Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofThe Formula 310 Bowrider has more going for her than just lots of seating capacity up front. She is a large watersports platform which can be used from stem to stern as the photo above demonstrates. What really sets Formula apart from virtually all other boats in class is her superb execution of even the smallest detail. It is all done with artistry, sophisticated materials, lots of TLC and man-hours.
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.
The mission of the 310 Bowrider couldn’t be more clear. She’s the second largest bowrider by Formula offered and will satiate the desires of those that have no intention of spending the night onboard, but do plan on spending the days on the water with a boatload of friends. She has the amenities, space and good looks to impress virtually all comers.
By having forward-facing seating for 8 adults, underway they can all enjoy the thrill of boating at high speed and see where they are going in comfort. When cruising more slowly, or when at rest, she can easily seat 14 people in comfort -- as many as most pontoon boats. With her wet bar and options of a refrigerator and grill she can also become a venue for daytime picnics and evening BBQs.
She is also watersports capable and able to get on plane relatively fast to pull skiers. Her 10,792 lbs. (4,895 kg) as tested will help create wake that wakeboarders will enjoy. She is about as big as is relatively easy to handle for these kind of activities.
Her final -- and usually unmentioned – mission, as alluded to above, is the "wow 'em" with her sheer beauty, grace and eye-dazzling finish.
Formula stands behind its products with a 10-year structural warranty and a 5-year transferable "Formula Guard" protection plan. This plan includes engine and outdrives for five years.
Choice of Graphics.
Most builders have a “one-and-done” policy regarding graphic choices. Not so with Formula. There are three different choices so that the 310 Bowrider can be dialed in to the specific look that owners are striving for.
DuPont ChromaPremier Paint.
Formula uses this high-quality paint that has a bright luster, then covers it with clear coat for durability and longevity of high gloss. (See below).
Polished to Perfection.
Formula’s are always easy to spot among the throng of boats. They’re the ones that look far and away better than the rest. On our tour of the Decatur, Indiana plant, we paused at the end of the line to watch a boat being finished out. No less than four workers were at the hull with orbital buffers bringing out the perfect shine. When one of them stepped back to admire her work, we joined in and looked at the mirror-like shine. We saw no flaws or imperfections in the reflection.
Formula knows that much of its premium reputation is because of the exceptional cosmetic nature of its hulls. Look at any Formula hull at a boat show and notice the play of light across the surface. Their hulls do not reflect light in waves much less as a washboard. The reason is because the plugs were board sanded for hundreds of hours. Then the molds have been maintained and polished to maintain the fairness of the plugs.
Single Level Deck.
The deck maintains a single level from the cockpit to the bow, no steps, and this keeps everyone on the same conversational level as well as making transitions back and forth much easier.
Concealed Fiberglass Anchor Locker.
This creates a cleaner, and more uncluttered bow.
Eight Formula Cast Cleats.
The cleats have the Formula logo cast into them.
We would have expected a basic electric horn on a bowrider, but an air horn is a step above.
Bennett Trim Tabs.
Formula has chosen to stick with the tried-and-proven hydraulic trim tabs and has not gone with the newer, less expensive electric ones. These are standard and include LED indicators to the sides.
Polished Stainless Steel Engine Vents.
Where we often see chromed plastic vents that peel over time, these vents not only look good, they’re durable.
Extended Integrated Swim Platform.
This optional platform not only adds to the usable space to enjoy the platform, but keeps the sharp edges of the outdrive well clear of any swimmers boarding from the concealed ladder. It has been expertly designed and engineered to fit seamlessly with the stern. We recommend it for any owner planning on swimming from the stern or being engaged in towing sports.
Choice of Helm Panel Materials.
Choose between a silver burl or a wood and brushed metallic finish. The steering wheel hub matches the panel choice.
The panel comes standard with a Garmin 536 GPS with color chartplotter, along with a digital depth sounder.
All-Weather Cockpit Seating.
Wet seat cushions are not much fun. But that will not be going on in a Formula boat because its cushions are made with DriFast foam that allows water to flow right through to drain holes underneath. This foam does not hold water. And they are made to withstand the elements.
Molded Wet Bar.
It includes an integrated sink, Corian counters, a 24-quart (27.7 L) igloo cooler, trash container and safety rail.
Doublewide Helm and Companion Seats.
At the helm we can have a second set of eyes looking ahead, the companion seats face the helm and there’s integrated dive tank storage underneath.
Modular Bow Seating.
Converts easily to a sun pad with dedicated storage for the filler cushion under the starboard seats.
Formula provides a standard VacuFlush head with 36-gallon (136 L) holding tank and dockside pumpout.
Bow and Cockpit Covers.
