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Miami 2024

This is one of the largest boat shows of the year, where we found so many new and innovative boats and products for every kind of boater

With the Miami skyline in the background, thousands of boats docked at the Miami International Boat Show.

More than 1,000 exhibitors sold everything from boats to barnacle remover at the five-day Miami International Boat Show in February. Photo: Rich Armstrong

BoatU.S. Magazine editors were among more than 100,000 boaters bound for February’s Miami International Boat Show, the sun-soaked setting for the nation’s largest showcase of new boats, engines, and marine electronics. Our takeaway: Smart design, versatility, and innovation were notable, and there were more cruisable fishing boats and fishable cruising boats than ever before. Here’s a glimpse of what’s coming to your local dealer.
Ariel view of a white boat speeding through blue waters on a sunny day.

Boston Whaler 210 Vantage

Dual consoles are back in style, and Boston Whaler’s Vantage line already includes 32- and 24-foot dual consoles. Now comes something smaller, the 210 Vantage, with all the bigger boat features, including a convertible seat/lounger in the cockpit, removable bow dinette table, and Whaler’s unsinkable glass-foam-glass construction. This 21-footer is set up to fish, play, or daycruise. Starting at $117,315 |

View from the water of an adult female and adult male aboard a small white Grady-White 231 CE vessel.

Grady-White 231 CE

The Grady-White 231 CE offers a smaller option while expanding its Coastal Explorer lineup of hybrid bay boats. The 231 CE seems big for a small boat, with a bow fishbox large enough to climb into (yes, we laid down inside and pulled the hatch shut), and a stern casting deck that converts into seating. Despite its modest 22-foot, 7-inch length, this smaller sibling has the same perks as bigger CE models: electric bow seatbacks, stern seatbacks that swing away for casting, and the lighted livewell has a full-column inlet that keeps the water circulating. Starts at $135,150 |

White and black vessel with a small cabin leaving a dock as the sun reflects off the water and houses in the background.


Bayliner didn’t just introduce a new boat at the show; it introduced two new lines of boats —both with cabins, and both for the angling-inclined. The Pilothouse line includes 23- and 25-foot dedicated fishing machines with forward-leaning pilothouse and a well-equipped cabin that can double as an overnighter.

The Explorer line of 23-, 25-, and 29-footers is accented more for cruisers and casual anglers who want more emphasis on comfort and amenities. Standout features include 360-degree visibility and aft bulkhead glass doors for the cabins, deep walkarounds on pilothouse models, and bow seats or loungers. $93,991 to $210,353 |

White and gray fishing boat out on calm waters during sunrise.

Scout 261 XSS

Scout makes luxury cruisers and center-consoles in the 50-foot-plus range, and a lineup of 20-something-foot bay boats. Scouts are known for quality construction and loads of standard features. This new 26-footer slots between Scout’s 23- and 28-foot models, each designed as inshore/offshore crossovers with ample casting space on both the fore and rear deck, port and starboard aerated baitwells, and a console coffin box. Standard features include flip-up backrests and cushions aft, and reversible helm seating for easy socializing after the rods are stowed. Starting at $175,405 |

Three adults aboard a Blue and white World Cat 260 DC-X vessel out on the water.

World Cat 260 DC-X

Powercat fans looking for a family-friendly dayboat offering good fishability should check out the World Cat 260 DC-X. We took one for a test ride and enjoyed the smooth running that comes with twin hulls, and great wind protection from a full wraparound windshield. Take a close look at the cockpit features: The svelte transom folds down into a casting deck, and the livewell and fishbox are in the aft gunwales. See dealer for pricing | ­

More than a  dozen passengers aboard a White Regal 38 Surf with an adult male wakeboarding on a lake.

