Here’s a boat from a Boston Whaler that firmly embraces the concept of multi-tasking. The 210 Dauntless sits firmly in the middle of the five-boat range of the company’s most versatile Dauntless Series. At just over 20’ (6.10 m), she’s easily transported. Her standards include amenities for both fishing and family activities. For more “involved” days both of these tasks can be enhanced with a multitude of options. And she seamlessly transitions between tasks, making her even more attractive. Best of all, her handling is right on par with what we’ve come to expect from the brand.
- Insulated livewell with blue interior and lid on front of console
- Portable head in console
- 6 console mounted stainless steel rod holders in console
- Full-width aft casting platform
- Storage under aft seating
- Swim platform with telescoping ladder
- Trolling motor flat at bow
- Reversible pilot seat with locking backrest and slide-out carry-on cooler
- Stern seat with folding backrest and elevating seat base
- Forward fishbox with overboard drain
|Length Overall||20' 6'' / 6.24 m|
2.31 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.3 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.2 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 31/50 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||67 deg., 47 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
1x 200-hp Mercury Verado XL L4 DTS 1.7 L4-cylinder
1 x 200-hp Mercury Verado XL L4 DTS 4-stroke
1 x 150-hp Mercury 4-stroke XL EFI
1 x 200-hp Mercury Verado 4-stroke with power steering
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As with all Boston Whalers, the 210 Dauntless is also built on the standards of the trademarked “Unsinkable Legend” that we’ve come to appreciate. For 50 years Boston Whaler has maintained this reputation and the current management team is not about to tip that cart.
After the deck is mated with the hull, expandable closed-cell foam is injected into the void area through the whole length of the boat. This foam expands and forms what Boston Whaler calls "uni-bond" construction. The result is a solid and strong boat that also will "float level" in the event that she becomes swamped.
-- Only a few premium brands offer "level flotation" when swamped, the rest usually provides what is called "basic flotation" which simply means some part of the boat will float above the water surface in the case of swamping and capsizing. There is no USCG requirement for any flotation from 21' and over.)
Boston Whaler's construction process is distinctive and the difference can be felt both when pounding a fist against the hull and when driving the boat through heavy chop. In both instances the feel is of a solid boat.
The Boston Whaler 210 Dauntless has a LOA with swim platform of 21’3” (6.48 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m), and a draft of 14” (35.56 cm). With an empty weight of 2,600 lbs. (1,179 kg), 60% fuel, test power and two people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of just over 3,800 lbs. (1,729 kg).
With the 200-hp Mercury Verado XL L4 DTS 1.7 L 4-cylinder, supercharged outboard turning at 6230 rpm we reached our top speed of 46.2 mph. At that speed we were burning 19.9 gph for a range of 157 miles. Best economy was found to be at 4000 rpm and 26.7 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 6 gph and opened up the range to 303 miles while still keeping a 10% reserve of fuel.
We reached planing speed in 3.3 seconds, 20 mph in 5.4 seconds, and 30 mph in 8.2 seconds.
When accelerating, the bow exhibits a minimal rise, and the torque from the 17" pitch Enertia prop produced no wandering throughout the acceleration curve. She’ll roll a comfortable 10-degrees into the turns and shows no tendency towards any adverse characteristics regardless of how aggressive the turns may be.
There was no chine walking
, undue grab and no prop ventilation in the turns, no matter how sharp. She bleeds off very little speed and seemed to be as comfortable with the hard turns as she was in the straight and level.
That solid feel we discussed above when banging on the sides of the hull now manifests itself with the handling. Crossing wakes shows a firm trend towards stability and no pounding whatsoever during our test. She catches little air and then has a smooth re-entry.
Boston Whaler's designers did a superb job in laying out the instrument panel in our opinion. Its gray gel is easy on the eyes in bright sun and knocks down glare on the windshield. The upper panel is wide open to accommodate either a 7” (17.8 cm) or 9” (22.9 cm) navigation package and both are offered as options from Boston Whaler ($3,033 for the 7” / $4,931 for the 9”). We would also add the Fusion stereo ($1,397) and a VHF radio ($806).
The steering wheel
is a bit different. Where we normally see just a plain stainless wheel, this one is wrapped in urethane and that gives it a bit more traction with wet hands, something that is a likely occurrence when out fishing. It’s mounted to a tilt base for better ergonomics and the engine control included a low power setting for docking.
To the starboard side of the panel, the test boat was fitted with an optional “smart box” ($390) that has inserts that can hold a smart phone and an iPad with accommodations for charging. This bodes well not only for the Bluetooth functionality of the optional stereo ($1,397) but for those folks that like to use the larger screen of the iPad to take pictures and videos.
Our test boat was fitted with the optional T-top ($7,497) and it’s hard to picture this, or any center console, without one. Shade is such a valuable commodity on any boat and this top provides plenty of it. It’s also among the strongest we’ve seen and the elongated S-curved supports blend in seamlessly to the console -- and not to the deck. It includes a canvas storage bag and four rod holders across the back.
