Forward Console vs Centre Console: Which one is right for you?
Center and forward console options share some similarities. Yet, each offers distinct advantages that cater to specific needs.
You have probably already read all the forums and articles on which console option is better, but here we will break it down into bite-sized chunks! This is how we help our clients make a choice!
To illustrate the difference we will look at 3 points of comparison: fishability, comfort and helming. For comparison we will use two F16 Kingcat models, one centre console, one forward console
Just in case you were wondering, both models offer battery storage in the aft, and jerry can storage below the deck.
EXHIBIT A - F16 CENTRE CONSOLE
Fishability - The most obvious advantage of a centre console is that it offers 360° fishability. It offers ample space and standing room, making it ideal for casting lures, reeling fish, walking a stubborn fish around the boat, as well as cleaning the catch!
Comfort - This style of boat is really for the die-hard angler and is optimised for fishing, so any seating has to double as storage units and livewells. There is also a fair chance you'll get soaked while out on the water. While a canvas enclosure can keep you shielded from the elements, it can limit your visibility.
Helming - The main purpose of the console is to house the helmstation dash. On a centre console boat, the skipper is in the most comfortable position for heading out to sea. This configuration also offers better visibility when hunting the ever elusive gamefish.
Ultimately, a centre console boat is primarily a fishing boat, and that is where they outshine a forward console. If you are more interested in comfortable cruising with friends, and family, you may want to keep reading!
EXHIBIT B- F16 FORWARD CONSOLE
Fishability - The forward console's big claim to fame is the comfort it offers, be it a cabin model or a T-Top with clears. Unfortunately, this comfort comes at the cost of all round fishability. While it is still possible to trawling, casting is not ideal. It does make it more difficult to man the lines around the boat, and the rear can get crowded, it is definitely a worthwhile trade off!
Comfort - The layout caters to socialising and entertaining, and offers convenient protection from the weather. The forward cabin or T-top also keeps the wind off the anglers at anchor, and the anchor can be raised easily from the bow accessed through the walkthrough windscreen.
Helming - Where a centre console offers better 360° visibility, the forward console offers better visibility for a beach launch. The skipper's position in the bow offers him a better view of the swells, although it is definitely not the most comfortable seat on the boat!
In conclusion, it is a not better or worse argument, but a matter of preference. If you are a zealous fishing fanatic, who won't let a bit or rain get in the way of fishing, then a centre console is definitely for you! However, if you find that you are more of a fair-weather fisherman who can appreciate comforts and convenience, you are probably better of with a forward console.
Whatever floats your boat!
'Till next time!