Review: Shearwater 250 Carolina XTE bay boat:

Review: Shearwater 250 Carolina XTE bay boat:

Review: What we like about the Shearwater 250 Carolina XTE bay boat:

Performance and comfortable ride: Its hull is designed with a nice Carolina flare in the front to keep you dry. Offshore performance is great for a bay boat. It’s comfortable in 2 foot seas and if the seas kick up to 3 foot I still feel safe, especially a following sea. It’s all about deadrise and hull design. The wide 8’6” beam contributes to the boat’s stability and gives enough room to fight a fish all the way around the boat. This boat with a Mercury 350 Verado can approach 60 mph. I like the newer Mercury design as you can check the oil without removing the cowling.

Stability: Shearwaters are not tippy compared to lighter boats. Meaning, if someone moves, the boat doesn’t move. If you set down a drink it won’t spill when someone moves. This is a huge asset for me.

Solid construction: Constructed of high-strength, closed-cell foam injected between outer and inner fiberglass hulls, for a better cushioned and quieter ride in rough conditions.

Draft for inshore fishing: Fish skinny water with this boat. The draft is 13-16 inches depending on the load.

Large fishing deck area forward and aft. The aft area has a seat for two passengers that folds down to use the aft deck for fishing.

Aft lips: There is about a 2 inch upper extension around the back aft and starboard area so if you set something down while the boat is moving you won’t lose it overboard off the back. It’s also a good toe grip if you are fighting a fish on the aft area.

Wide gunwales big enough for your feet, with a lip and nonskid so you won’t slip. This comes in handy when pulling out the outriggers.

Hardware: Sturdy pop up cleats and latches for deck storage.

Color choice: Plenty of colors to choose from! Certain colors are additional but won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Shearwater also matches the color scheme for the underside of the T-Top, optional matching console color, plus upholstery color accents making for a beautiful, head-turning boat.

Features (some are standard, some optional):

T Top with misters to cool you when loading the boat or trolling! Plus bright spreader lights with lighting color choices. Nice shade from the sun! Plenty of space to install an ICOM VHF and command mike! Quality built from BT’s Welding, with aluminum and powder-coat options. You can order an upper station.

Rails: The T top has hand rails for passenger comfort.

Deck Storage: Plenty of below deck storage to keep the gear. Some are deep enough for a bucket. We can take this boat remote camping with 3 tents, food and cooking appliances and still have space to walk around the boat or go fishing with all the gear on board!

Console storage: Storage at Driver and helm side to store things for easy access. Storage in the T Top. Just behind the console seat there are doors where you can store standard-sized plastic tackle box trays for easy access to lures, sinkers and hooks.

Live Wells: One behind the helm seat with see through lid, one aft in the middle and one on the front deck. If you don’t need to use all you can use for storage or as a cooler.

Rod Storage: Plenty of rod holders just behind the console seat and on the T-Top if ordered. There is below-deck rod storage on the deck aft and starboard compartments with a racking system.

Comfort: Coaming pads so I don’t bruise my knees fighting a fish. Helm seats that fold back so you can stand or sit. Foot rests. The Gator Step pad at the foot of the helm helps preserve your energy so your feet don’t get sore from standing.

Charging station for your phone with USB.

Stereo: Listen to radio or your phone’s music while you enjoy the waters.

Switches: Easily identified so you know what switch works for what, plus the lighting makes them easy to see at night.

Coolers: We use the storage on the aft starboard side as a cooler. The seat in front of the console opens to use as a cooler. I like multiple coolers as you can use one to put fish in and one for your food and drinks.

Convenience: Drink holders accessible from console, aft and forward.

Seating: Fold down aft seats so people can sit while running then can stand on it closed when fishing. Helm seats also fold down or up. You can put one person on the forward seat, 2 on the helm seat and 2 aft.  

Console: I like a console with a side door to access while boat is underway (with a front opening, once you lift it the driver can’t see). It also has space for a portable head and has lighting. The top of the console has a lip for things you need for easy access or fishing.

LED Underwater lights, aft: Great for shrimping, bullynetting lobster or seeing what’s under the water at night. They also look cool at the dock.

Working Station: You can opt for a working station with places to put your knives and pliers just above the live baitwell behind the console seat.

Outriggers: Great for trolling! Shearwater can install rotating mount holders such as GS 390’s from TACO on the T Top. Just bring your outrigger poles when fishing offshore or leave them at home if fishing inshore. If you want to go fishing offshore you need outriggers. TACO makes aluminum and light weight graphite poles that collapse for transportation and slide out when you are ready to use. They can also provide the rigging kit.

Swim platform with fold down ladder: Great for diving and swimming!

Forward anchor storage: Keep your anchor out of the way and have it handy to use.

Other Equipment:

Power-Pole: One is good, two is best – deploy both or one with a push of a button so you don’t have to throw an anchor in the front to keep the boat from shifting when live baiting. With Power-Pole you can stealth the fish, push the button and they deploy quietly! Also good for docking. With this Shearwater you can have two Power-Poles and still have the aft swim platform with ladder for swimming or diving.

Bob’s Jack Plate: This is a MUST for raising or lowering the entire engine to get in and out of skinny water or for performance with the push of a button.

VHF: Plenty of space on the T Top for your VHF. We prefer ICOM.

Electronics: Plenty of space on the console for electronics for display 9 or 12 inch or even two machines. We love our Lowrance electronics to navigate and see the fish with the depth sounder.

Gauges: Plenty of space on the console for gauges that tell you when there is a problem as well as status.

Magic Tilt Trailer with brakes: Quality built so you can depend on your trailer to get you to the ramp.

The Shearwater 250 Carolina is built by American Marine Sports, Groveland, FL. The Carolina versions go from 25 to 27 ft. They also build Blackwood and Sterling models. Their website is

To see our photos of the Shearwater 25 Carolina XTE, the Official Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing Boat:

Some of Shearwater’s other boats have similar features or options.