If you’re thinking about buying a boat, you need to match the model to your intended use of the vessel. If you’re looking to spend time out on the lake skiing or wakeboarding, the “bowrider” boat is a top choice.
The sleek and sporty design of bowriders makes them ideal for high-performance watersports and cruising at higher speeds. If you’re looking for a boat designed for partying on the water, you can’t beat the bowrider.
In this guide to bowriders, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about this boat.
- What Is a Bowrider Boat?
- Benefits of Bowrider Boats
- Types of Bowrider Boats
- Advantages of Bowrider Boats
- Disadvantages of Bowrider Boats
- Top Bowrider Brands
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Bowrider Boat?
A bowrider boat is the original party boat design, featuring open-bow seating, loads of storage space, and an open design for a good time on the water. The bowrider is a great choice, regardless of your experience level with watercraft. It suits beginners and seasoned boaters, giving you a platform that’s easy to manage on the water.
The versatility of the design makes it a great cross-over boat for watersports or just cruising. One of the most interesting features of the bowrider is its engine capacity. Typically, these boats come with low-emission engines designed for peak performance and efficiency, saving the environment and your fuel budget.
The boat gets its moniker of the “bowrider” thanks to the deep V-shaped hull used in the design. The bowrider is one of the few models offering open seating plans at the front of the boat, allowing you to carry between five to ten people, depending on the length and setup of the seating plan.
The open layout of the bowrider allows for various driver configurations, with plenty of customization options. Typically, a bowrider is between 15 to 24-feet in length and around 10-feet wide. However, there are plenty of models available, with the largest bowriders measuring up to 35-feet.
The deck features two captain chairs in the front, with a U or L-shaped bench seating facing the front or the back of the boat, depending on the model. Many bowriders come equipped with high-performance stereo equipment and speakers for fun out on the water.
Benefits of Bowrider Boats
A bowrider makes an excellent choice for your first boat, especially if you enjoy spending time out on the water with friends. Here are the benefits of purchasing a bowrider.
Bowriders are available in many designs and configurations, with endless customization options. They are a popular boat, and you’ll find them available at most boat dealers.
You have plenty of options for seats, seat configurations, and driver setups. Choose your deck length, motor, and set it up for partying or fishing.
The versatile nature of this boat makes it great for skiing, fishing, partying, or any type of watersports. These models suit both saltwater and freshwater use, with enough space to take the entire family out on the water or pack it with your friends for a great time.
The bowrider also sits higher on the water than most other boat designs, making it suitable for ocean-going adventures and fishing trips in coastal waters. There’s plenty of storage space and options to extend the deck instead of adding more seating, making it ideal for casting.
These boats have speed and maneuverability, along with an extra platform, making them ideal for watersports.
While the bowrider is a popular boat, it’s also an affordable option. There are so many sizes and customization options that you’ll find the bowrider available at a wide range of price points. Typically, you can expect to spend between $30,000 to $80,000 on the boat, depending on your customizations.
Speed and Handling
The bowrider is one of the most forgiving boats for drivers. Whether you’re a first-time boat owner or an experienced captain, the bowrider offers you easy driving.
The wide rear and narrow bow allow for sharp turns and high levels of maneuverability. These boats even perform well in rougher water conditions on the open ocean, providing excellent stability and motion that cuts through chop.
The bowrider might not be the best choice for high-speed use. However, it can reach up to 60-mph without compromising the boat’s handling. If you like driving fast, then the bowrider will give you the performance you need for all watersport activities.
Types of Bowrider Boats
The first models of the bowrider were smaller than the current designs. Typically, these boats would come in lengths between 16 to 20-feet. However, boat manufacturers started experimenting with longer and wider designs and many more features over the last few decades than the original bowrider models.
The bowrider also comes with several engine options. Most bowriders offer you an inboard, outboard, jet drive, or stern drive configuration. As a result, there are hundreds of bowrider setups to choose from, and you’re sure to find one that meets your requirements for fun on the water.
The traditional bowrider comes with a length of 21-feet or under. You get a bow seating arrangement and a V-shaped hull for stability in all water conditions. The larger models are better on inland water like lakes and estuaries, as the larger models don’t like rough seas.
You get more options for customizations and layouts with larger models. The longer bowriders may feature a bench seat in the back, as well as less-pointy hulls. You also have convertible or electric seating options, stereo equipment, wakeboard towers, and many more customizations to suit your boating requirements.
The mid-cabin bowrider is a new design, offering you a hybrid with bow seating and a cabin that includes a sleeping berth. The cabin has plenty of customization options such as air conditioning, TVs, and more.
You also have options for dedicated bowrider models for fishing or watersports. These bowriders feature convertible or removable seating, giving you more casting room on the deck. The bowrider also features a trolling engine and other accessories to enhance your fishing experience.
