Stingray 216CC

Center of attention.

by Craig Ritchie
It’s no secret that center consoles have been increasing in popularity as more and more boating families discover the versatility of an open boat layout.


  • LOA: 21'8"
  • Beam: 8'5"
  • Draft:
  • Weight: 3,150 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 57 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 13 gals.
  • Power: 200 hp
  • Price: Contact dealer

Center console’s multifunction utility attracts boaters who want to do a little bit of everything: Fish, swim, wakeboard, picnic, and enjoy quiet early mornings and beautiful sunsets on the water. With its care-free attitude, the center console — big on fun and low on maintenance — appeals to buyers who would rather spend time enjoying the boat than cleaning it. And when you add in the amazing fuel economy and easy maintenance of outboard power, you have a combination that’s really hard to beat.   

While the center console market is a crowded space, Hartsville, South Carolina-based Stingray Boats stands out thanks to its hull. Stingray — best known for its extensive lineup of sporty deckboats and performance runabouts — has put a lot of thought into how to contribute something new to the center console space, as evidenced by the all-new 216CC. With a classic center console styling built on a deckboat hull, the 216CC completely rewrites the definition of what an easily trailerable center console is all about. 

Bigger inside than out

For starters, the beamy hull affords the 216CC plenty of interior space. There’s more than enough room to walk around without having to hold on to railings or the optional T-top’s framing. Stingray claims an interior cockpit width of 84 inches, which is pretty impressive for a boat with a 101-inch beam and storage spaces in its gunnels.

The roominess of Stingray’s design is obvious as you step aboard. The easiest way to board is via the deep, integrated swim platform, which is finished in a comfortable non-skid. A four-step retractable stainless steel boarding ladder sits nestled into the starboard side of the platform, while amidships I was pleased to see our review boat was rigged with a Suzuki DF175 four-stroke outboard. A discreet starboard-side transom notch allows easy passage into the main cockpit.

It’s not obvious from the dock but once you’re aboard the 216 you quickly spot the pop-up jump seats located in each aft corner. These seats surround an otherwise near full-width transom seat, which conceals a large storage compartment in the starboard side of its base and a 14-gallon livewell to port. Our test boat had a recirculate/aeration pump option installed in the livewell. The anglers in the family will have already noted that the substantial gunnels offer plenty of space for mounting downriggers, but there’s also 12 standard stainless steel, flush-mount rod holders along the sides of the boat. Each of the side gunnels offer additional rod storage below in the form of horizontal racks for two rods per side, plus there are multiple rocket launcher-style rod holders across the back of the helm seat and the aft face of the optional canvas T-top. Center console boats have always had their roots in serious fishing, and Stingray’s 216CC does not disappoint.

But this is a lot more than a hardcore fishing rig, as evidenced by the multiple oversized stainless steel beverage holders throughout the cockpit and large stainless cleats that retract flush when not in use. 

All of Stingray’s seats are new for 2019, featuring foam cushions that provide a nice balance between supple comfort and welcome support. Over top, Stingray’s butter-soft vinyl is UV- and stain-resistant — an obvious acknowledgement that this is a boat to be enjoyed by the whole family; that and the fact it can accommodate up to 10 people. Remember, this is a 21-foot center console we’re talking about. 

The mid-section of the 216CC is dominated by its central console and leaning post seats. The double-wide seat is built on an attractive powder-coated steel frame, with individually operated flip-up bolsters available as a worthwhile upgrade. Below the seats, the aft face of the leaning post base provides a convenient nesting place for the 74-quart Engel cooler that comes as part of Stingray’s Convenience Package — a no-charge list of standard  goodies like tilt steering, LED docking lights, hydraulic trim tabs with an LED indicator, removable bow cushion seats and stainless steel hardware throughout. 

