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Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider (2015-)
(w/ 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG MPI)

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Brief Summary

The Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider is a big water sportboat not only because of her freeboard, but also because of her hull construction -- which uses the same lamination schedule as the parent Cruisers Yachts, according to the builder. She has all-new hull graphics and her interior upholstery package is as upscale as any in class. It doesn't hurt that the fabrics and vinyls are the same as used in the company's 54-footer. The helm and companion seats have also gotten a new, improved design and are as comfortable as the seats in an up-market SUV.

Key Features

  • Image premium gel coat
  • Molded chaise in bow
  • Helm and companion seats with flip-up bolster
  • Deluxe steering wheel
  • Head compartment with sink and faucet
  • AM/FM/CD stereo with USB port and 4 speakers
  • Cooler in bow
  • Stainless steel ski tow
  • Extended swim platform
  • Bimini top with boot
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 29’ 0''
    8.84 m
    Beam 8’6''
    2.59 m
    Dry Weight 6,285 lbs.
    2,851 kg
    Tested Weight 6,967 lbs.
    3,160 kg
    Draft 40.5''
    1.03 m
    - Draft Up N/A
    - Draft Down N/A
    - Air Draft N/A
    Deadrise/Transom 21-deg.
    Max Headroom open
    Bridge Clearance 64.5''
    1.64 m
    Weight Capacity N/A
    Person Capacity N/A
    Fuel Capacity 68 gal.
    257 L
    Water Capacity N/A
    Length on Trailer N/A
    Height on Trailer N/A
    Trailer Weight N/A
    Total 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

    Std. Power Not Available
    Tested Power 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG MPI
    Opt. Power 2 x 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG B3
    2 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG MPI B3X
    2 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG MPI H.O. B3X
    Three Volvo Penta V8 engines from 320-hp to 380-hp

    Test Results - Change Measurement Unit

    RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM dBa
    650 3.9 3.4 1.4 2.9 2.5 177 154 72
    1000 6.0 5.2 2.2 2.7 2.4 167 145 78
    1500 8.7 7.6 4.3 2.1 1.8 125 109 80
    2000 13.3 11.6 7.3 1.8 1.6 112 98 85
    2500 22.9 19.9 9.3 2.5 2.2 151 131 85
    3000 30.3 26.3 11.9 2.5 2.2 156 135 86
    3500 35.6 30.9 15.6 2.3 2.0 139 121 88
    4000 40.5 35.2 19.2 2.1 1.8 129 113 89
    4500 45.8 39.8 27.6 1.7 1.4 101 88 91
    4800 49.0 42.6 28.9 1.7 1.5 104 90 93
    RPMNMKMKPHLPHKPLdBA
    650 154 285 6.30 5.11 1.23 72
    1000 145 269 9.70 8.33 1.16 78
    1500 109 201 14.00 16.09 0.87 80
    2000 98 180 21.40 27.44 0.78 85
    2500 131 243 36.90 35.01 1.05 85
    3000 135 251 48.80 45.05 1.08 86
    3500 121 224 57.30 59.05 0.97 88
    4000 113 208 65.20 72.49 0.90 89
    4500 88 163 73.70 104.48 0.71 91
    4800 90 167 78.90 109.40 0.72 93

    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

    Acceleration Times & Test Conditions

    Time To Plane 3.5 sec.
    0 to 30 9.9 sec.
    Ratio
    Props
    Load 3 persons, 1/4 fuel, no water, 25 lbs. of gear
    Climate 75 deg., 55 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm
    Elevation 562

    Captain's Report

    Mission Statement

    The Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider was designed to be a luxurious and extremely comfortable small yacht that can accommodate friends and family on an upscale day of cruising or watersports. With the sleek hull profile and the aerodynamic sport arch, she looks fast even at the dock.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider running shot
    The Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider has an overall length of 29’ (8.84 m) with the swim platform, a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m) and a draft up of 24.5” (62.23 cm). With 17 gallons (64.35 L) of fuel on board and 2 people aboard, we had an estimated test weight of 6,967 lbs. (3,160 kg).