The helm seat
is reversible and adjustable so that the 210 Dauntless can actually be operated from the seated position. The seat back has two positions for forward facing use. This will accommodate both tall and, as in the case of our test captain, short operators. The ergonomics are further addressed with the addition of the tilt wheel and a molded-in footrest beneath the helm station.
With any center console, fishing is the first order of business. This class of boat lends itself so well to being a work boat since there’s such easy access to all areas. Drift fishing presents the full beam to the wind, anchoring leaves a wide stern area with plenty of rod holders to present a spread to the fish. Now it’s a matter of adding the tools of the trade to get the job done. Let’s go over some of those tools--
Fishing requires multiple disciplines. Trolling, net casting, bottom fishing, and of course rod casting. With the 210 Dauntless, all are covered quite well. There are two elevated casting decks, one in the bow, and one in the stern. The aft deck has four rod holders, flush mounted, across the stern.
High, wrap-around rails
protect the bow casting deck and this makes a good place to either launch a lure or send over a cast net. With the 210 Dauntless carrying its beam so far forward Boston Whaler was able to keep the area spacious enough to ensure that there will be no fumbling for room as fishermen walk about the deck.
For those fishing with live bait
, Boston Whaler has that covered as well. Ahead of the console, and under the forward seat, is a 15-gallon (56.8 L) aerated livewell. As we’d expect, the interior is colored blue to reduce the shock-effect on the bait, and all corners are rounded to prevent the bait from self-damaging. There’s also an interior light and a strut holds the hatch open.
Rod Holders are Certainly not Shortchanged on the 210 Dauntless.
At the bow, there are six to either side of the console seat. With the T-top option selected ($7,497), the canvas has rod flaps that open to allow the rods to extend through. These flaps are held open or closed with Velcro.
Four more rod holders are at the rear of the optional T-top, another four are in the deck of the aft casting platform. Combined with the six at the sides of the forward console seat, that makes a total of 14 rod holders on this 20’6” (6.24 m) boat.
Fishing features are further extended with the addition of an optional helm seat ($1,951) that includes a livewell and two additional rod holders while still retaining the reversibility of the seat itself. A tool holder is added to the backside, facing the casting deck. And a raw water washdown is also included.
Some additional fishing options to consider
might be a pair of pedestal seats ($936) and a trolling motor panel ($313) allowing a quick plug-in for a trolling motor that can mount to the molded flat at the bow. Since the standard bow rails come up so high, Boston Whaler makes lower ones optional that are mounted just inside the caprails at no charge. This will make it easier to fish from the bow for the trolling motor set. Fishing is messy so we’d also add the raw water washdown ($484).
Boston Whaler did a good job with the family features and in particular, combining them in such a way that they don’t hamper the fishing features.
is an area that needs to be enhanced on any family-friendly boat.
The stern casting deck converts to a bench
seat with just a lift of the hand. A pair of gas struts assist in the transition and the bench accommodates three-across seating. There’s storage underneath the seats and that storage is accessed with one hand that can open the port side, or both port and starboard, depending on where that one hand is placed.
At the bow, there’s the usual seating just ahead of the console
, but Boston Whaler didn’t just add a cooler and put a cushion on top. Here, the seat is molded in with a backrest cushion that forms to the curve of the console. Forward, there are optional cushions that can be placed on top of the casting platform, and included in this package is a filler cushion that turns the forward section into a large sun pad. The aft section, port and starboard of the casting platform folds up, creating a chaise lounge seating arrangement.
An optional bow
table is also available, and for anyone planning on serious entertaining aboard we would recommend it.
The standard helm seat is reversible
and includes a shallow storage compartment underneath. Being reversible allows for relaxing while watching the kids swimming off the stern, or sitting and watching the lines. Under it is a 54-quart carry on cooler in the standard configuration. Optional leaning post seating is available in several configurations.
Of course we have to accommodate watersports, and the 210 Dauntless does it in one of several ways. First, there’s the usual ski tow pylon ($1,415). This is the easiest way to add towing to the day’s plan and it’s removable if desired. For those who want to up the ante a bit, there’s the optional arch ($979) that provides an elevated towing point for wakeboarding or tubing. Lastly, for cranking it up another notch there’s the all-activity tower ($2,066). This combines an elevated tow point with a board rack, rod holders and a poling platform.
Refreshments are a staple of any day on the water
and here, Boston Whaler accommodates with a 54-quart (51 L) carry-on cooler on a sliding tray under the helm seat. We always appreciate the inclusion of this type of cooler, even over something like a cockpit refrigerator as it’s so much easier to simply load a cooler with food and drinks in the comfort of one's kitchen, and then just bring it all aboard in one swoop and drop it into dedicated storage. Keep the trash in the same holder and then carry it right off at the end of the day.
However, some may not be the fans that we are of the carry-on cooler and for those, there’s another helm seating option ($1,354) that replaces the cooler and adds more storage along with a tool holder and two additional rod holders to the sides. It’s a variation of the livewell version of the reversible helm seat without the livewell or raw water washdown.
