14 Best Bowrider Boats in 2022 | Buyer’s Guide

Bowrider Boats: The Buying Guide

From waterskiing to fishing to cruising in style, bowriders are incredibly versatile. Their sporty look, comfortable seating, and snappy handling makes it an amazing type of boat for families & friends.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best bowrider boats money can buy in 2022.

So keep reading for our selection of bowriders as well as a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed choice.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into our list:

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

The Top 5 Bowrider Boats in 2022

All the Bowrider Boats We've tested

Features & Performance

Make the most out of your time on the water with the versatile Yamaha SX210. Whether you want to relax, entertain or go water tubing, this bowrider has got you covered. Wakeboarders will also rejoice with this model.

It features a beautiful and sporty windshield, a spacious and comfortable bow and cockpit, dual captain’s bucket chairs with flip-up bolsters, an Infinity Bluetooth sound system, a removable cooler, a center walk-thru at the transom for easy boarding, and loads of storage room.

But the star of this boat is hands down, the two-tiered swim platform at the stern. A nice hangout area with upholstered cushioned backrests so you can sit back and enjoy the sun while the kids go for a swim. For even more convenience and fun, just add the removable dinette table and the party is complete.

An exclusive feature to the Yamahas is their articulating keel system, which gives the boat amazing tracking with great turning performance.

Missing is the tower for water sports. For an extra $2,500 you can get the 212s model, which is similar in many ways and includes the tower.

Equipped with a pair of TR1 HO inboard motors, the Yamaha SX210 reaches a top speed of 43.8 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21’3”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3172 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 50 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Things we like:

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    Amazing for wakeboarding and waterskiing
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    Integrated multi-level swim platform
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    Love the Yamaha electronics
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    Easy to drive
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    Sporty and clean look

Things we don't like:

  • check-markMissing the tow tower
Read full review

Where to buy:

yamaha-sx210-featured

Yamaha SX210

Family Fun & Fest

Bayliner is a name known well in boating circles for more than 60 years. They are the #1 recreational boat manufacturer in the world, in operation since 1957.

The VR6 Bowrider is a Bayliner staple. Their specialty – in fact, the only type of vessel they produce – is the runabout in the 16 to 26 feet category. Their Bowrider boat stays right in that lane with 5 models offered from smaller to bigger:

  • the 160
  • the 170
  • the VR4
  • the VR5
  • the VR6

Though each Bayliner Bowrider model is sized and equipped differently they are all well-outfitted and water-ready. Each is designed to provide maximum comfort and space, while also taking advantage of the whole area inside the boat. The advantage of the Bayliner VR6 Bowrider? It’s the Big Papa.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 22’ 7”
  • Beam: 8’ 0”
  • Maximum occupants: 10 persons
  • Maximum occupants weight: 1700 lbs.
  • Total vessel dry weight: 3797 lbs.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

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    Great standard model, super upgrades offered
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    Comfortable seating is a top design element
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    Offered in both sport and fishing models

Things we don't like:

  • check-markNice layout, but areas feel a bit over-filled
  • check-markPlatform is functional, but awkward
Read full review

Where to buy:

Bayliner Vr6 Bowrider Product Image

Bayliner VR6

Premium Sport Craft

With an emphasis on luxury and performance, the Formula 240 Bowrider blends sport boat handling with upscale features in a sleek, compact, and easily trailerable package that will certainly turn heads around the lake.

The bow of the boat features a concealed beach ladder as well as plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sun. The cockpit offers a versatile and comfortable seating layout, including the captain’s chair which is double-wide. Simply flip the seat’s backrest to any position you desire.

The molded fiberglass helm station comes with all your standard features as well as a Clarion stereo system. And if entertaining is your thing, the 240 Bowrider comes with a removable cockpit table as well as a removable cooler. The molded cockpit wetbar and the stainless-steel sink are optional.

The aft section offers a double-wide full-length sun lounge with an angled backrest so you can watch the kids swim from the extended swim platform. Ski and wakeboard rack integrated into the tower supports means keeping plenty room for lounging.

