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Reviewed by our Boating Geeks:

14 Best Bowrider Boats in 2022


Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 21 different Bowrider Boats and write reviews of the best.

The result is 14 of the best Bowrider Boats on the market today.

joao paulo carvalho

Joao Paulo Carvalho

A journalist with a passion for gear, photography, traveling and writing.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

From waterskiing to fishing to cruising in style, bowriders are incredibly versatile. Their sporty look, comfortable seating, and snappy handling makes it an amazing type of boat for families & friends.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best bowrider boats money can buy in 2022

So keep reading for our selection of bowriders as well as a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed choice. 

Without further ado, let’s jump right into our list:

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Top 10 Best Bowrider Boats In 2022

Still unsure as to what bowrider boat to choose? Check out our buying guide to know what to look for when buying a bowrider boat.

Make the most out of your time on the water with the versatile Yamaha SX210. Whether you want to relax, entertain or go water tubing, this bowrider has got you covered. Wakeboarders will also rejoice with this model.

It features a beautiful and sporty windshield, a spacious and comfortable bow and cockpit, dual captain’s bucket chairs with flip-up bolsters, an Infinity Bluetooth sound system, a removable cooler, a center walk-thru at the transom for easy boarding, and loads of storage room.

But the star of this boat is hands down, the two-tiered swim platform at the stern. A nice hangout area with upholstered cushioned backrests so you can sit back and enjoy the sun while the kids go for a swim. For even more convenience and fun, just add the removable dinette table and the party is complete.

An exclusive feature to the Yamahas is their articulating keel system, which gives the boat amazing tracking with great turning performance.

Missing is the tower for water sports. For an extra $2,500 you can get the 212s model, which is similar in many ways and includes the tower.

Equipped with a pair of TR1 HO inboard motors, the Yamaha SX210 reaches a top speed of 43.8 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 21’3”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3172 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 50 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10
What we like:
  • Amazing for wakeboarding and waterskiing
  • Integrated multi-level swim platform
  • Love the Yamaha electronics
  • Easy to drive
  • Sporty and clean look
What we don’t like:
  • Missing the tow tower

Known for its line of affordable and best-selling boats, Bayliners are a constant presence at almost every lake and river around the U.S.

The latest in the VR series is the Bayliner VR6. A bowrider that is functional, spacious, and gives you the most bang for your boating buck.

In order to provide boaters with the most amount of usable space, every ounce of the VR6 is optimized. It features the Beam Forward design which carries the beam of the boat all the way forward to the nose of the bow. While the Aft Advantage design increases the cockpit seating area by extending it to the aft most point of the running surface. Then, they added the swim platform at the end apart from the usable interior space.

An L-shaped lounge in the aft section offers you plenty of comfort, abundant storage as well as an integrated cooler. Turn it into an even more spacious U-shaped lounge with the addition of optional filler cushions.

It comes standard with a waterproof 120-watt AM/FM stereo system with MP3 capability, two speakers, a cockpit table, and an enclosed changing room for convenience.

Powered by a 250 horsepower 4.5 MerCruiser, the Bayliner VR6 reaches a top speed of 48.7 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • LOA: 22’ 4”
  • Beam: 8’0”
  • Dry weight: 1722 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 33 gal
  • Passenger capacity: 10
What we like:
  • Spacious
  • Affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Bimini top is not included

With an emphasis on luxury and performance, the Formula 240 Bowrider blends sport boat handling with upscale features in a sleek, compact, and easily trailerable package that will certainly turn heads around the lake.

The bow of the boat features a concealed beach ladder as well as plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sun. The cockpit offers a versatile and comfortable seating layout, including the captain’s chair which is double-wide. Simply flip the seat’s backrest to any position you desire.

The molded fiberglass helm station comes with all your standard features as well as a Clarion stereo system. And if entertaining is your thing, the 240 Bowrider comes with a removable cockpit table as well as a removable cooler. The molded cockpit wetbar and the stainless-steel sink are optional.

The aft section offers a double-wide full-length sun lounge with an angled backrest so you can watch the kids swim from the extended swim platform. Ski and wakeboard rack integrated into the tower supports means keeping plenty room for lounging.

