Bowriders are an affordable alternative to larger boats and are a popular choice for those who want easy day trips on the water. A bowrider, also known as a runabout, is a type of recreational boat with a V-shaped hull and open bow seating ranging from 17 to 35 feet. Bowriders are typically meant for day trips, not overnight cruising, and they are easy to handle and don’t require extensive training to operate. These boats offer comfortable aft seating, ample towing capacity for tubers and jet skiers, powerful engines for water sports, and a split windshield design that protects both the skipper and passengers.
If you’re looking for the perfect boat for lake adventures, a bowrider is a great option. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best affordable bowrider boats for lakes.
1. Bryant Calandra 27
If you’re looking for a versatile boat that can handle a range of activities on the lake, the Bryant Calandra 27 is an excellent option. With its spacious deck, comfortable seating, and storage compartments, this bowrider is ideal for cruising, fishing, skiing, and other watersports activities.
One of the standout features of the Bryant Calandra 27 is its wide open deck, which offers plenty of room for passengers and gear. Whether you’re out for a leisurely cruise or a day of fishing, you’ll appreciate the spaciousness and convenience of this boat. The seating and storage compartments are thoughtfully designed to maximize comfort and practicality.
The Bryant Calandra 27 also offers a range of luxurious amenities that make your time on the water even more enjoyable. The digital shift and throttle provide smooth and precise control, while the aft-facing camera offers added visibility and safety. The boat also has wireless charging capability, so you can keep your devices powered up while on the lake.
2. Bayliner VR4
One of the most significant advantages of the Bayliner VR4 is its AftAdvantage design. This design allows for a larger interior volume, creating plenty of space for passengers and storage. Additionally, the transom moves back further than in traditional boats, which increases the waterline length, providing a smoother and more stable ride. This design also allows for a more balanced weight distribution, improving fuel efficiency and handling.
The Bayliner VR4 features high gunnels that provide added safety, especially for children and pets. The forward beam with high gunnels also helps reduce the spray and wind in the cockpit, creating a more comfortable and enjoyable ride for everyone. This feature also makes it easier to secure cargo and gear, minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries.
3. Regal 1900 ESX
Are you looking for an affordable bowrider that can handle lakes with ease? The Regal 1900 ESX might just be the boat for you. With classic bowrider lines and Regal’s signature FasTrac hull, this boat is beautiful and efficient on the water.
The FasTrac hull is what sets Regal boats apart from the competition. This design creates a built-in ventilation system that reduces drag and allows the boat to easily glide through the water. The result? Faster speeds and better fuel efficiency.
But the 1900 ESX isn’t just about speed and savings. It’s also packed with features that make it an exceptional value. The boat comes standard with an extended swim platform and a transom walk-thru for easy access to the water. Power-assist steering ensures a smooth and comfortable ride, while the premium dash and Faria gauges keep you informed and in control.
4. Stingray 182SC
The Stingray 182SC is a stylish and sporty bowrider that is designed for performance and fun on the water. With its Z-Plane hull design and notched transom, this boat delivered high-speed performance and reduced drag.
The 182SC has a spacious cockpit that is designed for comfort and convenience. It features two swivel bucket seats, a bow lounge seating, an aft seat, and a large sun pad, providing plenty of space for you and your guests to relax and soak up the sun. The boat also has two built-in coolers with a drain, ensuring your drinks and snacks stay cool and fresh.
The 182SC is powered by a 220-horsepower MerCruiser 4.3L engine, which gives it a top speed of nearly 60 mph. Despite its impressive speed, the boat is surprisingly economical, making it an excellent choice for those who want high performance without breaking the bank.
5. Yamaha SX190
The Yamaha SX190 is an excellent bowrider for lakes that delivers impressive handling and acceleration. Powered by a 1.8-liter four-stroke engine and jet drive, this 19′ 5″ boat offers excellent performance on the water.
The SX190 has a large and comfortable bow and cockpit, with dual captain’s bucket seats and flip-up bolsters, providing excellent support for driving. The boat also has an Infinity Bluetooth sound system, allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes on the water. Additionally, the SX190 features a removable cooler and plenty of storage space, ensuring you can bring all the gear you need for a day on the water.
