We’d love to start off this boat review with some snappy lead talking about how the Cutwater C-288 Coupe is this sort of “X” boat or that sort of “Y” boat, but instead we’ll have to ask for your forgiveness and request that you keep on reading despite a rather ho-hum introduction. Because truth be told, the C-288 Coupe isn’t an X, and it isn’t a Y. Nor is it a Z, or even a one-two-three. It quite simply defies definition.

cutwater c-288 coupe
The Cutwater C-288 Coupe simply defies definition. Photos courtesy of Cutwater Boats

Is this boat a family cruiser? Well, sure it is. It has a full galley with a microwave/convection oven, a refrigerator/freezer, sink, and propane stove; a stand-up head with a shower; a private forward stateroom; a mini-cabin with a berth under the dinette; and the dinette itself converts into a berth so a crew of six can sleep aboard. With 200 gallons of fuel capacity its range is in the hundreds of miles, and the boat comes rigged with navigational gear that will get you anywhere in just about any conditions including a Garmin 8612xsv MFD, an autopilot, and xHD radar.

Is this boat a sport cruiser? Absolutely. With a pair of Yamaha F250 outboards propelling the twin-stepped hull with laminar flow interrupters (ridges and troughs in the hull designed to disrupt laminar flow along the bottom), cruising speeds are in the mid-30 mph range and top end gets into the upper 40s.

Is this boat a fishing boat? Yes again, thanks to an open aft cockpit with 32 square feet of rod-swinging territory, a livewell, four flush-mounted rodholders in the gunwales, and a cockpit washdown. There are even options for downrigger plugs and pads and rocket launchers. Note also that the cockpit seating for five all folds away, so the fish-fighting arena can remain clutter-free when it’s time for action.

cutwater c-288 coupe
Is the Cutwater C-288 Coupe a family cruiser? It sure is!

Is this boat a runabout? You could argue it’s too big for that moniker, but you could also make the case that it qualifies considering some of the runabout-ish features like the bow beach-boarding ladder, the full-beam wraparound swim platform, and the aft “sunset” seat built into the transom.

Is this boat a party machine? It qualifies yet again, with an outdoor electric grill, an opening aft bulkhead glass door that connects the cabin with the cockpit, a multi-zone Fusion stereo system, and TVs in the salon and stateroom. Oh, and let’s not forget about the onboard wine chiller, either.

An important detail to note is that all of the above goodies we’ve mentioned (setting aside the downrigger plugs and pads and rocket launchers) are included as standard features on the stock boat. In fact, the standards list for this boat is so comprehensive that only a handful of optional items exist. And the C-288 Coupe is offered in two additional flavors: a Northwest edition that includes a diesel heater, the downrigger goodies, and AGM batteries, and a Luxury edition that includes air conditioning with reverse-cycle heat, an inverter, and lithium-ion batteries to power the system. 

cutwater c-288 coupe
The Cutwater C-288 Coupe is even trailerable. 

So… just how in the heck are we supposed to pigeonhole the Cutwater C-288 Coupe? We’re not even going to try. Nor will we attempt to come up with some sort of snappy wrap for this review, because after seeing the level of design creativity in this boat we’re artistically tapped-out. We’ll just say that yes, it is an X. And a Y, and a Z, and a one-two-three. 

By Lenny Rudow

Cutwater C-288 Specifications:

LOA: 33’7”


Draft (min.): 1’11”

Displacement: 10,000 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 200 gal.

Water Capacity: 41 gal.

Max HP: 500

Local Dealer: Pocket Yacht Company in Grasonville, MD, (888) 519-9120

Don't miss our other Cutwater review on the Cutwater C32 CB!