Powered by a single 430 horsepower MerCruiser 8.2, the Formula 240 Bowrider reaches a top speed of 53.6 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 24’ 0”
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Dry weight: 5150 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 55 gal
  • Seating capacity: 9
What we like:
  • Beautiful and elegant design
  • Great performance
  • Extended swim platform
  • Convenient beach ladder
What we don’t like:
  • Bimini top is not included
  • Pricey

Simple yet comfortable and functional, the Tahoe 210S offers all the amenities to make your day on the water fun and full of great memories.

The bow comes with your standard lounge seating with ample storage below while the cockpit offers adjustable twin bucket seats, plenty of storage to keep your valuables secure and dry, and a Kicker stereo system with Bluetooth and MP3 capability.

The back of the boat features a comfortable U-shaped lounge with a remarkable aft storage compartment that makes one wonder why it wasn’t done before. An extended swim platform with a ski tow ring for the wakeboarder and water sports enthusiasts and a padded sundeck with an adjustable folding backrest for the sunbathers rounds out this gem.

Powered by a 225 horsepower Mercury FourStroke in different possible configurations, the Tahoe 210S will reach speeds over 55 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 21’5”
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • 225 Horsepower
  • Dry weight: 3225 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 45 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 10
What we like:
  • Boat, motor and trailer a good package price
  • Nice motor options
  • U-Lounge is novel and nice
  • Spacious yet sporty
  • Smart storage system in aft
What we don’t like:
  • Bimini top is not included
  • Short swim platform

When it comes to delivering great performance while also offering loads of creature comforts, it’s hard to beat the Regal OBX 21.

Its FasTrac hull design provides the captain with more control on the water as well as up to 26% faster speeds and 30% better fuel efficiency.

Equipped with a Yamaha F150 outboard motor, the Regal OBX 21 delivers a top speed of 43 mph.

A few highlights of this bowrider include a large sunpad at the stern, a transom walk-thru for easy access, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo system, and two 25-quart coolers enough to fit all your food and drinks.

The seats were designed with premium hand-stitched upholstery and tons of storage can be found below them.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 21’1”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3250 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10
What we like:
  • Versatile cockpit layout
  • Bimini top is included
  • Loads of storage space
  • Affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Can’t find anything we don’t like

Boaters seeking a fast and economical bowrider should definitely check out the Stingray 198 LX. It might not be the biggest runabout on the market, but great things also come in small packages.

It boasts a very minimal interior design with your standard bow lounge seating, two swivelling bucket seats in the cockpit, a large aft seat and an equally large sunpad.

It also comes with an extended swim platform, two built-in coolers with drain and a Fusion stereo system. You’ll have to spring a little extra for a ski tow system.

It features a Z-Plane hull design with overlapping planes and a notched transom that minimizes drag by allowing the drive to be mounted higher. This combination rewards the 198 LX with high performance and plenty of speed.

Powered by a 220 horsepower MerCruiser 4.3L, the Stingray 198LX reaches a top speed of nearly 60 mph, which is not only impressive for a 4.3-liter engine but also quite economical.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 19’9”
  • Beam: 7’10”
  • Dry weight: 2662 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 34 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 9
What we like:
  • Excellent performance
  • Fuel efficient
  • Affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Bimini top is not included
  • Helm seat doesn’t come with a flip-up bolster
  • Not very spacious for 9 people

Next on our list is a bowrider that hits it out of the park when it comes to combining style, luxury, and performance.

From the cushioned and coated leather and vinyl upholstery to the varnished mahogany steering wheel, every detail on the Chris-Craft Launch 25 GT is of finest quality and materials.

It features Chris-Craft trademark Tumblehome design with a deep V bottom and a flared bow complemented by the striking lines of the stainless-steel windshield.