The Yamaha SX190 features an award-winning two-tiered transom seating arrangement, perfect for relaxing and socializing when not underway. Additionally, the boat has two innovative items that enhance its low-speed control – an articulating keel fin and a downward thrust deflector, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
6. Chaparral 19 SSI
the Chaparral 19 SSI boasts a 200 HP Mercury 5.4L MPI with an Alpha drive, making it one of the most fuel-efficient boats in its class. At 19’4″ long and 7’6″ wide, it is also the largest boat in its price range, providing ample space for up to 11 passengers.
Equipped with a 200 HP Mercury 5.4L MPI engine and Alpha drive, the Chaparral 19 SSI offers superior performance and fuel efficiency. Its lightweight hull design ensures a smooth ride, while the engine provides plenty of power for water sports and cruising. The Alpha drive enhances the boat’s maneuverability and responsiveness, making it easy to handle in all conditions.
The Chaparral 19 SSI offers more than just excellent performance. It also provides exceptional comfort and luxury for all passengers. The 3-step boarding ladder makes it easy to get in and out of the boat, while the ski-eye and arch tower board racks allow you to easily tow skiers or wakeboarders.
7. Glastron GT 180
If you’re looking for a great boat for lake activities, the Glastron GT 180 Bowrider might be just what you need. This affordable bowrider offers many features that are hard to find in more expensive boats, making it an excellent choice for those who want to have fun on the water without breaking the bank.
With an MSRP of $30,067 and a starting price of $27,500, the Glastron GT 180 is an affordable option for those who want a high-quality boat. Plus, with the Sport version, you get enhanced graphics, custom gauges, and a swim platform mat. These features give the boat a more stylish and sophisticated look, making it stand out on the water.
The Glastron GT 180 has a 90-horsepower Mercury FourStroke outboard, providing plenty of power for cruising around the lake. However, you can upgrade to a 150-horsepower engine if you need more power. This allows you to do more adventurous activities like water skiing or tubing.
8. Tahoe 1950
The Tahoe 1950 Bowrider offers a range of features that make it comfortable, functional, and a blast to use on the water.
The Tahoe 1950 features twin bucket seats that are fully adjustable, providing a comfortable ride for boaters of all sizes. The U-shaped lounge is perfect for relaxing with friends and family, and there’s plenty of storage for your valuables. There’s even a special aft storage compartment for all your gear, ensuring that everything stays organized and within easy reach.
The Tahoe 1950 is powered by a 225-horsepower Mercury FourStroke, allowing it to reach speeds over 55 mph. This boat is perfect for those who want to zip around the lake and enjoy high-speed thrills. And with a towing weight of just 2,200 pounds, it can easily be towed by midsize SUVs. So whether you’re heading to your local lake or going on a road trip, the Tahoe 1950 is the perfect vessel for your next adventure.
9. Sea Ray SPX 190
Are you looking for an affordable bowrider without skimping on features and performance? Look no further than the Sea Ray SPX 190. This boat is perfect for lake boaters who want plenty of space for friends and family while still being able to navigate easily. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the SPX 190 such a great option.
One of the standout features of the Sea Ray SPX 190 is its spacious cockpit. With room for up to 10 passengers, this boat is perfect for entertaining guests or spending the day on the lake with family. The helm seat is paired with a stern bench, allowing the captain to easily interact with everyone on board. The unique portside companion bench seat adds extra comfort and a unique touch to the design.
The Sea Ray SPX 190 is powered by a Mercury 115hp outboard engine, giving it plenty of power to get up to speed quickly and reach a top speed of 50 mph. Whether you want to cruise leisurely or try out some watersports, this boat has the performance capabilities to handle it all.
10. Larson LX 195
With its Z-Plane hull design and notched transom, this boat is designed to provide excellent performance and minimize drag. And with a top speed of nearly 60 mph thanks to the 220-horsepower MerCruiser 4.3L engine, you can be sure that you’ll have plenty of fun out on the water.
The Larson LX 195 also boasts a spacious and comfortable interior, making it an excellent option for spending a day on the lake with friends and family. The bow lounge seating provides a great spot to relax and soak up the sun, while the two swiveling bucket seats in the cockpit ensure that the driver and passenger are comfortable and secure.
