Parker 1801: A Fine Coastal Fishing Craft

This center console fishing boat may be small, but the Parker 1801 is as versatile as they come.

12th February 2014.
By Gary Reich

Parker Boats has a long-standing reputation for producing rugged, no-muss, no-fuss fishing machines such as the Parker 23 Walkaround. But one of Parker’s best-kept secrets is the smallest member of its family—the Parker 1801 Center-Console. At only 1950 pounds, it’s within the towing range of many family munchkin-movers like small SUVs and crossovers—no big diesel towing rig required. Let’s take a closer look.

parker 1801

The Parker 1801 may not be the fanciest nor the largest boat around, but for anglers it’s a natural choice.

All Parkers are built at a sprawling, modern facility in Beaufort, NC. Every Parker hull, including the one used in the 1801, is solid fiberglass. The hull is laid up in a female mold utilizing a lamination schedule that includes top-shelf gel coat, fiberglass matt, woven roving, and isophthalic polyester resin. A marine plywood stringer system (Douglas fir) is used to strengthen the hull before mechanicals such as wiring, plumbing, and the fuel tank are put in place. Before the deck is attached, two-pound density foam is injected into the open spaces to provide additional sound dampening, flotation, and structural integrity. A rigid, lapped hull-to-deck joint with stainless-steel through-bolts puts a rigid, strong, finishing touch on the whole package. Yes, the use of marine plywood may be considered “old fashioned” when matched up against modern composite boatbuilding techniques, but I have yet to hear a Parker owner complain of water-soaked decks, stringers, or transom—and the hull carries a 10-year limited warranty, to boot.

If you’re a light-tackle or fly fishing angler, then you’ll love the lack of line-catching deck hardware on the 1801. The bow rail is an option that most anglers leave off (even though it is low profile), all the deck cleats are of the pop-up type and stow flat, and even the bow lights can be stowed flush while fishing. Around the rest of the 1801’s deck you’ll find a live well (behind the reversible console leaning post), two jump seats at the stern, a spacious and sturdy center-console unit with stowage underneath, a tackle box insert, and forward facing, two-person seating. There’s rod stowage under the gunwales, and deck-mounted rod holders are standard. What I’ve found on the 1801 is that I often forget I’m on an 18-footer; on deck it simply feels like a larger boat.

Specifications
Length 18’0″
Beam 7’6″
Draft 0’7″
Deadrise 14 degrees
Displacement 1,950 lbs
Fuel capacity 51 gal.

Standard power on the Parker 1801 is a Yamaha F115 outboard, with a 150 hp Yamaha available as an option. Expect the Yamaha F115 to push the 1801 to around 32 mph at wide-open throttle, and about 40 mph with the F150. There are a couple of things to consider when selecting power, however. First, the Yamaha F150 weighs about 83 pounds more than the F115. Not a big deal, but worth considering. Second, your fuel burn will go up in the range of 15 percent with the F150, and not just at the top end (think trolling). That said, if you like to go fast…

Ride and performance are quite good on the 1801, even in conditions that might send similar-size boats home for the day. There’s 14 degrees of transom deadrise at the stern (similar to most boats in this class and size) and there’s a subtle but substantial amount of bow flair forward to keep things dry. Tilt the engine up and you can pole yourself around in only seven inches of water—perfect for targeting skinny-water species such as redfish, speckled trout, or even flats species such as permit or bonefish. There is a bit of spray that doesn’t always get thrown to the sides, creating a bit of a wet ride in conditions over two feet, but then again, this boat is only 18 feet in length. You’ll be happy to be able to be out there in those conditions in an 18-footer, regardless.

parker boats

The Parker 1801 is a fishing boat, pure and simple; note that the livewell is rounded, so baits stay fresh and healthy.

If you’re looking for a finely crafted center-console to ply coastal and near-shore waters with, the Parker 1801 has some fine Carolina heritage, rugged construction, and excellent running performance to offer—at a great price point. But the best thing about the Parker 1801? Those medium-size tow vehicles can pull one to wherever the fish are biting—whether that’s the Keys, or Cape Cod. Sign me up.

See Parker 1801 listings.

For more information, visit Parker Boats.


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About the author:

Gary Reich

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Gary Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer and photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the marine industry. He is the former editor of PropTalk Magazine and was the managing editor of the Waterway Guide. His writing and photography have been published in PassageMaker Magazine, Soundings, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Yachting Magazine, and Lakeland Boating, among others.
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