The Coastal Explorer line from Grady White is somewhat of a departure from the type of boat you might expect from Grady White. The 251 CE more specifically takes the ride elements of their larger offshore models and merges it with the fish friendliness of a more inshore coastal boat. The result is a bay style boat that will sneak you into 14-inches of water to chase inshore gamefish after having comfortably crossed a nasty expanse of open water to do so.
To accomplish this, Grady White starts with their SeaV2 “Continual Variable Vee” deadrise hull. A sharp deadrise entry beginning at the stem softens your ride and falls back to 30-degrees amidships then terminates at 20-degrees on the transom providing stability at rest. The strakes on the bottom work in tandem with a down angle chine to divert water flow and spray away from the boat. In rougher water, any spray that gets past the chines is met with a generous bow flare for minimal spray above the rub rail.
The forward deck suggests a serious fishing platform at first glance but the family cruising crowd has not been overlooked either. A roomy forward seating/casting deck made possible by dropping a filler piece over the center deck is large enough for two anglers to not feel crowded. Port and starboard insulated 74-quart fish boxes meet an anchor storage locker in the center deck. A forward hatch reveals a very useful access ladder for easy boarding while your bow is beached on a sandbar. Add cushions to the bow seating area and a sun lounge appears with removable backrests. Raise the filler panel to serve as a table for drinks or dining just forward of the front console seat. Drop the table in the same location to create an additional sun lounge.
For both style and to create additional space on deck, Grady White integrates their hard top into the console rather than to the deck. This along with a full height wraparound glass enclosure provides superb visibility and a streamlined profile. The starboard side-entry console is large enough to stand in and accommodates a head while providing a great deal of storage space.
A fiberglass helm station lean bar features a backrest with four rod holders, lockable tackle storage and a 25-gallon live well. The aft casting deck is elevated and offers two wide seats outboard of a center 51-quart insulated storage compartment. Both seats have flip-up backrests and cushions can be added or removed as necessary. A second retractable swim ladder on the port transom provides an additional route to the water.
The Grady White 251 CE rigged with a trolling motor forward and PowerPole anchor system might not look vastly different from other bay boats you’ve seen on the water but a ride on her could make you think otherwise. If you’re looking for a seaworthy hull capable of handling fast tides and unfriendly open water environments, that will get you into the inshore game as well, this boat is certainly up to the task.
Grady White 251 CE specifications:
Length: 24 feet 7 inches
Beam: 8 feet 6 inches
Draft: 14 inches
Cockpit depth: 21 inches
Transom deadrise: 16 degrees (30 degrees amidships)
Weight: 3550 pounds (w/o power)
Fuel: 78 gallons
Maximum horsepower: 300
Base price: $110,000.00