  • Published Pricing. Robalo offers prices directly online with options clearly priced and calculated with their online build-a-boat tool.
  • Freshwater Shower.
  • Robalo R242EX sharp turns

    The R242EX has full-length strakes and reverse chines that dampen roll, knock down spray, and grab the water when making sharp turns.

    Top Speed. With a single 300-hp Yamaha 4-stroke turning a 15.5” three-blade Saltwater 2 propeller, the test boat reached a top speed of 46.3 mph at 6074 rpm.

    Best Cruise. The best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 24.2 mph. At that speed, the 8.1 gph fuel burn translated into 3.0 miles per gallon, and a range of 375 statute miles while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 140-gallon (530 L) total fuel capacity.

    Acceleration Times and Test Conditions

    Time to Plane: 3.5 seconds

    0 to 20: 5.5 seconds

    0 to 30: 8.2 seconds

    Prop: 15.5” three-blade Saltwater 2

    Load: Two people, 45% fuel capacity, no water, 50 lbs. of gear

    Conditions: 60-degrees, moderate wind (10-15 mph), no chop, freshwater


    Robalo R242EX simulate sea conditions

    Running the R242EX through the photo boat’s wake to simulate sea conditions, the boat’s 22-degree deadrise at the transom cushioned the ride and we experienced no pounding.

    Designed with what Robalo brands as the Hydro-Lift hull, the R242EX has a solid, dry ride. The sharp bow entry is sharp to cut through waves and not pound, and the variable deep-V hull culminates with a 22-degree deadrise at the transom. This is a good compromise between ride quality and efficiency, with the scale slightly tipped to ride cushioning.

    Upon hitting the throttle, the test boat had an aggressive and solid feel, reaching planning speed in 3.5 seconds. The boat accelerated to 20 mph in 5.5 seconds and continued to 30 mph in 8.2 seconds.

    The test boat showed no signs of chine-walking during performance turns. The turns were stable with the right amount of slide to keep those aboard relaxed while still having solid, predictable tracking. The prop did not ventilate in reasonably hard turns.

    Boat Inspection

    Robalo R242EX comfort features

    The Robalo R242EX has the basic layout of a traditional center console with the addition of several passenger comfort features.

    The Bow

    Robalo R242EX anchor locker

    Robalo’s attention to detail is evident with the forward anchor locker. Note the centerline cleat mounted on the divide between the two rode access openings. In addition, there are pull-up cleats port and starboard.

    Robalo R242EX anchor windlass

    There is plenty of room to mount an anchor windlass behind the centerline cleat. The centerline cleat is important and something that many builders are leaving off. We like the large openings to the rode locker below.

    Good Design. Robalo has designed a particularly noteworthy ground tackle system in the R242EX. By putting a notch in the top of the stem, the anchor cradle has been lowered below the deck. The shank of the anchor rests on a below-deck centerline platform that also has a cleat for the anchor rode -- just as every boat should have, but these days fewer and fewer boats do.

    Behind the cleat is room on the fiberglass platform for an optional electric anchor windlass. On each side are large openings to reach the anchor rode.

    Robalo offers a windlass and galvanized anchor option ($2,095.00) and optional, branded pull-up cleats ($245.00).

    Robalo R242EX raw washdown connection

    Mounted on the port side of the anchor locker is the forward raw washdown connection.

    Robalo R242EX bow roller

    The standard polished stainless-steel bow roller makes deploying and retrieving ground tackle easier, and keeps the deck clear of the anchor.

    Robalo offers an optional galvanized anchor, 200’ (61 m) of rode and 10’ (3.05 m) of chain ($440.00).

    Forward Cockpit

    Robalo designed the forward cockpit to be multifunctional. It can be a highly social area with seating all around. With the standard backrests, the U-shaped seating converts to loungers. Add the side-mounted fiberglass table and the forward cockpit becomes an al-fresco dining area. Lower the fiberglass insert and filler cushion and the forward seating converts to a sun pad. Remove all the cushions, and the forward cockpit has a large casting platform.

    Robalo R242EX bow rails

    The low-profile stainless-steel bow rails provide safety for passengers.

    The bow rails are recessed to avoid accidental entanglements with fishing lines and nets. For the same reason, the pull-up cleats are a practical option ($245.00) for those intending to fish the R242EX.

    Freeboard at the Bow. The Robalo R242EX measures 43” (109.2 cm) of freeboard at the bow and the forward-most bolsters are 27” (68.6 cm) above the deck, the cap rail tops out at 28” (71.2 cm) above the deck.

