I met Traver Smith, the young and energetic Regional Sales Manager for Everglades Boats at Fresco’s Waterfront restaurant in scenic downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.. On this particular summer day in July, Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 Hurricane season, was creating powerful scattered thunderstorms resulting in confused seas so therefore we decided to do the responsible thing and leave the protected Tampa Bay waters and go in the open Gulf of Mexico. Before shoving off we used the weathernow.com app on the iPhone to show us the positions of local thunderstorms and then brought up the Garmin radar overlay on the chartplotter and plotted our course accordingly.
Before shoving off, Traver gave a thorough walk through of the white boat with camel colored trim and its features. It is obvious that this 25 foot boat had a wider beam than most boats in this class. The beam of 9’3” was highlighted by the high quality padded camel colored coaming bolsters around the entire interior with forward and aft seating and also allows for a spacious onboard marine head with macerator under the center console. The 255 center console is part of the mold, not bolted on as an afterthought and makes for a solid hull. It also includes a patented power sliding up and down tempered glass front windshield that rises to the top of the beefy hardtop. Most everything on the Everglades comes standard, even the power anchor windlass which you won’t find on boats in this class.
This 255 was powered by a pair of silent Yamaha F200 inline 4 cylinders and is quieter than a Mercedes automobile. They were so silent that I did not realize they were running when I stepped aboard. Other engine options from Honda and Mercury up to 450 horsepower are also available. Included with our Everglades 255 test boat w a Yamaha Command Link Plus display, a very large color 8530 Garmin’s GPSMAP with 6kw radar array, VHF 300 and GSD 24 Sounder upgrade, which gives all sorts of engine performance and fuel consumption figures and most important, charts.
This well thought out fishing boat includes as standard equipment a spacious 85 gallon fish box forward and another 50 gallon fix box aft, 2 tackle lockers, a 34-gallon circulating livewell with built in screen filters, a 20-gallon freshwater washdown, and multiple rod holders, as well as Everglades' standard 8" stainless steel pull-up cleats, powder-coated t-top and toe rails, and a lockable transom gate with freeing port. An electrically actuated aft seat/hatch provides bilge access.
We shoved off and headed past Albert Whitted Airport and south toward the Skyway Bridge into choppy seas created by a thunderstorm sitting east near Apollo Beach, Florida. The solid construction of Everglades patented Rapid Molding Core Assembly Process (RAMCAP) built hull shined brightly as we powered up to 30 knots and wave busted without any bang or shudder. We were not able to avoid all of the rain but were dry under the large hardtop and thanks to the power front windshield and windshield wiper, we were able to remain dry and see in the rain.
As we crossed under the Skyway Bridge and into the open Gulf of Mexico, the skies cleared but we ran head first into wind gusts from the west and two to three footers so we made another responsible decision to keep on going. The sturdy grab rails on the hardtop were well placed for either sitting or leaning on the bolsters. We were now starting to catch air but the soft landings provided from the 21 degree deadrise gave more confidence. We took no spray in the boat and the Mercedes like power steering tracked true despite the building waves.
This is one boat that can take more than you.
Being in the open Gulf allowed me the ability to really test the ride in head seas, following seas and quartering seas and the Everglades 255 rides more like a 32 footer. The steering is precise, the ride is soft and controlled and there is plenty of room and features to do what’s important – Fish! Quality materials abound from top to bottom. After our sea test in the open gulf, we headed back to our starting point in St Petersburg, Florida at Frescos and as we docked, I noticed even more quality and thoughtful touches like the two stainless stern cleats mounted under the gunwale at the stern and accessed for tie-ups through hefty hawse pipes, the 75 quart sliding Yeti cooler under the helm seats and the built in rocket launchers on the stern. The 255 is not just a quality fishing vessel, it’s exceptional.