Bayliner 185 Bowrider
(w/ 1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L)


All videos for this model are archived.

To get full access to videos, please subscribe to our pay-per-view service.

Subscribe

Text Size: AAA
A fun runabout with room for family and friends and good features, at an attractive Bayliner price.

Key Features

  • Great performance even with standard 3.0 L engine.
  • Largest interior in its class.
  • Standard 3-step swim ladder provides easy access from the water.
  • Plenty of side and bow storage plus ski/wakeboard storage compartment.
  • Molded-in entry steps provide great access.

Specifications

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Specifications
Length Overall 18' 1'' Dry Weight 2,123 lbs.
Beam 7' 8'' Tested Weight N/A
Draft 3' Fuel Cap 32 gal.
Deadrise/Transom 19 deg. Water Cap none
Max Headroom open Bridge Clearance 4' 0''
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Engine Options

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Engine options
Std. Power 1x135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L
Tested Power 1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L
Opt. Power

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Photo Gallery

Bayliner 185 Bowrider B185Run3.jpg Bayliner 185 Bowrider B1851.jpg
The 185 turned in some impressive numbers.

Great performance even with standard 3.0 L engine.

Plenty of amenities onboard.

The 185 is full of creature comfors that makes your time out on the ocean, a fun and convenient one.

Bayliner 185 Bowrider B1852.jpg Bayliner 185 Bowrider Bayliner185-bow.jpg
An easy step back aboard.

Standard 3-step swim ladder provides easy access from the water.

Good comfortable seating here at the bow.

Up at the bow is the traditional arrangement that wraps around in a continuous seat.

Bayliner 185 Bowrider B1854.jpg Bayliner 185 Bowrider B1855.jpg
Crank up the tunes while skiing.

A removable faced radio with its own door is mounted on the forward wall of the tub above the ice line; out of the way but very accessible.

Stylish helm and controls at your fingertips.

The helm itself is stitched and molded to conform to your hands, not to mention that it was a tilt wheel also.

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Captain's Report

Bayliner 185


Nice lines with a continental flair, some creature comforts and yes, an attractive price, make the Bayliner 185 the right boat for many people. She has the traditional popular bow rider configuration with a few simple but interesting features. Unlike her smaller brother, the 175, the 185 has more of the desirable features found on her bigger brother, the 195. Bayliner claims the 185 has more room than others in her class and it sure does feel like it.


I went under the boat when she was on her trailer to check out her hull. She had a combination of planning strakes and lifting steps, all on a dead rise of 19 degrees, a fairly normal angle for this size and type of boat. So what does it do for the boats handling? Well she got up on plain fairly quick and tracked straight and true. But she does need the help of trim tabs to stay level when the load is uneven. And if the drive trim is down at higher speeds I found her to be tad more sensitive. Once trimmed properly she ran and rode well. This vessel came without power steering that would have made a real difference in the helm control. If the drive was not trimmed right on for the speed and boats planning altitude to the water the wheel would pull, hard at times, either way depending on the trim angle. So strong was this effect that when I let go of the wheel the boat dove instantaneously into a hard port gunwale turn nearly burying the rail. Now for those of us with experience on older cable steering outboards, and I’m going back, this is not an unknown phenomenon; an unpleasant and potentially awkward phenomenon if not dealt with properly. Couple this with a responsive boat and it could be a problem. Thankfully this vessel was equipped with a dead man switch that the driver clips on his clothing and when pulled, shuts down the engine at once. So use it or possibly lose it.


Her layout is very straightforward with no real surprises. Up at the bow is the traditional arrangement that wraps around in a continuous seat. Also there are back bolsters along the hull. These bolsters have an interesting two-piece curved style. They’re actually quite nice and add a more finished look to the area. And if you want to face forward into the wind like I do, healthy seat backs have been installed on the forward side of the windshield cowlings. But that’s not all. By removing the seat bottoms, I found storage below and when I lifted the seat backs up even more storage below the windshield on both sides. To complete this area, two-cup holders were molded into the fiberglass deck outboard.