Some standard features of this boat include a 10” Garmin display navigation screen with CZone digital switching with all the information you need right at your fingertips, a Fusion stereo system with amp and subwoofer, a spacious and versatile sunpad that can be converted into an aft-facing lounge, and for the thrill-seekers, a stainless-steel ski tow.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 24’10”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 5580 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 77 gal
  • Seating capacity: 10
What we like:
  • Spacious swim platform
  • Classic design with retro stylings
  • Convenient walk-thru at the transom
What we don’t like:
  • Pricey

Ideal for entry-level buyers and for those on a budget, the Bayliner Element E16 is as simple as it gets. Shorter than others on this list it does get the job done and offers countless hours of fun on the water.

Its interior is very basic so depending on your necessities you might need to add a couple of their optional upgrades including a waterproof stereo system, a removable cooler, a Bimini top for some shade and the ski tow bar or wakeboard rack for water sports.

It features an M-shaped hull which puts the E16 on plane right out of the hole and maintains level flotation at rest and through turns. Equipped with a 60 horsepower Mercury, the Bayliner Element E16 reaches a top speed of 31 mph.

Equipped with a 60 horsepower Mercury, the Bayliner Element E16 reaches a top speed of 31 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 16’2”
  • Beam: 7’5”
  • Dry weight: 1570 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 12 gal
  • Seating capacity: 6
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Easy to tow
  • Easy to maintain
What we don’t like:
  • Some seats are not attached, therefore can potentially blow over
  • Plastic grab rails
  • A long list of optionals

Raising the bar for quality, comfort, performance and above all, sophistication, the Monterey 385 SE is far from your ordinary bowrider. Its price-tag can be quite intimidating, but once you see all the amenities it has to offer, you’ll understand why it is well worth the investment.

High-end touches and attention to detail extend from the bow to the stern to the cabin below. It almost defies the bowrider category.

Starting at the bow, you’ll find a spacious and comfortable seating area with grab rails all around it for a more secure ride. A few standards of this section include a cocktail table, a stereo remote control, and a filler cushion to make it into an expansive sunpad.

The aft cockpit area with its L-shaped lounge is big enough for large groups. And in the cockpit, you’ll find everything you need to keep your family and friends entertained. Standard features include a cockpit table, a wet bar with a sink, a refrigerator as well as two removable coolers.

Once the sun has set or the captain needs a few hours of rest, you’ll find comfortable and functional overnight accommodations below decks. Apart from the large berth, it also comes with a couch, a 40” flat-screen LED TV, a Blu-Ray player, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a Fusion stereo system.

Still below decks but on the port side, you’ll find a large head compartment with a sink, a shower, and a flushing china head.

The helm station comes fitted with all your standard features as well as an adjustable double-wide captain’s chair and the Optimus 360 power steering with a joystick.

Equipped with a Triple Yamaha 300HP outboard motor system, the Monterey 385SE reaches a top speed of 57 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length with swim platform: 37’0”
  • Beam: 11’0”
  • Dry Weight: 16000 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 250 gal
What we like:
  • Great for overnight boating trips
  • Excellent performance
  • Very comfortable
What we don’t like:
  • Very pricey (but worth it!)

With seating for up to nine people, a solid construction, and loads of comfort the Four Winns Horizon 190 presents great value along with all the amenities to make time on the water fun and special.

Ideal for entry-level boaters and small families, the H190 comes with dual captain’s bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, a Clarion sound system, a rear bench seat with a built-in self-draining cooler, a full-width sunpad that can also be converted into two aft-facing seats, and a nice and extended swim platform.

Powered by a 4.3L MerCruiser, the Four Winns H190 runs at a top speed of 46.5 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • LOA: 19”
  • Beam: 7’11”
  • Dry weight: 2800 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 32 gal
  • Seating capacity: 9
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
What we don’t like:
  • There’s no walk-thru at the transom, which means you have to step on the upholstery
  • Bimini top is not included

Feature-filled and ready for action, the Scout 215 Dorado mixes performance with class and offers fishing aficionados the perfect package for a good time on the water.

As this is mainly a fishing bowrider, it comes standard with an aerated baitwell with high-speed pickup, four rod holders as well as an under gunnel rod storage.

Additionally, the Scout 215 Dorado boasts two adjustable captain’s chairs, a stainless-steel steering wheel with a knob, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo system, an innovative folding transom seat, and dual swim platforms.

