The Dauntless line from Boston Whaler embodies the spirit of multi-tasking and they are among the most feature-rich boats the company builds. The 240 Dauntless embraces that role and plays it out with features that crossover from watersports to fishing and then to family cruising -- or, even just serving as an entertainment platform. All of this while maintaining the long-standing unsinkable -- and level flotation -- reputation that the company was founded on.
- Insulated livewell with blue interior and lid on front of console
- Portable head in console
- 6 console-mounted stainless steel rod holders
- Six 8'' cleats
- Full-width aft casting platform
- Swim platform with telescoping ladder
- Trolling motor flat at bow
- Reversible pilot seat with locking backrest and 54 quart slide-out carry-on cooler
- Stern seat with folding backrest and elevating seat base
- Lockable console storage
|Length Overall||24' 8'' / 7.52 m|
2.36 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||2.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.0 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 53/100 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||67 deg., 47 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
1 x 250-hp Mercury Verado
1 x 225-hp Mercury Verado XL L6 DTS 4-stroke
1 x 250-hp Mercury Verado XL L6 DTS 4-stroke
1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado XL L6 DTS 4-stroke
1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado XL L6 DTS 4-stroke white
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The mission of the 240 Dauntless, and indeed the entire Dauntless line, is to serve as a boat that can seamlessly do it all both inshore and along the coast. She has fishing features and strength of build, along with exemplary handling characteristics. Cushions and convertible seating allows the family to cruise in comfort, and even bring the food and drinks aboard that can last the day. Switch over to bathing suits and drop a tube or boards in the water and put the optional ski tow pylon or arch to work. Add an all activity tower to the mix for even more functionality.
As this boat is so versatile, it’s best to think of her as three different boats, and then we can take a look at her features and how they highlight each of those separate tasks.
Certainly any center console will be well suited for fishing. But it takes more than simply being able to walk around the boat. It takes being able to work the equipment well and then deal with the catch once it’s brought aboard -- and, the 240 Dauntless delivers.
There Are Two Casting Decks.
Remove the bow cushions and a large casting deck completely treated with non-skid is revealed at the bow. Just behind, and under the forward console seat is a livewell.
All hardware is flush mounted, save for the snaps for the cushions. The high rails protect the area but alternate bow rails are offered that are recessed into the caprails to lower the profile and make it more conducive for net casting. There’s also an option for adding a pedestal seat to both the bow and stern platform ($936). The bow can also be fitted with a trolling motor panel ($313) and this will offset the ability to add the anchor roller ($313) or the split bow rail ($267) that would replace the standard rail. There are three storage compartments at the bow, and all are insulated and self-draining overboard, so all can be used as fish lockers, if desired. The port compartment also has rod racks and all compartments are lockable.
Rod Storage is of No Concern.
There are three rod holders to either side of the seat ahead of the console. Rod flaps are fitted to the canvas T-top that will allow the 6 rods to extend vertically through the canvas when these rod holders are utilized. The flaps are held open and closed with Velcro.
A Second Casting Deck is Located at the Stern.
This one is also treated with non-skid and the aft section is lined with four more rod holders. This also puts the rod holders to the back of the T-top within reach. Add the two to either side of the helm seat and we have a total of 16 rod holders throughout the boat.
Our test boat was fitted with the optional reversible helm seat ($1951) that included a 25-galllon (94.6L) livewell with a blue interior, a raw water washdown, a tool holder, and a pair of rod holders to either side.
For family cruising, we’re going to need to have multiple places to relax while the boat is underway. No one wants to be left standing all day, especially on a moving vehicle. Seating is one of the high points of the 240 Dauntless.
At the stern of the boat there’s a flip-up seat back that reveals a three-across bench seat. For this model year, Boston Whaler has changed the upholstery and did away with the all white seat cushions that we’re used to seeing. Here the upholstery features a two-tone theme of gray and white and it really adds to the looks of the boat. This seat will also present a comfortable ride, particularly when the seas start to build. When running through chop the bow is the area most susceptible to the rise and fall generated by the waves. The farther back one moves in the boat, the less pronounced that motion becomes. It also has the added benefit of keeping the guests close to the operator at the helm, and within earshot.
There’s plenty of storage under the seat’s full length and Boston Whaler got creative when it came time to designing access to the storage. Simply placing the hand under the port side cushion and lifting brings up that cushion alone. Sliding the hand over to the other cushion brings up both. It’s a great way to allow for getting into the storage while having only one hand free.
The helm seat is reversible, allowing the creation of a social area at the stern of the boat. It also makes an ideal spot to relax while watching the kids in the water -- or when trolling baits. Certainly with the bow against the beach this will be an ideal vantage point. There’s storage under the standard helm seat as well as a 54-quart (51 L) carry-on cooler. The cooler can be replaced with an optional seat that adds even more storage ($1,354).
Seating at the Bow
Of course when the boat is underway, the bow generally becomes the most popular place to be, as it provides a comfortable spot while feeling the sensation of speed. Boston Whaler delivers on the 240 Dauntless with not only the traditional seat at the forward section of the console, but also two chaise lounge type seats to either side of the bow. Simply lift the aft cushions to convert the bow pads to chaises.
A single support holds the seatbacks up in a single fixed position. This position is well upright for enjoying the ride, but for relaxing or napping while at anchor, not so much. We’d like to see the ability to offer multiple positions for the seatback. The included cushions turn the entire bow area into a large sun pad. The addition of an optional side-mount pedestal table ($1,055) turns the area into a dining/cocktail area.