    Robalo R242EX forward seating

    The Robalo R242EX comes standard with U-shaped forward seating.

    Robalo R242EX forward bolsters

    The forward bolsters act as a backrest for passengers facing inboard or aft. Note how large they are.

    Robalo R242EX removable backrests

    The standard removable backrests turn the forward seating into port and starboard loungers.

    Robalo R242EX storage options

    Storage options include gas-assist struts and stainless-steel lift-and-lock latches. Note the side mount for the table on the front of the cooler storage.

    Twin 36-gallon (136.3 L), self-draining insulated fishboxes are under the port and starboard seating. Under the forward center seating is a self-draining cooler. Under the deck is additional storage shown with the hatch lid closed.

    All of the cushions and the removable seat back are standard.

    Robalo R242EX dining area

    Add the table for a convenient dining area.

    Robalo R242EX inviting sun pad

    Lower the table and add the filler cushion to form an inviting sun pad.

    Robalo R242EX casting platform

    Remove all the cushions, and the forward seating transforms into a large casting platform with non-skid.

    Robalo R242EX seating

    The seating on the front side of the console provides additional seating in the forward cockpit. Note the stainless-steel grab rail on the base of the seating. Some center consoles don’t have these handholds, but they are required by ABYC standards.

    Head Compartment

    The Robalo R242EX comes complete with a head compartment in the console. The compartment is accessed from the front, which makes it much easier to get in and out of than a side-mounted door. This is a major feature as far as we’re concerned.

    A Porta-Potti is standard and an optional electric toilet ($1,445.00) with a holding tank is available. Add the overboard discharge capability ($1,950.00 for the package) to empty the holding tank three miles or more offshore.

    Federal law states that untreated human waste can NOT be discharged in inland or coastal waters. Sewage for a portable toilet or a holding tank (Type III MSD) cannot be discharged unless the vessel is in the ocean more the three miles offshore.

    Robalo R242EX head compartment

    The head compartment is accessed through the forward console seat/hatch.

    Robalo R242EX electric toilet

    The test boat came with the optional electric toilet. Note the opening portlight, stowed table pedestal, and in-the-door stainless-steel handrail.


    Robalo R242EX helm

    The helm is logically organized with a dedicated place for everything. Note that the wheel is mounted ever so slightly to the right of the centerline. This has been done to give the driver a little better purchase on the wheel when a companion is sitting to the left. Moving it further to the right would have crowded the throttle and shift controls. The test boat came with the optional twin 9” Simrad multifunction glass dash displays.

    Robalo R242EX tempered safety glass

    The windshield is tempered safety glass. Note the vinyl-finished eye-brow on the dash giving it an automotive feel. We like the recessed trays with drains.

    Top of the Helm Storage. On top of the helm dash are recessed, self-draining trays for storing incidentals while underway, as well as a lighted high-speed compass on the centerline.

    Robalo R242EX switches

    The push-button switches light when engaged. Note the stereo interface, auxiliary input, and USB outlet just in front of the drink holder.

    Robalo R242EX shift and throttle binnacle

    The horn is on the starboard side of the dash (green arrow) with the standard trim tabs and indicators (red arrow) located above the shift and throttle binnacle.

    Robalo R242EX twin simrad 9

    The test boat came with the optional twin Simrad 9” multifunction display creating a “glass-dash.”

    Glass-Dash. Robalo offers several configurations of the digital gauges and displays according to the engine options and owner’s preference. All are NMEA 2000 compliant that allows electronic systems to be seamlessly added.

    Robalo R242EX starboard

    In front of the steering is a space for a cell phone with a 12V outlet to the starboard.

    VHF Radio vs Cell Phone. Many boat owners are opting to communicate with fellow boaters, marinas, tow services, and authorities via cell phones. Although communicating with a cell phone may be simpler and clearer, it should not replace a VHF radio onboard.

    VHF channel 16 is monitored by the USCG in coastal areas, as well as local towing services, marinas, and other services -- as well as fellow boaters. No boat going offshore should be without a VHF radio.

    Both a cell phone and VHF radio are considered “line-of-sight” devices. Meaning, once the operator is out of sight of the shoreline, typically 14 miles offshore, the device will not pick up a signal, depending on the height of the antennae.

    However, any other vessel within an approximately 14-mile radius will pick up a signal and can relay the necessary information, location, or distress. Cell phones require cell towers and they are typically restricted to being onshore. Because cell towers are raised towers, they may have a range that exceeds the VHF radio, but this is still no excuse not to have a VHF.

