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FLIBS Recap - The 15 Best Boats Coming in 2023

2023 Mystic M5200
The 2023 Mystic M5200

It was quite a week in Fort Lauderdale. With both the industry and consumers dizzy with excitement after a two year hiatus, To put it mildly, it was a veritable rush to experience everything on the docks. The BoatBlurb crew went tip to tail to uncover the Top 15 coming to the market in 2023, and there is no shortage of stunners on this year's list. Let's dive in.

1) Wellcraft 355

2023 Wellcraft 355
2023 Wellcraft 355

Wellcraft has entered a new era. The Cadillac, MI boat builder was a major name in the 80's under Bob Long and Irwin Jacobs, while Don Johnson, who played the imitable Sonny Crocket in the TV megahit Miami Vice, catapulted the brand into the mainstream with his Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV.

Now under the ownership of Groupe Beneteau since 2014, Wellcraft has been a constant presence, and is now poised to enter new territory that is a stark departure from their current catalog of center console fishing boats.

With a noticeable European flair from bow to stern, stylistically the all-new 355 brings to mind the aesthetics of some Scandinavian builders currently plotting the course for the next generation of midsize cruisers. The 355 isn't a slouch, either, with either triple Mercury or Yamaha outboards with a top speed over 50 knots (60 mph).

The Michael Peters designed yacht is designed "to go anywhere, to do anything" and it certainly appears the 355 will deliver on its promise. On top of her already obvious capabilities, the 355 will also boasts several smart utilitarian features, like a sliding helm door and dual side gates for access throughout the deck.

2) Sea Ray 260 SLX OB and 260 Surf

2023 Sea Ray 260 Surf
2023 Sea Ray 260 Surf

Sea Ray will be launching a wakesurfing boat in 2023. The all-new SLX 260 Surf will expand upon their already popular SLX lineup to provide a built-in platform for wakesurfing and other watersports.

The release coincides with their modus operandi of late as the luxury builder surprised boaters with the sudden release of the SLX 260 and SLX 260 outboard back in May. These new SLX 260 variations also mark an important turn for the highly regarded brand as they announced back in 2021 they would be following a new design philosophy for new models.

To create the perfect wake, the SLX 260 Surf will be powered by a Mercury MerCruiser 6.2L MPI ECT engine with a forward-facing Bravo Four S drive, integrated SmartCraft technology, and Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) controls. Working in tandem, electric surf tabs and ballast tanks control the height of the wave and produce a long or short pocket. Using a custom user interface, developed in partnership between Sea Ray, Mercury Marine and Simrad, surf settings can be adjusted with a touch of a button to accommodate specific watersports and riders’ preferences. Read More

3) Scout 400 LXF

2023 Scout 400 LXF
2023 Scout 400 LXF

Scout Boats will be launching three new models in the coming year - the 281 XSS, the 377 LXF, and the 400 LXF.

The 400 LXF is the real showstopper -- bringing a double-stepped hull crafted with Scout’s epoxy-infusion with carbon fiber/e-glass construction and an interior layout and cabin that's first rate among her competitors.

The 400 LXF boasts perks like a standard hydraulic port side beach platform with synthetic teak (ideal for boarding/de-boarding away from the transom and engines), and two standard Garmin 8616 touch screens at the helm. From the helm or with the key fob, owners can control features throughout the boat with the help of C-Zone digital switching technology. There’s also a standard Seakeeper 3 gyro stabilizer (with optional upgrades to a Seakeeper 5 or 6), electronically-actuated SureShade integrated retractable aft awning, and Scout’s electronically-actuated articulating rocket launchers.

(take a virtual tour of the new 400 LXF by clicking below)

4) Cruisers 50 GLS

2023 Cruisers 50 GLS
2023 Cruisers 50 GLS

Wisconsin's Cruisers Yachts has made a big splash at FLIBS with the launch of a new flagship- the 50 GLS. The new platform will serve as the largest offering in Cruisers' GLS lineup. The highly regarded brand has made several notable moves in the last two years -- most notably their acquisition by Florida-based MarineMax for $63 million in May 2021.

As for the new 50 GLS, she will carry a 52'4" LOA (16 m) with a 14'6" beam (4.4 m) and a draught of 34" (up) and 47" (down).

Power will come via triple Mercury 600 Verados paired with Simrad electronics and joystick docking. In classic Cruisers style, the 50 GLS’ will have an open-concept cockpit that balances functionality with entertainment. There are multiple seating options between the bow lounge, a midship L-shaped seating area, two aft-facing L-shaped seating areas, and additional bench seating. Read More

5) Tiara 43 LE

2022 Tiara 43 LE
2022 Tiara 43 LE

We tested the new Tiara 43 LE earlier this summer, and suffice to say, it was a pleasurable experience. With 1200 horsepower courtesy of twin Mercury 600 Verados, it was staggering how quickly and how smoothly she got on plane. In the words of our tester Rick Layzell, "The 43 LE or ‘Luxury Express’ is the first in the series, and after this experience we can’t wait to see what Tiara has up their sleeve next. The LE is a multi-purpose craft, akin to a Swiss Army knife, as it answers so many needs and wants. She’s a stunning day boat, a dream entertainer, a beautiful overnighter and an all-round playful performer. She is exceptionally well appointed with craftsmanship exuding from every curve inside and out. And boy is she fun to drive!"