Powered by a single 430 horsepower MerCruiser 8.2, the Formula 240 Bowrider reaches a top speed of 53.6 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 24’ 0”
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Dry weight: 5150 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 55 gal
  • Seating capacity: 9

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

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    Beautiful and elegant design
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    Great performance
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    Extended swim platform
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    Convenient beach ladder

Things we don't like:

  • check-markBimini top is not included
  • check-markPricey
Read full review

Where to buy:

formula-240-featured

Formula 240

Maximized for Ski & Touring

Simple yet comfortable and functional, the Tahoe 210S offers all the amenities to make your day on the water fun and full of great memories.

The bow comes with your standard lounge seating with ample storage below while the cockpit offers adjustable twin bucket seats, plenty of storage to keep your valuables secure and dry, and a Kicker stereo system with Bluetooth and MP3 capability.

The back of the boat features a comfortable U-shaped lounge with a remarkable aft storage compartment that makes one wonder why it wasn’t done before. An extended swim platform with a ski tow ring for the wakeboarder and water sports enthusiasts and a padded sundeck with an adjustable folding backrest for the sunbathers rounds out this gem.

Powered by a 225 horsepower Mercury FourStroke in different possible configurations, the Tahoe 210S will reach speeds over 55 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • 225 Horsepower
  • Dry weight: 3225 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 45 gal

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Things we like:

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    Boat, motor and trailer a good package price
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    Nice motor options
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    U-Lounge is novel and nice
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    Spacious yet sporty
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    Smart storage system in aft

Things we don't like:

  • check-markBimini top is not included
  • check-markShort swim platform
Read full review

Where to buy:

tahoe-210s-featured

Tahoe 210S

Great for Wakeboarding

Bryant Boats is a U.S. company with a growing footprint in the commercial boating industry and is known for their production of sterndrive runabout class vessels. Their 30 feet bowrider, the Calandra 27, is a model that keeps getting updated, for good reason.

Its wide-open deck makes moving from the bow to the stern a breeze. Lots of seating and storage mean a comfortable trip and nothing to block walkways. There’s plenty of horsepower available to push a sleek, solid design. The Calandra 27 is made for cruising, fishing, skiing and a host of other activities on the water.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 26’ 8”
  • Beam: 102”
  • Dry weight: 5601 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 49 gallons
  • HP range: 350 hp, 380 hp, 430 hp

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

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    Sleek design is eye-catching
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    ‘Standard’ boat still has a ton to offer
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    Holds a lot of people and stuff
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    A multiple activity water platform
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    Plenty of add-ons

Things we don't like:

  • check-markAccessories are costly
  • check-markSome add-ons seem excessive*
Read full review

Where to buy:

Bryant Boats Calandra 27 Product

Bryant Boats Calandra 27

Versatile Escape Craft

When it comes to delivering great performance while also offering loads of creature comforts, it’s hard to beat the Regal OBX 21.

Its FasTrac hull design provides the captain with more control on the water as well as up to 26% faster speeds and 30% better fuel efficiency.

Equipped with a Yamaha F150 outboard motor, the Regal OBX 21 delivers a top speed of 43 mph.

A few highlights of this bowrider include a large sunpad at the stern, a transom walk-thru for easy access, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo system, and two 25-quart coolers enough to fit all your food and drinks.

The seats were designed with premium hand-stitched upholstery and tons of storage can be found below them.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21’1”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3250 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

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    Versatile cockpit layout
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    Bimini top is included
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    Loads of storage space
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    Affordable

Things we don't like:

  • check-markCan’t find anything we don’t like
Read full review

Where to buy:

regal-obx-21-featured

Regal OBX 21

Boaters seeking a fast and economical bowrider should definitely check out the Stingray 198 LX. It might not be the biggest runabout on the market, but great things also come in small packages.

It boasts a very minimal interior design with your standard bow lounge seating, two swivelling bucket seats in the cockpit, a large aft seat and an equally large sunpad.

It also comes with an extended swim platform, two built-in coolers with drain and a Fusion stereo system. You’ll have to spring a little extra for a ski tow system.

It features a Z-Plane hull design with overlapping planes and a notched transom that minimizes drag by allowing the drive to be mounted higher. This combination rewards the 198 LX with high performance and plenty of speed.

Powered by a 220 horsepower MerCruiser 4.3L, the Stingray 198LX reaches a top speed of nearly 60 mph, which is not only impressive for a 4.3-liter engine but also quite economical.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 19’9”
  • Beam: 7’10”
  • Dry weight: 2662 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 34 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 9

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Excellent performance
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    Fuel efficient
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    Affordable

Things we don't like:

  • check-markBimini top is not included
  • check-markHelm seat doesn’t come with a flip-up bolster
  • check-markNot very spacious for 9 people
Read full review

Where to buy:

stingray-198-lx-featured

Stingray 198 LX

Next on our list is a bowrider that hits it out of the park when it comes to combining style, luxury, and performance.