    Distinguishing Features

    Following is a list of features that set this boat apart from many others in class.

    • 4-step bow/stern ladder


    • 3-way stern seating, sun pad


    • Extended swim platform


    • Robust hull fiberglass lamination schedule


    • Style lines molded into the hull sides


    • Yacht-grade fabrics and vinyls used throughout


    Performance

    The Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider has an overall length of 29’ (8.84 m) with the swim platform, a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m) and a draft up of 24.5” (62.23 cm). With 17 gallons (64.35 L) of fuel and 2 people aboard, we had an estimated test weight of 6,967 lbs. (3,160 kg).Our test boat was powered by the MerCruiser 8.2L (502 cu. in.) Big Block V8, producing 380-hp powering the Bravo 3X outdrive.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider planing speed
    We took 3.6 seconds to reach planning speed and accelerated to 20 mph in 6.5 seconds, 30 mph in 9.8 seconds and 40 mph in 13.5 seconds.

    At WOT, the engine was turning 4800 rpm, producing 49 mph, providing us with a 28.0 gph, with a range of 104 statute miles.Best cruise speed for economical performance was at about 3000 rpm, providing us with 30.3 mph, burning 11.9 gph with a range of 156 statute miles, with a 10% fuel reserve.

    Handling

    The 298 Bow Rider was not designed to be as sporty handling as her little siblings, but rather to be a luxury performer with an exceptionally comfortable ride at speed in a chop. During our test she cut through wakes and waves with hardly a bump. And despite her considerable displacement, she was quick to respond to the helm. On acceleration, the bow comes up approximately 12-degrees, but there was no loss of forward visibility.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider running shot
    Once on plane, just a minor trim adjustment and she settles into her proper cruising attitude and moves along quite gracefully.

    Her 21-degree deadrise at the transom provided us with a stable, comfortable ride and the 7 layers of mat, roving and chopped strand in her hull lamination contributes to the solid feel of this boat. Even with 380 horses in her engine room, at no time did we feel that the boat was out of control or that there was too much power for the boat. Because of her high freeboard and displacement, in addition to her 29', the CSS 298 Bow Rider is definitely appropriate for saltwater sportboat use.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider running shot
    She leans 12-degrees into the turns and was fully under control at all times, even during hard over turns at high speed.

    Stem to Stern Inspection

    The manufacturer offers a couple of design options and several optional colors for the boat. She can be built in the classic, standard white, or full hull gel coat color with stripe accent styling.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider hull colors
    Our test boat had a jet black hull with white accent styling. The white accent takes the place of a traditional cove stripe, and makes the boat look low and sleek despite a robust freeboard.

    When looking down the hull of this boat, note the style lines molded into the side of the boat and how they add depth and character to the overall look of the vessel. Cruisers Yachts has also added some other unique design features to the boat. For example, the air vents for the engine room are completely hidden by clever cowling on both the starboard and port side of the hull. It is mounted high to keep spray out of the engine room, something particularly important in saltwater.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider raised fins
    Check out the stylish raised fins at the deck in front of the windshield. Definitely a unique design element to add some flare to this area.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider engine room
    The Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider has an inventive way to conceal the engine room air vents and make it look good in the process.

    The builder installed an aluminum sport arch on our test boat, with tow point and a Bimini top to add to the boats aggressive profile. The beefy tower is billet aluminum and the tower can be easily disconnected from its mounting bracket and folded down for trailering.

    At the bow

    the horn is flush mounted at the top rail and the pop up cleats drop down flush with the top rail for a nice clean look. The forward bow compartment houses a 4-step stainless steel telescoping boarding ladder that deploys on the starboard side.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider ladder
    Note the cut outs in the top rail to accommodate the beach boarding ladder as it deploys and to lock it into place.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider chaise lounge
    The deep seated chaise lounge on the 298 Bow Rider has a comfortable, form-fitting dip in the seating portion of the chaise lounge. This allows for a deep seating position and keeps the passenger safely tucked away.

