You could choose to get a cabin cruiser or you could choose to get a center console boat, but getting both in one platform is impossible. Or, is it? The Boston Whaler Realm models seek to deliver the best of both worlds. And while technically speaking these boats may not be one nor the other, they most certainly deliver the advantages of both cruisers and centers at the very same time. As we said in our 2021 Boston Whaler 380 Realm Walkthrough Review, “the iconic builder has really tried to think of everything.” Now in 2023, they’ve thought of even more.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm and 380 Realm Design
The basic layout and concept behind the Realms hasn’t changed: the boats have a centered helm, but rather than the console having side-decks to either side, it stretches all the way to the starboard gunwale and there’s a single side-deck to port. This allows Boston Whaler to incorporate a much larger cabin, but where these boats really shine is in the deck layout. Forward of the console there’s a large bowrider-style bow cockpit with large forward-facing loungers and wraparound seating. Aft of the helm the cockpit is wide-open so anglers can enjoy some fishing when the mood strikes, but there are aft-facing seats and fold-out transom seating for entertaining.
What about those cabins? In both models there’s a V-shaped combination settee/V-berth which can be converted for sitting or sleeping, a flat-screen TV, and a fully enclosed stand-up head compartment with shower aft. As one would expect there’s more room belowdecks in the 380, which has additional cabinetry and stowage space and a Corian countertop galley area.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm and 380 Realm Changes
One of the most significant changes for the new models is their look and feel. Boston Whaler modernized the cabin interior, changed the boat’s upholstery to bring it up to date, and added a new teak trim package. Helm switches and cockpit lighting have also been improved.
There’s also a lot of new tech now being incorporated into these boats. Simrad electronics systems are integrated at the helm and can be optioned-out for the type of boating you enjoy, whether that means adding a Halo radar for cruising, a 3-D Chirp sonar for fishing, or both and then some. There are also new engine options in the mix. You can still get a Realm with the Mercury Marine V8 Verados but now there’s also the option to get the new Mercury V10 outboards. (Triples in the case of the 350 Realm or quads on the 380, and 600-hp Mercury V12 outboards are also available on the 380).
Boston Whaler 350 Realm and 380 Realm Construction
Though the Realm series has a very different layout from other Boston Whaler boats, the construction is still their much-lauded and quite unique Unibond method. After the hull and liner are laid up they get mated, and bolted inside of another mold. Then closed-cell foam is pumped in-between the two under pressure. The foam fills all the cavities between the two fiberglass parts, chemically bonds with them, and when it cures you end up with a single-piece fiberglass-foam-fiberglass sandwich.
This method of construction is more expensive than most others, but it results in a structure that absorbs sound and vibrations, which improves the boat’s ride. It insulates each and every belowdeck compartment in the boat. And most importantly, it gives Boston Whalers their unsinkable claim to fame. With the foam throughout the boat it’s incredibly buoyant, and sinking one simply isn’t an option.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm and 380 Realm Features
These boats are jam-packed with goodies and gadgets, and the creative thinking of Boston Whaler’s engineers is evident from bow to stern. One excellent example is the seat behind the helm. At first glance it looks like any other aft-facing double-wide seat, but it hides a 230-quart cooler in the base. On most boats having coolers in the seats means you’ll often have to ask someone to move to get a fresh drink. In this case, however, Whaler designed in a lower entry hatch so you can access the cooler’s contents without having to swing up the seat bottom.
Other major features include an integrated electric grill, a refrigerator, a power-actuated windshield vent, 12-V and USB charging ports, and a Fusion Apollo multi-zone stereo system with eight speakers and two subwoofers. Air conditioning with reverse-cycle heat also comes standard, as do fishing basics like four flush-mounted rodholders and integrated fishboxes in the deck.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm and 380 Realm Performance
Just what sort of performance you’ll find in a 350 or 380 Realm depends quite a bit on which of the different power options you choose to go with it. In any case, however, Boston Whaler doesn’t send a boat out of the factory without ensuring some minimum standards — which are beyond the maximum standards of many other builders. Rigged with the least amount of power offered (triple 300s) the 350 Realm, for example, hits an eye-watering 55-mph and cruises at 4500 rpm at over 40 mph. Juice that up to triple 400s, and top-end breaks 58-mph. Or consider the 380 Realm with quad 400s, which out-paced the 60-mph mark during testing.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm Specifications
- Length Overall: 35’6”
- Beam: 10’10”
- Weight: 18,330 lbs.
- Draft: 2’1”
- Transom Deadrise: 23 degrees
- Max HP: 1200
- Fuel Capacity: 385 gal.
- Water Capacity: 45 gal.
Boston Whaler 380 Realm Specifications
- Length Overall: 38’0”
- Beam: 11’8”
- Weight: 23,500 lbs.
- Draft: 2’5”
- Transom Deadrise: 23 degrees
- Max HP: 1600
- Fuel Capacity: 445 gal.
- Water Capacity: 55 gal.
When the Realm series was initially introduced in 2017 it made some serious waves and in many ways introduced the world to an entirely new genre of combined-mission boats. Today there are a few copy-cats out there, but thanks to Boston Whaler’s savvy design and unique construction methods, the Realms remain one of a kind. And for 2023, they’re better than ever before.
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