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Bayliner’s 255 is a step up from its smallest trailerable cruiser, the 245 SB. Naturally the 255 is larger below and has a different cockpit layout, so boaters looking to move up to the cruising life style should check them both out as the 255 is about 10k more. We recently tested the 255 and discover a couple of things that may surprise you. First, she is no wilting lily when it comes to heft at 6,480 lbs. (2,945 kgs.), and second, this single-engine cruiser is remarkably easy to dock, thanks largely to her Bravo III stern drive.

Key Features

  • Spacious convertible U-lounge cockpit seating with double-wide helm seat
  • Dual battery switch
  • Large galley with flip-up extension
  • Sliding cabin entry door with molded-in steps to foredeck
  • Single-level cockpit floor for easy access.
  • Trailerable 8’6” beam broadens cruising choices
  • Tilt steering


Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Specifications
Length Overall 25' 1''
7.65 m
Dry Weight 6,480 lbs.
2,939 kg w/eng.
Beam 8' 6'''
2.59 m
Tested Weight N/A
Draft 3' 3''
.99 m
Weight Capacity N/A
Draft Up N/A Person Capacity N/A
Draft Down N/A Fuel Capacity 70 gal.
265 L
Air Draft N/A Water Capacity 20 gal.
75.7 L
Deadrise/Transom 18 deg. Length on Trailer N/A
Max Headroom N/A Height on Trailer N/A
Bridge Clearance 6' 7''
2.01 m
Trailer Weight N/A
Total Package Weight (Trailer,Boat & Engine) N/A
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 255 SB (2011-) Engine options
Std. Power 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI
Tested Power 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350
Opt. Power 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Captain's Report

By Capt. Steve

Bayliner 255 SB

If you're looking to move up from your bowrider to a real cruiser, the 255 with its 25'1" (7.65 m) LOA may just have what you're looking for.

The Boat’s “Mission”

Let us first describe the “mission” of the Bayliner 255: She is designed for people who want a boat for cruising rather than for the kind of watersports that would be best carried out with a sportboat. The 255 can be used for both day cruising and for overnight cruising. Most exciting of all, because her beam is 8’ 6” (2.59 m) she is trailerable in all 50 states in the U.S. without a special permit.

The fact that she is trailerable opens up some exciting cruising opportunities. It means, for example, if you live in the hinterland you can take your boat to the coast and do some very interesting exploring. Those living near lake country can drive to new destinations and overnight on the boat or a local hotel. Either way great family adventures can be accomplished economically.

Because the boat is trailerable, operating expenses are kept to a minimum. You can store her when not in use on a trailer and do not have to rent slip space in the summer, and then pay for boat yard storage in the winter. And because covering long distances is not only faster and cheaper going down I-95, you save money in boat fuel, getting to where you really want to end up. British Columbia, anyone?

Bayliner 255 SB

Bayliner’s designers have maximized the size of this cruiser for interior room, yet still be trailerable. That means you don’t have to have a big expensive cruiser to visit places like Martha’s Vineyard, Monhegan Island, Maine, or Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Performance and Handling

Let's start with the meat and potatoes first and we'll get to dessert later. The handling of the 255 offered no surprises, no untoward handling characteristics throughout the power curve. When accelerating the 255 exhibits roughly an 11 degree bow rise, and I lost no visibility of the horizon while getting on plane. Once settled on plane, there is about a 5 degree bow high-attitude in the normal cruise mode. This 5 degree running attitude is typical of this type of boat.

That cruising attitude will come in handy at the helm, for at low speed, or idle, I found myself looking directly at the windshield frame. When at cruise with the bow raised 5 degrees I was looking comfortably through the windshield and under the windshield frame. Of course, if you sit up on the bolster you'll be well above window frame in clear visibility throughout the speed curve; however, there may be some times that you don’t want to do that.

Trimming for Optimum Performance

Trimming is very straightforward. Get up on plane and start adding trim with the sterndrive trim toggle. Trim the drive out slightly (bow up). The 255 will respond by shifting the spray from the midships area to the aft quarters along with an accompanying boost in speed.

Trim slowly, with pluses, rather than depressing the trim toggle for a long sequence. In this way you can go to a slightly over-trimmed setting, then dial it back a bit and you will know you are in the right place.

