Southport Boats: Southport 30 FE
New 30' center-console model
Southport Boats is originally from North Carolina, but they have more than made their mark here in Maine. Their smooth-riding line of mid-sized, outboard-powered craft is Maine-built by Maine craftspeople on hulls that wrap a C. Raymond Hunt deep-V pedigree around solid construction for an offshore fishing machine that’s also great for family cruising.
The company has been building in Maine since 2011, and in 2017 they moved into a brand-new 140,000-square-foot facility in Gardiner. What better place to launch a brand-new model than from a brand-new shop?
The Southport 30 FE is that model, and it made its debut in the fall of 2019. Positioned in the middle of the company’s lineup, it’s an evolution of the outgoing Southport 292, so it will feel comfortably familiar to those who are moving up from the 292 or something similar in size, but aren’t ready to make the jump to the larger boats in the Southport lineup. With that said, the 30 FE (F is for Family, E is for Edition) also has many features derived from the company’s larger models, all geared toward making a package that’s suitable both for family day-trips, perhaps to the beach or to check out a new harbor, and for more hardcore offshore fishing.
The FE splits the difference in center-console layout. For fishing, the lack of obstructions around the console and cockpit area make it easy to follow a fish where it takes you. For more family-
oriented pursuits, additional seating and table features will be welcome.
On any center console, the forward cockpit is just as important as the aft cockpit. The FE’s forward seating offers ample storage and a comfortable place to lounge, and is convertible into a sunbathing area or a casting platform.
Aft of the console, the FE has all-new features too. These include an insulated transom fish box (in addition to the classic floor boxes) to keep the catch fresh on the ride home. Plus, the 30 FE debuts a new feature, one that’s available also on the 33 FE: newly designed “mezzanine” seating. There’s also a comfortable, good-looking aft-facing seat from which to watch the baits streaming behind or just enjoy the view. Rear swim decks make getting in and out of the water a breeze after a swim on a hot day. Optional is an “entertainment package,” which includes an electric grill—really fresh fish tacos, anyone?—and a refrigerator for the icy beverages to go with them.
The company calls the FE line the “SUV of the ocean.” While no one boat can be all things to all people, for families and fishermen, the Southport 30 FE comes close.
Gretchen Piston Ogden is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer who splits her time between Maine and points south.
Southport 30 FE
Beam: 10' 6"
Weight (Estimated): 8,000 lbs. w/o engines
Standard Power: Twin Yamaha F300s
South Gardiner, ME