But without a doubt, the most beautiful feature of this runabout is the frameless wrap-around windshield that gives it a racy sleek look.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 21’6”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 2776 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 82 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 9
What we like:
  • Spacious
  • Sleek design
  • Convenient walk-thru at the transom
What we don’t like:
  • There’s no sunpad
  • Bimini top is not included
  • And neither is the ski pylon

Built with impressive quality and attention to detail, the Chaparral 21 SSi offers great performance, fuel efficiency, and a boatload of amenities that boaters of all kinds will certainly enjoy.

It features thick but soft luxury upholstery, two bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, a rear bench seat, a 70-quart built-in cooler, a multi-position sunpad, and an extended swim platform.

Powered by a 240 horsepower Volvo Penta V6, the Chaparral 21 SSi reaches a top speed of 48.8 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length with swim platform: 21’
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • Dry weight: 3100 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Passenger capacity: 12
What we like:
  • Solid construction
  • Great performance
  • Fuel efficient
  • Bimini top is included
What we don’t like:
  • You need to remove the back seat cushions to board

Cruise in style aboard the Cobalt 200S. This sporty runabout may be small in size but still carries all the amenities for a fun day out with the family.

The “S” in the name stands for the optional sport seating layout in the cockpit. You can adjust the backrest to a rear-facing lounge or fully recline it for a sunpad.

At the stern, you’ll find another versatile and comfortable sunpad, a removable cooler, and an extended swim platform, which comes with Cobalt’s signature, the flip-down swim step for easy water access.

Powered by a 225 horsepower Volvo Penta V8, the Cobalt 200S reaches a top speed of 44.2 mph.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length with swim platform: 20’10”
  • Beam: 8’4”
  • Dry weight: 3500 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 47 gal
  • Seating capacity: 11
What we like:
  • Great performance
  • The potential for tubing, skiing and wakeboarding
  • Flip-down swim step
What we don’t like:
  • It’s definitely too small for 11 people
  • Bimini top is not included

Sleek design, great performance, and plenty of room for the whole family, the Sea Ray SPX 210 packs all the features many boaters crave without breaking the bank.

The spacious cockpit area comes with dual captain’s bucket seats with flip-up bolsters, an L-shaped bench seat, a Fusion stereo system, abundant storage, a removable cooler as well as a wet storage compartment with draining capacity that can be used as an additional cooler space.

At the stern, you’ll find an extended swim platform with a versatile and large sunpad that can be converted into an aft-facing seat so you can watch the kids swim.

In case you opt for the sterndrive model, the open swim platform becomes a nice and roomy hangout area.

Powered by a Mercury 200 FourStroke outboard, the Sea Ray SPX 210 reaches a top speed of 50 mph and is easy to drive.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 21’6”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Dry weight: 3334 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 40 gal
  • Seating Capacity: 12
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Great performance and water sport potential
  • Convenient transom walk-thru
What we don’t like:
  • Upholstery is a little too firm
  • Plastic grab handles are standard
  • Bimini top is not included

Bowrider Boats | Buyer’s Guide

Owning a bowrider is an excellent investment for the whole family but it’s also a very expensive one. 

To help you make a smart purchase, we’ve prepared a guide with the main things to consider when buying a bowrider boat. 

Here are some of the things to look out for when you go boat shopping: 


Bowriders are usually made up of a bow seating area, two bucket seats at the cockpit, an L-shaped lounge or a rear bench in the aft cockpit section followed by a sunpad and a swim platform. 

A couple of things to consider when choosing your bowrider are how big is your group and how much gear do you intend on bringing aboard? 

Think about all your water toys, life jackets, towels, and all the boating essentials along with all the friends you plan on inviting. 

This should help you decide how much space you need. Keep in mind that sterndrive models have less interior storage room than outboard ones. 

Also, check if the bow area offers enough room to stretch out and enjoy the sun. 

Other useful features to look out for are an adjustable captain’s chair with a flip-up bolster for a comfortable and clear view as well as a convenient walk-thru at the transom so you don’t have to step on the upholstery or constantly remove the seats every time you board. 


