Take a Baja Marine 247 Islander bowrider, remove the rear swim platform and replace it with an outboard bracket and a 250-hp four-stroke Suzuki outboard engine with digital throttle and shifting control, and then replace the engine compartment with a drop-in U-shaped lounge and you have the first new 23′ Outboard Islander available to the general public. You also have what will be the only Baja model displayed along with several Pro-Line center consoles in the Baja Marine booth at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show next month.
The 23′ Outboard Islander will be based off the original stern-drive version of the Islander (shown here).
“Oddly enough, two people emailed me just the other day and asked if I’d ever considered putting outboards on Bajas,” said Johnny Walker, the chief executive officer of the company in Washington, N.C., which builds the Baja, Donzi Marine, Fountain Powerboats and Pro-Line boat brands. “This will be a perfect model for the Freedom Boat Club (read the story)—they like the Suzuki engines. Suzuki and Mercury are our two outboard partners and we’ll also have Mercury engines on our Pro-Lines in the booth. We’ve moved inside the convention center this year. We’re with the fishing boats.”
In addition to the base 250-hp Suzuki outboard, the 23-footer will be offered with a 300-hp Mercury Verado four-stroke outboard. Walker estimated that the boat will run in the high-40-to-50-mph range with base power, and from 50 to 55 mph with the power upgrade. Also of note, the modular U-shaped bench will be useable in front- and rear-facing configurations, as well as in a dining-and-entertaining setup.
At present, the Baja crew is finishing the first model. The original running surface of the 23-footer will not be modified, Walker said.
Baja will not have any Donzi or Fountain models on display in Miami this year. “We don’t have enough space, and we don’t have the inventory,” Walker added. “You’ve got to start somewhere, and this inside space is a big improvement from the outdoor space we had last year.”