The soft ride, roominess, comfort, and customizable layout made Boston Whaler’s 24-foot Dauntless the darling of folks who value the freedom to just hop aboard and embark on a range of adventures. Equipped with top angling features, a brand-new version — the 240 Dauntless Pro — now turns the versatile family pleaser into a complete fishing machine.
Leading the transformation is the Pro Angler’s tower with a dedicated portside ladder and state-of-the-art upper helm. Rod storage is another significant upgrade. It goes from just enough for the occasional fishing foray to an array sure to meet the needs of hardcore anglers.
For starters, there are four vertical rod tubes on the rear of the tower and four more on the backrest of the leaning post providing helm seating. A pair of forward rod lockers stows two rods to port and two to starboard. Meanwhile, the center console holds four flush-mounted holders, two on each side of the forward seat and another four rest on the raised stern deck, which has also undergone modifications and now incorporates a 28-gallon center livewell, bookended by twin storage compartments.
The forward deck, considerably larger than the stern deck, holds spacious dry storage underneath. Even when you make use of the twin rod lockers, both have room to spare for other gear, and a larger compartment between them holds a cast net, buoys or boat bumpers. Equipped with gas shocks, the three sizable forward hatches combine into a spacious elevated casting area and, with added cushions, double as a sun pad. Retractable forward-facing backrests promote lounging to port and starboard, while an optional removable table brings the forward console seat into the fold, turning the entire front of the boat into the perfect social zone with low-profile grab rails stretching along both gunwales for safety.
Besides comfortably accommodating a crew member, the forward console seat hides an insulated cooler — with the interior finished in blue — that can be plumbed as a second livewell. A starboard-side door affords entry inside the console, where you’ll find enough room for an optional port-a-potty and any additional gear requiring protection from the elements.
The helm features a tall dash with dimensions suitable for a VHF radio, stereo, and a large multifunction display alongside the big standard glove box, below which sit a panel of waterproof rocker switches and a pair of SmartCraft multifunction gauges, with tilt steering and engine controls in close proximity, essentially the same instrumentation found in the second helm in the tower.
Helm seating offers a leaning post with a backrest, flip-up bolsters and pull-down footrest that give the skipper and a companion the option to sit or stand. A large cooler sits underneath on a slide for easy access. Two steps back, cushions on the outer stern storage hatches make for simple, comfortable aft seating, augmented by removable backrests that fit into the stern deck rod holders.
Like the original 240 Dauntless, the new Pro model comes pre-wired for a bow-mounted 24-volt trolling motor. In addition, an 8- or 10-foot Power-Pole and Atlas jack plate, both with console helm and upper-station controls, are part of an extensive list of available options, which also includes pedestal fishing seats, raw-water washdown, freshwater pullout shower, electric trim tabs and more.
We took the Whaler out for a run in Sarasota Bay, Florida, where a northeast wind rumpled the water just enough to test the ride in other than smooth conditions. Hole shot proved quick enough, then we made a series of shuttle runs from zero to 30 mph that the Dauntless Pro completed in an average of 8.5 seconds. Next came the turns, first wide and slow, then tight and fast, culminating in a string of narrow S turns. The Whaler took all matter-of-factly.
The tall center console did not obstruct line of sight at the helm, and the tower offered terrific 360-degree visibility for fish-finding, a duty the 240 performs admirably, planing at just 3,100 rpm while traveling at 19.2 mph.
The tower and upper helm felt solid, safe and efficient with SeaDek under foot, a backrest, dual rocket launchers and an integrated footrest.
Before heading back to the dock, I shut off the motor and trimmed it up to let the wind push us over a shallow shoal. The Dauntless Pro, which drafts only 14 inches according to Boston Whaler, had no trouble drifting over the skinny water.
Overall performance coupled with the boat’s amenities, good looks, and Boston Whaler’s quality and refinement make the 240 Dauntless Pro a top choice for anglers intent on fishing inshore, nearshore and, weather permitting, offshore, along with the occasional family-fun interlude.