BOAT REVIEW Caribbean 2400 Hardtop

November 2022 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by Andrew Howard. Photography by Lissa Reyden.
Build Quality
MODEL Caribbean 2400 Hardtop
DESIGNER Caribbean Boats
BUILDER International Marine
LOA 8.0M
LENGTH (Waterline) 7.2M
ENGINE Mercury Verado 400hp ( standard 1 or 2 x o/b to 300hp)
Weight on Trailer 2900 kg
Max Horsepower 400hp
Passenger Capacity 6 people
  • Solid construction
  • Clarity of purpose
  • Value for money
  • Excellent all round performance and economy

Most boat brands blur the lines. They often aim to provide every solution to every need, all in one boat. That is not easy to achieve, and whilst it can result in a great boat, this approach always has compromises.

Launched a couple of months ago, the Caribbean 2400 Hardtop strikes an imposing figure when she arrives at the Westhaven Boat Ramp for our testing session. We are reminded how timeless all Caribbean boats have proven to be, and this model is no different. It is a boat that knows its lane, its purpose, and who its primary users are. It is refreshing, in a way, to see a boating option with a targeted user from a company that delivers an unapologetically uncompromising solution.
Caribbeans are built in Australia by one of the country’s oldest and largest fibreglass boat manufacturers, International Marine. It has a manufacturing base in Melbourne and has been producing boats since 1958 under several brands, including the iconic, USA-designed Bertram.
In the late 1980s, International Marine went its own way and re-branded as Caribbean – the company has now built more than 60,000 boats. The Caribbean range is extensive – from a 16-foot (5.05m LOA) offshore runabout, to a 49-foot (16.55m LOA) flybridge cruiser.
Caribbean boats are recognised as serious long-range fishing boats with a class-leading wide beam and a solid hull. These vessels will take you a long way out, run all day long, and get you back home safe, sound, and dry. The new 2400 fits these parameters perfectly.


Big dimensions
When fully loaded, the towing weight is over three tonnes, and like all large trailer boats, the 2400 HT will need a motor vehicle capable of towing up to 3.5-tonnes. Thankfully, there are plenty of capable vehicles to choose from.
The test boat’s Easy-Tow premium trailer package has dual axles, alloy wheels and electric brakes. I’m a huge fan of electric brakes for towing anything around this weight and size, as they lift safety levels immensely – and they work much better than any other type of braked trailer.
This trailer was built in Australia and is regarded as one of the best on the market. Upon close inspection of the trailer at the ramp, it is easy to see why – it is well-built, has clever features throughout, and looks great too.
With a class-leading beam of 2.7m, over-width flags are required on the trailer when underway. But these are easy to manage, and with trailer boats getting bigger every year, there’s now a growing number of trailers needing them.
However, the boat’s beam, combined with its 8m length, could make navigating some of New Zealand’s narrow roads with their one-way bridges a little tricky. Route planning might require some careful thought. Of course, most journeys will be relatively straightforward – and worthwhile once the boat is in the water and the fishing action is underway.

Performance options
The standard Caribbean 2400 is built to take either twin or single outboards up to 300hp in total. Our test boat comes with the factory transom upgrade, which allows a serious step up in horsepower – to 400hp from a single Mercury Verado.
The engine looked great and sounded excellent, too. This outboard is very smooth and provides blistering acceleration. The in-line six-cylinder petrol engine has been paired with a supercharger, so it certainly hustles, quickly getting the boat up to speed.
On test day, we were already planing at 12.5 knots and accelerated to over 41 knots in short order. With time on the boat, I’m sure you’ll find there’s a bit more pace still to be found by playing with engine trim.
The Caribbean 2400 range also comes as an inboard option, but the outboard version is proving more popular among serious sports fishers.
With 450 litres of fuel capacity underfloor, the Caribbean 2400 is very much a long-range trailer boat. She can hunt fish along any trench in New Zealand waters, so setting up a game pole system would be the top item on my ‘extras’ list.
At trolling speeds of 6-8 knots, fuel usage was very frugal at 6.6 litres per hour. At 22–25 knots, she used about 40 litres per hour. At wide-open throttle, fuel usage increases of course, and it is best not to look at the litres per hour rate. Just have fun and enjoy the ride!

Long range
On test day, we could not replicate the experience of heading out across a west coast bar and crossing back again with a following sea. Instead, we opted for ferry wakes and clocking up a few miles. I completed some sharp turns at moderate speed, and the hull was fantastic. It was quiet and gripped incredibly well.
This hull handles itself very well, and as a tester, I was somewhat disappointed by the flat water we’d been served. But as is often the case when trolling out wide, the conditions were calm for all the miles we could see. The boat’s beam makes trolling and bringing a fish on board a far safer and more comfortable activity than is typical for a vessel of this length. Her stability underway and at rest are important attributes that gave everyone on board absolute confidence that this sportfisher is a top performer.
One of the boat’s highlights on test day was the electric steering. This system provides light steering at low speeds, stiffer steering at higher speed, while underway – unlike more traditional hydraulic steering – the wheel stays in the position you put it in even when you take your hands off it.

Options and storage galore
The standard factory specifications are just what you would expect from a fishing-focussed boat. Some of them illustrate just how tough this boat is and what sort of conditions the team at Caribbean expect their boats to master – for example, armour-plated front windscreens. These are kept clear with dual wipers.
The standard Caribbean 2400 comes with an electric anchor winch, 140l of fresh water, and a decent-sized lockup cabin with a V-berth. The cabin’s sliding bulkhead door locks valuables away, and a through hull, manual pump marine toilet under the squab between the v-berths ensures comfort on those longer trips.

The strong bias towards bluewater fishing action is further demonstrated by deluxe helmsman and companion seats, which are wide and comfortable. There’s also an insulated ice box under the helm seat and a sink/storage unit under the companion seat. The rear lounge seating folds away, making the most of the usable cockpit space, especially with both sides boasting substantial storage compartments and sizeable underfloor fish holds to look after the catch.
Our test boat came with some of the factory’s optional extras, which improve the boat’s usability and the overall experience. These included the transom and engine upgrade, bunk infill cushions, road cover, cabin-side clears, stainless steel rod rack, and my favourite, a Lone-Star drum winch with 130m of warp and chain.
The test boat also had some custom optional extras that lifted its game. The Simrad NSS Evo2-S electronics display and TM275 Transducer are a must-have for vessels with serious fishing use in mind – excellent quality gear and a very user-friendly electronics package.
The Zipwake electronic trim tabs delivered precisely as you would hope, managing trim very effectively. The electric reel sockets show, again, that this boat is expected to fish in deep water. The clip-in seats behind the helm and companion chairs, U-DEK cockpit decking material, premium bait station and American Perco rod holders lift the Caribbean experience significantly.

Past, present, and future
Caribbean boats are well known and respected worldwide for solid construction and superb sea-keeping qualities. In New Zealand, the Caribbean brand has been represented by the White brothers, Scott and Paul, for over a decade. During that time, they have launched every single Caribbean model on our waterways and grown to know everything about these boats. As a result, they can provide top-shelf advice on how to kit out a Caribbean for the specific needs of their customers, along with delivering comprehensive after-sales service.

The White brothers are themselves boaties who after all these years have the importation and commissioning of the whole Caribbean range down pat. That they sell out of stock every year is testament to their process and the products they sell.
The latest Caribbeans stay true to the same hull principles of older boats, simply because the hull shapes work so very well. Newer Caribbeans, like our test boat, combine history with modern equipment and updated thinking, to create a timeless boating proposition that provides outstanding value for money today, but will hold its resale value in the future.