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Grady-White Freedom 285 (2016- )

Brief Summary

The Grady-White Freedom 285 is a dual-console boat designed to provide the comfort a family wants and still be a solid fishing platform when asked to serve in that capacity. With her SeaV2 deep-V design, she delivers a comfortable ride in offshore conditions and she’s built to be unsinkable with a self-bailing cockpit and wood-free composite construction.
As we’ve come to expect from Grady-White, the Freedom 285 comes with a host of features that are often options on other boats including a windlass, a hardtop, a stereo with Bluetooth, a table and pressure freshwater.

Key Features

  • Integrated outboard mounting system with swim platform and 4-step ladder
  • Deluxe wet bar with Corian countertop
  • Anchor windlass with remote switches at helm and windlass
  • Stereo system with AM/FM tuner, MP3 auxiliary audio connections/amplifier, Bluetooth, remote control and fold down storage speakers
  • 185-qt. aft insulated Fish/ice box with light and ob drain
  • 32-gallon livewell
  • 4 rod holders
  • 3 horizontal rod storage racks
  • Hardtop with painted aluminum frame


Length Overall 28' / 8.53m
Beam 9' 6"
Dry Weight 5,980 lbx.
Draft 20"
Deadrise/Transom 19 degrees
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance 8'
Fuel Capacity 201 gal.
761 L
Water Capacity 20 gal.
76 L


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Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 2x 250-hp Yamaha Four-Stroke
Opt. Power 2x 300-hp Yamaha Four-Stroke

Captain's Report

Grady-White Freedom 285 running shot

Grady-White’s Freedom 285 dual console measures 28’ (8.53 m) and has a beam of 9’6” (2.89 m). She can be powered with up to twin 300-hp outboards.


The Grady-White Freedom 285 is a dual-console boat designed to provide the comfort a family wants and still be a solid fishing platform when asked to serve in that capacity. With her SeaV2 deep-V design, she delivers a comfortable ride in offshore conditions, and she has a self-bailing cockpit and wood free composite hull construction.
The Freedom 285 comes with a host of features that are often optional on other boats including a windlass, a hardtop, a stereo with Bluetooth, a table and pressure freshwater.

Grady-White Freedom 285 layout

The Grady-White Freedom 285 comes with space to fight fish in the cockpit and seating for at least six.

Features Inspection

The Cockpit

The Freedom 285’s versatility is on full display in the 65-square foot (19.8 sq. m) cockpit. Aft to starboard, there’s gated passage to the combination engine mounting bracket/swim platform, which has a four-step stainless steel boarding ladder and space to walk around in front of the motors. A hatch in the passageway opens a locker for the battery switches.

For fishing

In the center of the stern there is a 185-quart (175.1 L) insulated fishbox with a 32-gallon (121 L) livewell to port. The raw water livewell has a full column inlet plenum, a cutting board hatch and a light. There are coaming panels all along the gunwales with rod racks and toerails down low. For relaxing, a bench seat that could accommodate two comfortably folds out of the stern.

Grady-White Freedom 285 passageway

The passageway to starboard makes it easy to head out onto the swim platform or pull in a large fish.

Grady-White Freedom 285 hatch

The hatches for the fishbox and the livewell open on stainless-steel struts that are mounted to cause as little obstruction as possible.

Grady-White Freedom 285 wash down

The raw-water washdown in the port gunwale is conveniently located for quick cleanups.

Grady-White Freedom 285 bench

The aft bench folds out from the stern, and the backrest is angled to improve comfort.

Grady-White Freedom 285 toe rails

Grady-White’s toe rail blocks are integrated and then 1” polyethylene toe rails are added.

Forward Seating Area

Moving forward, at first glance, the back-to-back seat to port looks like the traditional foldout model. It’s actually an electro-mechanical model. Push a button, and the bottom cushion extends aft, creating a chaise-style lounge seat that will become a coveted spot. There’s storage outboard in gunwale trays fore and aft of the seat and a fold-down footrest on the front of the base. The stereo control is also outboard.

Grady-White Freedom 285 seating

The forward-facing half of the port companion seat has a grabrail outboard, and we like that Grady-White provides an inspection panel for the fuel fill and vent. Also, with the push of a button, the aft half of the port seat slides out to form this comfortable lounge.

Grady-White Freedom 285 seating

With the push of a button, the aft half of the port seat slides out to form this comfortable lounge.