Let the Sun Shine
Sunning is one of the relaxing times
that every boat needs to accommodate and with the 210 Dauntless it’s done at the bow. Optional cushions ($966) cover the entire bow area and make the elevated forward deck into a large sun pad that any sun worshipper will want to use as a base of operations. Drink holders are to both sides and the area is completely enclosed with protective rails. A spit bow rail is offered as an option ($267) and facilitates bow boarding.
There’s also an option for a sun lounge ($3,060) at the bow that eliminates the large storage compartment, but adds the capability for the aft cushions to lift up in chaise lounge fashion creating two-across forward facing seats at the bow.
No family-friendly boat would be complete without the inclusion of a head. Here, Boston Whaler placed a Porta-Potti on the standards list. It’s accessible from the starboard side of the console and inside there is 4’6” (1.4 m) of overhead clearance inside the compartment. We’d like to see the addition of a pump-out head but none is offered. The door is held open by a magnetic catch, a vast improvement over the useless strap and snap on some other brands.
It’s easy to see the differences that make a Boston Whaler stand out from most boats in class. The 210 Dauntless is more expensive than all boats in its class except for a few other premium boats on the market. That’s because there’s an abundance of quality, not only from an equipment, construction and materials standpoint, but also because of the immense amount of quality engineering that has gone into creating this vessel.
All Hatches are Held Open with Stainless Steel Gas Struts.
The hatches are back-gelled and gasketed all around. And all compartments are self-draining overboard so not only will they not collect water (unless plugged) they won’t add any mess or slipping hazard by draining onto the cockpit deck.
All stainless components
, short of the gas struts, are 316 grade. The six 8" cleats are not just bolted onto the caprails, but mounted to angled sections of the deck mold and they’re backed with “Whale-board”, a composite material that, Boston Whaler tells us, has three-times the strength of standard aluminum backing plates typically seen on other brands. We’ve checked out this material ourselves and found that the only way to insert a screw into it is to pre-drill a hole. Running a screw continually in the hopes that it self-taps proved fruitless. We also couldn’t bend or break it when placed in a vice and smacked repeatedly with a ball-peen hammer.
Safety is at the forefront of everything Boston Whaler does. Aside from the obvious “Unsinkable Legend” that it’s created for itself, the 210 Dauntless is rife with features that add to its safety. The company says that the freeboard is 20” (51 cm) but we find that the claim is a bit modest and measured 21” (53.3 cm) at the bow slowly tapering to 20” (51 cm) as we move aft.
There is no one spot on the 210 Dauntless that one can stand at and not have something within reach to grab onto. We would like to see the addition of removable chains taking up the open space in the rails at midships to both sides and at the bow in the case of the open rail configuration.
Any water that gets shipped over the caprails will be quickly sent back overboard thanks to a pair of 2” (5.1 cm) deck drains at the stern. This also aids in making short work of after-trip washdowns.
The 210 Dauntless comes with a base price of $65,342 packaged with a 200 XL L4 DTS Mercury Verado FourStroke outboard.
Options to Consider
Aside from the options already mentioned in this report there are others to consider.
will tack on another $7,037 onto that base price.
($1,055) is not only good looking but hugely functional in turning the bow area into a more welcome area for snacks or cocktails.
($881) and 12-gallon (45.4 L) tank will serve nicely.
Fully loaded with the trailer included, our spec’d out 210 Dauntless ran $86,395 and left us desiring for nothing.
Options We’d Skip…
While options abound for the 210 Dauntless, there are some that we’d pass on. Among them are…
($1,713). We didn’t have them on our test boat and didn’t miss them. Frankly, this hull is so well dialed in that there’s just no need for them.
reinforced tow eye
($1,990) that is strong enough to suspend the entire boat from.
Boston Whaler has a unique pricing structure in that the base engine is not the standard engine. This boat comes priced with the 200 Mercury Verado L4 as standard, but opting down to a 150 XL FourStroke will take $2,200 off the price. Conversely, moving up to the 200-hp 6-cylinder L6 supercharged Mercury Verado will add $1,813.
As we have noted, Boston Whalers don't come cheap. But there is one good way to save money when buying this premium brand -- and that is not to buy more boat than one needs. The builder offers a couple of dozen models in six different categories, so it is easy to become confused over which boat is best for any given application. But for those doing mostly inshore and coastal work, and who do not plan to go bluewater fishing in sloppy conditions, the 210 Dauntless might be just the ticket. If so, it is a lot less money than a bigger Dauntless, to say nothing of, say, the 220 Outrage.
It’s not easy to create a boat that does it all, but Boston Whaler sure made a solid run at the title with the 210 Dauntless. Whether fishing in the flats, coastal cruising, engaging in watersports, or just hanging out with friends on the hook, this is a boat that really does do it all.
We also found her to be consistent with the handling qualities of the brand and that says a lot. It’s easy to throw features on a boat and send it out the door but for those that demand testing a boat before signing a check, this is a ride that won’t disappoint.