New Pro-Line marks 40 years

Author:
Updated:
Original:

When Pro-Line Boats opened for business in 1968, the first model to roll out of the shop was a 24-foot dual console.

When Pro-Line Boats opened for business in 1968, the first model to roll out of the shop was a 24-foot dual console. Plenty has changed since Dan Atwood and his father, Ray, sold that first boat to a Florida charter guide 40 years ago, and the company is rolling out a new 23-foot dual console to mark four decades of business.

 

The fact that the new boat is coming out for the company’s anniversary is no coincidence, though. “We used to have a [dual console], and we took it out of the lineup a few years ago,” says Pro-Line general manager John E. Walker, who joined the company in 1991. “We’d been talking about putting one back in, and we opted to wait for the anniversary.”

Walker says there’s no other dual console on the drawing boards at this time, and adds that the 23 Dual Console is nothing like the original 24-footer. “It’s tremendously different,” he says. “It’s got a much deeper vee, wider beam, taller flare to the hull, a head in the console — it’s a vastly different boat. Then again, nothing we build today is close to what we built 40 years ago.”

While the new boat shares a few similarities with the original — an open layout, port and starboard consoles, fiberglass construction, outboard power — it’s obviously a modern boat, starting with the deep-vee hull design with 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom. On deck, the 23 DC has a tall, wraparound, tempered-glass, walkthrough windshield with an aluminum frame; a portable marine head in the port console; and an optional wakeboard tower — a feature certainly not available in 1968. A Bimini top also is available.

Walker refers to it as a multipurpose boat — a fish-and-ski boat. The optional arch tower, for example, has a tow eye as well as rod holders. “So you can take your buddy fishing in the morning and take your kids skiing in the afternoon,” says Walker.

Helm and companion pedestal seats and bow seating are standard, while lounge seating or more traditional back-to-back seats — for port and/or starboard — are available as options, as are bow cushions and a folding aft bench seat.

“You’ve got a huge amount of seating in that boat,” says Walker. The optional lounge seating has storage beneath that can serve as a cooler or fishbox, he adds.

For fishing, the boat is equipped with a pair of in-gunwale rod holders, six horizontal rod racks in the cockpit, and a lighted transom bait well with a raw-water washdown. Options include an anchor roller, dual battery system, freshwater cockpit shower, curtain package, digital gauges, tilt steering, a stereo system and trim tabs.

Indeed, the boats have changed over the years, and it’s clear the company has, too. “Forty years ago we were a very local boat — we sold inside of CitrusCounty,” says Walker. (Pro-Line moved to its current corporate headquarters in Crystal River, Fla., in 1970.) “Now we have dealers all over the country and Europe, and we have a dealer network in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.”

Company founder Dan Atwood formed a partnership with a New York investment group in 1986, and the owners formed American Marine Holdings — which counts Pro-Line and Donzi Marine among its lines — in 1992. And Atwood still walks the floors at Pro-Line. “He still does the R&D and design for the company,” says Walker. “And he’s in the factory every day.”

Specs

LOA: 23 feet

BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches

DRAFT: 1 foot, 5 inches

DISPLACEMENT: 3,920 pounds

HULL TYPE: deep-vee

 TRANSOM DEADRISE: 20 degrees

TANKAGE: 125 gallons fuel

POWER: single or twin outboards to 300 hp

SPEED: 43 mph top (with a 200-hp Mercury Verado)

PRICE: $50,854 (with a 200-hp Suzuki)

CONTACT: Pro-Line Boats, Crystal River, Fla.

Phone: (352) 795-4111.

www.prolineboats.com