From the cushioned and coated leather and vinyl upholstery to the varnished mahogany steering wheel, every detail on the Chris-Craft Launch 25 GT is of finest quality and materials.

It features Chris-Craft trademark Tumblehome design with a deep V bottom and a flared bow complemented by the striking lines of the stainless-steel windshield.

Some standard features of this boat include a 10” Garmin display navigation screen with CZone digital switching with all the information you need right at your fingertips, a Fusion stereo system with amp and subwoofer, a spacious and versatile sunpad that can be converted into an aft-facing lounge, and for the thrill-seekers, a stainless-steel ski tow.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 24’10”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 5580 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 77 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Spacious swim platform
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    Classic design with retro stylings
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    Convenient walk-thru at the transom

Things we don't like:

  • check-markPricey
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Chris-Craft Launch 25 GT

Ideal for entry-level buyers and for those on a budget, the Bayliner Element E16 is as simple as it gets. Shorter than others on this list it does get the job done and offers countless hours of fun on the water.

Its interior is very basic so depending on your necessities you might need to add a couple of their optional upgrades including a waterproof stereo system, a removable cooler, a Bimini top for some shade and the ski tow bar or wakeboard rack for water sports.

It features an M-shaped hull which puts the E16 on plane right out of the hole and maintains level flotation at rest and through turns. Equipped with a 60 horsepower Mercury, the Bayliner Element E16 reaches a top speed of 31 mph.

Equipped with a 60 horsepower Mercury, the Bayliner Element E16 reaches a top speed of 31 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 16’2”
  • Beam: 7’5”
  • Dry weight: 1570 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 12 gal
  • Seating capacity: 6

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Affordable
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    Easy to tow
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    Easy to maintain

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSome seats are not attached, therefore can potentially blow over
  • check-markPlastic grab rails
  • check-markA long list of optionals
Read full review

Where to buy:

bayliner-element-e16-featured

Bayliner Element E16

Raising the bar for quality, comfort, performance and above all, sophistication, the Monterey 385 SE is far from your ordinary bowrider. Its price-tag can be quite intimidating, but once you see all the amenities it has to offer, you’ll understand why it is well worth the investment.

High-end touches and attention to detail extend from the bow to the stern to the cabin below. It almost defies the bowrider category.

Starting at the bow, you’ll find a spacious and comfortable seating area with grab rails all around it for a more secure ride. A few standards of this section include a cocktail table, a stereo remote control, and a filler cushion to make it into an expansive sunpad.

The aft cockpit area with its L-shaped lounge is big enough for large groups. And in the cockpit, you’ll find everything you need to keep your family and friends entertained. Standard features include a cockpit table, a wet bar with a sink, a refrigerator as well as two removable coolers.

Once the sun has set or the captain needs a few hours of rest, you’ll find comfortable and functional overnight accommodations below decks. Apart from the large berth, it also comes with a couch, a 40” flat-screen LED TV, a Blu-Ray player, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a Fusion stereo system.

Still below decks but on the port side, you’ll find a large head compartment with a sink, a shower, and a flushing china head.

The helm station comes fitted with all your standard features as well as an adjustable double-wide captain’s chair and the Optimus 360 power steering with a joystick.

Equipped with a Triple Yamaha 300HP outboard motor system, the Monterey 385SE reaches a top speed of 57 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length with swim platform: 37’0”
  • Beam: 11’0”
  • Dry Weight: 16000 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 250 gal

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Great for overnight boating trips
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    Excellent performance
  • check-mark
    Very comfortable

Things we don't like:

  • check-markVery pricey (but worth it!)
Read full review

Where to buy:

monterey-385se-featured

Monterey 385SE

With seating for up to nine people, a solid construction, and loads of comfort the Four Winns Horizon 190 presents great value along with all the amenities to make time on the water fun and special.

Ideal for entry-level boaters and small families, the H190 comes with dual captain’s bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, a Clarion sound system, a rear bench seat with a built-in self-draining cooler, a full-width sunpad that can also be converted into two aft-facing seats, and a nice and extended swim platform.