As you zip through the lake at high speeds, you need to think about the safety of your entire crew. 

So the seats need to be not only comfortable but deep. 

Likewise, grab rails should be easy to reach and resistant. If the bowrider comes standard with plastic grab rails, consider upgrading for the stainless-steel ones. 

Outboards or Sterndrives?

The type of motor you choose will ultimately affect the type of boating you do, your storage space, the look of your boat as well as maintenance costs. 

These are the main differences between outboards and sterndrives:

Outboard engines are mounted on the outside of the transom, hence the name outboards.

Because they’re located outside, they offer more interior storage space. Compared to sterndrives, they’re usually lighter and easier to work on. They also offer lower maintenance costs, especially if you’re a DIYer. 

Also, because the prop and drive unit can be tilted completely out of the water, they’re great for shallow waters and sailing right up onto a sandy beach. 

Now for the sterndrives.

Most common on bowriders and deck boats, a sterndrive motor is a hybrid of inboard and outboard motor. 

The engine is mounted inboard and it is coupled through the transom to an outdrive unit which is installed on the stern below the waterline.

Since the engine is located inside, it does sacrifice interior storage space, but in turn, it offers a clean look for the transom as well as a more open swim platform. 

Despite being heavier than an outboard engine, sterndrives are quieter and more fuel-efficient.

Now that you’ve got a good selection of the best bowrider boats on the market and a guide to help make an informed purchase, let us know in the comment section below your thoughts on bowriders.

We’re always happy to hear your stories!

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about bowrider boats

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Are bowriders good in the ocean?

    Just like pontoon boats, bowriders are primarily made for inland bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. 

    However, you can take your bowrider into the ocean. Many boaters actually do and larger models like the Monterey 385se thrive in the sea.

    But before you tackle the big waves, get to know your boat first! Familiarize yourself with its capabilities as well as limitations. 

    Also, as a responsible sailor, keep an eye out for the weather conditions.

    Lastly, if your bowrider isn’t between 21ft – 25ft long, it might not be a good idea to take it into the sea.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Who makes the best bowrider boat?

    The best bowrider brands are Chaparral, Monterey, Sea Ray, Regal, and Four Winns. 

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is the difference between a bowrider and a deck boat?

    Both of them offer towing capacities for water sports and both of them represent a great choice for a family boat, but there are a couple of distinguishable differences between a bowrider and a deck boat. 


    Deck boats have a wider and flatter hull design, which in turn offer more deck space – hence its name – as well as more stability. 

    More deck space means more seating area and storage capacity, one of the many reasons people often choose deck boats over bowriders. 


    Overall, bowriders offer better performance than deck boats.

    They deliver sharper turns and a better ability to cut through the waves.

    And because bowriders are lighter than deck boats, they’re also faster for the same horsepower.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is a bowrider boat?

    A bowrider often referred to as a runabout, is a type of boat with a V-shaped hull with open bow seating. They typically range from 17ft to 35ft and are usually designed for recreational purposes.


  1. Michael Keith

    My name is Michael. I am looking for a boat. I don’t want to spend more than 20,000 dollars. I like the Bowrider brand. All boats in Florida are in short supply. I am willing to travel to get what I want. Please help. We were relocated to Florida and want our kids to enjoy the fun having a boat like a Bowrider would bring.! I am leaving my contact information. Please help, SOS.!!!

    Thank you

  2. Bradley Axmith

    Hi Michael. If you don’t mind a used boat, you can find plenty of bowrider boats for sale at marinas around Florida. You can get a 10 year old boat that’s in good shape with a very decent outboard motor for 17-20 grand. These marinas thrive on their reputation and tend to be trustworthy but, I’d recommend you search: “bowrider boats marina Florida” without quotes and use online maps to figure out the places near where you’re relocated. If you’re closer and might use that marina you might strike up a lasting partnership with the guys there too. Good for them, good for you.

