The Wellcraft 182 Fisherman is a center console boat designed for coastal fishing that can double as a family boat for cruising excursions along the shoreline. A single 90 to 150 -hp outboard provides the power in a notched transom. Her hull with a relatively high freeboard for a boat in her class is one of her most important qualities.
On the stern of our test boat was a 150-hp Yamaha outboard and its SeaStar hydraulic steering ram sit mounted in a well between two aft platforms that extend 10” (.25 m) from the transom. To starboard is a telescoping three-step boarding ladder that folds up to prevent drag while running. Along the sides of the cockpit to port and starboard beneath the covering boards are rod racks that stow two fishing rods per side. The cockpit sole has scuppers in each corner for drainage.
On the front side of the transom we find two jumpseats with cushions. The backrests on the jumpseats fold forward and serve as boarding steps or casting platforms in calm, shallow conditions. Inboard of each seat is a beverage holder that doubles as a rod holder, as well as a grab handle on the forward side of the transom. We measured 29” from the deck to the covering boards at amidships, which is a remarkable cockpit depth for a boat of this size.
The cockpit is also served by the leaning post, which has an optional backrest ($373) that flips forward to allow anglers to face aft to watch lines while trolling or to rest their legs between bites. Beneath the leaning post are blocks mounted to the deck to secure an optional 72-quart (68-L) cooler ($207), suitable for stowing cold drinks and lunch.
The helm sits in the shade beneath an optional tubular T-top with canvas overhead ($2,867). The fabric affixes to the frame in a combination of lacing and zippered sleeves that held it in place and kept wind noise and “whipping” of the fabric to a minimum. The T-top is made of 2.75” (.07 m) tubes welded together and powder-coated white.
Welded that is, except for one joint on each of four vertical support posts positioned at the height, coincidentally enough, of the top of the acrylic windshield on the console. This T-top is designed to be dismantled to allow easy storage of the boat in a garage or rack, as each joint is held in place with one bolt.
The T-top is screwed to the deck and the console, and allows for 16”-wide side decks between the bulwarks and the T-top supports on either side of the console. The T-top distributes its weight around the console with three separate connection points on port and starboard, but we were glad to see a fourth support on each side screwed directly to the deck as well.
Helm and Console
The helm console is topped by an acrylic windscreen that’s curved, and our test captain noted there was some distortion at the corners when looking through the windscreen. The console had an optional compass ($113) on centerline, and not mounted directly in line with the hub of the wheel, which is offset to port. On the top of the console, a pair of molded-in trays to either side of the compass are equipped with rubber pads to grip odds and ends and are also plumbed with drains.
The helm dashboard has gauges on a panel with switches below located to port and positioned for easy viewing above the steering wheel. The white gauges on our test boat are backlit for low-light operation. To starboard there’s a wide swath of open real estate to flush-mount a multifunction display. The wheel is stainless with a steering knob and mounted to a tilt base. To starboard there are two drink holders and an optional Fusion stereo ($527) with USB ports as well as a media plug.
At the helm, there’s an angled footrest below for the helmsman to stand on while driving and perching on the leaning post. Our test captain would prefer to see a toe-kick beneath the footrest for toes, considering the seat is in a fixed position.
The front of the console has a seat for two passengers, and also has a door on the front that flips up to reveal a changing compartment with sitting headroom. A porta-pottie can be added for $213. The door is held up by two gas-assist rams, and there’s a strap mounted to its center to allow an occupant to close the door for privacy from inside.
Behind the MSD is a piece of canvas snapped in place that separates the helm rigging from the rest of the compartment. Our test captain would have preferred the snaps of the canvas to be affixed to a vertical surface, rather than the horizontal overhead in order to be more secure.
The Wellcraft 182 Fisherman has a prominent casting platform forward at the bow, making the most of the boat’s beam to provide substantial fishing room. Of course, in the interest of making the boat an easier sell to other members of the family, this casting deck can be festooned with soft cushions for sun lounging ($547). Those pads fold and can stow easily in the console. The nonskid casting deck, elevated 15” (.38 m) above the main deck, will help any angler cast just a bit farther, and see better down into the water.
When the pads are removed, the platform’s true purpose comes to light and the fishing features really shine. A standard large livewell has a glass wall facing aft, the better to monitor bait health, and it’s a cool effect. It’s got a gasketed lid to allow the user to pressurize the well and reduce sloshing, which keeps the bait healthy and active.
Forward of that is a fishbox, plumbed for drainage. The lid has a gasket and is finished top and bottom for easy cleaning, though our test captain would have liked to see gas-assist rams to hold up the lid.
