The Pros and Cons of Buying a Bowrider Boat

Sporty and streamlined, bowrider boats are designed to have a good time. But despite its origins as a party boat, the bowrider has evolved to entertain in other ways, too. Let’s go through the basic upsides and downsides of this popular boat type, so you can decide if a passenger-friendly bowrider boat is the boat for you.

Bowrider boat
Easily identified by its open-bow seating, there’s a lot more to a bowrider than extra seating.

The Pros 

Fast, efficiently powered and easy to handle, these boats are top of the list when it comes to a day cruising with your crew.

Fun to drive. A bowrider’s deep V hull means it cuts through the water better than other boats that offer similar versatility, like a deck boat. This also makes it easier to handle, which adds to the enjoyment of this pleasure craft. Most bowriders fall in the 16 to 20 foot range, but they can go up to 28-30 feet. 

Balanced power. Bowriders are generally equipped with low-emission engines, which provide ample power and performance for entertainment boating, reaching speeds of up to 60 mph, a thrilling but still-safe speed when offset by their excellent handling. 

Versatility. While many boats are marketed for their versatility, we think bowriders truly sit atop that list. The balance of performance and handling, as well as their  sweet-spot size make bowriders well-suited for activities ranging from fishing to watersports or straight cruising with all of your friends — and you can build or find one that’s customized for any or all of these activities. 

Ample seating. The most popular plus of a bowrider is the additional seating you get on the bow of the boat, which can also designed to be more comfortable rather than to maximize space like other small boat designs have to do. This allows your passengers to spread out and relax, with that view from the bow that is impossible to top. 

The Cons

Lacking both cabin space and the capability to hit the open sea, these boats also have some negatives.

No cabin. The bowrider’s emphasis on seating capacity removes the possibility for cabin space, which usually for boats this size is under the bow. So if you’re seeking an overnighter more often than you want to carry more friends and family to your boating adventures, this might be a dealbreaker.

Reduced-size personal space. The efficient mid-sized engine that makes the bowrider quick and nimble isn’t powerful enough to take the boat out into the open ocean, especially in combination with the smaller size of most bowriders. Despite their V-shaped hull, they’re also apt to be tossed around in choppier waters. If you’re planning on keeping those parties close to shore, you’ll never notice this deficiency.

Lack of shelter. Again, that focus on seating means there’s no enclosed cabin on a bowrider. So even if you’re seeking short-term solace like shade or shelter from sudden inclement weather, you’re not going to find it on this kind of boat.

Doesn’t hold the most passengers. Despite the bowrider’s well-known advanced seating capacity, the V-shaped hull limits max capacity for storage and passengers. If your goal is to get as many friends and fam safely onboard as possible, you might want to consider a deckboat

Bowrider Boat
While bowriders aren’t suited for the open water, there’s plenty to do with them along the coastline or in fresh water.
If it’s time to buy your bowrider, let’s get started. 

Quick, agile and easy to drive, bowriders are popular for their capacity, flexibility and fun factor. If this boat sounds like it ticks all the boxes, dig into our listings to find and buy a bowrider from a dealer or private seller near you. One of our top boat types, there are new listings posted every day. And be sure to register with us to receive emails when a new bowrider listing pops up that meets your requirements.