    Robalo R242EX steering wheel

    The stainless-steel steering wheel is mounted on a Sea Star tilt base and is hydraulic actuated. The steering wheel is in the center of the console, meaning when two people are sitting on the leaning post, the skipper will be to the right in order to operate the throttle.

    Robalo R242EX starboard side

    The shift and throttle binnacle is placed on the starboard side of the helm console and appears to be just 30-degrees off the vertical, which is not particularly ergonomic. The ignition switch is placed out of the “knee-bump” zone.

    Robalo R242EX glovebox storage

    To the port side of the helm console is glovebox storage.

    Robalo R242EX helm console

    On the lower part of the helm console on the R242EX, Robalo has provided two footrests, an upper and a lower for comfort while operating seated or standing.

    Optional Hard Top

    Robalo offers several tops for the R242EX, all as options: a black Bimini top ($1,295.00), a fiberglass T-top with anodized aluminum supports and grab rails ($5,435.00), or a fiberglass T-top with powder-coated (black or white) support and grab rails ($6,095.00).

    Robalo R242EX fiberglass T-top

    Our test boat came with the fiberglass T-top with black powder-coated supports and grab rails.

    Robalo R242EX optional T-top

    The optional T-top comes with LED spreader lights and four rocket launcher-style rod-holders.

    Robalo R242EX hardtop

    The hardtop comes complete with courtesy lights and a molded-in “electronics” box. We don’t recommend putting electronics here, as using them can become a pain in the neck.

    Robalo R242EX supports for t-top

    The supports for the T-top are integrated into the console, leaving 22” (55.9 cm) of side deck. This is about 4” (10.2 cm) wider than we see on many center consoles in class. The advantage of these wide side decks is that anglers (particularly portly ones) can quickly get past the console when fighting fish. The downside is that it makes the console 8” (20.3 cm) narrower than it otherwise would be.

    Helm Seating

    Robalo R242EX wide leaning post

    The double wide leaning post comes with backrest and dual flip-up bolsters for the operator and ride-along passenger’s comfort while seated or standing.

    Robalo R242EX helm seating

    On the back of the helm seating are four rocket launcher-style rod holders and below storage for the standard 72-quart cooler. Note the grab rail behind the rod holders, convenient for ride-alongs that want to be part of the action by standing.

    Helm Seat Cooler Retainer Bar. Robalo elected to retain the cooler in place under the helm seat with a flip-up retainer bar. The bar locks into place, keeping the cooler from sliding onto the deck. The retainer bar approach eliminates the typical retainer fixtures having to be drilled into the deck and straps on the cooler handles that wear. In addition, when it becomes necessary to replace the cooler itself, an exact fit is no longer a requirement. Any brand will work.

    Aft Cockpit

    Robalo R242EX bench seating

    The large L-shaped aft bench seating easily provides comfort seating for four adults or can be used as a lounge.

    Freeboard Aft. The Robalo R242EX has a freeboard towards the stern of 33” (83.8 cm) with the aft-most bolsters measuring 21” (53.3 cm) above the deck.

    Robalo R242EX bench cushion storage

    There is storage under the center aft bench cushion. Note the standard battery charger (green arrow) and cut-out for a 5-gallon (18.9 L) bucket (red arrow). There is additional storage under the port side cushion and behind the flip-up seat back cushion for storing the table.

    Robalo R242EX flow valves

    Under the starboard side aft bench seat cushion is a 16-gallon (60.6 cm) aerated, recirculating livewell that has directional aerator heads with adjustable flow valves.

    Robalo R242EX platform

    By removing all the aft bench cushions, the seating becomes a wide casting platform approximately 12” (30.5 cm) above the deck.

    Robalo R242EX starboard gunnel

    Under the starboard gunnel are three rod holders with a stainless-steel toe rail. Note the branded pad designed to protect the reels.

    Robalo R242EX scuppers

    There are two 4” (10.2 cm) scuppers that make the cockpit self-draining. We like these large scuppers, but would prefer to see a drain deck plate with simple cross bars which are less restrictive to flow.

    Robalo R242EX transom walkthrough

    The transom walkthrough door opens inward. There is a 10” (25.4 cm) step up to the walkthrough from the aft cockpit deck.

    Robalo R242EX walkthrough door

    In the open position, the walkthrough door locks in place into a recess, making it flush. Remember, the aft gate is an emergency dewatering device should the boat ever become swamped.