Powered by a 4.3L MerCruiser, the Four Winns H190 runs at a top speed of 46.5 mph.

Specs & Features

  • LOA: 19”
  • Beam: 7’11”
  • Dry weight: 2800 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 32 gal
  • Seating capacity: 9

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Affordable
  • check-mark
    Comfortable

Things we don't like:

  • check-markThere’s no walk-thru at the transom, which means you have to step on the upholstery
  • check-markBimini top is not included
Read full review

Where to buy:

four-winns-horizon-190-featured

Four Winns Horizon 190

Feature-filled and ready for action, the Scout 215 Dorado mixes performance with class and offers fishing aficionados the perfect package for a good time on the water.

As this is mainly a fishing bowrider, it comes standard with an aerated baitwell with high-speed pickup, four rod holders as well as an under gunnel rod storage.

Additionally, the Scout 215 Dorado boasts two adjustable captain’s chairs, a stainless-steel steering wheel with a knob, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo system, an innovative folding transom seat, and dual swim platforms.

But without a doubt, the most beautiful feature of this runabout is the frameless wrap-around windshield that gives it a racy sleek look.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21’6”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2776 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 82 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 9

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.3

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Spacious
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    Sleek design
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    Convenient walk-thru at the transom

Things we don't like:

  • check-markThere’s no sunpad
  • check-markBimini top is not included
  • check-markAnd neither is the ski pylon
  • check-markAlso, there isn’t much seating space
Read full review

Where to buy:

scout-215-dorado-featured

Scout 215 Dorado

Built with impressive quality and attention to detail, the Chaparral 21 SSi offers great performance, fuel efficiency, and a boatload of amenities that boaters of all kinds will certainly enjoy.

It features thick but soft luxury upholstery, two bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, a rear bench seat, a 70-quart built-in cooler, a multi-position sunpad, and an extended swim platform.

Powered by a 240 horsepower Volvo Penta V6, the Chaparral 21 SSi reaches a top speed of 48.8 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length with swim platform: 21’
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • Dry weight: 3100 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Passenger capacity: 12

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Solid construction
  • check-mark
    Great performance
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    Fuel efficient
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    Bimini top is included

Things we don't like:

  • check-markYou need to remove the back seat cushions to board
Read full review

Where to buy:

chaparral-21-ssi-featured

Chaparral 21 SSi

Cruise in style aboard the Cobalt 200S. This sporty runabout may be small in size but still carries all the amenities for a fun day out with the family.

The “S” in the name stands for the optional sport seating layout in the cockpit. You can adjust the backrest to a rear-facing lounge or fully recline it for a sunpad.

At the stern, you’ll find another versatile and comfortable sunpad, a removable cooler, and an extended swim platform, which comes with Cobalt’s signature, the flip-down swim step for easy water access.

Powered by a 225 horsepower Volvo Penta V8, the Cobalt 200S reaches a top speed of 44.2 mph.

Specs & Features

  • Length with swim platform: 20’10”
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • Dry weight: 3500 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 47 gal
  • Seating capacity: 11

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Great performance
  • check-mark
    The potential for tubing, skiing and wakeboarding
  • check-mark
    Flip-down swim step

Things we don't like:

  • check-markIt’s definitely too small for 11 people
  • check-markBimini top is not included
Read full review

Where to buy:

cobalt-200s-featured

Cobalt 200S

Sleek design, great performance, and plenty of room for the whole family, the Sea Ray SPX 210 packs all the features many boaters crave without breaking the bank.

The spacious cockpit area comes with dual captain’s bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, an L-shaped bench seat, a Fusion stereo system, abundant storage, a removable cooler as well as a wet storage compartment with draining capacity that can be used as an additional cooler space.

At the stern, you’ll find an extended swim platform with a versatile and large sunpad that can be converted into an aft-facing seat so you can watch the kids swim.

In case you opt for the sterndrive model, the open swim platform becomes a nice and roomy hangout area.

Powered by a Mercury 200 FourStroke outboard, the Sea Ray SPX 210 reaches a top speed of 50 mph and is easy to drive.

