Boat Reviews

Boston Whaler 345 Conquest – Full Metal Jacket

The Boston Whaler 345 Conquest ties together high performance, fishability, and complete weather protection.

If you want an outboard-powered boat with a protected helm you’ll probably be choosing from between a pilothouse, cuddy cabin, or walkaround, but there aren’t many boats of these styles that reach up into the mid-30-foot range. There are even fewer that are this size yet can offer what one might call “sporty” performance. And there fewer still which offer a high level of luxury inside the cabin. Enter: the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest Pilothouse.

You want a big, brawny pilothouse boat for those long offshore runs in snotty weather? The 345 Conquest is one you’ll want to check out.

Since the protected helm and cabin are what sets the Conquest apart from other fishing boats of this size, let’s start by taking a peek belowdecks. This cabin is substantial, and seems more like what you’d expect to find in an inboard express fishing boat as opposed to a boat propelled by eggbeaters. The forward berth splits apart to convert into a dinette, there’s a settee to starboard, and a fully-enclosed stand-up head to port. The galley is the real deal, too, with a microwave oven, a sink, a refrigerator/freezer, a coffee machine, and the option for a single-burner cook-top.

Press a button and the table drops out of the way and the V-berths slide together to convert into a queen-sized pedestal berth.

Where the Whaler gets an edge is in the aft end of the cabin, where there’s a mid-cabin berth carved out under the helm deck. On the boat’s inboard brethren this area would be eaten up by the engine room, but in this case there’s space for a couple of anglers to crash out in-between night-bites.

Between the forward berth, the settee, and the mid-cabin berth, there are plenty of places to sack out on the Conquest 345.

The helm-deck is also thoroughly comfortable, with a four-seat dinette to port, and a helm seat to starboard with a wet-bar behind it. The passenger seating is shifted a bit farther aft than one might expect since the head compartment pushes back into helm-deck territory. This cuts the captain’s social feng shui a bit, but it’s one of the design choices that results in such a spacious main cabin.

Say what you will about this bridge-deck, one thing is for sure: you’ll be comfy and warm inside there when it’s snowing, and chillaxing in air conditioning when it’s blazing hot outside.

Okay: enough about the comfort zones – let’s take a peek at the fishing space. The cockpit is capped off forward with tons of tackle stowage, and you can have an optional freezer in the starboard-side forward bulkhead. A transom fold-out bench seat comes standard and folding inwale seats are optional, but if you get ‘em, you lose the under-gunwale rod racks. The transom houses a pressurized 40-gallon livewell plus three flush-mount rod holders along the back, adding to the four flush-mounts in the gunwales and three rocket launchers on either side of the hard-top supports. Other standard features of note include a raw water washdown, a hot/cold transom shower, toe-rails with downrigger ball holders (wiring and plugs for electric reels or downriggers are optional), coaming bolsters, and fishboxes in either side of the deck.

Boston Whaler 345 Conquest Specifications

  • LOA – 35’11”
  • Beam – 11’8”
  • Draft – 1’10”
  • Displacement – 14,200 lbs.
  • Transom deadrise –19
  • Fuel capacity – 400 gal.
  • Water capacity – 45 gal.

Some options we’d push for: if you’re headed for blue water, you’d be remiss to omit the half-tower and upper station. And if you have that upper station, you certainly need the 23’ outriggers that go along with it. Another option you won’t regret having is the automatic engine flush system – it’ll save you a lot of time and hassle at the end of the day, with triples slung across the transom.

A lack of speed is not an issue, with the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest.

Speaking of triple engines, the 345 Conquest Pilothouse ships in stock form with a trio of 250-hp Mercury four-stroke Verado V8 outboards, and you can up the ante to 300, 350, or 400 horse engines. Joystick Piloting is also available, and is another option we’d recommend since it gets you the advantages of virtual anchoring, which can come in quite handy for wreck and reef fishing. Any way you cut it the boat has plenty of juice. Even with the stock powerplants you’re looking at a cruising speed in the mid to upper 30s, and a top-end breaking 50-mph.

You want speed? You’ve got it. You want complete weather protection? Yep, you can check off that box too. You want a comfy cabin up forward and a fishy cockpit out back? Mission accomplished. In all of these regards, the 345 Conquest delivers complete coverage.

For more information visit Boston Whaler.

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Lenny Rudow
Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chie...