Boston Whaler introduced the 320 Outrage to boaters nearly 15 years ago, at an interesting time in the builder’s history. If you look at the lineup of Whaler models today—including the flagship 420 Outrage—you can see exactly how the 320 Outrage helped to set the stage for modern Whaler designs.
Up until the late 1980s, the 13-foot Whaler and 16-foot Montauk had dominated the Boston Whaler story. Most of us think of those boats as classics, comprising the brand’s entire history leading up to the present. But there was a period of transition—and most Whaler fans are happy to forget it. In the late 1980s, the sneaker gurus at Reebok bought Boston Whaler for $45 million. They retooled designs in what boaters felt were aggressively creative ways, and then slammed head-on into the early 1990s U.S. recession. Reebok had to sell the Whaler business for just $20 million.
The next owners didn’t fare much better. It wasn’t until 1996, when Brunswick Corp. took over the brand, that Boston Whaler began to regain boaters’ trust.
Enter the Boston Whaler 320 Outrage in 2003. The stage was set for an eager audience of hopeful, longtime fans, and the 320 fast became a star. Magazines at the time said—no, practically gushed—that the model marked a whole new course for the builder. Boston Whaler was back.
Whaler fans were impressed not only with design elements like a steeper deadrise and sharper entry that enhanced the ride, but also with the added creature comforts that the Whaler team had included. Softer, smarter touches were just starting to become fashionable on boats at the time—because wives were starting to have more of a say in whether their husbands bought the boats at all. Thus, the first iteration of the 320 Outrage had not only stowage compartments for more than 30 rod and reel combinations, but also comfortable, adjustable seating for the skipper as well as the guests.
A few years later, Boston Whaler built on the creature comforts side of the equation with the debut of a 320 Outrage Cuddy Cabin. It was identical to the original center console design from the helm station aft, but the Cuddy Cabin included even more family-friendly features for spending weekends out on the water.
For instance, the cabin could hold a VacuFlush toilet, a wet head for showers and a U-shaped seating area that converted into a V-berth for two. Back up top, the hardtop extended farther forward—covering much of the bow where the wives and kids might hang out. A top-loading refrigerator/freezer gave families a place to pack sandwiches and snacks.
Whaler fans loved it, so much so that in autumn 2009, the builder began production on what it called “the next generation” 320 Outrage. The cockpit got a little roomier, as did the walkaround space that surrounds the center console. A fold-out stern bench seat added a spot for the kids’ friends to sit, and a telescoping swim ladder could get everybody in and out of the water more easily. A “deluxe leaning post” was offered for hard-core anglers, while a “summer kitchen leaning post” was optional for families wanting an electric grill, bigger sink and paper-towel holder.
Other noteworthy options on the next-generation 320 Outrage included a misting system around the hardtop for hot days, underwater lighting for fun nights, and a forward cocktail table for grabbing a beer whenever the mood struck. Such add-ons were a harbinger of Whaler’s current era, in which the builder constantly finds ways to add yacht-like features into small-boat packages. Boston Whaler’s flagship model today is the 420 Outrage, which premiered in late 2014. It has seven feet of headroom in the cabin, skylights to allow in natural light, and a choice of interior décor packages that would’ve made stylish buyers back in the early 2000s swoon.
The last of the 320 Outrages were built for the 2015 model year, just before the 330 Outrage debuted. The final phase in the 320 Outrage story is thus beginning on the brokerage market, with more than 50 for sale at the time of this writing.
The base price for the 320 Outrage in 2010 was a hair over $200,000 with dual 250 CXXL DTS Mercury Verado four-stroke engines. Today, you can pick up a 2010 version for about $175,000—showing just how much these boats retain their value after a number of years on the water. The newest brokerage models go as high as $250,000, while the oldest models from the early 2000s can sometimes be had for less than $100,000.
At any price, one thing is for sure: Owning a 320 Outrage is like owning a piece of Boston Whaler history.
If you think a 320 Outrage might be right for you, visit these current listings.