Bayliner 255 SB

Cruising canvas is an option and one we recommend for people in northern climes. Not only does it protect you and your family from rain and wind, but when on the anchor at night it more than doubles the boat’s living space. The canvas effectively turns your relatively inexpensive trailerable boat into a cabin cruiser.

When you're operating at low speed, and put the wheel hard over, the 255 tends to pivot with the pivot point being right at the helm. This is important to keep in mind when you're coming into the dock and it's one of the features of the handling characteristics around the dock that make the 255 such a close-quarters handling dreamboat.

Performance Testing

Full test results can be viewed by clicking on the "Test Results" tab at the top of this report, but for the highlights: The Bayliner 255 I tested was powered by an optional single 300-hp 350 MAG MerCruiser MPI single engine with a Bravo III outdrive. Top speed came in at 5200 rpm and 41.5 mph. At that speed we were burning 22.6 gph while getting 1.8 mpg for a range of 116 miles.

Best cruise was measured at 4000 rpm and 30.7 mph. Now we were burning just 12.3 gph while getting 2.5 mpg for a range of 158 miles.

The standard engine is a 260-hp 5.0L. Our 350 MAG test engine will run you another ($2,249), and we would go for this option.

Bayliner 255 SB

We recommend the Bimini option no matter where you cruise so you are only exposed to the amount of sun you want. It also is the structure for the cruising canvas that buttons up the boat.

She Has Bones

Keep in mind that the Bayliner 255 has a displacement of 6,480 lbs. (2,945 kgs.) which is one of the heaviest boats in its class, over 1,000 lbs. (454 kgs.) heavier than some of her famous rivals. That may come as a surprise, but it is true. Don’t let anyone tell you that the Bayliner 255 is flimsy.

The boat will – all things being equal, which they are usually not – ride more comfortably than the lighter boats, and it should also be able to take a pounding. The other side of the coin is the 255 may not have quite the WOT speed or the miles per gallon efficiency of lighter boats. Having said that, I find her 2.5 mpg performance at 30.7 mph quite respectable.

Bayliner 255 SB

The secret of this boat’s good handling characteristics and easy docking is her optional Bravo III which have dual props to keep her on the straight and narrow.

Docking Made Easy

I'm consistently impressed with how well Bayliner's single-engine cruisers handle in and around the dock. The 255 is just another shining example. I selected a space between two finger piers with roughly 2 feet of clearance off the bow and stern. I had no trouble sliding the boat into position and laying up against the dock, exactly where I wanted, in between the pre-placed fenders.

I also had no problem maneuvering the 255 away from the dock without having to scratch the gel coat along the way. Additionally, I was also able to pull away from the dock… pivot the bow 180-degrees, and lay against with the dock now on the opposite side of the boat with as little effort as the original approach. The trick is, once you have the boat lined up, just give it little nudges in gear and let the boat’s momentum do the work for you.

Bayliner 255 SB

Remember that the 255 is not a sportboat and therefore your guests will not be tubing and wakeboarding behind her. Note that the lower unit does extend beyond the stern platform, so when guests swim off the stern advise them to be mindful of it.

Perhaps the primary reason why this boat is so docile at the dock is because its lower unit is a dual-prop Bravo III. This counter-rotating prop offsets most of the normal sideways walk you get at idle with a single prop single sterndrive engine.

Optional Bow Thruster

Of course if you are still concerned about your ability to dock the boat easily, then an optional bow thruster is available on the 2012 model that will alleviate any misgivings you may have regarding your own capabilities at the dock.

In any case, please check out the handling and docking video we have made with this boat…

Bayliner 255 SB

The bridge has a wide helm seat for two, two steps on the companionway door to access the bow through the windshield and a facing bench seat, below which is access to the mid cabin.

Deck Layout Overview

Without getting into excruciating detail of the 255 layout, we can go over some of the highlights: The molded swim platform comes out roughly 2' (.6 m) from the transom and features three convenient stainless steel grab handles, and dual shore power plugs, a reboarding ladder to the port side, and a cockpit door that opens inward so that if you happen to fall against it you won't be falling out.

Bayliner 255 SB

We like the swim platform because it makes entering the boat from a floating dock easy. Note the shore power connectors. The two SS hinges on the deck are to raise the seat for engine access.