The helm console is neatly laid out with plenty of space for adding a flush-mount MFD. Two stainless steel beverage holders keep a cold drink close by for the driver and navigator, while an accessory 12V outlet and a second outlet with twin USB chargers ensure that any cell phones or other electric accessories get all the charging power they need. The dash is dominated by an elegant stainless steel steering wheel with an integral turning knob. The Bennett trim tabs and a row of backlit rocker switches controlling electrical functions, such as courtesy lights, navigation lights, livewell pumps, docking lights and underwater lights, complete the helm. The console base provides a nice footrest for the driver, with a courtesy light just above it.

A fiberglass box is in the T-top with a locking glovebox and additional rocker switches for spreader lights and other accessories. The optional top in our review boat was a steel frame design with a canvas cover. In concert with the large, three-panel windscreen, it did a terrific job of protecting all onboard from the overhead sun or any occasional showers. 

The other nice discovery in our review boat was a Fusion Bluetooth-enabled RA-55 stereo, which was driving a Fusion AM702 amp and six speakers. The stereo paired with my phone easily and sounded great, no matter where I sat in the boat. 

A large door on the port side of the console provides access to the secure, dry storage space under the helm. This is a very large compartment, capable of protecting oversize, bulky items with ease. This space also can be upgraded to a head with the addition of an optional porta-potti. The amount of storage space on the Stingray 216CC is truly impressive, and not just for a 21-foot boat. The company’s use of space reflects a lot of ingenuity and engineering smarts.

This becomes even more evident as you move forward into the bow. A comfy, wide seat on the front face of the console conceals a standard cooler that can be upgraded to a 17-gallon livewell. There’s more gear storage in the bases of the two bow lounge seats, as well as a dedicated in-floor storage space between the two loungers.

The aft ends of the two bow lounge seats are particularly noteworthy, putting what would otherwise be dead space to excellent use. Each seat ends in a small console topped with a solid-surface countertop and stainless steel beverage holder. The starboard console provides a small but useful sink and faucet, with thoughtful storage for a tilt-out trash bin below it. On the port side, a deck pad up top and storage beneath for a couple of Plano-style tray tackle boxes reminds buyers that this boat is more than ready to fish. 

Even with these useful consoles, the bow seats themselves are long enough that I had plenty of room to sit facing forward with my feet up. Between the two loungers at the front is an optional filler cushion that provides another seating position facing aft. Lifting the middle seat cushion exposes a non-skid deck pad that leads to the bow where you can find a convenient anchor locker, a dedicated stainless steel cleat and a mounting pad for an electric motor. 

Built for performance

Stingray’s deckboat hull really comes into its own in the bow, with all of the extra space it provides. The hull also directly impacts the boat’s performance in truly delightful ways. The wide hull surface encourages the 216CC to plane easily, and our sea trials revealed consistent hole shots of under three seconds with the engine trimmed right in, averaging 2.8 seconds from dead stop to fully on plane. The 216CC doesn’t climb up onto plane so much as just lift itself vertically out of the water, thanks in no small part to the grunt of the big Suzuki and the efficiency of Stingray’s Z-Plane hull design. 

When Stingray introduced the Z-Plane hull years ago, its performance claims raised more than a few eyebrows. The Z-planes incorporated into the hull surface act like full-length fins when the boat is at idle, helping it slip onto plane quickly. With the boat up on its running surface, the Z-planes then help control spray for a quieter, drier ride. According to Stingray, the smooth flow of water generated by the Z-Plane design gives the propeller a cleaner bite in undisturbed water, in both straight line acceleration and hard cornering maneuvers. 

Once up and running, that combination of Stingray’s performance hull and Suzuki’s 175 ponies continued to charm with excellent mid-range acceleration and nimble handling. At wide-open throttle, the boat easily found its way to 45 mph. With a bit of trim adjustment, the 216CC inched its way up to a top speed of 47 mph in our sea trial. That’s outstanding performance by any measure.

With its comfortable accommodations, ample storage space, thoughtful amenities and spirited performance, Stingray’s 216CC is a pure delight. Families looking for a versatile dayboat that’s easy to tow, easy to launch and easy to own will find a lot to like here.  

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