Safety is at the forefront of everything Boston Whaler does. The included rails on the 240 Dauntless come up 26” (66 cm) at the bow, exceeding ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) standards. Further back, the bulwarks come up 21” (53.3 cm). We also like that there’s no one spot on the boat where there is not something to grab onto, be it a rail, seatback or handhold. There are dual 2” deck drains to either side of the cockpit. This also makes it easy to washdown the 240 Dauntless as all water just runs right out and certainly any water that may somehow be shipped over the rails will find its way back overboard.
Floats Level if Swamped
And this brings us to the reason why Boston Whalers are known as the “Unsinkable Legend”, a phrase that the company has actually trademarked. After the deck and hull sections are joined, expandable closed-cell foam is then injected into the hull. Once expanded, it fills all void areas in the hull making a single and very solid uni-bond hull that is remarkably strong. There is so much foam in the boat, and its volume has been carefully engineered to be in just the right places to float the boat level -- the key word is "level" -- if the boat is ever swamped.
While most center consoles these days of many sizes say that they will "float", or have "basic flotation", those two descriptions mean only that some portion of the boat -- say, the tip of the bow -- will be above water if the boat is swamped.
Pounding on the hull is like pounding on a solid wall. There's no hollow sound or reverberation. And this also makes for a solid feel to the boat’s handling. One doesn’t pound through the waves in a Boston Whaler, it’s more of a slice through and the whole boat absorbs the feel for a much smoother ride. It’s a difference that has to be felt rather than described, and it immediately tells when one is on a Boston Whaler. We’re at the point where we can tell when we’re on one even if blindfolded… just from how she rides.
No boat touting family features would be worth its salt without providing rest facilities for those onboard. Inside the console there’s plenty of open space for adding the optional Porta-Potti ($457) and we appreciate the convenience of this one having a deck pump-out alleviating the concern of having to manually remove the unit for evacuation. There’s 4’5” (1.34 m) of overhead clearance, so there’s no feeling of being cramped but not so much space for use as a changing room… an expected tradeoff in a boat of this size.
For watersports, it doesn’t take much to convert a boat into one that’s capable of towing. With an outboard powered boat it takes adding an elevated ski tow pylon. With the 240 Dauntless, it’s offered as an option ($1,415) and serves as a very beefy piece of hardware. A tow arch can also be added to the stern ($979).
Another cool addition is the optional All Activity Tower ($2,066) that includes a poling platform, ski and wakeboard racks, an elevated ski tow pylon and rod holders. There are twin swim platforms to either side of the outboard, and the starboard side adds a concealed three-step reboarding ladder.
Throughout the boat, we see example after example of the quality that goes into every Boston Whaler, and it’s even in areas that we can’t see. It’s no secret that Boston Whaler boats are expensive. Every hatch is supported with at least one stainless strut. The hardware that these are connected to is 316 stainless and surprisingly beefy. All hinges are large, and of course 316 stainless. These are high-quality, well-built and well-engineered vessels so those looking to “cheap-out” should save themselves some time and look elsewhere.
We can also see that all hatches are back-gelled and the compartments are all lined with no unfinished surfaces to be seen anywhere. All hatches are gasketed and the perimeters of the openings are raised to further prevent water intrusion.
While this all drives the price of the boat up, it also drives the reliability up. These are boats that could well be in the family for generations. And this is not a generalization. A simple cruise in any boat along nearly any waterway shows Boston Whalers from as far back as the ‘70s still plying the waters. As we look out our office window there’s one of these vintage Boston Whalers right next door.
Standard power on the 240 Dauntless is a 225-hp Mercury Verado. We tested her with the optional 250-hp Verado ($1,130) that included the much-appreciated power steering. She’s rated for up to 300-hp and a 300 Verado XL FourStroke can be had in either black ($4,596) or white ($6,536), both again with power steering.
The 240 Dauntless has a LOA of 24’8” (7.52 m), a beam of 8’6" (2.59 m), and a draft of 14” (35.56 cm). With a dry weight of 3,300 lbs. (1,497 kg), half fuel, two people and upgraded test power, we had an estimated test weight of 4,653 lbs. (2,111 kg). With the 250-hp Mercury 4-stroke running at 6230 rpm, we reached our top speed of 48.2 mph while burning 26.9 gph. Dialed back to a more economical cruise of 4000 rpm we were running at 30 mph while burning 10.1 gph. That meant that we could run for just over 8 hours and 242 statute miles.
And these cruise numbers also give us an ideal benchmark to estimate time and distance remaining. With 12 gallons of fuel left, we can use 10 gph to figure that we have 1.2 hours to go and a glance at the speed-o-meter will tell us that at 30 mph we have 45 miles left in the tank.
Handling for the 240 Dauntless is absolutely phenomenal. But we’ve come to expect nothing less from the brand. When we crossed wakes of large boats in our test area, she would slice cleanly through with no pounding and a gentle re-entry after passing through.
She leans moderately in the turns and shows no adverse effects such as chine walking or sliding off the turn. She will bleed off a bit of speed in the turn so add power after the turn is established and then back off when completed. No matter how heavy handed we got, there was no prop ventilation.
The helm is mounted to the port side of the console. We had a 9” (22.9 cm) Raymarine Hybrid Touch display ($4,931) for the GPS/charplotter/fishfinder just ahead. A 7” (17.8 cm) unit is also available ($2,605). We also had the Fusion stereo ($1,469) and the VHF Radio ($806). Another cool feature was the Smart Box ($390) to the right side of the panel. In and of itself, it’s a convenient storage unit, but it also has provisions for sliding in an iPad and a cell phone, with charging capabilities for both.
Base price of the 240 Dauntless is $86,196 with a standard 225-hp Verado outboard. Fully loaded as our test boat was, along with the optional trailer ($7,343), she’ll top out at $116,710.