    The interior

    was elegantly upholstered by Cruiser Yachts own craftsmen in the Latte color scheme and accented tones throughout the boat.The deep bow seating is contoured for the human body making it exceedingly comfortable and secure. A rounded foot well area measuring 27.5” (69.85 cm) provides plenty of room for people to sit, facing each other and not bang knees.Under the forward seat is an integral cooler which self-drains overboard. In this way the folks in the bow have easy access to cool beverages without having to move aft.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider finish detail
    We also observed the "hide-a-weld" finish detail under the seat cushions. This is a high-end finish covering the stainless steel staples used to hold the upholstery. Magnets are fastened to the bottom of the forward cushion to keep it from sliding off or flying away while underway. The hole by the magnet is to drain the cushion.

    The walkthrough

    opening between the windshields is a comfortable 20.5” (52.07 cm) wide. The head is located on the starboard side in the console in front of the companion seat. The latching head door extends to the overhead to make it easier to enter and exit. There is full sitting headroom in the optional Porta-Potti.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider head
    The head is equipped with a solid surface countertop, sink and faucet wand that extends out for rinsing off. There is also an operational portlight for ventilation, a shelf for storing some towels and a courtesy light.

    Deck Storage.

    There are two under deck storage boxes in the cockpit. The mid deck box is shallow but long and wide. The forward compartment is more narrow, 17" deep.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider forward compartment
    The forward compartment between the consoles is much deeper and held in the open position with a gas assist strut.

    At the Helm

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider helm
    The helm has an elegant uncluttered layout and is built with a stitched vinyl, non-glare brow and the white faced analog gauges at the dash panel give it a traditional look.

    At the lower left side of the dash, a premium sound system is easy at hand for the captain. On both sides of the padded Italian leather tilt wheel from Gussi are small storage compartments -- just large enough for keys or a cell phone. Below is the usual array of toggle switches and an optional 4” LCD navigation system is conveniently centered on the dash.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider helm seat
    The captain’s seat is an all new design with multi tone upholstery, side supports at the seat back with a soft cushion head rest. There is a bolster and the seat slides fore and aft and raises and lowers so all operators should be able to have optimum visibility.

    The bolster is in an accent color and raises up for leaning or sitting when the captain wants to see over the windshield header. We found the bolster a little uncomfortable to sit on but it did provide adequate support when standing and leaning against it. The inboard and outboard arm rests can be raised or lowered.

    Behind the helm seat

    on the starboard side is a wet bar. The hard surface countertop has a built in sink with stainless steel faucet, a stainless steel designer rail to keep things from sliding off, and a dual stainless steel beverage holder will come in handy.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider beverage holder
    Whether it’s a wine bottle, mixers for happy hour or a couple of soda cans, the holder is a useful addition to the bar setup.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider bench seat
    Adjacent to the wet bar, on the starboard side is another bench seat, which has a latching lid with an insulated, self-draining cooler built in.

    The convertible sun pad

    is located at the stern as we continue along the wrap around seating, here is a molded-in step, with the optional Sea Grass Mat carpeting that leads up to the stern gate, which doubles as a jump seat at the stern.

    Under the sun pad

    area is the engine hatch access. The whole seating assembly rises up on dual gas assist struts to keep it secure while performing the routine engine checks. At the base of the aft bench seat is a stainless steel mounting bracket for the pedestal table that can be installed here, at the aft seating area or at the bow seating area.

    At the port side

    , under the port quarter stern seating area is the access to the batteries and battery control switches. Forward, under the seat is a 48-quart portable cooler for the folks who like to load it up at home and bring it to the boat already filled. There is a well-designed compartment molded in under the seat that is both attractive and functional.This is one of the few sportboats on the market with three coolers aboard, two integral and one portable.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider stern gate
    Just remove the cushion, lift the latching stern gate, which is also the back rest for the jump seat, and walk out onto the swim platform.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider aft seat
    The aft seat easily converts from a bench seat that can accommodate 2 to 3 passengers in the cockpit seating area and one or two additional passengers at the swim platform area when the boat is not underway.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider chaise lounge
    The seating area then coverts to a chaise lounge with just the flip of a latch on each side…
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider sun pad
    …and then to a huge sun pad.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider molded step
    The designers of the boat have made it much easier to get into the engine compartment to perform fluid checks with the addition of this molded-in step. It really makes a difference.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider table
    The table is made of a high-density vacuum formed hard polyurethane with simulated wood grain that looks real. This table has a solid feel to it and the manufacturer tells us that it is waterproof, UV resistant and extremely durable.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider seat cooler
    Look at the size of this cooler stowed under the port side bench seat. It’s a full sized 48 quart cooler that is kept in place by a raised edge.

