After establishing a line of flats and bay boats, it was time for Bob and Stephen Dougherty to get back into building offshore fishing boats. What Everglades Boats’ father-and-son team came up with is a different take on the tried-and-true center console.
The Everglades 290 Pilot has an open “Command Console,” with hardtop and curved windshield, that converts to a fully enclosed pilothouse with optional enclosure for running in adverse weather.
“It’s not your traditional workboat-looking pilothouse,” says Everglades sales manager Bryan Harris. When the Doughertys develop something new, he says, it often is different from much of what’s on the market.
“They came up with the idea of the pilothouse first and then built the rest of the boat around it,” says Harris. “It functions much like a regular center console with the doors out, with the exception that the big windshield — even with the doors out — gives you protection from wind and rain.”
Harris says 80 percent of Everglades’ customers are ordering the Pilot with the optional doors, and the company has added heat as an option.
It comes standard with such amenities as seating throughout (leaning post, forward console seats, bow seating, foldaway stern bench), eight stainless steel cup holders, and an enclosed head compartment in the center console. The lighted head compartment contains a marine head, vanity with sink and storage, and a shower.
An armrest separates the helm and companion seats, which have curved backrests that flip up into the leaning post. The seats forward of the center console also have curved backrests. The leaning post integrates a 66-gallon recirculating live well, fresh- and raw-water sink, eight tackle-storage drawers, and a cutting board.
The bow area has a 160-gallon fishbox, two lockable rod compartments, and two large storage compartments, with bow cushions standard.
Finally, the folding bench seat at the stern doubles as an access door to the batteries, battery charging system and pumps. The 290 comes standard with two automatic bilge pumps, lockable transom door, and three-step telescoping swim ladder.
The seating arrangement and list of amenities gives the 290 Pilot family appeal. “They’re not buying the boat just to fish with it,” says Harris, who says families are using it to go out swimming or to restaurants.
For those who do wish to fish, the 29-footer has a bait prep area at the transom with a water spigot and six rod holders, as well as a slide-out cooler. There also is a 90-gallon fishbox aft. The boat comes equipped with four gunwale rod holders, six aft hardtop rod holders, two mid-mount hardtop rod holders, and under gunwale racks for six rods. Outriggers are available as an option. The boat has wraparound coaming bolsters, stainless steel toe rails, and powder-coated grab rails.
The 290, which won the Innovation Award in the fishing boat category at the Miami International Boat Show in February, has a self-draining cockpit, red LED cockpit courtesy lights, overhead white and red LED lights in the command console area, and two spreader lights standard. Hardware includes 5/8-inch stainless steel bow and transom eyes, 8-inch stainless steel pop-up cleats and spring line cleats, and a stainless steel anchor roller. A windlass anchor system is standard, and the boat has a forward rode locker with an overboard drain.
The unsinkable hull is built using the company’s rapid molded core assembly process construction, which employs a vacuum process to sandwich fiberglass around a high-density polyurethane foam core. The hull carries a 10-year transferable warranty, and colors include white, yellow, green and blue.