Regal 38 Surf

Hyped as “the world’s largest surf boat,” the Regal 38 Surf is a center-helm design with an 11-foot, 11-inch beam and Regal’s standard upscale, luxury amenities for entertaining and overnighting. Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive sterndrive propulsion system is at the heart of the 38 Surf, with forward-facing counter-rotating propellers to pull the boat through the water (versus pushing it) and keeping the props safely under the boat. With a dry weight of 19,400 pounds, the 38 Surf throws a huge wake for wake surfing without the need for additional ballast. Large surf tabs at the boat’s transom let the driver shape the wave for each personal style, and surfing on either the port or starboard side of the wake. Speed control allows the driver to further shape the wave by making minute speed adjustments. The hard top features three tow points: a center for water skiing and wakeboarding, and one each on the starboard and port sides to make wakesurfing starts easier. For safety, the 38 Surf features two video cameras: one pointing forward past the bow and one pointing aft at the wake surfer. This allows the driver to keep an eye on the water in front and the action aft by seeing the action on a split screen on one of the dual 22-inch displays on the dash. Starting at $808,660 |

Nine passengers aboard a white, gray and blue pontoon boat cruising on a lake.

Manitou Explore 24 Max Switchback

The wide, stable decks on pontoon boats are great for lounging, but their horizontal running plane is terrible for tight turning at speed. Our sea trial aboard the Manitou Explore 24 Max Switchback with twin 150-hp outboards introduced us to a pontoon boat that actually banks into turns so passengers are leaning into the hole rather than fighting the force of physics intent on hurling them off the boat. Manitou’s proprietary V-Toon tri-tubes with lifting strakes provide a flatter-riding pontoon with less bow rise. This first model with twin Rotax S outboards handled well in our test ride, and the integrated gas-assisted bimini stayed in place as we hit our top speed near 50 mph.

The dual-console design leaves a wide-open walkway from bow to stern, and those unique Rotax S partially submerged low-profile outboards allow for an extra 4 feet of unobstructed aft deck. Manitou’s Max Deck features a telescopic swim ladder and LinQ accessory attachments to safely mount coolers and water toys. Starting at $123,799 |

Three adults aboard a white vessel unloading fishing equipment at a dock.

Yamaha 255 FSH Sport H

Yamaha already dominates the U.S. jet-boat market, but the manufacturer adds a fantastic new feature for 2024 — joystick control to the jet-set. Yamaha’s 255 FSH Sport H center-console jet-boat model is the first to be rigged with Helm Master EX for jet boats. We jumped aboard for a hands-on test and found it super-easy to maneuver the boat around a very cramped, heavily trafficked marina. Directing the boat sideways and spinning it in its own length with the joystick were a breeze. Yamaha had to do some serious work to adapt the Helm Master EX to jet form, separating the nozzle’s shifting and steering systems from each other and switching cables out for actuators, but expect to see Helm Master EX on other Yamaha jet boats. Starts at $107,699 |

Gear to keep you safe

It’s always encouraging to come across good new safety gear at the boat show, and we especially liked these two life-savers

Red and black inflatable life jacket.

Mustang Survival MIT 100

Convertible A/M Inflatable Life Jacket When the BoatU.S. Foundation reviewed inflatable life jackets last year, Mustang Survival’s MIT 70 was a universal favorite. The MIT 100 Convertible has the same lightweight, breathable, easy-to-fit, and move-freely attributes of the 70, along with a convertible inflator for the option of automatic or manual inflatable modes. The automatic mode deploys when the water-soluble bobbin dissolves, while manual mode activates only when the inflation handle is pulled. Switching between modes can be done in seconds. The MIT 100’s one-fold design makes repacking the bladder after deployment quick and easy. Most importantly, when inflated the MIT 100 provides 28 pounds of buoyancy and will turn most wearers face-up. $169.99 |

Yellow red and black locator beam next to a mobile device showing the location on a map.