    The swim platform area

    includes the aft facing seat and an added extended platform with its functional tapered design. These days more and more time is spent by boaters on the swim platform, and for that reason the designers have made this a special place by making it so large. Not only can two boarders get ready at once, but it also makes an ideal place to tie down inflatable water toys when going to and from the two areas.

    The platform is raked

    in on each side so that when the boat pulls away from the dock bow first, the platform will not scrape along the dock. It is also raised about 13" off the water, higher than what we find on most boats. The reason for that is that when at anchor, people naturally enjoy sitting on the platform with their feet in the water. Because the platform is high, they don't have to worry about a wake or wake getting them wet. The integrated design of the sun pad, the color scheme and the SeaDek faux teak material at the extended swim platform give this 29 footer a much bigger feel and look.

    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider swim platform
    The faux teak material on the stern platform provides the classic look of a teak swim platform without the maintenance of real teak. The material is made from soft yet durable closed cell material with finish details that make it look like the real thing, yet it is soft to the touch.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider remote
    On the port side of the swim platform we found a remote stereo control and a trim tilt switch for the lower unit, in addition to water and fuel fill ports.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider access hatch
    Also on the starboard side of the swim platform is the access hatch to the 4 step telescoping stainless steel ladder.
    Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider stern
    The platform also extends well beyond the lower unit for added safety and is at the same elevation as the molded stern so to eliminate a tripping hazard.

    Engine

    MerCruiser 8.2L, 502 cubic inch, MAG, 380-hp with the Bravo 3X sterndrive.

    Options to Consider

    • Cushion bow filler


    • Head, electric with holding tank


    • Porta-Potti with dock pump out


    • Full canvas

    Price

    Base Boat (with Specified Engine) $106,825Manufacturer’s Options on test boat $26,237Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail $133,062

    Observations

    The 298 Bow Rider is the second largest boat in the Cruisers Sport Series line up. Overall, the 298 Bow Rider proved that she can be used for all sorts of watersport activities, with plenty of amenities. But because of her size, we think she should be considered seriously by boaters wanting to engage in entertaining afloat. She has the seating capacity of many pontoon boats, but is a lot more fun to drive. Plus, given the expense of first-class pontoon boats, the vessel is not much more and is even more versatile. Most important, she was designed for big water -- either freshwater or saltwater. Her thick lamination, her considerable displacement, and her freeboard, all go to make this boat one of the most comfortable and capable in most any condition.

    Test Result Highlights

    • Top speed for the Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider (2015-) is 49.0 mph (78.9 kph), burning 28.90 gallons per hour (gph) or 109.39 liters per hour (lph).
    • Best cruise for the Cruisers Sport Series 298 Bow Rider (2015-) is 30.3 mph (48.8 kph), and the boat gets 2.54 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.08 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 156 miles (251.06 kilometers).
    • Tested power is 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG MPI.

    Standard and Optional Features

    Marine Electronics

    GPS/Chart Optional

    Systems

    CD Stereo Standard
    Head: Portable Optional
    Power Steering Standard
    Trim Tabs Optional

    Exterior Features

    Carpet: Cockpit Optional
    Swim Ladder Standard
    Swim Platform Standard
    Tower: Watersports Optional
    Transom Shower Standard
    Wet bar Optional

    Canvas

    Bimini Top Standard
    Camper Back Optional
    Cockpit Cover Standard
    Full Canvas Optional

    Warranty

    Hull Warranty
    Transferable
    Limited 10-years structural


    Deck Warranty
    Limited 10-years structural
    Blistering Warranty
    3-years
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