You can pick a letter that suits you best to describe the cockpit seating, but it's either a "C", or "U", whichever floats your boat. It is however very comfortable and makes a nice gathering and conversational area, especially when coupled with the portside lounger across from the helm. Consider adding the optional table.

Bayliner 255 SB

The helm seat has a flip back that expands the cockpit seating and even converts it into a chaise lounge.

Bayliner 255 SB

Here you see the cockpit in pure sun worshiping mode. There's an entertainment center aft with a sink and running water, and storage underneath that I'd like to see opened up to accommodate a carry-on cooler.

Bayliner 255 SB

Notice the power steering pump nestled by the water tank. Dual gas-assist struts hold the hatch open. I noticed that all fittings below the waterline are double clamped, as they should be.

Engine Compartment

Releasing the latches on the deck hatch opens up the aft seating to expose the engine compartment. Everything fits nicely in the compartment, and there seems to be a place for everything. There is a lot of equipment in this engine room but it is workable. Most importantly, daily engine checks as well as minor maintenance are a breeze.

The 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI takes up the bulk of the space in the center of the compartment. A hot water heater and water tank lie to starboard along with the power steering pump. To port are the batteries, and on our boat the optional Westerbeke 3kW generator (add $9,643). (If you get the generator option, make sure that it is the “CO-Safe” gas generator that Westerbeke makes. There is no mention of “CO-Safe” on the Bayliner literature I looked over.)

I was happy to see that a gutter runs around the perimeter of the compartment opening that diverts water overboard. I was also happy to see that you can still enter and exit the cockpit with the engine hatch in the open position.

Bayliner 255 SB

The helm has a double wide seat and comfortable footrests that allowed for a multitude of positions, each one more comfortable than the last. The area in the center of the instrument panel is for a large screen chartplotter display – don’t leave home without it.


The helm has the usual Faria gauges mounted against a faux wood panel. There's open real estate in the center for the optional Garmin 541 GPSMAP (add $1,857 with VHF). Below the GPS is an open bay for putting "stuff" and I like that this area is self-draining. There are also two drink holders, an important feature in a boat with a double wide helm seat.

Two of my usual gripes with Bayliners are still present here. I was looking at windshield frame when seated and the boat was idling, and the flip-up bolster falls down when the going gets rough. Other than that I enjoyed my time at the helm.

Bayliner 255 SB

ABYC standards call for a minimum of 24" (60 cm) of rail height. European boaters (or anyone) can get an open bow rail option. Bayliner went with 26" (66 cm) at the bow. To get the most utility out of this boat, I recommend that you get the electric anchor windlass option.


A walkthrough windshield is the only access point to the bow and I'd like to see the latches interconnected. I can never reach the lower latch. Foredeck sunpads are available (add $536) and fully forward you can opt for a Quick windlass (add $1,821) and a remote spotlight (add $536).

Bayliner 255 SB

Access to the anchor rode locker is plastic, gasketed plate. While you might be able to get one hand and arm down to untangle a line, we’d prefer a more conventional and larger hatch.

Bayliner 255 SB

The Bayliner 255 layout has carefully utilized every bit of space. Four people can sit at the table in the bow and the galley has all of the basic equipment.


The cabin features a dinette forward that converts to a berth. I like seeing this arrangement as not everyone wants to spend every weekend onboard, and taking up space with a dedicated berth is a waste of space in my book. I was able to convert this dinette in a little under 3 minutes. Remove the pedestal, lower the table, then pull the seatback cushions (they're secured with Velcro) out and relocate them on top of the table and you're done.

Bayliner 255 SB

With the table up, you have seating for 4 (or 6 close friends). Notice how much natural light pours into the cabin from the massive Bayliner hull side windows. Below the seat you can see the return vent for the optional air conditioning (add $3,600).

Bayliner 255 SB

Here you can see how the seat back cushions are placed over the lowered table to form the berth. This is a much better solution than having to store cushions, and bring them out when you want to sleep.

Bayliner 255 SB

I like the colorful material that Bayliner has introduced along the hull sides make the cabin feel more cozy. The panel near the overhead that appears blue is actually the side window that allows light to flood in.

Bayliner 255 SB

The galley features a fridge, microwave, a single basin stainless sink with a pull-out sprayer, and a single burner alcohol/electric stove with adjustable sea rails. To the left of the galley is a stereo, DVD player (add $1,550 with TV), and the ship’s electrical panel. The cabinet below houses a wastebasket.

