Key West is a family-owned boat building company based in South Carolina that was started in 1986.
Their goal was and is to build good quality boats while giving the customer great value.
Their range consists of Center Console (CC), Dual Console (DC), and Walk Around models, which offer something for every boating style and preference, be it fishing, watersports, or cruising.
But Are Key West Boats Any Good?
While Key West Boats are not top-tier boats, they are known for the quality of their build and their good pricing for family-friendly, salt, and freshwater fishing boats. However, some contributors do complain about the ‘wet ride.’
Table of Contents
1. A Brief History of Key West Boats
In 1986, Hutch Holseberg started to build fiberglass boats using molds he obtained from another boat manufacturer who went out of business.
He had the vision to build high-quality boats for real people at an affordable price. By 1988 he developed the Key West 1700, the first model to carry the Key West brand name.
In the beginning, Key West Boats’ main focus was to build quality fishing boats designed and built by fishermen. Over the next few years, a range of different models was developed, and by 1997, Key West introduced the 210LS ‘Oasis,’ which put them firmly on the map for the recreational side of boating.
Nowadays, Key West continues to build boats and offers a range of Family Sportsman, Bay Reef, Centre Console, and Dual Console boats from 17 – 26 feet in length.
2. How Durable Are Key West Boats?
Key West Boats contain no wood in the newer models.
They are built by hand-laying fiberglass sheets combined with composite materials and have foam throughout to help with flotation. The main difference with the construction of Key West Boats is that this foam is used for flotation purposes and is not structural.
This means that all the boats feature positive flotation and will remain upright even in the worst conditions. Key West Boats is very proud to claim that their boats are basically unsinkable.
Key West has a reputation for building good quality, durable boats. While boaters are always concerned about the durability of their boats, Key West boasts about their unique ‘No-Wood, No-Rot Construction.’
The boats feature a strong fiberglass hull that can withstand the extremes of both freshwater and saltwater. So you can be sure that with good care and proper maintenance, you will be able to enjoy your Key West boat with your family for years to come.
3. How Long Do Key West Boats Typically Last?
Key West Boats are built by some of the most qualified craftsman and boat builders in the industry.
They use only top-quality materials and the best build methods around. As a solid fiberglass boat, your Key West Boat should last around 50 years.
However, this will depend on how well you look after your boat, whether you do regular maintenance, and the conditions in which you use your boat. There are plenty of older boats available on the 2nd hand market, and if you check out the Key West Boat forums, there are many owners of older boats that are still going strong.
However, if you are in the market for an older Key West Boat, make sure you give the boat a thorough inspection before you make that purchase.
4. Has Key West Made Any Recalls?
A quick search on the US Coastguard’s Recall website page indicates that Key West has made 3 recalls over their many years in business.
The 3 problems range from a cracked fuel fitting, an electrical problem, and a level flotation problem, so there are no consistent areas of concern. The last dated recall was from 1996.
From a company that started building boats in 1986, that’s a pretty impressive track record!
5. What Are the Most Popular Key West Boats?
Some of the most popular Key West Boat models today include the following:
This 1720 Centre Console boat has been Key West’s most popular model since it was launched in 1992.
Despite the age of the design, this Key West model has been regularly updated with the latest features.
The newer models now include an added freeboard, a new console design, extra storage, more deck space, fiberglass lids for the fishing wells, and even a running surface to improve efficiency.
According to Nada Guides, the average retail price for a new 2020 1720CC model is $13,360.
The 189 Family Sportsman is a family-oriented center console boat with less emphasis on hard-core fishing and more focus on the water sports that many families enjoy.
This versatile boat can be used for water skiing, tubing, or just cruising around on the water.
The average retail price for a new 2020 189FS model is $19,950.
The 210 Bow Rider has been specially designed and crafted for the needs of serious fishermen.
Features include lockable rod boxes, dual live wells, spacious front and rear decks, and under-gunwale molded-in rod racks.
However, this Bow Rider is also family-friendly, with features that include fold-away jump seats in the rear deck and generous cup holders throughout.
The average retail price for a new 210BR is $24,940.
The 239 Dual Console is your all-around performance boat that both the fishermen and the family can enjoy.
This saltwater-friendly runabout features ample comfortable seating upfront, with extra seating in the cockpit. Watersport lovers will enjoy the practical built-in swim ladder, which combines an entry gate for easy boarding.
Plus, for the fishing enthusiasts, there are convenient rod holders and even a live fish well.
The average retail price for a new 239DFS is $42,410
The above is a selection of Key West’s most popular boats, but they currently offer a range of 14 boats in total, ranging in size from 17 – 26 feet.
The quoted boat prices are for the average base boat price, including electronic or navigation packages, the motor, or a trailer.
6. Where Are Key West Boats Manufactured?
Key West Boats is located in Ridgeville, South Carolina, in the US and employs 160 employees.
South Carolina has a strong boat-building community, and many other brands of salt-water fishing and pleasure boats can be found here.
7. How Is the Warranty On Key West Boats?
Key West Boats offers a limited 10-year hull warranty in addition to a 1-year warranty on any factory-installed non-structural parts.
In addition, Key West Boats has a strong network of dealerships. So, just like a car, they recommend consulting your dealer first should you have any warranty issues.
If you do not get customer satisfaction from your dealer, then as a last resort, you can contact Key West Boats directly.
As with any warranty, make sure you read the small print and conform to any necessary instructions, including registering your boat and timeously filling out any warranty forms.
The 10-year hull warranty may be transferred to a second owner for the remainder of the warranty term. However, this warranty transfer will depend on the new owner filling out a transfer of warranty form within 15 days of the purchase.
Transfer of warranty forms is available from Key West Boats.
8. Which Brands Produce Boats Similar to Key West Boats?
There are many different brands of center console, dual console, and bowriders available.
However, in terms of the ride, the finish and add-ons, the resale value, and overall quality, Key West boats are comparable to the following:
Boston Whaler is another brand that claims to be ‘unsinkable.’
They offer a range of 5 models, including the SuperSport, the Montauk, the Dauntless, the Conquest, and their flagship 42′ Outrage.
While they became famous for their classic boats under 20 feet in length, sizes now range from 11 to 42 feet.
Edgewater boats are known for their serious fishing capabilities, which include many practical features.
They are also known for their strength of build, reliability, and durability for handling open waters.
They build a range of center and dual console boats for fishing, families, or socializing out on the water.
Established in 1959, Grady White has a long history of building innovative center consoles, dual consoles, and cabin boats.
They also have a reputation of offering a high level of customer service, with Grady White boat owners identifying with living the ‘Grady Life.’
Pursuit boats also build no-wood boats known for their hull strength reinforced with a fiberglass stringer system.
They build a range of center console, dual console, sport, and offshore boats, ranging from 23- to 42-feet, powered by dependable Yamaha Outboards.
Sea Hunt Boats
Like Key West, Sea Hunt Boats offer a range of affordable center console and bay boats suitable for fresh and saltwater.
Many of the boating forums will compare the two. Sea Hunt’s range of models starts from 21 – 30 feet in length.
They are both close competitors, and both have an extensive network of dealers.
While there are many boat brands in this particular market, Key West Boats offer good quality, well-built boats suitable for serious fishermen, water sport enthusiasts, or cruising with family and friends.