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For 2014, this Ridgeville, South Carolina builder offers twenty-nine models from over fifteen to almost twenty-four feet in length in five series of Bay Reef, Center Console, Dual Console, Skiff, and one twenty-one foot Walk Around model. The 203 DFS is the mid-size of five Dual Console models ranging from eighteen to twenty-three feet.
For example, seating in the 203 DFS is most certainly geared more toward family and watersports and cruising with a huge L-shaped lounge seat which stretches from immediately behind the driver’s swivel and adjustable bucket seat with flip-up bolster down the starboard side around and completely across the transom. The starboard side portion of the swim platform houses a molded-in, hinged-lid ice chest which of course could act as a cooler for beverages or for fish or perhaps even for both. Ahead of the curved, full windshield with walk-thru opening centre section, the U-shaped bow seating is most family oriented with full cushions, surrounding padded backrest bolsters, recessed speakers for the standard MP3 port equipped standard stereo, and handy cupholders. Other notable standard features of the 203 DFS include a molded, non-skid, self-draining inner cockpit liner, pull-up cleats, four stainless steel rod holders, both fresh water and raw water washdowns, horizontal gunwale rod storage, and Sea Star hydraulic steering.
Maximum 200 horsepower single outboard power is available for the 203 DFS and factory recommended power is 115 to 150 horsepower. Key West Boats may be a new player in the game, but these American boats are winning over customers with models like the Key West 189FS.
Key West Boats has taken a different approach to selling its boats into Australia compared to the what happens with most American boats. Operating from its factory in South Carolina, Key West Boats is a significant player in the US boats scene and employs traditional construction methods with high-tech materials.
When Steve Quigley, head of a successful Sydney naval architectural business, went looking for a new boat for his growing family, he had a fairly specific list of features in mind. Take one look at the low lines and sculptured styling of the Key West Boats 189FS and its American heritage is obvious. In the bow, for example, is a covered locker that has a slot for the anchor to sit in, making it easy to deploy and stopping it from banging around. The anchor locker sits in a wide forepeak that would be helpful when boarding from the front. Forward of the console is a twin forward-facing seat over an insulated well that serves as a killtank, another cooler or just general storage.
With the console moulding reaching to chest height, the screen above is high enough to offer protection from the breeze when standing. The dash’s sloping panel is fitted with an Icom VHF radio, a Harmon Karden Bluetooth sound system and a small digital but analogue-look gauge for the 140hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard.
I’m led to believe the "FS" identifier in Key West 189FS comes from its Family Sportsman style, but it could just as easily be for its Fish and Ski capability. The bow section is quite sharp and well raked for a smooth entry, but the hull flattens stern of amidships and utilises a pad bottom flat keel at the aft extremity to improve planing and increase top-end speeds.


With a base price of $A52,450 landed and ready to register, the Key West 189FS is good value boat. The item you are attemping to add to compare is a different subtype to the items(s) in your list.
In fact, “All Key West Boats have closed cell foam flotation exceeding USCG regulations. With its full padded backrest, this lounge would comfortably seat four and even six if necessary.
Notable available factory optional equipment includes trim tabs, tilt steering wheel, cockpit table, a choice of six hull colours, two available electronics selections, plus several canvas enclosure and cover options including a choice of aluminum or stainless steel bimini top supports. Rather than have an importer and a network of distributors, Key West Boats sells to its clients direct.
His credentials include redesigning the hull of Sydney Hobart winning super maxi Wild Oats, so he is well-versed in how a boat should be designed and built.
Right through the Key West Boats 189FS are innovative touches that leave quite an impression. Without a lot of spare room at the transom lounge, cupholders are placed into the sidedeck along with the rodholders. There’s no roller for the anchor, just a popup cleat to tie to, which keeps thing neat and the area  clutter-free.
Centre consoles are popular for their efficient use of space and easy movement around the cockpit, but they also provide good waterproof storage options.
A stainless steel bar around the top section protects the screen and offers security for passengers when the boat is underway. A GPS aerial connects to the Suzuki smart gauges for accurate readouts of speed and distances travelled.
In its forward-facing layout it offers either a comfortable seated position or a solid leaning post for standing. It attaches in four places and looks well-braced and strong enough to withstand the stresses of a large boarder. The result should be a hull that planes easily, is stable at rest and have reasonably good performance in a seaway.
Stability at rest is exemplary, the Key West planed at 13kts and once there the Suzuki 140 performed extremely well, driving us to more than 35kts in flat water. As tested, the price with options like the sound system, smart gauges, ski tower and bimini took the bill to $A56,750 with an Australian-specified trailer.?For NZ prices, contact Key West Direct.
The backrest of the extreme portside end of this lounge at the transom hinges open providing easy access to the molded swim platform which itself features a recessed, folding, telescoping three-step stainless steel boarding ladder.


The Quigleys decided on a sporty 17ft (5.2m) centre console fishing boat and so his wife Tarnia set about searching the Australian market for the new toy, without success. Also forward is a raised deck covered in a neatly upholstered cushion with seating for two. This one has stowage accessed through a door on the port side and there’s an option for a larger console big enough for an optional chemical toilet – a much-wanted feature when the family tags along. The digital throttle and shift control are dash mounted to the side of a stainless steel wheel and I found both well positioned and light to operate.
Faced backwards, it combines with the full-width transom lounge to form a handy conversation nook or a great place for a couple of quiet drinks at anchor. Transom lounge seat cushions can be removed to reveal a casting deck for fishing or stay in place for partying. An extending ladder is moulded into a small boarding step so along with a grab handle, climbing back on board should be easy. We didn’t encounter anything too challenging in the way of big seas, but over wake and small swell the boat’s ride was forgiving and the absence of creaks, groans and flex was testament to the hull’s build quality.
More storage is found within the driver’s helm console plus under the extreme portside transom section of the lounge seat.
As is often the case, it was the wife who tracked down the boat of their dreams when she found Key West Boats Direct and a sporty little centre console. Steps moulded into the sides here assist boarding or for when it’s used as a casting platform, while a hatch in the deck swings open to reveal a large storage bin. Lucky there’s a giant icebox under the helm seat, and it should be big enough to cater for the family for a full day on the water. For fishing, a central livebait tank finished in fish-calming blue is located centrally on the deck, while another insulated storage hatch to port could be for dry stowage or a second killtank.
Handling was sporty and precise and I could find no vices at speed or in manoeuvring slowly to the dock.
Under the centre section of this transom seat is a large recirculating livewell with a high speed pickup. Beneath the entire starboard side of this lounge seat is storage of sufficient length to handle watersports accessories such as skis, wakeboards, etc. The Key West 203 DFS certainly would seem to have all of the above very much in its sights.



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