Specs & Features

  • Length: 21’6”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3334 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 12

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Affordable
  • check-mark
    Great performance and water sport potential
  • check-mark
    Convenient transom walk-thru

Things we don't like:

  • check-markUpholstery is a little too firm
  • check-markPlastic grab handles are standard
  • check-markBimini top is not included
Read full review

Where to buy:

sea-ray-spx-210-featured

Sea Ray SPX 210

Related Reviews

Bowrider Boats | Buyer’s Guide

Owning a bowrider is an excellent investment for the whole family but it’s also a very expensive one.

To help you make a smart purchase, we’ve prepared a guide with the main things to consider when buying a bowrider boat.

Here are some of the things to look out for when you go boat shopping: 

Bowrider Boats Interior 

Bowriders are usually made up of a bow seating area, two bucket seats at the cockpit, an L-shaped lounge or a rear bench in the aft cockpit section followed by a sunpad and a swim platform.

A couple of things to consider when choosing your bowrider are how big is your group and how much gear do you intend on bringing aboard?

Think about all your water toys, life jackets, towels, and all the boating essentials along with all the friends you plan on inviting.

This should help you decide how much space you need. Keep in mind that sterndrive models have less interior storage room than outboard ones.

Also, check if the bow area offers enough room to stretch out and enjoy the sun.

Other useful features to look out for are an adjustable captain’s chair with a flip-up bolster for a comfortable and clear view as well as a convenient walk-thru at the transom so you don’t have to step on the upholstery or constantly remove the seats every time you board.

Safety onboard Bowrider Boats

As you zip through the lake at high speeds, you need to think about the safety of your entire crew.

So the seats need to be not only comfortable but deep.

Likewise, grab rails should be easy to reach and resistant. If the bowrider comes standard with plastic grab rails, consider upgrading for the stainless-steel ones.

Outboards or Sterndrives?

The type of motor you choose will ultimately affect the type of boating you do, your storage space, the look of your boat as well as maintenance costs.

These are the main differences between outboards and sterndrives:

Outboard engines are mounted on the outside of the transom, hence the name outboards.

Because they’re located outside, they offer more interior storage space. Compared to sterndrives, they’re usually lighter and easier to work on. They also offer lower maintenance costs, especially if you’re a DIYer.

Also, because the prop and drive unit can be tilted completely out of the water, they’re great for shallow waters and sailing right up onto a sandy beach.

Now for the sterndrives.

Most common on bowriders and deck boats, a sterndrive motor is a hybrid of inboard and outboard motor.

The engine is mounted inboard and it is coupled through the transom to an outdrive unit which is installed on the stern below the waterline.

Since the engine is located inside, it does sacrifice interior storage space, but in turn, it offers a clean look for the transom as well as a more open swim platform.

Despite being heavier than an outboard engine, sterndrives are quieter and more fuel-efficient.

Now that you’ve got a good selection of the best bowrider boats on the market and a guide to help make an informed purchase, let us know in the comment section below your thoughts on bowriders.

We’re always happy to hear your stories!

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Are bowriders good in the ocean?

Just like pontoon boats, bowriders are primarily made for inland bodies of water such as lakes and rivers.

However, you can take your bowrider into the ocean. Many boaters actually do and larger models like the Monterey 385se thrive in the sea.

But before you tackle the big waves, get to know your boat first! Familiarize yourself with its capabilities as well as limitations.

Also, as a responsible sailor, keep an eye out for the weather conditions.

Lastly, if your bowrider isn’t between 21ft – 25ft long, it might not be a good idea to take it into the sea.

Who makes the best bowrider boat?

The best bowrider brands are Chaparral, Monterey, Sea Ray, Regal, and Four Winns.

What is the difference between a bowrider and a deck boat?

Both of them offer towing capacities for water sports and both of them represent a great choice for a family boat, but there are a couple of distinguishable differences between a bowrider and a deck boat.

Design

Deck boats have a wider and flatter hull design, which in turn offer more deck space – hence its name – as well as more stability.

More deck space means more seating area and storage capacity, one of the many reasons people often choose deck boats over bowriders.

Performance 

Overall, bowriders offer better performance than deck boats.

They deliver sharper turns and a better ability to cut through the waves.

And because bowriders are lighter than deck boats, they’re also faster for the same horsepower.

What is a bowrider boat?

A bowrider often referred to as a runabout, is a type of boat with a V-shaped hull with open bow seating. They typically range from 17ft to 35ft and are usually designed for recreational purposes.

Related Reviews

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