Everything you Need to Know About Bowriders

If you’re in the market for a boat, you have a lot of choices. Boats not only come in different styles and sizes – you can also choose from different types of boats that are geared for certain water activities. A bowrider is a good choice for recreational boating because it offers a vehicle for several water activities, including water skiing, lounging, and fishing.

Anatomy of a Bowrider

A bowrider starts with the same basics as any boat:

  • Cockpit: Location of the controls
  • Hull: Body of the boat
  • Gunwale: Upper edge of the boat’s side
  • Propeller: Method for propulsion the boat

However, one of the distinctive features of a bowrider is the V-shaped seating in the bow, or front, of the boat, which where it gets its name. This seating replaces an internal cabin. All models also come with front and rear lights, as well as seating. Some of the larger models include swiveling board racks, tow mirrors, a sundeck, and rear seating.

Bowrider vs Deck Boat

A bowrider and deck boat are very similar. The main difference is the shape – a deck boat tends to feature a flatter hull that’s wider in the front and increased lounge seating in the front deck. Both styles come with towing capacity for water sports, as well as the ability to add a tower for towing. Deck boats generally have more seating and storage than a same-sized bowrider.

The different hull and bow shapes result in different handling. Deck boats lift less in the front when accelerating than bowriders. The V-shaped hull of the bowrider results in sharper turns and an increased ability to cut through waves. The wide hull of deck boats tends to make them feel more stable.

Key Considerations for Choosing a Bowrider

Even if you’ve settled on a bowrider over a deck boat, you still have a few considerations to keep in mind. Brainstorm usage, which will help you pick a model. For example, think about how many water sports you’ll realistically be enjoying. If it’s a lot, one of the wakeboard towers makes sense. However, if you’re more of a sunbather, you may prefer a model with a dedicated sundeck.

In that vein, think about capacity considerations. Do you have visions of hosting parties on your boat, or will groups be kept small? Likewise, think about how much gear you’ll want to bring onboard. Ensure the model you’re considering has sufficient stowage.

In that vein, bowriders come with different party accessories. A stereo, lighting, and drinks holders may not seem significant, but they can affect your enjoyment of the boat. You may also consider a cockpit table, swim ladder, and other accessories to increase the fun.

Type of Motor

With bowriders, you can choose from three different types of motors. The classic is the outboard motor, which consists of the engine, gearbox, and propellers. The outboard motor is attached to the outside of the transom. It’s typically on a system that allows you to raise or lower the motor and to pivot it in or out of the water.

A sterndrive motor is a hybrid of inboard and outboard motors. The engine is located inboard. It delivers power to the drive unit, which is installed to the stern below the waterline. The drive unit rotates the propellers. Sterndrive motors are common with bowriders.

A third option is a jet-propelled motor. Jet drives can be either outboard or inboard. The propulsion comes via a water pump. The pump sucks up water and jets it out the back, which provides the propulsion.

A bowrider is a good choice if you want a day boat to host small parties or casual family outings. Visit Petzold’s Marine Center for a wide variety of bowriders and accessories.