Adding seating and storage on a 23SE

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J.A. Veil

Well-known member
Feb 25, 2006
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I love my 23 SE, and appreciate it's spacious single-level floor. However, the downside to not having a raised foredeck is that you lose the storage area there. I wanted to come up with a multi-purpose dry storage and seating arrangement. I decided to place two large coolers in the bow area. I put a 124-qt Igloo cooler across the bow. On the starboard side of the bow area, running from fore to aft, I added a 72-qt Igloo cooler with matching cushion. Both are held in place by a plastic-wrapped cable to keep them from sliding. Many of my boat outings involve sightseeing for non-fishing friends and family members. On almost every trip, the passengers sit in the front area on the built-in console seat and the two coolers. I feel like a taxi driver, being left alone at the helm.

Both coolers are used to store life jackets, extra lines, and any things brought on board by the guests that need to stay dry. These two coolers are used solely for dry storage, although I'm sure I would make an exception if I ever caught a particularly large striper that did not fit in my other fishing cooler (described below).

The way the larger cooler sits crosswise, there is a small area in front of it that is perfect for placing the console and leaning post covers and a large bumper when underway.

Another storage modification I have made is specifically for fishing. No boat ever has enough rod holders. I wanted to add a 3-slot rod holder somewhere on board but did not want to drill any new holes in the hull. I got a 48-qt Igloo cooler and bolted the rod holder to the front using stainless steel screws. The cooler sits on the floor in the port rear corner, just in front of the jump seat. The cooler is easy to lift and move around; I take it home after each trip. On the next trip I fill it with ice and drinks and bring it back on board. Those extra 3 rod holders are a great help for keeping tackle under control.


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Do the coolers scratch your deck surface? Or put another way, how does one avoid scratching the deck with the cooler bottoms?
I have had no problem with the deck getting scratched. In fact, it is the other way around -- the cooler bottom gets scratched, but who cares?

The photo shows a better layout of the coolers. I use a plastic coated cable in the front starboard corner to hold the two coolers from sliding (and from being swiped when the boat is on the lift). I use a piece of cord on the front port corner to keep the big cooler from sliding. Both wrap around the support braces under the gunwale.


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Timbo":8y4tcprh said:
Do the coolers scratch your deck surface? Or put another way, how does one avoid scratching the deck with the cooler bottoms?

I nail my coolers to the deck with a piece of that rubber dish-shelf mat you can buy in Wally World. Buy a roll, cut it to length, and lay it down between the cooler and the deck. Cooler won't budge. No need for straps or those cooler brackets (which require drilling holes in the deck).