Helm Seat and Wet Bar

The Freedom 285 comes standard with electromechanically adjustable helm bench seat with flip-up bolster and integrated aft facing deluxe wet bar with Corian countertop, fire extinguisher holder, sink, and three storage drawers.

The Deluxe

wet bar has a fire extinguisher holder, a sink under a hinged top, a storage drawer, and trash compartments.
Owners can go a step further and add a refrigerator in the base of the wet bar and a grill up top.

Grady-White Freedom 285 drivers seat

The standard adjustable helm bench seat with flip-up bolster.

Grady-White Freedom 285 optional helm seat

The optional helm seat upgrade has folding armrests, and the driver can adjust the height.

Grady-White Freedom 285 doublewide helm seat

Another option is the doublewide helm seat on the forward side of the Deluxe Wet bar.

Grady-White Freedom 285 standing

Here the bolster is up, which gives the driver the room to stand at the helm.


Grady-White Freedom 285 refrigerator

Above is the standard Deluxe wet bar with storage drawers.

Grady-White Freedom 285 wetvbar

Shown is the standard Deluxe wet bar with the optional refrigerator that would replace the storage drawers in the wet bar base.

Grady-White Freedom 285 wet bar option

The Deluxe wet bar option has a Corian countertop with the sink to port and more storage.


Grady-White Freedom 285 grill

The optional grill installs in the top of the wet bar, and notice that Grady-White uses a heat shield on the underside of the hatch and an automatic shutoff switch next to the gas strut base.

The Helm

The Freedom 285’s helm is straightforward and efficient. The steering wheel is positioned so that a companion can join the captain if the boat has the doublewide helm seat. The trim tab switches with LED indicators are just abaft the shift/throttle controls. We’d like to see them forward on the electronics flat, so the driver can just reach ahead with his throttling hand to adjust the boat’s attitude. An angled flat section of the dash has space for optional electronics. Up top, a black panel includes the compass, accessory switches, and engine monitoring screens.

Grady-White Freedom 285 wheel

A two-position footrest at the helm makes the driver more comfortable, and the single cup holder will help with hydration during a long day on the water.

Grady-White Freedom 285 control system

One of the most popular options on the Freedom 285, Yamaha’s Helm Master control system makes the boat more drivable with joystick operation.

The Consoles

Stepping into the passageway to the bow, we found a locking compartment with dedicated storage for four tackle boxes in the helm console. Forward of that is a larger locker with a light. Opposite, the aft starboard corner of the port console opens into the passageway to make it easy to step into the private head compartment. The Freedom 285's head compartment comes standard with a Marine head with macerator, mirror, shelf, and teak and holly sole. To upgrade the facilities, owners can choose among different head options from a pump-out portable model to electric or macerator versions with 10-gallon (38 L) holding tanks.

Grady-White Freedom 285 drawer

This drawer style compartment in the helm console makes it easy to get to tackle quickly.

Grady-White Freedom 285 storage

The compartment in the helm console is a good place to store carry-on bags and similarly sized items.

Grady-White Freedom 285 head

Notice the thick rubber gasket for the head door; it seals the opening and prevents rattles.

The Hardtop

The Freedom 285’s standard hardtop comes well-equipped with three zippered storage compartments, red, white, and blue LED lights, and two speakers in lieu of a pair at the helm. A rugged painted aluminum frame supports the top, which can be painted on the underside to match the hull if an owner chooses to pay for the upgrade.

Grady-White Freedom 285 hard top

The hardtop frame has integrated rod holders on each side and LED lights directed aft for night fishing.

The Bow

Transition from the cockpit to the spacious bow is easy, thanks to the opening center section of the stainless steel framed windshield. Below, a folding door can be used to close off the passageway, which lets owners who live in colder climates extend their season.

Up front

The bow has comfortably reclined backrests, full wraparound bolsters, and removable bottom cushions. An optional filler cushion is available. Rails are recessed below deck level. There are cup holders in deck, and the cleats are pull-up models. A removable table that can also be used in the cockpit secures in place to create a booth where the kids can enjoy lunch.

Grady-White Freedom 285 bow

Double-decker coaming pads ensure that passengers won’t ever hit an elbow or knee against hard fiberglass.

Grady-White Freedom 285 sun platform

To turn the bow into a big playpen, order the Freedom 285 with the optional sun platform insert with cushions.