See our full boat review.

6) Regal LX 36

2023 Regal LX 36
2023 Regal LX 36

The motivation behind Regal's new LX 36 is clearly to bring the luxury of a yacht into a midsize bowrider package. According to the company itself, the new ride is "thirty-six feet of dynamic comfort technology advancements and new ways of thinking merge for the ultimate day yachting experience." Yes please.

The LX 36 boasts an expansive retractable hardtop, windshield walk-thru, and side windows for an open-air day experience. But, if things turn dicey, the all-electronic hardtop can be closed with ease, allowing you to enclose the helm for private time.

One of her neatest features is a complete co-captain experience including a 16" 'Companion Screen' that allows the second in command to also control navigation, systems data, media, and more. Another handy must-have is the quarterberth and mattress hidden beneath the flip-up starboard bow. The area is both washable and air conditioned, so it adds a handy hideaway for extra passengers staying overnight or soggy gear that can't sit below deck.

(take a virtual tour of the new LX 36 by clicking below)

7) Yamaha 275 SDX

2023  Yamaha 275 SDX
2023 Yamaha 275 SDX

Serving as Yamaha's flagship for 2023, the new 275 SDX will come standard with Yamaha's new DRiVE X control system. he system uses two paddles on either side of the steering wheel for the drive to access and offers four modes aside from the low-speed maneuvering of the paddles- Lateral Mode (for direct sideways movement), Pivot Mode (when enabled, turn the steering wheel more than 85% for a tight rotation), Dock Hold (side thrust will hold the boat against the dock), and High Mode (when enabled, RPMs are increased for added thrust).

Paired with a spacious customizable stern lounge with swim-up seating, a hard top for sun protection, and premium features throughout, the 2023 Yamaha 275SDX is the embodiment of Yamaha's future design stylings. Read More

8) Boston Whaler 280 Dauntless

2023 Boston Whaler 280 Dauntless
2023 Boston Whaler 280 Dauntless

The 280 Dauntless will sport a new look from the keel up for 2023, including a sleeker hull style and a multitude of new tech. The new 280 will also serve as the flagship for the Dauntless series, which also includes the 220 and 250 sizes.

Typical of all Whaler designs, the 280 is more than a bay boat and brings an intelligent layout catering to cruising, fishing, and watersports. There is an equal array of both offshore and inshore capability, as seen with its classic hull shape and mixed with an entertainment and comfort-focused interior. According to Mark Robinson, the program manager at BW, “Some boaters wanted a crossover boat, equally at home in back bays, a bit offshore and everywhere in between, and Dauntless delivered." Can't argue with that.

9) Mystic M5200

2023 Mystic M5200
2023 Mystic M5200

Mystic needs no introduction as they have a long history atop the performance boat segment. The M5200 can hardly be described, but try as we might, she can be summed up one simple word -- stunner. The new flagship M5200 is an eye-popping blend of performance and luxury that might be unrivaled for 2023. With a 52' LOA, a 14' beam, and a dry weight of 26,500 lbs, the transom on the M5200 is packed with up to quad Mercury 600's generating 2400 horsepower to an off-shore proven design. You can also get a 450 hp configuration with four, five, or even six engines.

If you can slow down long enough to take a closer look, her interior detail is immaculate. Everything from the stitching on the upholstery to the bow lounge configuration shows an obvious focus on the finer details.

(take a virtual tour of the new M5200 by clicking below)

10) Formula 387 CCF

2023 Formula 387 CCF
2023 Formula 387 CCF

One of boating's most iconic brands is back in the center console business. Formula dabbled in center console designs during the late 70's and early 80's, but now appears primed to make an earnest re-introduction to the category with the launch of the 387 Center Console Fish (CCF) and Center Console Sport (CCS).

The new models fall into Formula's ultra-popular Crossover series, which also includes standouts like the 380 SSC and their flagship 500 Super Sport Crossover. The new 387 CCF a offer a mix of old school Formula style paired with a modern SSC template, all wrapped up with an impressive list of fishing features. It's a bold statement by Formula as they enter into the growing fishing category, but their status and reputation will no doubt serve them well.