Very surprising to see this as a standard feature but Formula apparently doesn’t want to run the risk of a short-sighted owner failing to cover this premium boat. These aren’t giveaways either… they’re color matched, and made from non-fading Sunbrella acrylic fabric with SeaMark and vinyl undercoating.
Automatic Discharge Engine Room Fire Extinguisher.
Another item typically seen as an option but one we’d never want to be without. There is also a standard fume alarm in the engine room. Formula also includes a separate extinguisher mounted in the cockpit.
The Formula 310 Bowrider has a LOA of 31’ (9.45 m), a beam of 9’6” (2.90 m), and a draft of 37” (.94 cm). With an empty weight of 9,875 lbs. (4,479 kg), 40% fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 10,792 lbs. (4,895 kg).
With a pair of 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG engines turning BIII outdrives with 26 pitch props, we reached a top speed of 51.8 mph at 5000 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 51.4 gph giving us a range of 118 miles.
came in at 3500 rpm and 34.1 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 20.4 gph producing a range of 196 miles and an endurance of 5 hours 42 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve.
We reached planing speed
in 4 seconds flat. Accelerated through 20 mph in 6.2 seconds, 30 in 9.1 seconds, 40 in 13.2 seconds, and eased past 50 mph in 20.5 seconds.
This is a great boat to drive. She has a solid feel of a heavier boat and her 5-degree bow high cruise attitude feels as if it’s on a more level plane. The bow comes up only 10-degrees upon acceleration producing no loss of visibility to the horizon. With 2 ½ turns from lock to lock on the wheel she responds smartly to helm inputs and she slices cleanly through the wakes of passing boats rather than launching over them. Spray is kept low for a dry ride in addition to being a comfortable ride.
Formula went with an attractive and functional helm that includes a Garmin 547 GPS as standard. Two choices of Raymarine units are available, the e7D ($2,170) or the e97 multifunction display ($5,250). There is full instrumentation in the panel, even with the addition of either the Mercury VesselView or the Volvo Penta EVC display, depending on which choice powers the boat of course.
To the starboard side, our test boat was controlled with Mercury’s DTS control system, which offered a host of optional features such as engine sync, single lever operations and dock mode for lower power settings. We were also equipped with the Axius Sterndrive Joystick System, which gave us flawless operations around the dock with near surgical precision.
The big news with this 310 Bowrider is the newly styled interior, and it’s based largely on customer feedback. By designing “alcoves” into the seatbacks, Formula is able to add ancillary items such as drink holders and grab handles without impeding on the available space of the seat itself. Multiple shades of earth tones keeps glare knocked down, and different densities of foam used in the construction add comfort where it’s needed most.
We still have the usual accommodations for storage underneath the seats, and all the cushions are attached to double hinges that allow the “hatch” to remain open without having to hold onto it. This allows both hands to be free to work the compartment.
To the port side is a wet bar with a Corian countertop that is available in a choice of three colors, Lava Rock, Sonora and Tumbleweed, with no upcharge. There’s adequate counter space for food prep, and underneath we have a trash receptacle and a sink.
Wet Bar Options.
There’s storage to the left, and this compartment also includes the house battery switches, while to the right is a pullout cooler. This cooler can be swapped out for a cockpit refrigerator with a stainless front ($2,025). With that option, we’d like to see the white acrylic door removed for better access. If a grill option is chosen ($1,360), then it mounts to a side-mount pedestal at the transom rather than into the wet bar. We like this concept as it frees up space by the wet bar and takes advantage of unused space on the swim platform.
Just ahead of the wet bar is a double wide observer’s seat that can be used while facing forward and watching the road ahead, facing aft and watching the wake shining in the distance, or spotting a performer at the end of a tow rope. Otherwise guests sitting here can face the captain and enjoying the scintillating conversation that they always offer.
Just ahead of the observer's seat is a head compartment. It comes standard with a VacuFlush toilet, 36-gallon (136 L) holding tank and dockside pump-out. The level of class continues here as well where we have Corian counters, a stainless sink, opening portlight for ventilation and a high-gloss laminate cabinet.
Forward, the bow is roomy enough to allow seating while facing each other and not worrying about knees knocking together. Used in the usual lounge style, there’s more than enough room to stretch out one's legs even for those who are 6'6" (1.98 m). Flip down armrests are provided, and this is a much more preferred method to flip-UP armrests that require releasing a latch to return to the stowed position.
Another neat feature is the ability to remove the center cushions from both sides. This creates two seats where guests can have their feet planted on the deck, much like a regular chair. The forward seat still accommodates the feet, much like an ottoman. And the seats can even be used in the same manner while facing aft. Again, the usual accommodations for storage are underneath.