Grady-White Freedom 285 table

The standard table makes the Freedom 285’s bow more versatile. It can also be moved aft to the cockpit.

Bow Storage

The bow bottom cushions can be removed for fishing or to access storage below. To port, there’s open storage beneath a hinged hatch that opens on a gas strut. The 135-quart (128 L) insulated fishbox that drains overboard is to starboard. In the bow, the windlass is beneath a hatch in the foredeck, and there’s access to the rode and chain via another lower hatch.

Grady-White Freedom 285 storage

To port in the bow, this compartment could be good for fenders and docklines.

Grady-White Freedom 285 fish box

To starboard, this insulated fishbox drains overboard, and notice that Grady-White placed the gas strut in a position to create as little obstruction as possible.

Grady-White Freedom 285 windlass

To make it easy to run the windlass, there are controls in the foredeck and at the helm.

Power and Performance

The Numbers

We haven’t tested the Freedom 285, but Grady-White has. With twin Yamaha 250-hp 4-stroke outboards, the boat weighed 9,534 lbs. (4,325 kg) and turned 15 1/2” x 17” (39.4 cm x 43.2 cm) stainless-steel propellers.
According to Grady-White, she hit a top speed of 51.5 mph (44.8 knots) at 6000 rpm. Best cruise came at 3500 rpm where the boat ran 30.0 mph (26.1 knots) and burned 16.4 gph (62.1 lph), according to the builder. Stepping up to twin 300-hp Yamahas with 15 1/4” x 19” (38.7 cm x 48.3 cm) three-blade stainless steel props, the boat weighed the same and hit a top speed of 55.1 mph (47.9 knots) at 6000 rpm, says the company. Best cruise was at 3400 rpm where the boat ran 30.3 mph (26.4 knots) and burned 16.0 gph (60.6 lph), which gave the Freedom 285 a range of 342 statute miles, according to Grady-White.

Grady-White Freedom 285 running shot

Whether the boat is powered by twin 250- or 300-hp outboards, the Grady-White Freedom 285 has a maximum cruising range of about 340 statute miles.

Bottom Design

Grady-White uses a C. Raymond Hunt Associates design that calls the SeaV2 hull on all its boats. It’s a continuously variable V-shaped design that utilizes variable deadrise measurements throughout the bottom. Its deadrise sharpens from 20-degrees at the transom to about 30-degrees amidships and a steeper entry at the bow.

Grady-White Freedom 285 running shot

The Grady-White Freedom 285’s SeaV2 bottom and flared bow provide a smooth dry ride.


Grady-White builds the Freedom 285 with all hand-laid materials and no wood. Stringers are molded from fiberglass and composites, filled with foam and encapsulated in resin and fiberglass. The composite transom on each new boat is reinforced with a solid aluminum transom-angle brace to distribute torque loads.

Grady-White Freedom 285 foam

All open voids in the Freedom 285’s stringer grid are filled with foam and aluminum supports add strength.


$208,050 with twin 250-hp Yamaha F250 4-stroke outboards.

Engine Options

• Twin 300-hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboards

Individual Options

• Bow thruster

• Convenience package with battery charger and dockside power with galvanic isolator

• Grill 1,300-watt with power inverter (requires convenience package and replaces wet bar drawer storage)

• Marine head with electric flush and 10-gallon (38 L) holding tank

• Portable head with pump-out

• Portable head with in-line macerator

• Yamaha Helm Master control system

• Hull color, Cape Gray, Celestial Blue, Coastal Fog Blue, Sea Glass or Sand gelcoat, or Harbor Blue paint

• Outrigger kit, 15’ (4.6 m)

• Four side-mounted rod holders on hardtop

• Five top-mounted rod holders on hardtop

• Stainless steel refrigerator drawer in wet bar (replaces storage drawer)

• Ski pylon

• Sun platform insert with cushion


When done well, a dual-console boat could be the closest thing to an aquatic SUV and the Grady-White Freedom 285 is done well. With fore and aft fishboxes, a livewell and other fishing features, she’s every bit the serious fishing boat. For cruising, features like the power-adjustable port side lounge, movable table and private head compartment offer everything a family needs to enjoy the water.
Perhaps most important is Grady-White’s aftermarket customer service and its integrity. It’s hard to put a value on those two details, but, in the end, they count for a lot.

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