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According to Bayliner, the 175 Bowrider is one of their best selling boats with one in three of their buyers starting with a 175. Bayliner has methodically improved this model over the last six years, and in our opinion, the new look and styling is why this boat is so popular. This model now offers more standard features over other models in its class. Bayliner added several optional packages to add even greater excitement to personalize your boat.
This fresh redesign is probably one of the coolest ways to get into boating. Bayliner has packaged a bestselling fiberglass production boat with a trailer including swing-away tongue and 3L MerCruiser engine so you can get on the water quickly and start having fun.
Bayliner 175 Bowrider
By Capt. Rob Smith
I know of lot of people have shied away from Bayliner in the past for various reasons. You can pay a lot more for a boat, and you can pay less. It seems that Bayliner has created some pretty well thought out packages that get more people into boating at a price they can afford. With today’s rising fuel costs, more people are considering every bit of cost savings, and many are down-sizing. For entry level boating, the 175 Bowrider delivers about everything you could need in a package deal under $13,500. According to Bayliner, it is one of their best selling boats with one in three of their buyers starting with a 175 Bowrider.
Bayliner has methodically improved this model over the last six years to make it so popular. With a large number of new boaters starting with this model, they felt it important to keep it simple and not confuse the purchase decision with lots of accessory decisions to make as well. The hull and engine combination has been well proven over the years, so that is a practical no-brainer, so updating the interior and adding a dose of comfort seems to be the key.
Features at the Stern
From the stern, you have room to hang out and dangle your feet in the water at anchor. A small integrated step platform and a two-step ladder make it easier to board from the water. Noise was one of the key issues buyers had suggested improving over prior years. Bayliner changed from top mounted engine vents to just under the engine box lid which is now hinged. They also surrounded the mating surface with a gasket that further reduced noise and eliminated fiberglass-to-fiberglass rattle here. Inside, the Bayliner 175 BR is powered with only the 3L 135-hp from MerCruiser with an Alpha sterndrive. To either side are jump seats that I am sure the kids will love, yet they are large enough for another couple to use. The storage areas under the gunwales are open to allow for better board and ski storage, rather than partially enclosed which often limits what you can stuff in the side pockets.
The floor of the cockpit is marine grade plywood, but is warranted so you should not have to worry about this. I often hear noise about “no-wood” construction, but wood floors tend to flex better than non-wood, and more important to a new boater, wood floors are much more cost-effective. Treated properly, I like the cost savings over composites. There is a sole locker which I easily placed a wakeboard in. It isn’t lined, but you can purchase a mat and add it if you really think that is necessary.
At the Helm
The helm station was an upgrade over previous models I have seen with more analog gauges arranged above the wheel for a better view and accented by an acrylic panel rather than punched into a bland white fiberglass helm. Across from the helm, the test model had the Sleeper seat or back-to-back ski seat, as I knew it. I do believe you can have a matching bucket seat, but you will need to check with the dealer to be sure. What really struck me as I looked around was the amount of cockpit space the 175 offered. Interior floor to gunwale top measured about 27” at the center of the cockpit. Another change was the windshield surrounding the cockpit. They have moved away from the typical flat glass to a more rounded sportier looking windshield. Up front you have enough room for a couple small kids to stretch out and enjoy.
Instead of testing with the lightest load, I tested with a more realistic load of three adults and ¾ fuel. While you may find better numbers with only one or two on board as some comparisons do, I doubt you will often be out alone or with only one other person, so I bulked it up. She is surprisingly fast out of the hole at 3.5 seconds and up to 30 mph in only 7.6 seconds. This should be enough to thrill the kids at the end of the line. At a leisurely pace of 3000 rpm, the 175 was moving at 23.7 mph and burning 5.6 gph of fuel. Her top speed was measured at 43.8 mph at 5000 rpm. All told, the 3.0L engine proved capable and powerful enough for most everything you may choose to use her for. Ergonomics were typical of all runabouts in this category and her bow only rose 20 degrees when coming out of the hole which kept the horizon safely in view.
Bayliner is doing a great service by providing safe and affordable boats that many families can still find within their reach. The 175 BR has all the features you need to get started or keep you going in boating without breaking the bank. I am glad I saw her, but it is up to you to decide if it fits your needs.