The Broze brothers designed the Escape for big paddlers and it surely is that. In my Express I have to wear booties; in the Escape I could wear logging boots! There is 13 inches at the front of the cockpit and over 10 at the rear... and the cockpit itself is 35 inches long! With a 25 inch beam you can stuff a lot of gear into an Escape. No bulkheads and no hatches (only a tiny one to maneuver gear up into the bow) as is usual on a Mariner.
Mine has a sliding seat with a lot of adjustment. These seats alone were works of genius as the paddler can adjust on the go (the foot pegs are connected to the seat) to compensate for trim, wind, etc. Want room to stretch? Find an Escape.
I have not yet had this boat in rough water but I have no doubt it will perform as well as every other Mariner. They are all designed to stay on top of waves not go through them.
The Escape has been out of production for a long, long time but used models are out there and usually cheap. They were a revelation in 1982 and they hold their own even now.
If you want a load-carrying, rough-water, high-performance kayak with lots of initial stability and even more secondary stability that tracks without doodads to deploy or push against, you could not do better.