Bayliner 255 SB

Here we see the access to the mid cabin where the red circles are.

Bayliner 255 SB

Looking out of the mid cabin toward the entrance. The berth measures 4' 4" (1.32 m) x 6' 4" (1.93 m) with 1' 10" (.83 m) of headroom. Notice the convenient covered storage for books or other stuff.


The Bayliner 255 is another representative example of how Bayliner gets cruising right, and does so while maintaining their trademark affordability. This 25' 1" (7.65 m) boat has a base price of $70,235. Equipped with all the goodies of our test boat and you are looking at upwards of $99,700. That represents a real example of a price worthy boat.

But the way our test boat was equipped might be more than a lot of people need or want. If you only want to use the boat for day cruising, then you really don’t need the generator and a number of other options. For example, many may not need the 3 kW generator which is nearly 10 grand. Equipped for basic weekend cruising, I think that you probably need spend only a little over $80,000.


I think that one of the best things that Bayliner 255 has going for it is its extensive list of options. No two families will use the boat exactly the same and Bayliner has gone to quite a bit of trouble and expense to make available options that will permit the buyer to “custom-build” his 255 to his geography, cruising intentions, and family needs.

I urge you to visit Bayliner’s website and use the “Build Your Boat” feature to see how much the 255 will cost for you specific application.

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) is 41.5 mph (66.8 kph), burning 22.6 gallons per hour (gph) or 85.54 liters per hour (lph).
  • Best cruise for the Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) is 30.7 mph (49.4 kph), and the boat gets 2.50 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.06 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 158 miles (254.28 kilometers).
  • Tested power is 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels
go to our Test Results section.

Standard and Optional Equipment

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Marine Electronics
GPS/Chart Optional
VHF Radio Optional
Air Cond./Heat Optional
Battery Charger/Converter Optional
CD Stereo Standard
Head: Fixed Standard
Shore Power Optional
Trailer Optional
Trim Tabs Standard
TV/DVD Standard
Water Heater Optional
Windlass Optional
Microwave Standard
Refrigerator Standard
Stove Standard
Exterior Features
Carpet: Cockpit Optional Runners
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Transom Door Standard
Wet bar Standard
Bimini Top Standard
Cockpit Cover Optional
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Generator Optional

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Warranty

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) 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.

Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Price

Bayliner 255 SB (2011-) Price
Pricing Range $72,610.00
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.

Test Results   (Printer Friendly Page)

Test Power: 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350
RPM MPH Knots Total GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM   KM    KPH    LPH    KPL   dBA
650 3.4 3.0 0.9 4.0 3.5 252 219 406 5.50 3.41 1.70 62
1000 5.2 4.5 1.4 3.7 3.2 232 202 373 8.40 5.30 1.56 65
1500 7.1 6.1 2.5 2.9 2.5 181 158 291 11.40 9.46 1.22 72
2000 8.5 7.4 4.1 2.1 1.8 131 114 211 13.70 15.52 0.88 73
2500 10.9 9.4 7.0 1.6 1.4 98 85 158 17.50 26.50 0.66 81
3000 17.0 14.7 8.9 1.9 1.7 120 104 193 27.40 33.69 0.81 78
3500 24.2 21.0 10.1 2.4 2.1 151 131 243 38.90 38.23 1.02 79
4000 30.7 26.7 12.3 2.5 2.2 158 137 254 49.40 46.56 1.06 82
4500 36.4 31.6 15.6 2.3 2.0 147 128 237 58.60 59.05 0.99 84
5000 40.8 35.5 21.4 1.9 1.7 120 105 193 65.70 81.01 0.81 86
5200 41.5 36.1 22.6 1.8 1.6 116 101 187 66.80 85.55 0.78 86

All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.

Performance Chart

Performance Chart

Test Conditions

Test Power: 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350
Time To Plane 5.0 sec.
0 to 30 12.9 sec.
Test Power 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350
Transmission N/A
Ratio N/A
Props 14.3 x 21 x 3 BL, RH, SS 15.9 x 21 x 4 BL, LH, SS
Load Load: 2 person, Fuel: 1/2, Water: none, Gear: none
Climate Temp: 84 deg., Humid: 39%, Wind: calm, Seas: calm