The foredeck has wide covering boards and we understand the omission of a bowrail in light of the fishing mission of the boat, after all the cleats serving the anchor locker and offset port and starboard are of the popup variety to keep from snagging errant fishing lines.
There’s an anchor locker beneath a hatch set into the bow covering boards. Recesses to either side prevent the anchor line from being pinched in the lid, and there are popup cleats to either side. Our test captain would like twin chocks here to control the anchor line and keep it from abrading the bowlight.
Our test boat was not equipped with a fuel-flow meter, and even with an engine tech working alongside, we were unable to monitor fuel consumption. But we were able to get speed and sound readings. We’re glad to share what we found out in our testing of the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman.
The Wellcraft 182 Fisherman has a LOA of 18’2” (5.54 m) and a beam of 8’ (2.44 m). With an empty weight of 2,200 lb. (998 kg), full fuel and two people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 2,906 lbs. (1,318 kg).
With the single Yamaha 150 XB outboard powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 45.4 mph at 6300 rpm. The techs at Wellcraft tested the boat and got a slightly slower top speed of 44.0 mph. They say that best cruise was at 4000 rpm and 27 mph, getting 4.5 mpg for a range 227 statute miles. Even though we could not get fuel flow numbers, we did test the boat for speed and noise numbers. At 3500 rpm, we recorded 21.5 mph, and if you look at the speeds in the chart below, one sees the boat comes over the hump and planes out at some point between 3000 and 3500 rpm.
Out of the hole, the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman does not disappoint, and we recorded a time to plane of 3.3 seconds, a time of 6.0 seconds to go from zero to 20 mph, and went from zero to 30 mph in a time of 8.3 seconds.
As we mentioned, the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman has a 19-degree transom deadrise and an 8’ (2.44 m) beam.
Our day was very calm with 10-knot breezes and seas of 1’, and the boat performed well in those conditions. We did run the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman through the wake of our camera boat and found her to handle those modest seas very well.
With her 34” high freeboard at the bow and a chine reaching well forward, she knocked down spray and threw water well off to the sides. The SeaStar steering system gave good feedback on turns and allowed the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman a tight circle with a comfortable inboard lean, though she shed speed to do it, as one might expect.
Options to Consider
Comparison with other Entry-Level 18-Footers
In the chart above we have compared the new Wellcraft 182 Fisherman with three of the best-selling entry-level models from three well-known brands. All four brands are selling their boats at low price-points, but these basic numbers are quite revealing. Remember that the cost of the outboard engines for all of these brands are about the same. So the difference in price is reflected in the boat.
By looking at these numbers, one would guess that Brand Y is the least expensive – and be correct. With 250-lbs. (113 kg) less material, 3” (.076 m) less beam, and a longer LOA that is unusable, Brand Y has been carefully designed to appeal to people looking for the “best deal.”
Want a Good Deal? As we often say, in the boating business people looking for a good deal, often get a good deal less. And, it is certainly true in this case – not only is this boat lighter and has a flatter bottom than all of the rest, but it also carries 32% less fuel than the Wellcraft 182, and her rated capacity is only six people and 1,400 lbs. (635 kg), including the engine. Tellingly, this was the only builder which did not report its person carrying capacity on its website – nor does it list it in the “fact book” it distributes to its dealer’s sales people. We had to call the factory to get it.
Brand X and Brand Z are reputable builders. Like the Wellcraft 182, their boats cost a few thousand more than Brand Y, and they are roughly equivalent to the Wellcraft 182 on this spec chart. Nevertheless, the Wellcraft has the greatest carry capacity and the deepest deadrise of the lot. The first adds important utility, and the second provides a slightly more comfortable ride.
For coastal fishing and short cruising adventures in this size range, the Wellcraft 182 Fisherman offers a wholesome boat with relatively high freeboard, good cockpit depth, and as can be seen in the chart above, more load-carrying capacity.
As can be seen on our list of options to consider, the base boat is just that. However, that is of necessity because of the fierce competition among the 6 to 7 large low price-point center console builders. Every boater has different requirements, and by making many things optional, each owner can pick and pay for only what is wanted. Look closely at the prices Wellcraft is charging for options. It looks to us as if they are selling them for not much more than their cost.
Perhaps, most important of all, Wellcraft, which is owned by the Beneteau Group, isn’t going anywhere. It’s not a company owned by a private equity firm that just wants to flip it – because Wellcraft has already been flipped, and now it is with mother Beneteau. And, that means the Wellcraft warranties are secure.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)