By: John Willis


The popularity of bowriders, deckboats and sportsboats has exploded over the last 10 years. John “Don’t Gimme Any Lip” Willis tested Bayliner’s most recent entrant in this growing market, the 2011 model 175 Bowrider.




The Bayliner 175 is the highest selling fibreglass boat under 6m in the world today. That statement alone says a mouthful. Many years of experience shine through in the 175. This sophisticated hull has been refined to execute its design purpose perfectly. Its layout is simple and extremely efficient, and its ergonomics are inviting and comfortable. Construction quality
is up there with the world's best production boats.

The new 2011 model Bayliner 175 test boat was supplied by Melbourne dealer Avante Marine. The Avante Group has five outlets distributing Bayliner boats throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and for its test the company's representative, Michael Galouzis, joined us to ensure we understood the essence of the product - namely fun and excitement.

Michael likes to describe the Bayliner as a crossover boat in that it's suited to a variety of uses in fresh and saltwater. I call it a multi-purpose machine that will please the varying interests of the family boat buyer with a discerning eye for a spirited performer. The black and white two-toned hull and simple-but-stylish decals set the pace for presentation and accentuated the chic lines and colour scheme of the 2011 model. This is an attractive boat with all the features you'll ever need in a bowrider, but it enjoys an uncluttered, stylish, "less is better" flavour.




The test model's MerCruiser 135hp four-cylinder inboard, coupled to an Alpha One sterndrive, produces surprising performance, particularly when fitted with the optional 19in propeller as tested. While the standard unit comes with a 21in aluminium prop, the smaller pitch of the 19in gives excellent holeshot and a very pleasing top end speed of 35kts (65kmh) doing 5200rpm at wide open throttle. This is the prop for those anticipating waterskiing or larger loads of family and friends. The 21in prop will give a slightly higher top end, but will not be quite as quick out of the water, meaning it is better equipped for more general boating.

Bayliner has also designed a simple but effective interior layout. The rear of the boat has a pair of comfortable seats either side of a convenient lift-up engine hatch. The large hatch looks great, and has very good access for servicing, but it could be improved with extra acoustic material to further deaden engine noise.

Driving the 175 is simply a pleasure. The 2011 model now includes power steering as standard - a vast improvement on conventional steering - which works really well with the efficiency of the refined deep-vee hull. You can apply full power from a standing start without laying a hand on the steering wheel. There's absolutely no torque twist and as you power through the rev range the nose drops a second time at around 4000rpm and 27kts (50kmh), telling the driver that it's keen for more.

Trimming the boat is also child's play. It's a simple set-and-forget that allows a novice to drive without fear of the unfamiliar. The wake is very low at speed, which will please skiers, and you can produce a reasonable wave for wakeboarding by adding weight and then trimming the Alpha One leg out at lower speeds. The hull has a reasonably broad entry combined with a defined chine forward of its shoulders to carry extra weight in the bowrider.

Typical of American designs, there's no anchorwell or bow fittings so I guess they simply don't anchor these things in the States. There is some storage room under the plush bowrider cushions where the anchor, rope and chain can be retained, and nowhere to tie the rope. Your local dealer can modify this to make the Bayliner more serviceable for use in our local bays and estuaries.




Moving back into the cockpit, the first thing you notice is the strength of the safety-glass windscreen. You could do push-ups on the screen without fear of damage - it's that strong - but it also looks great with the brushed stainless frame. The helm is simply a pleasure to operate. The fully adjustable swivel bucket seats are quite comfortable, and my 6ft4in companion felt extremely secure and had plenty of legroom.

The passenger side has a back-to-back seat that folds down to become a sunlounge (my wife would love it). The passenger dash area is very simple with only a recess to hold your knickknacks, and obviously a drinkholder for both driver and passenger. Bayliner uses a simple yet effective edging material that looks better than traditional pinch-weld, and without the problems.

The cockpit floor and sides are also upholstered in a deep grey carpet that looks and feels great. There's a large ski locker in the floor but otherwise a lack of suitable sidepocket storage. Grabhandles are in all the right places to suit the maximum recommended carrying capacity of seven people.

The Bayliner 175's clean lines continue through to the transom with a small but adequate boarding platform with a strong telescopic stainless ladder, bollards port and starboard, boarding handle and towrope fitting. Of course Bayliner keeps track with worldwide safety trends by foam-filling the hull, and the large reverse chines, strakes and 2.11m beam give excellent stability at rest.




My companions and I walked away from the Bayliner 175 agreeing that it's one of the best of the all-purpose, value-packed bowriders on the market. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull, as well as the standard two-year MerCruiser warranty.

Try as we might we couldn't find any important faults other than facilities for anchoring and less than ideal storage. The dealer fits locally-made canvas packages to the client's requirements, and we thought the bimini, bow and storm-cover combination fitted to the test boat showed quality workmanship.

The standard trailer comes with ADR approved brakes, lights and load ratings and is well within the maximum width regulations for Australian registration. We launched and retrieved the boat easily by driving on and off the trailer.

Whether you're a seasoned boater looking for a value packed all-rounder, a family man with conflicting needs, or a first timer after a simple and trouble-free package, take a long hard look at this one.



On the plane...

Modern design with great looks

Solid windscreen

Exciting to drive with great handling

Reputable brand


Good helm design

Great value for money

Long warranty



Dragging the chain...

No anchor hatch or provision for ground tackle
Limited storage





With 19in propeller, full fuel tank and two passengers.

15.5kts (28.7kmh) @ 2600rpm (planing)

19.5kts (36.1kmh) @ 3000rpm (trimmed up a little)

23.6kts (43.7kmh) @ 3500rpm (throttle creeps up and down)

27.1kts (50.2kmh) @ 4000rpm (bow points down and wants to go)

31.5kts (58.3kmh) @ 4500rpm (and loving it!)

34.0kts (63.0kmh) @ 5000rpm (yee ha!)

35.0kts (64.8kmh) @ 5200rpm (WOT)






Specifications: 2011 Bayliner 175 Bowrider




Price as tested: $31,990

Options fitted: Bimini canopy, bow cover

Priced from: $29,990




Type: Deep-vee monohull

Material: GRP

Length (LOA): 5.33m

Beam: 2.11m

Weight (standard BMT package): Approx. 1049kg

Approx. towing weight: 1200kg

Deadrise: 19°




Fuel: 79.5lt

Rec. max. HP: 135




Make/model: MerCruiser 135 M C/A1 (3.0lt)

Type: Four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated

Rated HP: 135hp

Displacement: 3.0lt

Weight (engine): 288kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.00:1

Propeller: 19in aluminium (21in aluminium standard)




Avante Marine

345 Dorset Road

Boronia, Vic, 3155

Tel: (03) 9760 2222





Berowra Waters Wholesale

P.O. Box 373

Narellan, NSW, 2567

Tel: 1800 802 444





Originally published in TrailerBoat 267.



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