July 06, 2012
Exclusive photos from FS staff
North Carolina's Aegis Boats acquired the time-tested McKee Craft hulls to construct its line of 17- to 28-foot center consoles. So far, law enforcement officers, recreational anglers and military personnel have all found applications for the unsinkable fiberglass vessels.
The Aegis 18CC is a manageable 18-footer with the storage and comforts of a larger center console. Top features include a forward casting platform that doubles as family seating. For fishing there's two 44-gallon, aerated livewells with LED lighting, a 214-quart fishbox, saltwater washdown and stainless hardware.
We also cover the Aegis 24CC in depth. Hunt James, of Aegis Boats, expects the 24-footer to be the bread-and-butter hull of their line. It's versatile inshore and offshore, though with the option to hang single or duel engines, it'll probably spend more time offshore.
Florida Sportsman staffers tested the two boats on the churned-up St. Lucie River. Both boats performed well and cut through chop at speeds. Check out the individual boat specifications and detailed photos below.
Aegis Unsinkable Boats
205 Industrial Drive
Bladenboro, NC 28320
Length Overall: 24'
Beam: 8' 6”
Fuel capacity: 180 gallons
Dry weight: 3,300 pounds
Maximum horsepower: 400 hp
Transom deadrise: 24.5 degrees
Interior freeboard: 27”
Aegis 24 CC
At the bow, there are plenty of fishing comforts. At top, anchor locker, flush cleats and running lights. Below, coaming pad, grabrails and a step that folds down into place. Disregard the dirt on the deck, this boat was fresh from a boat show that received heavy traffic.
In front of the center console cooler, there's storage large enough for a small man. Storage compartments are lipped to curb water intrusion.
Center console comes with ENGEL cooler and padded seating for two. Scott Knowles, of Aegis boats, mans the controls.
Open the compartment between the forward console pads to reach the battery switches. This boat was rigged with three batteries.
Inside the console, there's room for a head, though it's not standard. Full size door makes it easy to enter.
Electronics wiring is clean and easy to reach inside the console. Notice, even the cup holders drain excess water.
Scott Knowles at the controls. There's plenty of room for a full array of electronics and gauges. At right, the switches and breakers are aligned and easy to reach.
Console T-top provides storage space and rod holders. Overhead storage handles life jackets, while up front, there's lockable storage for valuables.
Scott gives the 24-footer some speed, after making a turn on the St. Lucie River. The 24-footer was fresh from a boat show, and Scott and Hunt James were excited to run the boat to break in the new Yamaha engines.
At the helm, bench seating for two, along with rod holders. The cockpit is self-bailing and features a flush deck surface from bow to stern. Hull construction is 100 percent composite, so there are no issues with wood rot.
Console prep station on the back of the leaning post includes an oversize 52-gallon, re-circulating livewell, storage and tackle drawers, and a handrail.
At left, a 300-quart insulated fishbox for your catch. At right, transom door opens wide to a swim platform to bring in your catch.
A bench seat folds up for extra sitting area, while the coaming pad doubles as a backrest. Otherwise, the bench hangs stationary under the gunnel. This boat was rigged with dual Yamaha 150s, but can handle up to 400 horsepower. Single-engine power is an available option.
Never enough rod holders—and that's the truth. These in-gunnel holders line the transom for easy access.
And Scott is off into the sunset, throwing water away from the boat as he goes. The Aegis hulls stem from time-tested McKee Craft molds. The solid hulls are foam-filled and unsinkable.
Length Overall: 18' 4”
Fuel capacity: 65 gallons
Dry weight: 1,750 pounds
Maximum horsepower: 175 hp
Transom deadrise: 18 degrees
Interior freeboard: 21”
Base Price with Yamaha 150: $36,500
Up front, the anchor locker is all business. Danforth anchor sits in a custom bracket, keeping tangles to a minimum.
The 18-footer features an elevated forward casting platform, plus the entire platform serves as storage space. Recessed handrails curve along the edges.
Hunt James, President of Aegis Boats, handles the controls. In the background, notice the 24-footer. In front of the console, an Engel cooler doubles as extra seating with help from back and butt pads. Interior freeboard is 21 inches.
What a clean helm station, just add your choice of electronics. Notice the stainless steel steering wheel with power knob and hydraulic steering.
Below the cup holders sits a SPOT HUG keypad. The SPOT HUG unit is a satellite security device that helps keep track of your boat from anywhere. The main unit sits inside the anchor well.
The T-top features lockackle rod storage, rod holders, and storage for life jackets.
Hunt James puts the 18-footer through its initial testing. That 18-footer was fresh from a boat show and had never been dunked in salt water. Hull construction is 100 percent composite.
Beside the console is extra tackle storage. The entire cockpit is self-bailing.
A view from the inside of the console. At left, the red storage compartments are the back-ends of the tackle storage. Plus, batteries and access to wiring is simple.
Front right, helm seat with rod holders. Plus, notice the extra seats at the corners for sun bathers. Maximum horsepower on the 18-footer is 175.
Hunt James removes a seat cushion to reveal extra storage.
Storage can be plumbed as an extra livewell. In fact, the boat can feature two 44-quart livewells with LED lighting and a 30-gallon oval livewell at the helm seat.
Bilge-access hatch leads to bilge and livewell pumps. Hatch seal is watertight.
Step ladder is perfect for divers and swimmers, a nice feature on an 18-foot center console.
At night, light up the water. Stern underwater LEDs match the dark blue color of the hull. Different hull colors are available.
FS Classics, May 2011