The Grady-White Seafarer 228 is the brand’s smallest walk-around model, but it’s small size doesn’t take away from its big water abilities.

For years the name Grady-White has been associated with well built, high-quality, and highly refined offshore fishing boats that are adored by serious saltwater anglers. More recently, the marque has also caught on with freshwater boaters who spend their time on big waters and rough lakes. With a seemingly magical ability to gobble up swells while delivering a safe, dry, comfortable ride, Grady-White continues to build on its legendary reputation on the strength of well-appointed models like its Seafarer 228.

The smallest walk-around model in the Grady lineup, the Grady-White Seafarer 228 measures a svelte 22 feet, 2 inches in overall length with a full 8-foot beam. But don’t let its trim dimensions fool you – built on a rock-solid, hand-laid fiberglass hull with a full 20 degrees of deadrise, this boat is designed from the keel up with big water in mind. Yet the boat itself draws only 16 inches, giving it impressive shallow water capabilities as well. Indeed, the Seafarer’s incredible versatility is a major reason for its enduring popularity.

Built for the open ocean, Grady-White's Seafarer 228 is equally at home on large freshwater lakes.

Built for the open ocean, Grady-White’s Seafarer 228 is equally at home on large freshwater lakes.

Designed for open water fishing, the Grady-White Seafarer 228 features a full walk-around layout that provides 360-degree direct access to the water. A small but functional cuddy cabin provides comfort afloat, while the large rear cockpit has been left open for maximum fishing room. Look closely and you can’t help notice the attention to detail here, with twin automatic bilge pumps (just in case one should fail), 316 grade stainless hardware throughout, and even cockpit toe rails that are much appreciated when fishing in large swells.

The cockpit sole is fiberglass with a durable non-skid surface, and completely self-bailing so that rainwater simply runs down the deck and drains harmlessly over the side. This also allows for easy end-of-day cleanups – just spray the boat out with a garden hose or the transom shower, and let gravity do the rest.

The open cockpit is built open, with serious fishing in mind.

The open cockpit of the Grady-White Seafarer 228 is built open, with serious fishing in mind.

Step inside the cuddy cabin and Grady-White’s attention to detail quickly becomes obvious, with thoughtful touches like a carbon monoxide detector, a low profile acrylic hatch with a screen for ventilation, an overhead dome light, a lockable cabin door with a screen and companionway hatch, and a portable head. There’s quite a bit of storage space under the V-berth, as well as in cabinets located along the cabin side. You wouldn’t want to cruise the Mediterranean in the Seafarer’s compact cabin, but it will certainly do for occasional overnights when needed.

Bow cushions and a rear swim platform remind us this is a serious fishing boat that's also built for family fun.

Bow cushions and a rear swim platform remind us this is a serious fishing boat that’s also built for family fun.

Back on deck, the driver and navigator sit behind the protection of a full windshield, which gives this model an edge over similarly-sized center consoles – especially when boating early or late in the year in cooler, northern climates. Tackle drawers under the helm and companion chairs are a real convenience, and speak to this boat’s fishing pedigree.

The helm of the Grady-White Seafarer 229 features hydraulic steering with a 316 stainless steel steering wheel, a compass, a lockable electronics box and a 12-volt accessory outlet. Cockpit lights and stainless steel drink holders throughout are a nice touch. Order your boat with the optional hardtop and you’ll also get a radio box, storage net, spreader lights and side-mounted rod holders.

The small cabin is cleanly designed, making the most of the available space.

The small cabin is cleanly designed, making the most of the available space.

The main cockpit is purposely left open for maximum space and versatility. A bait rigging area with a cutting board on the transom offers convenience, as do multiple rod holders and rod storage racks throughout. No less than three insulated fish boxes with overboard drains – a 190-quart box to starboard, a 72-quart box aft and a divided port-side box that can be split into 80-quart and 45-quart sections – keep the day’s catch cold and secure. Out back, a full width swim platform with a boarding ladder reminds us that this boat is also built for family fun, including picnics on remote islands and day trips to promising coves and bays.

Grady-White does such a fine job equipping the Seafarer 228 with standard features that it doesn’t leave much for the option list, although there are a few niceties there as well. Cockpit bolsters, a bow pulpit, a portable head with pump out and a 20-gallon aft insulated live well are all enticing upgrades.

Transom corner seats surround an available live well.

Transom corner seats surround an optional 20 gallon live well.

Standard power for the Grady-White Seafarer 228 is a single Yamaha F250 V6 outboard – a muscular yet lightweight engine that matches perfectly to the craft’s 3,510-poud hull. This combination will attain a top speed of just over 48 mph at wide-open throttle, while consuming 24.6 gallons of pump gas per hour for an approximate fuel economy of 1.97 mpg. That’s pretty good, but throttle back to 3,500 rpm and you’ll still run at 20 mph while only consuming 8.5 gallons per hour, for an eyebrow-raising fuel economy of 3.41 mpg. For a boat like this, that’s truly impressive performance.

Although rated to 300 horsepower, the Seafarer 228 runs beautifully with just a 250.

Although rated to 300 horsepower, the Seafarer 228 runs beautifully with just a 250, reaching 48 mph at wide open throttle.

The Grady-White Seafarer 228 is rated to handle outboards to 300 horsepower. Moving up to maximum power does give you a touch more top-end speed, hitting just over 51 mph with the Yamaha F300. Throttle back to that magic 3,500 cruising speed and the numbers look familiar, burning 8.8 gallons per hour for mileage that’s still in the range of 3.4 mpg. In practical use, the only real difference between the 250 and the 300 is an extra three mph at full throttle. Whether this is worth the additional expense of a 300 is up to the individual, but I should expect most people wouldn’t think so. This boat runs like a charm with the 250.

With its clean lines, solid build and thoughtful design, the Grady-White Seafarer 228 is a capable and versatile walkaround that’s equally at home trolling for trophies or hauling the kids on a tube. It’s an easy boat to like.

Grady-White Seafarer 228 Specs

  • Length: 22’ 2”
  • Beam: 8’ 0”
  • Dry weight: 3,510 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 114 gal.
  • Passenger capacity: 10
  • Maximum power: 300 hp

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