  3. Mike

    Looking for a new 2020 21 plus bow rider with stern drive swim deck seating and a emergency head if possible. Prefer 50k range. Any suggestions

  4. Bradley Axmith

    If you’re looking for a solid bowrider with this profile in this price range you’re likely going to have to get a used model. The good news is that there are quite a few available in great condition. I’d recommend looking at Monterey sport boats. Either the 258 SS or the 268 SS depending on how much boat you want. These have a lot of seating, can tow tubes and have a head. Yamaha has some really fun models–the AR240/AR250–that has a cabinet for either storage or an optional day head. These Yamaha boats have a great transom area for seating and lounging too. Boat trader is a good place to look, but make note of the marina selling these boats and contact them directly.

  5. Kurt

    Now rider boats with tapered down bows are so unseaworthy. Watch a haul over inlet video and the reason is evident.
    Why do these companies even consider building boats this way.

  6. Bradley Axmith

    Hey Kurt. Thanks for pointing something important out.The open bow, weighted down with passengers is not a safe way to pass through inlets with waves. Just a fact supported by incidents. You’re right. But, on a lake where conditions won’t get close to challenging the design of the bowrider, this kind of boat won’t present the same dangers. Likewise, in calmer seas bowriders can be affordable vessels for families looking to fish or water ski. As always, boating requires responsibility and judgement. While cruising through an inlet seems like a fun prospect, in the wrong boat with too much weight in the wrong places, it’s just simply unwise. Thanks for your comment. We’ll update the guide to make note of this.

  7. Michael Wishon

    I recently relocated back to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and oh how the lake traffic has changed in 15 years. I am familiar with boats but not up to speed on newer offerings so I am looking for any guidance. The boats here have grown dramatically. In the past you would see one or two 40′ cruisers now they are the norm and the 50’ers are popping up everywhere. I know tri-toons have really improved their look and their handling so I have been looking at a few 26’ers equipped with 300hp. I’m not totally convinced on a tri-toon. I really like the 25′ SeaRay SDX. Great looking boat and the sliding stern seating is functionality that really impresses me to make it feel like I’m on a pontoon. Give me your ideas/suggestions/thoughts/considerations. I am all ears. Thx, Michael

  8. Nick

    Great article! I am a total boat newbie and this is the the most informative one I’ve read so far, thanks.
    Is there a difference in quality between Mercury, Volvo, and Yamaha engines? I am partial to Yamaha due to Japanese engines legendary quality reputation.
    Thanks in advance!

  9. Bradley Axmith

    Hi Nick. Thanks for the kind words. I know and respect people that swear one of the big three over the others. You won’t go wrong with either and parts and service are easy to come by. My own experience is that the new V6 Merc outboard motors have an advantage in terms of weight and thrust, but it’s on paper more than everyday use. Yamaha has some really great systems, integrated into the cockpit which make navigating and monitoring a little easier to go with their new 4-cylinder series. It should also be said, outboard vs inboard will affect sound on the water and comfort. What is critical is to get the motor that works best with the boat. Just to cover the third option here, Volvo Pentas are workhorses that are easy to fix and maintain. My experience with them is mainly in sailboats though.

  10. Steven

    Hi Brad, great article. Any recommendations for a boat that meets the following criteria:
    Main uses – day boat rides, skiing and fishing
    Lake water – but can get fairly choppy – so a little worried about a deck boat being too harsh a ride – but like stability factor
    Carries minimum 8 passengers
    And most importantly, has a shallow draft with motor up as water by our lift gets as low as 18 inches by the end of the summer.
    Thinking 20 ft range plus our minus. Thanks!

  11. Bradley Axmith

    Hi Steven. You have a bit of pickle with the three elements you need: passenger capacity, shallow draft and chop. Most of the typical runabouts or bowriders have at least 25 or 30 inches of draft. Have you considered a pontoon boat? A sport edition from Lowe for example ticks all these boxes. It requires some slow driving in chop, but it can definitely be done. Any 20-23- foot boat will have to be driven slowly in chop anyways. Otherwise there are models I’ve been looking at to be added to the guide: the Wakesetter by Malibu Boats is a ton of fun, but it sits at a 30″ draft. The 2022 MASTERCRAFT NXT20–I’ve only read about so far–seems to be stable with a draft between 24-26in as far as I can tell.

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