Serious boaters, or those who need to earn a living on the water, like offshore tournament anglers and charter fisherman, need a boat that is all business. And the experienced people at McKee Craft are now producing a 28-foot, wide beamed vessel for just such a customer. Incorporated into the boat is McKee’s trademarked, pressure foamed hull manufacturing technology combined with a smart cockpit layout that is totally functional. My first impression of the newest McKee Craft was that of simplicity. Clean, straightforward lines that contain an array of equipment and features designed to get a job done in style. The bow gets the most notable design cue on the 28. A very high free board blends into large, wraparound side decks with excellent non-skid molded into the gel coat. At the beak, you’ll find a casting platform for one, and a deep anchor locker for a big hook and lots of rode. McKee paid special attention to the coaming pads that run the entire length of the high gunwale. They made them thick and comfortable, with heavy padding and quality vinyl so as to take on heavy abuse. The pads also provide a 4-inch toe kick, which results in a more natural stance while reeling. In order to keep the gunwale uncluttered with rod holders, McKee located them in removable holders that stow in the side fish boxes. Of course there is additional rod stowage in the t-tops rocket launchers, on the transom, and on the aft side decks.The Freedom 28 has unsurpassed storage. Starting at the bow, she has a massive 500 qt. insulated fishbox that is equipped with a large hatch and assisted with gas struts. On both the starboard and port sides, you will find two more insulated boxes, one with 135 qt. capacity and the other at 290 qts. These boxes are all self-draining through a macerator or by-pass valves. To keep the bait happy, the 28 has a 52-gallon live well fed by twin 800 gph pumps. Other creature comforts include fresh and salt-water washdown with retractable coil hoses, and florescent all around lighting mounted to the t-top.At the helm, the 28 is fitted with a heavy-duty aluminum T-Top that is secured with large backing plates and stout fasteners. Although the boats beam is almost 10 feet, the helm station and leaning post are narrow, but wide enough for two. Other guests will have to use the small jump seat located forward of the windshield.I was impressed with McKee’s electronic boxes that are located above and below the Plexiglas windshield. The upper box is wide and has a gas strut assisted door. While below, is even a larger box that is built into the console with a door that locks or slides out of the way when in use. All the instrumentation and switches are within easy reach on the flat dash panel. Completing the helm console is a portable head compartment within. This little cabin has plenty of room for us large folks to care of business matters, as well as gaining access to the helm’s electrical loom, engine oil tanks and the batteries, which are located all the way forward in the compartment.Equipped with a pair of Evinrude 250’s the Freedom 28 has surprising performance all around. She was relatively quick out of the hole and had an excellent top speed. The two-stroke, fuel injected power plants have good low-end torque and enough horse power to push this 5,500 pound fish boat to a top speed of over 60 mph. The down side is the ear-curling whine of 107 dB at 6,000 rpm. Don’t plan on talking to your buddy if the throttles are maxed! Ride comfort is where this boat really shines. Thanks to her 24.5-degree deadrise hull and pressure foam-filled construction. Because this boat is structurally foamed after the hull and deck are bonded, the entire boat becomes unitized. This process results in unmatched rigidity and strength, in addition to outstanding vibration dampening. My only complaint was the lack of power assisted steering. The Freedom 28 carved tight turns, but I found myself strong-arming the stainless steel wheel in order to get her to perform. By Capt. Ron SvobodaTest Captain
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the McKee Craft Freedom 28 is 62.0 mph (99.8 kph), burning 49.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 185.84 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the McKee Craft Freedom 28 is 48.6 mph (78.2 kph), and the boat gets 1.86 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.79 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 452 miles (727.42 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 250-hp Evinrude direct injection outboard.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)