The “Deck Boat” is another hybrid bowrider design featuring a wider front end and many similar characteristics to what you find on pontoon boats. Right now, the jet boat is the most popular bowrider model, with jet engines leaving more seating room.
These bowriders offer you excellent performance, extra seating, and safe operation, without the need for prop-driven motors. You get superior acceleration and a tight turning radius for ultimate maneuverability on the water.
Long Bowrider Models
Long bowriders come in designs up to 35-feet. Typically, these models feature extra seating, and they focus on providing a luxury boating experience to as many people as possible.
Fast Bowrider Models
These bowriders have powerful engines, focusing on performance. They are a great choice for watersports and ocean fishing trips. The jet motor is the most popular setup for high-performance bowrider models.
High-Tech Bowrider Models
If you’re looking for a party boat, the bowrider is your best choice. These boats come with a custom stereo system, lighting, and computer systems designed to manage your watersports activities.
Advantages of Bowrider Boats
So, why buy a bowrider when you have so many designs to choose from when selecting your boat? Here are our top reasons for investing in a bowrider for your aquatic experience.
Plenty of Seating
The biggest draw to the bowrider is its seating. You can take up to nine people out on the water in a standard 35-footer.
Longer models may allow for up to 14 to 15 people on the boat. As a result, they are the ideal party boat and are popular with lake boaters that like spending time out on the water with family and friends.
Jet, Outboard, or Inboard Motors
One of the advantages of the bowrider is its many options for engine configurations. The traditional bowrider comes with an I/O (stern-drive) engine that’s creates huge wakes.
So, it’s the preferred choice for wakeboarding and skiing. However, you also have options for jet motors for speed and outboard motors for inshore fishing trips.
Multiple Sizing Options
The bowrider comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 16-feet to 30-feet or longer. You have options for small boats for a few people Or large models for carrying over a dozen people.
Deck, Ski, and Other Bowrider Styles
The versatility of the bowrider makes it ideal for all watersports, including fishing and just cruising. The hybrid bowrider models come with a specific design that’s flexible for any activity.
Disadvantages of Bowrider Boats
Since larger bowriders tend to be wider than most other boat designs, you may need a special permit for traveling with them. Most states limit trailer widths to eight feet, and bowriders come in designs up to 10-feet wide, making the permit necessary for transporting the boat.
The smaller bowriders aren’t the best choice for the ocean. However, the larger models are ideal for inshore fishing trips. The extra length helps the boat cut through the chop without bouncing the vessel around.
If you need a boat design focusing on the roaming room or a bow sundeck, then the bowrider isn’t a good choice.
Top Bowrider Brands
Bowriders are one of the more popular boat designs for recreational use, so plenty of manufacturers offer a bowrider model in their range. However, each brand has a specific bowrider design unique to their boats.
Here are our top choices for the best bowrider brands available.
Bayliner is the leader in bowriders, and they also have an impressive range of other boat designs to suit any activity on the water. Walk around a harbor and check out the bowriders. Chances are you’ll find Bayliner as the biggest brand on display.
Bayliner design their bowriders to perfection, with powerful motors and loads of seating room for the best party experience on the water. You get plenty of customization options, driver and seating configurations, and options for cabin models.
Sea Ray is another established boat brand offering an impressive range of bowrider models.
The Sea Ray bowriders typically feature wider bows for additional seating room. Many models feature integrated platforms, convertible seating, and Bluetooth stereo equipment.
Sea Ray has the best range of customizations available, with the average boat size being between 22 to 24-feet, and plenty of creature comforts. Overall, the Sea Ray is an excellent choice for your bowrider, with plenty of options available.
Monterey focuses on building smaller bowrider models to Sea Ray and Bayliner. This brand offers you premium fittings and accessories, making them the ideal choice for people that want a luxury boating experience.
Monterey models include options like large sun pads, wrap-around cockpit seats, and impressive aftermarket stereo systems. If you enjoy swimming, you’ll love the convenience of the dual-level platforms. It’s a premium brand with a premium price tag – but you get a real head-turner that looks great on the water or in the slip.
Chaparral brings you a lineup of bowrider models featuring loads of storage space and plenty of seating. If you’re looking for a high-performance bowrider, the Chaparral model features a sporty design and feel, offering you the perfect balance between power and speed.
Chaparral offers you dozens of customization options. The brand focuses more on providing as much seating as possible without affecting the performance of the boat. Chaparral is one of the more popular brands available, offering excellent value and high performance for watersports or fishing.
The bowrider is the ideal option for enjoying a relaxing afternoon on the water. Kick back on the luxurious seats and watch the sunset over the water while you sip on a cocktail. Fire up the stereo, and start the party with your friends.
The bowrider is one of the best boat choices for recreational use. However, it also has plenty of versatility for fishing. The biggest advantage of these boats is the seating, allowing you to take as many people as possible out onto the water.
With so many customization options, motor setups, and seating configurations, there is a bowrider to suit your boating needs.