All you need to know about the bowrider

What is a bowrider?

The bowrider is a type of boat known for its open bow section. It is often built on similar daycruiser models, but many of the bowriders are also built as own hulls. This type of boats is originally from USA, and the first bowrider was sea tested in 1965. The idea behind the bowrider was to give the passengers an experience shielded from the wind while at the same time providing an easy driving experience. This is especially true when docking, the bowrider gives easy access to all parts of the boat. We have made a summary of the bowrider and the things you need to know if you are thinking about buying this type of boat.

Who is the bowrider suitable for?

The bowrider is often mentioned as a family boat, where the focus is in the cockpit area. A good start to find out if the bowrider is suitable for you is to start defining your needs (and the needs of your family). Below, we are listing some of the things you should think through.


Distances: how far are you thinking of travelling?

The bowrider has the same advantage as that of the daycruiser; it has a wide windscreen where you can spend the most of your time. This makes the trip more comfortable for you and your passengers and the bowrider is often used very similar to the daycruiser when it comes to daytrips. Its wise to think through if you are going to cruise around in the inner parts of the archipelago or if you are spending the most of your time in more open seas. Are you spending the majority of the time in the inner parts and you are travelling on typical 1-2 hour trips, bowriders of 6 meters (19-22 feet) can suit you well. Are you leaving for somewhat longer trips, planning to cross fjords or go even further, you should start thinking of buying a bowrider of 7 meters and above. This is due to the ability of the 7 meter hull to take on larger waves at the time, giving you a smoother ride.


How large is your family? Do you travel alone or bring friends?

One thing that will be important to think through is how many people you typically are when going on trips. Are you 2 adults, or do you bring children? Whats their age, and how many are they? Do you typically bring additional friends and family? The reason why we are reflecting on these aspects is the design of the boat you are thinking of buying. Its important to make sure that the hull is designed for the weight of all passengers and luggage. Bowriders are typically designed for people to spend time in the cockpit and the buoyancy is adjusted theirafter. All the necessary information on the maximum allowed weight, number of people allowed etc. you will find don the CE plate of the boat and in the papers of the boat.


Age of the passengers and how the boat is being used.

The use of the boat will for sure be different when you have small kids, or adolescents with you on the boating trips. If you have smaller kids, the place behind the windscreen is a natural place to spend time, due to the high freeboard, secure swimming platforms and good overview. If you bring your teenagers with you, a larger bow section is often appreciated. Many bowriders provide a large and nice sunbed area in the bow section, for enjoying warm summer days. Remember to think, where are we now, and where will we be in a couple of years, then you will most likely find what features that will suit your needs best. Summarized, what should you evaluate in the bowrider?:

  • How is the bow section designed? Are there larger areas in the bow, or is the cockpit and aft more spacious? Does the boat have a bow sunbed?


Boat for use at your holiday home, or for day/weekend trips?

Is the bowrider to be used at your holiday home, or is it merely used as a daytrip boat? Similar to the centre console boats and RIB, the bowrider is higly suitable as a holiday home boat. One of the reasons is the very easy maneuvering and access to all areas of the boat (through the larger hatch in the windscreen.  There are a lot of storage spaces for groceries and luggage and it is often suitable for watersports (which is popular with the kids). The bowrider is also more suitable as a fishing boat than a daycruiser, as you can utilize all areas of the boat for fishing.


Design of the hull, the function and deck space – what should you expect?

The design of the hull of the bowrider will differ from brand to brand. Some have more steep angle of the hull, some have larger deck space, some have more space behind the windscreen and some have larger space in front of the windscreen. Generally the steeper hulls take on the challenges from rough waves better, while the wider hulls and less steep hull angles has the advantage of a larger deck space. All-in-all you need to assess your needs and how the boat fit these.

Another area you should adress is how the windscreen is placed. On bowriders with the windscreen placed further towards the bow you will experience a larger space in the cockpit, while you are losing the practical space in the bow or the sunbed area in the bow section. One of the advantages of a larger space in the bow section is the option to use both the bow and cockpit actively throughout the day in addition to finding several practical storage spaces in this section of the boat.

The seating areas also varies from boat to boat. Think through if a U-sofa (covering the sides and aft of the cockpit), an L-sofa or an aft couch is what you want. All of these solutions have pros and cons, so you need to evaluate them according to your needs.


Equipment and accessories in the bowrider – what should you look for?  

As with the daycruiser, the bowrider often has the option of a canopy, covering the cockpit. This is a very appreciated advantage, with the obvious benefit that it will keep you and your passengers dry if a sudden rain is approaching, or it’s a rainy day and you need to go out. Check the canopy thoroughly; how is the height beneath the canopy, how easy it is to mount etc.

Do you need a fridge? How about demand for charging phones and tablets/pads? Take a close look around in the boats you are evaluating and look for these details. Another aspect is storage space and the placement of these. Are they easy to get to, and how large are they? Spend enough time on these things, as you will be depending on them when you use the boat.

Depending on the size of the bowrider you may get access to a double battery system. This can be a very beneficial equipment, especially when you spend an entire day at sea using the fridge, charging outlets and radio. If you have a double setup, these types of equipment will use electricity from the service battery, while the start battery will be fully charged.

Good luck with your choice of bowrider!