By Lenny Rudow
Bayliner 217 SD: Video Boat Review
This zippy deck boat offers many different ways to have fun on the water.
Read Lenny’s Bayliner 217 SD Boat Test Notes
Video Boat Review Transcript
You know what’s great about deck boats? They create space. Unlike other boats that lose space. Like this tremendous bow platform. Look, there’s room up here for three bathing beauties like myself to stretch out. You know what else is cool about deck boats? Get rid of these cushions and you have a tremendous bow casting platform for fishing. Or add a wakeboard tower or tow package and you have a great watersports boat. You want to talk about highly adaptable? This is it.
One of the first things we’re gonna do to explore just how versatile the 217 SD is, is change the whole bow configuration.
So why doesn’t everyone use the bow deck design? Well, it looks a little unusual. But check out what it gives you. Look at all this space up front. And it turns the bow into another swim platform.
Two must haves: cold drinks, and cut limes. That’s why you got a cooler right here, and a cutting board right here. With this area that drains at the bottom. And a trash can, right here.
Another must have, right here: we all know what that is.
Wakeboarders will be happy to see this tower option. But is it sturdy? Yeah, I’d say so.
This turns into a lounger. And you have engine access right here. Plus, storage compartments on either side.
Design and Construction
Now Matt, I like this transom, but one thing confuses me. This hatch opens this way, and the other goes the other way. What’s going on?
Matt Guilford, Bayliner Boats: You know, that’s a great observation. We designed the transom area so you had storage no matter where you are in the boat. Folks in the interior can easily access that one, and this one is for people already on the swim step. It’s a great place to put wet wakeboards, wet waterskis, and it keeps them out of the interior of the boat.
Compared to other Bayliners, this is an unusual boat. Tell me, how does it fit into your lineup?
Matt: You know, we’ve seen a trend recently of customers boating in larger groups. A lot of times those customers might end up in pontoon boats. This boat offers a lot of the same benefits of a pontoon, a lot of space for people and their stuff, with improved performance agility for watersports, like wakeboarding, water skiing, or tubing.
The hull bottom on the 217 SD runs more or less like any other modified V-bottom. Now the beam does come a little farther forward, so there may be a little more bump in certain chop conditions. But check this out: with a wide flared bow up here, it really knocks down spray.
Now of course, with all this acreage, what good would it be if it can’t zip around and have fun, right? Well that’s why they put a 4.3L Mercruiser into this boat. We cruised in the mid-30′s, and hit 47.5 mph at top end. That’s plenty of pep.
All right, so we knew that having the deck boat layout makes for tons of extra room and a very versatile type of boat. Well is that worth the unusual looks? That’s a question only you can answer for yourself. But if the answer is yes, there’s a good chance the 217 SD is a boat you’ll want to take for a spin.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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