Freedom 285

For those who don’t believe in comprising

November 2020 Feature Brady L. Kay

He wants a dedicated fishing boat; she’s looking for a comfortable family vessel. It’s a dilemma many couples have found themselves in over the years when searching for their next boat, which typically would end with one person feeling they had to compromise too much. Either she’s unhappy and feels there are not enough comfortable seats or luxurious features onboard, or he’s frustrated by the lack of true fishing amenities. Boating is supposed to bring couples and families together so the all-new redesigned Freedom 285 from Grady-White couldn’t have come at a better time.

The deluxe 28-foot dual console Freedom 285 combines comfort and convenience for active families with a non-compromising floorplan that caters to all. For families who enjoy water sports, leisure activities, fishing and cruising to dinner on the waterfront, this may just be the boat you’ve been searching for.

The new, completely redesigned 285 incorporates many Grady-White enhancements from the bow to the transom, all with comfort and convenience ranking high on the list of new features.

“Families love this boat as well as fisherman because there is plenty of room to spread out,” explained Shelley Tubaugh, Grady-White vice president of marketing. “The Freedom 285 is designed to provide more than ample space for socializing and fun, offering enough room for the whole family, as well as their gear on the water adventure. From dive gear to fishing rods, skis and tubes, there’s space for everything on this great all-around boat.”

Season Extender

At first glance, you’ll notice the updated sleek and sporty style. Once onboard, the upgrades start with Grady’s hardtop design and an all-new expanded windshield that’s taller and wider. It provides more protection and comfort at the helm, a feature that is truly appreciated in the Great Lakes region.

“We have this closeable windshield and wind divider in case you get into nasty weather,” added Tubaugh during our walk through. “It’s a good shoulder season boat that allows you to go out when other people can’t.”

At The Helm

With its redesigned helm station, the 285 offers larger flush mount electronics, switches that are closer to the driver, a top-mounted compass, larger footrest and improved wheel and throttle ergonomics. For added convenience, the driver’s seat incorporates the luxury of electric forward and aft adjustment and is equipped with a flip-up bolster for added comfort.

The entire helm has been widened on this 9-foot, 6-inch wide boat so you have room for an adjustable two-person helm chair and directly across is an identical dual helm bench seat on the port side.

Extended Comfort

Passengers will appreciate the electromechanically extendable aft facing lounge seats, perfect for relaxing in the sun or shade when the optional SureShade electrically retractable shade with Sunbrella canvas is added. The roomy bow sitting area can also be complemented with Grady’s new optional bow shade, an easily deployed screen that offers protection from the sun.

With its standard fiberglass bow table and optional bow insert with filler cushions that create a sun pad, the Freedom 285 is fully outfitted for a day on the water. The optional retractable ski pole, integrated into the deck, can be conveniently put away when skiing and tubing are finished. And, if you’re going from a day on the water straight out to dinner, the roomy, updated head compartment with indirect lighting and sink with pull out faucet makes it easy for an adult to easily change from swim wear to dinner attire without ever leaving the boat. When you arrive, the new patented folding cockpit step makes disembarking effortless.

“We’re really excited to show customers how our forward-thinking engineering team has taken this exceptional boat and made it even better with this redesign,” said Tubaugh.

“Other options for the new 285 include a wet bar with sink and optional refrigerator, bow thruster, and a convenience package with battery charger and dockside power.”

Building On Perfection

While the 285 includes numerous design enhancements, the boat preserves many original nuances that have made it remarkable, including the patented foldaway aft bench seat, freshwater washdown, fiberglass transom door, and integrated outboard mounting system with swim platform and ladder.

For The Anglers

In what could be described as a great fishing boat disguised as a family cruiser, the Freedom 285’s standard angler features are plentiful including dedicated storage for two tackle trays, a 32-gallon aft insulated livewell with light, and two fish/ice boxes, one 118-quart in the starboard bow and another 185-quart in the aft. In addition, an abundance of rod storage has been incorporated with holders for five rods on the deck, four rods integrated into the hardtop frame, horizontal storage for three under the gunnel and lockable storage for three more rods in the head compartment. An optional outrigger kit tops off the fishability of this superbly reengineered boat.

“Key fishing features include the insulated overboard drainable fish box in the bow with additional rod storage below the bow seat that is accessible through the head compartment,” said Tubaugh. “There is a door in the back of the head compartment to slide your fishing rods in. Along with more rod holders in the stern and a washdown, there is a large fish box and a livewell, all features you’d expect to find in a high-end fishing model yet they’re hidden so it still feels like a family first boat.”

Room For All

There’s plenty of storage space from a lockable starboard compartment that’s perfect for towels, tools and miscellaneous gear to the port side bow box that extends up from the head to provide room for lengthy items such as fishing rods and skis. Other conveniences include the aft engine flush system with hose attachment, hydraulic trim tabs with indicator and retractor, international lighting, hydraulic tilt steering with power assist, and anchor windlass with remote switches at both the helm and windlass.

Final Thoughts

Grady-White’s SeaV² progression hull is the foundation of every Grady-White boat, including this one that provides a smooth and dry ride. The boat we tested was paired with twin Yamaha 300s, which is a great combination for this hull.

“It’s a great package for families and fisherman because you can do both on this boat,” concluded Tubaugh. “Have a great day fishing, take the family out boating and do everything you want to do.”

A perfect fit for the Great Lakes, look for this new Grady-White Freedom 285 around our region as more couples realize you don’t need to compromise when it comes to finding your next boat.

Freedom 285 Specifications

Beam Amidships: 9' 6" (2.89 m)
Center Line Length w/o Engines: 28' (8.53 m)
Bridge Clearance: 8' 3" (2.51 m)
Cockpit Depth: 27" (0.69 m)
Hull Draft: 22" (0.59)
Transom Deadrise: 19 degrees (SeaV² progression)
Maximum HP: 600 (448 kW)
Std. Fuel Capacity: 214 gals. (810 l)
Weight w/o Engines: 6,400 lbs. (2903 kg)


South Shore Marina

Located in Port Huron, Ohio, South Shore Marina is an award-winning boat dealer selling new boats and used boats including a full line of Grady-White boats. Its location serves the Great Lakes region including Sandusky, Toledo, Mansfield, Cleveland, and surrounding markets and has been proudly serving northern Ohio boaters since 1989.


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