The console on the port side has a molded fiberglass wet sink with drain for ice and drinks, a very handy feature. Unlike the 175, she has a lid hinged forward, to allow for greater access and to close over the sink. Also a removable faced radio with its own door is mounted on the forward wall of the tub above the ice line; out of the way but very accessible. On the starboard side was the helm console. I have to say that I really like what they’ve done here, actually all of us on the test site did. Instead of the flat instrument cluster I saw on the other boats here was a nice arched dash with a remarkably retro-looking instrument cluster. Each gauge is mounted in its own cylinder that extends out from the console and arranged in an arch that matches the lines of the dash nicely. Even the color is different: a dark blue that somehow works with the light tan upholstery well. And the gauges themselves have black and gold accents on a silver face; the whole area is really nice and kind of wraps around you. The helm itself is stitched and molded to conform to your hands not to mention that it was a tilt wheel also.


Under the engine hatch was the engine compartment with a MerCruiser 3 liter, 135 hp, 4-cylinder power plant with some interesting features. First off she was raw water-cooled. Not much of a problem in fresh water but could shorten the engine’s life dramatically in salt. A lot of us have installed fresh water flushing systems that help but Merc has gone one step further. They’ve installed two rubber hoses about 3’ long. One connects to the blocks cooling water jacket drain fitting and the second to the exhaust’s drain. The other ends are clipped into steel bracket located high on the front of the engine for easy access. At the end of the day you simply disconnect the hoses from the bracket and drop them into the bilge. This allows the raw cooling water to drain from the engine and manifold into the bilge to be pumped overboard or drain out the petcock when on the trailer. This is all very nice but what about recovering the hoses from the bawls or the bilge.


Stepping over the hatch brings you to the transom and swim platform. The entire upper section of the vessel from bow to stern is a singular molded piece including the jump seats, bow seats, console and of course swim platform. This makes for simplicity in construction and more strength and regattas throughout. So when I stood on the swim platform I felt no spring or give like with the bolt ones. The platform itself ran full beam and bridged the out drive. With the boarding ladder, Bayliner kept it simple and easy to use by making a unit that just flipped over the side to put down and pivots up to store into a molded grove in the platform deck. And the ladder is a full three step stainless unit that telescopes in and out. Take care when lifting as the sections will drop into each other and can pinch skin, ouch!


I liked the performance and the overall feel of this boat. She looked real good, preformed eagerly with only a 3 liter, and liked to play hard. Power steering would have been nice to eliminate the steering situation but after you get used to it, it’s not so much a problem. Here is a boat for the person that just wants a fun runabout with room for family and friends with some features at an attractive Bayliner price.

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Bayliner 185 Bowrider is 42.7 mph (68.7 kph), burning 11.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 45.04 liters per hour (lph).

  • Best cruise for the Bayliner 185 Bowrider is 23.4 mph (37.7 kph), and the boat gets 6.31 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.68 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 182 miles (292.9 kilometers).

  • Tested power is 1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels
go to our Test Results section.


Standard and Optional Equipment

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Standard and Optional Equipment
Systems
Trailer Optional
Exterior Features
Carpet: Cockpit Optional
Hardtop Optional
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Canvas
Bimini Top Optional
Cockpit Cover Optional

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Warranty

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Hull Warranty
Years Limited Lifetime Structural Hull
Transferable Yes
Extendable Yes
Deck Warranty
Years Limited 5-Year
Transferable Yes
Engine Warranty
Years None
Powertrain Warranty
Years None
Accessories Warranty
Years Limited 1-Year Parts & Components
Certifications
NMMA Certification Yes
Other Certification USCG Certified

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Price

Bayliner 185 Bowrider Price
Pricing Range $14,588.00
Price as Tested $14,588.00
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.


Members must log in to view the test results section.