Boating Life

Center Console vs Dual Console: What's the Difference?

event
June 30, 2023
person_pin
Ingman Marine
label
Boat Categories
Boat Models
event
June 30, 2023
person_pin
Ingman Marine
label
Boat Categories
Boat Models

With the lines of different boat types becoming more and more blurred over time, the differences between vessels are becoming harder and harder to contrast. This sentiment even applies to two particular boat styles whose differences may seem obvious - center consoles and dual consoles – but believe it or not, they have quite a few similarities. So, whether you’ve landed here because you think these two boats couldn’t be any different or you genuinely don’t know what the differences are, we hope this brief explanation will help you understand which boat might be right for you.

Design

Both center console and dual console boats are designed for offshore & nearshore use, with deep-V hulls that make for a smooth ride in moderate chop. They are powered by outboard motors and have saltwater-friendly interiors. The most obvious difference, though, between center and dual consoles is, well, the console layout. While center consoles have one console in the center (hence the name), dual consoles have a port console and starboard helm with a pathway down the middle. The consoles are topped with separate windshields to account for the walkway, or there is a full windshield that opens up in the middle. Either way, there will be passage between the consoles.

The port side console on a DC typically holds a storage and/or head compartment or even a shower and sleeping quarters. Similarly, center consoles often have storage, a head or full shower/cabin within the console, but with a stand-up helm that is further aft than in most dual consoles. The helm design allows for better visibility and comfort in rough waters. You may find that the cockpit area of a CC is smaller, but that’s because the helm is often larger to accommodate controls and entertainment equipment. With the console in the center, there is plenty of space to walk around the entirety of the boat. The ability to move from the bow to the stern along each side of the boat is especially helpful for anglers when they are fighting a catch.

Seating

Center consoles are often a tad smaller than their dual console counterparts, limiting the amount of seating available. You may have an aft bench seat and some forward seating, but the entire premise of a center console is to have maneuverability for fishing. Too much seating would interfere with this goal.

In contrast, dual consoles often have quite a bit more seating. There is usually a forward lounge area with seating that can be converted into a full sunpad or a casting platform and often has a ton of storage. You will also find jump seats or a full bench seat aft, with convertible seating in the cockpit that can be folded out of the way when needed. Additionally, both consoles will have enough seating for one or two crew members and the full windshield(s) provide excellent protection from the elements.

Features

Because both of these boat types are made to handle offshore angling, they will both be equipped with rod holders and storage, as well as some bait and live wells. However, with dual consoles geared more towards mixed activities, there will be less room on board for live and bait wells than you will find on a center console; although, you will find lots of dry storage space. Center consoles, on the other hand, will be loaded with other amenities for anglers – fish boxes, tackles storage, large casting decks.

You will probably find less room for navigation and electronic fishing equipment too, but dual consoles do have features to offer that you can’t get with a CC. For example, an optional T-top for a dual console will offer more shade than the cockpit canopy of a center console. There are also canvas sunshade options that aren’t available for CCs.

No items found.

Purpose

Because of all the factors outlined above, both center and dual consoles are ideal for offshore activities, but both styles can be used inshore and in freshwater environments. Your offshore, inshore and freshwater activities will depend on the size of your boat; the bigger and more powerful, the further out you can go. Center and dual console models these days are also becoming increasingly multi-faceted and focused on comfort.

While both boats are incredibly versatile these days, the primary difference between the two is that dual consoles are usually more adaptable to your desired activities. They are touted as family boats because they offer amenities for fishing, watersports, day cruising and much more. They are great for entertaining because of the abundance of seating, and the mind-blowing amount of storage allows for storing plenty of water, food and supplies for weekend or long-distance trips. All this seating and storage does limit desk space though, which may push anglers more towards a center console.

This is not to say that center consoles aren’t meant for families and multiple activities though, because the newest models are almost as adaptable as dual consoles; it’s just that anglers are still at the heart of every CC design. This type of boat is designed to better handle rougher sea conditions than a dual console and it provides a layout that makes the most sense for those that want to primarily fish. It is still common, though, to entertain and partake in water sports with a center console. The open layout, comfortability and power make all these activities a breeze.

In either of these boats, families and anglers can catch all sorts of fish, from jacks to trout to grouper and more. Check out this article on the best boats to catch your desired species.

Which Boat is Right for You?

Although dual and center consoles both offer offshore, inshore and freshwater opportunities, as well as designs and amenities that allow for multiple functions, it really boils down to how much fishing you want to do versus how often you intend to take your friends and family out for lots of fun. If you need a vessel that can handle some fishing, some entertaining, some lounging and a ton of water sports, a DC may be a better fit. If you are looking for the ultimate angling machine with some added benefits, a center console may be more of what you are looking for.

If you’d like to learn more about recreational boats, see our full guide here.

Follow Us
No items found.