The Larson LX 195 also features a large aft seat and a large sun pad, providing plenty of space for passengers to stretch out and enjoy the ride. And with the extended swim platform, getting in and out of the water is a breeze.
Buying Guide – Choosing the Perfect Bowrider
Selecting the perfect bowrider boat for your lake adventure rides is no small decision, and it can be pretty overwhelming to consider all the factors. But worry not, because we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive buying guide. Understanding your needs and knowing what to look for will surely make the whole process blissful and fitting with your requirements.
Firstly, you need to identify the purpose of your purchase. What will you be using your bowrider for? Will it be primarily for family outings and fun-packed weekends on the lake, fishing expeditions, water sports or a bit of each? This decision plays a crucial role in the type and size of the bowrider boat you should invest in.
Next, consider the seating capacity and storage. Bowriders got their name from the extra seating up front in the bow. If you intend to have a lot of family and friends joining for lake excursions, larger models may prove more beneficial, offering both more seating and storage space. Remember, more seats often mean more storage, as many modern bowriders place storage spaces under the seating.
Thirdly, consider the performance and propulsion. Bowriders come in multiple engine configurations, from outboards to stern drives. If speed and power are your top priorities, then you might prefer an option with a stern drive and a larger horsepower rating. However, if ease of maintenance and fuel-efficiency is a deciding factor for you, then an outboard engine might be the ticket.
Fourthly, don’t forget the importance of a sea trial. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, ascertain whether you can have a sea trial. During a sea trial, you can see how the boat performs on the water. Pay attention to handling characteristics, stability, and safety features. Make sure it meets not only your specific needs, but also your expectations for comfort and performance.
Lastly, consider the brand reputation and warranty. Established brands not only bring with them a reputation for quality and reliability but also generally have wider servicing networks. Make sure to understand what your warranty covers and for how long, to help ensure that your investment is well protected.
What is the hull design of a bowrider boat?
A bowrider boat typically has a monohull or tri-hull design, usually made out of fiberglass, composite, or aluminum, with the helm station located on one side. It is designed with a forward seating area that allows passengers to ride in it while the vessel is in motion.
What is the cockpit of a bowrider boat like?
The cockpit of a bowrider boat is designed to be comfortable and versatile, allowing passengers to enjoy their time on the water. The helm station typically comes with all the standard features, such as a Clarion stereo system and an adjustable captain’s chair with a flip-up bolster for a better view. The cockpit also features an L-shaped lounge or rear bench for additional seating and a sun pad for relaxation. For convenience, many bowriders also have a walk-thru at the transom, so you don’t have to continually remove the seats when boarding.
What type of engine powers a bowrider boat?
Various motors, including stern-drive, inboard, and outboard propulsion systems, can power bowriders. Some of the most popular manufacturers of bowriders today include Sea Ray, Chaparral, Cobalt, Monterey, Mastercraft, and Bayliner. Outboard motors have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their lower cost and improved slow-speed handling compared to single-propeller stern drives. Inboard/outboard and V-drive systems are also available on some bowriders.
What watersports can I do with a bowrider boat?
A bowrider boat is ideal for watersports such as wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing, tubing, and knee boarding. It can also be used for recreational activities such as day cruising, fishing, snorkeling, and diving. The wide variety of amenities and features offered by Bowriders make them great for various activities. These features include ski and wakeboard towers, a large bow area with adjustable captain seats, a rear bench in the aft cockpit, a sun pad, and a swim platform.
What is the average cost of a bowrider boat?
The average cost of a bowrider boat can vary widely depending on factors such as size, brand, features, and materials used. Generally, smaller and more basic models can be purchased for around $15,000 to $25,000, while larger and more feature-rich models can cost $50,000 or more. However, the average cost of a mid-range bowrider boat is typically around $30,000 to $40,000. It’s essential to keep in mind that the total cost of ownership for a boat can include additional expenses such as maintenance, storage, and fuel.
What safety features are included in a bowrider boat?
Some of the safety features that should be included in a bowrider boat are Deep comfortable seats, stainless-steel grab rails, an adjustable captain’s chair with a flip-up bolster for a clear view, a walk-thru at the transom, marine radios for communication and emergency help, life jackets, safe boating practices, and a membership to a boating safety service such as Tow BoatUS or SeaTow.