The ResQLink AIS Personal Locator Beacon from ACR sets a new safety standard in personal locator beacons, packing Automatic Identification System (AIS) functionality, Return Link Service (RLS) technology, and Near Field Communication (NFC) capability into one 406 MHz beacon. The combination pairs both global and local rescue into one beacon for the first time, extending access to the Coast Guard, local search-and-rescue squads, as well as commercial and recreational boats in the area. Alerting local AIS-equipped boats means more nearby boats can respond directly to the digital mayday with your precise location. In addition, NFC capability provides users with the world’s first smartphone-connected personal locator beacon. Via your smartphone, NFC ensures the beacon is working properly and provides easy access to all functions and records. $519.95 |

Marine electronics get smarter

Next-level HD imagery, AI-generated rerouting, rapid-return transducers, and value-priced remote monitoring offer impressive upgrades for every boat

Adult pointing out collision dangers on an artificial intelligence generated radar.


The Furuno TZTouchXL now has auto-routing capabilities incorporating artificial intelligence to generate suggested routes in a matter of seconds. And radar gets Risk Visualizer, which creates dynamic icons for targets representing collision dangers and applies AI to route around them. This tech makes it possible for the unit to monitor targets and adjust the route as necessary for collision avoidance, even as a target or your own boat deviates course or changes speed. The latest version of TZTouchXL gets TZ Maps and takes detail to another level. As we zoomed into a chart, we saw the unit quickly redraw contour lines down to detailed 3-inch increments. New charts can be downloaded including raster, vector, satellite photo, and bathymetric detail formats, and bathy data can be overlaid on navigational charts and rendered with customized shading and color palettes. Essentially, it allows you to present bathymetric data just like a topo map of mountains and valleys. $2,995 (TZT10X) to $11,995 (TZT24X) |

Black, silver and tan Garmin sainless-steel sonar transducer.


Garmin’s Panoptix PS70 RapidReturn Sonar transducer is a hefty stainless-steel thru-hull (weight is 10.1 pounds) designed for large boats and offshore anglers. The unit produces 10 frames per second to produce real-time views up to 1,000 feet and is compatible with GPSMAP MFDs. $4,799 |

View of a personal locator beacon in use on a mobile device.

Skyhawk Oversea

Remote monitoring systems are great, but pricey. Not so with the new Skyhawk Oversea system. With a price tag about half that of leading competitors, the Oversea can provide geofencing and location monitoring, battery status, bilge-pump activity, temperature, high bilge water, and more with additional sensors. And these sensors and the base station (connecting via 915mHz RF) have an unusual advantage over others: They’re engineered using the latest in low power-draw tech to provide battery lives measured in years, not months. Sensors and the hub are IP67 waterproof and can be mounted almost anywhere. The judges of the 2024 NMMA Innovation Awards gave Skyhawk top prize in the New Electronics category. Starting at $299 |

Touch radar on a dashboard of a vessel in use.


Many of today’s boats have sleek helm stations with dashes that are wide along the horizon but aren’t very tall, making it necessary to put two relatively small MFDs side by side to maximize space. Ever wished someone built a MFD that stretched 63% wider on a 12- or 15-inch diagonal screen, eliminating the need for dual units and multiple bezels? That’s the idea behind the NSX Ultrawide designed specifically for wide, low-profile helm stations. Along with the uniquely sized screen you get all the functionality the NSX series provides, like customizable screens, the latest in C-Map cartography, CZone digital switching, and complete connectivity with accessories ranging from radar to Mercury SmartCraft Connect. Starting at $2,899 | ­

Engines & motors: Technology with a twist

High-horsepower outboards continue to proliferate, and the chase for alternative fuel sources shows no letting up