Fully forward, Formula went with a concealed anchor locker. Our test boat was equipped with an electric windlass ($5,305) with 75’ (22.9 m) of all-chain rode and a stainless steel polished anchor. (Something that one really must have on a boat of this caliber.) A chain counter is at the helm. We most appreciated that the hatch utilizes a lift-and-lock type of latch instead of the turn-and-lock type that always gets turned in the wrong direction and we only notice it when we start to accelerate and the hatch starts bouncing open. (Why manufacturers choose to use these is beyond us -- but thankfully Formula doesn’t!)
Swim Platform and Lounge
The swim platform is roomy, but our test boat was fitted with an optional extended platform ($6,810) that really added to the functionality. Both were fitted with the optional teak grained vinyl decking ($5,520). A stainless rail surrounds the platform and created a convenient handhold for those in the water. It also serves to absorb the hit into the dock should an errant captain be at the helm. Two drink holders are also accessible from the water.
The aft facing rumble seat
has storage underneath and we always look to this for storing the wet towels and bathing suits as its position right over the engine provides a natural drying space. The seats also fold flat to form a sun pad.
Pricing and Notable Options
The Formula 310 Bowrider has a base price of $240,480, including the twin 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAGs. We can drop down to 300-hp or bounce up to 430-hp engines but this seems to be a nice match for this boat in terms of speed and power.
Our test boat was equipped with
some options worth considering, including the Axius Joystick Operating System and Mercury VesselView display ($23,280). These engines were also equipped with the SeaCore saltwater protection system ($6,555). We strongly recommend this option if operating in saltwater. The electric windlass with chain and anchor is a helpful touch as we ALWAYS anchor out when enjoying our boats ($5,305). While the 310 comes with a color chartplotter, our test boat was equipped with an upgrade to the Raymarine e7D ($2,170). Other options to consider are the stainless steel sport top ($12,145), the extended sport swim platform ($6,810) and the teak vinyl decking ($5,520). These options brought the “as tested” price of our 310 Bowrider to $306,650 MSRP.
Frankly, we don't hear about many hull failures these days, but the few we do learn about usually involve someone beating the living heck out of boat going at high speed through square waves offshore. It's almost as if they are trying to tear the boat apart. Happily it doesn't happen often.
Born to Raise Hell.
Nevertheless, one of Formula's strong advantages -- and one of the reasons its boats cost what they do -- is that its hulls are built to take punishment. Because the builder came from an offshore racing heritage -- and is the ONLY major sportboat builder today which can say that -- it is well-acquainted with what can happen when a boat is abused, and it also knows how to keep its vessels together under the most challenging conditions. Failures under extreme conditions usually happen in one of the following areas-- 1) Part of the hull delaminates 2) The hull-deck joint cracks 3) Interior bulkheads and cabinetry come adrift 4) Engines leave their mounts
Formula Building Techniques--
Resin-encapsulated, suspended cross-framed stringer and bulkheads are securely bonded to bowrider hulls with biaxial laminates for optimal force distribution. Additional structural reinforcement – custom fiberglass shapes are used in the hull bottom and along gunwales. See the BoatTEST.com video of Formula's hull construction… 2)
Formula uses a chemical Plexus methacrylate chemical bond plus stainless steel bolts through stainless steel backing plates to join its hull and decks. Methacrylate adhesives provide a unique balance of high tensile, shear and peel strengths with the maximum resistance to shock, stress and impact across a wide temperature range. It is able to combine the properties of strength and elongation (flexibility) into a single high performance system, which gives excellent fatigue and impact resistance. As an adhesive, it is far stronger than fiberglass and resin.Plexus is ISO 9001 certified and has been tested and certified by the world's most respected marine agencies, including Lloyd's of London, Det Norsk Veritas, Icelandic, and the American Bureau of Shipping.
Bulkheads and Cabinetry Installation.
Formula's CAD/CAM routers cut wood parts to precise dimensions to fit perfectly. Then durable metal angle brackets are bolted into place to insure integrity. Bulkheads are glassed to the hull with a space in between to avoid contact. Drawers are premium quality and are dovetailed for added strength. See the BoatTEST.com video on Formula's cabinetry making…4)
All Formula engines mounts are thru-bolted using heavy-duty cast aluminum mounts and backing plates. This is far superior to lag screwing directly to stringers as in most other boat builders do in this class.
For the select few that can afford to be in this club, the Formula 310 Bowrider is a rewarding place to be. Formula doesn’t build boats that anyone would consider "cost-efficient", but that makes them even more special. Some consumers demand an exquisite product, and when it comes to boats, Formula delivers them.
Test Result Highlights
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Pricing Range: $230,240.00Prices, 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 - Change Measurement Unit
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.