The 387 CCF will carry an LOA of 38'7", a 12' beam, 23° of deadrise, and utilize Formula's legendary FAS3TECH inspired hull. She will be powered with a choice of Mercury and Mercury Racing outboard options, including triple Mercury Verado 300's, triple Mercury Racing 450R's, or twin Mercury 600 Verados Read More

(take a virtual tour of the new 387 CCF by clicking below)

11) Chaparral 250 OSX

2023 Chaparral 250 OSX
2023 Chaparral 250 OSX

The new 250 OSX from Chaparral is exactly what you'd expect from one of the world's premier fiberglass manufacturers, and that's a good thing. With twin Simrad 7" displays highlithing an impressive helm station, an electric folding EFX wakeboard tower, a custom bimini top, a JL audio system, and a huge aft lounge, there isn't much you can't do with this luxury bowrider. Family, fun, watersports, it's all on the table. Other perks include a windlass anchor with a stainless plow anchor, docking lights, premium gelcoat with hydropol resin, and a lifetime hull warranty, so you know she's meant to be used. Power comes via the trusted Yamaha four stroke 250XSB outboard, and with a 26'6" LOA on an 8'6" beam it will undoubtedly deliver the ride and performance owners demand from the Georgia-based brand.

(take a virtual tour of the 250 OSX by clicking below)

12) Pursuit S 248

2023 Pursuit S 248
2023 Pursuit S 248

Not to be confused with the dazzling flagship 428 they released in 2020, The all-new S 248 will replace Pursuit's previous C238, bringing with it 12 more inches of length and a lot more in terms of entertainment and functionality.

An enlarged swim platform is an obvious perk, not to mention an oversized hardtop with a full windscreen. Whether you're enjoying a day of family fun or you're after the catch of the day, the S 248 offers an excellent balance. Rod holders throughout, multiple fish boxes, in-floor storage, and a recirculating livewell will encourage your angling adventures. Other subtle yet handy features include an adjustable transom bench, a molded transom walkthrough, and a concealed helm toilet. Digital electronic throttle and shift with standard trim tabs make the S 248 a smooth and responsive ride, and a single Yamaha outboard in a variety of configurations delivers a solid punch, all within a respectable MSRP that will draw the attention of boaters across the spectrum.

(take a virtual tour of the S 248 by clicking below)

13) Chris-Craft Calypso 27

2023 Chris-Craft Calypso 27
2023 Chris-Craft Calypso 27

One of the longest standing players in the game, Chris-Craft rarely, if ever, misses the mark. Which is why readers and future owners will be confident that the new Calypso 27 continues to maintain the gold standard of the almighty Florida brand.

When it comes to a Chris-Craft, some things are certain -- vintage style paired with modern tech, a plush interior, and a robust hull that exudes confidence on the water. The Calypso 27 is all that and more, with an ultra-lux helm station and a classic-chique interior that matches modern tech like Mercury Smartchart Premier controls and a 12" Garmin display with classic features like a teek steering wheel with stainless steel accents throughout. In other words, it's an "old meets new" modern classic. Teek accents are tastefully added from bow to stern, not to mention a host of new electronic features like a custom Chris-Craft digital home screen and cZone digital switching.

You know the ride will be smooth, and by all accounts the Calypso 27 will enjoy a smooth entrance into the market.

(take a virtual tour of the Calypso 27 by clicking below)

14) Fountain 38 SCX

2023 Fountain 38 SCX
2023 Fountain 38 SCX

You can expect big activity from Fountain in 2023. Iconic Marine Group, who own the Fountain brand as well as Donzi and NauticStar, were very active in the marketplace in 2022. The all-new 38SCX seems to be a byproduct of this resurgence -- and consumers are tickled to see it.

The all-new platform features a classic Fountain double-step positive lift hull, backed by a plethora of power options -- everything from triple Mercury 450R's to quad Mercury 400's. On a performance driven hull with an LOA of 38'4" and a 10'6" beam, no one is expecting the 38SCX to be driven modestly. There's a surprising addition of luxury features as well- including a next-gen T-top, premium six colour upholstery, and Marine Mat flooring. Tech-wise, she's full from bow to stern with a powered high-low table in the bow, inverter-powered A/C in the cockpit, dual 17" Garmin displays, Mercury VesselView monitoring, and an optional 5KW generator for those looking to turn their performance boat into an overnighter.

(take a virtual tour of the 38 SCX by clicking below)

15) Blackfin 232 DC

2023 Blackfin 232 DC
2023 Blackfin 232 DC

Small but mighty, the all-new 232 DC from Blackfin is 'the little engine that could' on our list. After Blackfin went for the gusto with their new flagship 400CC earlier in 2022, now they've turned their eyes to the delightfully versatile 232 DC.

With a 21'6" LOA and an 8'6" beam, the 232 DC is right in the wheelhouse for many trailering boaters who want to mix fishing adventures with family day cruising. A smartly designed crossover hull, it comes standard with U-shaped bot seating, custom helm seats, an 18 gallon livewell, stainless steel rod holders across the gunnels and transom, a Fusion stereo with JL Audio speakers, a telescoping swim ladder, and a cockpit that serves both anglers and family captains incredibly well.

Other tidy perks include a 45 qt Yeti cooler, dual 12v USB outlets, weatherproofed electronics, a Garmin 8610 GPS chartplotte, a Garmin B60 600 watt transducer, and digital monitoring. It may be on the shorter end of boats on this list, but Blackfin is making long strides towards the forefront of the crossover market.

(Take a virtual tour of the 232 DC by clicking below)

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