Black Yamaha F-350


Yamaha returns to the 350-hp range with the new F350. Unlike its previous F350, this engine is based on Yamaha’s V6 footprint, long known as a bastion of reliability. By increasing the stroke, boosting airflow, and going to an 11:1 compression ratio, Yamaha not only nets another 50 horses but also boosts the engine’s displacement from 4.2 to 4.3 liters. The engine also benefits from a larger exhaust valve, iridium spark plugs, a redesigned camshaft, and a redesigned crankshaft. To handle the additional oomph, the gearcase has also been changed, and although the lower unit is the same size as those on the F300, it has additional teeth in the clutch dog. We ran three different F350s on two different boats and couldn’t discern any difference in sound levels, vibrations, or anything else as compared to the 4.2L versions — until hitting the throttle and letting those additional horses out of the gate. The F350 weighs a mere 18 pounds more than the F300, giving it the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. Starting at $40,615 |

Silver and black shaft with black quick-release bracket.

ePropulsion eLite

Boaters looking for a motor for their tenders, kayaks, or pond prowlers will find the ePropulsion eLite intriguing. The electric powerplant’s integrated battery is inside the shaft, which clamps directly to the transom on a quick-release bracket. Pop it free, fold down the integrated tiller handle, and you’ll be toting the lightest propulsive load possible at just 14.7 pounds. Clip it in place and you have 500 watts of juice (plus the ability to boost it to 750 watts, or about 2 hp), enough to move a small dinghy at jogging speeds for about 90 minutes. The motor has an LED display showing battery state, an extendable shaft, and a USB port you can use to charge up phones and gadgets. We found the mounting system surprisingly effective; spin on those clamps one time to set the proper tension, and thereafter just push a button to pop the motor free. This system also eliminates the motor bracket (and its weight) from the equation. When it’s time to remove the motor, take it home to plug in for charging. Starting at $999 |

Yamaha Marine's trio of 5-foot torpedo-like hydrogen storage tanks in ourboard engine.

A hydrogen-powered outboard?

This was the social media beehive at the Miami Beach Convention Center, “the world’s first hydrogen-powered outboard engine,” from Yamaha Marine. Hung on the bare hull of a 26-foot Regulator center-console, the engine itself looks like a typical large-horsepower outboard (there are differences inside), but the fuel line that led to a trio of 5-foot torpedo-like hydrogen storage tanks aligned in the bilge drew the most attention. “Yamaha is exploring all possibilities to achieve carbon neutrality,” Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha U.S. Marine, said at the introduction. “We believe hydrogen is a viable method of achieving these goals.” Liquid hydrogen technology is already powering the MF Hydra, a commercial passenger ferry in Norway, and Yamaha Motor (the automotive division) is working with Toyota to develop a 5.0-liter V8 engine for automobiles fueled entirely by hydrogen. As for hydrogen-powered recreational boats, the obvious questions include fuel volatility, fuel delivery infrastructure, and cost. Yamaha, along with partners Regulator and the engineering firm Roush, plan to begin sea trials later this summer. Stay tuned.

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Rich Armstrong and Lenny Rudow

Senior Editor and New Boats, Fishing & Electronics Editor, BoatUS Magazine

A journalist by training, BoatUS Magazine Senior Editor Rich Armstrong has worked in TV news, and at several newspapers, then spent 18 years as a top editor at other boating publications. He’s built a stellar reputation in the marine industry as one of the most thorough reporters in our business. At BoatUS Magazine, Rich handles everything from boat and product innovation and late-breaking news, to compelling feature stories, boat reviews, and features on people and places. The New Jersey shore and lakes of lower New York defined Rich's childhood. But when he bought a 21-foot Four Winns deck boat and introduced his young family to the Connecticut River, his love for the world of boats flourished from there. Top tech writer and accomplished sports fisherman, BoatUS Magazine Contributing Editor Lenny Rudow has written seven practical boating books, won 30 awards from Boating Writers International — many for his marine electronics articles – and two for excellence from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He judges the NMMA Innovation Awards, and is Angler in Chief at FishTalk, his own Chesapeake-based publication. A great teacher and inspirational writer, Lenny hosts many of BoatUS Magazine’s very-popular how-to videos, which can be found on the BoatUS YouTube channel, or at