    Robalo R242EX recess

    Inside the recess is the access to the battery switches and circuit breakers. This is a handy location both when entering and leaving the boat.

    Robalo R242EX full-width

    The full-width swim platform has a walk platform forward of the engine well to make the boat more functional for launching watersports. A freshwater shower in the stern is standard.

    Robalo R242EX deck

    Under the deck hatch is a four-step re-boarding ladder.

    Optional Trailer

    Robalo offers an optional tandem axle, aluminum trailer with galvanized wheels ($5,495.00) or the same trailer with aluminum wheels ($5,815.00).


    Robalo has a 10-year Structural Warranty. Contact Robalo for details.

    We recommend that consumers read the fine print of all boat and engine warranties.

    Options to Consider

    • • Fiberglass T-top with aluminum supports and grab rails
    • • Yamaha Four Stroke F300UCA 30" 4.2L V6 300-hp Digital
    • • Electric toilet with overboard discharge
    • • Windlass package with galvanized anchor
    • • Tandem axle, aluminum trailer with aluminum wheels


    The MSRP is $67,995.00 with the Yamaha F250 UCA 30” shaft 4.2 L engine. Includes a five-year limited warranty on components.

    Comparing the R242EX and the R242CC

    Both the Robalo R242CC and R242EX are built on the same hull with essentially the same deck and center console. Nevertheless, there are five important differences between the two boats. The following are the major differences, and a few minor ones.

    Since the R242 Explorer was developed after the center console version, there are several changes on the boat that are definite improvements, as one might expect in the evolution of a boat’s life, which is typically five to seven years.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 1

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    The foredeck. On the center console version, the ground tackle, cleat, and optional windlass all were placed on the deck with only the rode storage below. All of that changed in the Explorer version, which has a much cleaner foredeck, one that can be used for forward exiting to a dock, or as a diving platform when swimming from the boat. It also has a raw water washdown for the anchor and anchor rode, something the center console version does not have as standard.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 2

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    Bow Seating. While the center console version had standard cushions for the bow, the removable seat backrests are optional. The seat substructure on the Explorer was made significantly wider aft to better support a person facing forward, chaise style. The result of that change allowed the insulated compartments under the seats to grow from 30 gallons (113.6 L) each on the center console version to 36 (136.3 L) gallons in the Explorer.

    Also, the recessed stainless-steel handhold, which wraps around on the center console version, was eliminated on the centerline to avoid a tripping hazard when people step on the bow on the Explorer model.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 3

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    Helm Console Layout. The instrument panel on the Explorer R242 was significantly changed from the center console version. A lockable glove box which was in front of the companion seat on the console was moved up in a more convenient spot, thus allowing the sitting foot rest to be installed and used by the companion. In order to move the glove box higher up on the console, the companion hand hold was eliminated. We’d like to see it return.

    Cup holders were moved to either side of the wheel, accessory switches were moved to vertical positions on either side of the glass dash, and the three individual engine monitoring readouts were moved.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 4

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    Upholstery. As can be seen in these photos, the Explorer family-friendly version has three-tone vinyl upholstery. There are seven color treatments for owners to choose from, and all combinations are tasteful and will enhance the look of the boat. Both models have optional hull gel coat colors available for only $980 extra.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 5

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    Stern Seating.The center console model has the conventional fold-down seat across the transom. When folded into the transom, anglers can move right into the rear bolsters when fighting a fish. The Explorer model takes a different approach and has installed much more substantial and comfortable seating. The bottom cushions are thicker, and the seatbacks are inclined backward for comfort, not angular as on the CC version.

    To port, as can be seen in the image above, the seat wraps around. In this way, a spotter can sit here and watch someone being towed.

    Robalo R242EX comparison 6

    R242 Center Console               R242 Explorer

    Mechanical Access and Live Well. As can be seen in the image above, the livewell has been moved from its high location in the port quarter on the center console version to below the seat on the Explorer model. In the process it went from a 20-gallon (75.7 L) livewell to one that is 16 gallons (60.6 L). Bins under the seats hold gear, and the seat back lifts up to access dedicated storage for the table on the 242 Explorer.

    The center console model has a 27-gallon (102.2 L) fish box in the deck which is insulated and self-draining, which has been eliminated in the Explorer.


    We think the Robalo R242EX accomplishes its mission of being a family-friendly boat. Surprisingly, Robalo did it with a highly competitive price.

    As can be seen in the comparative commentary, Robalo has made the boat both more comfortable and more practical in some ways than the earlier version. Either way, consumers have a good choice and can match the boat to their kind of usage.