By Jeff Hemmel
Bayliner 175: Classic Bowrider
The Bayliner 175 has always been the standard by which many entry-level bowriders are judged, but the 2012 version proves that Bayliner is not sitting on its laurels.
The Bayliner 175 is an amazingly popular boat, a bowrider which many boaters will call their first love – and one we found so captivating we put it on film in a Bayliner 175 video boat review. And while you shouldn’t expect wholesale change on the latest version of the 175, a number of new items will quickly grab your attention.
Take the engine compartment, for example. It was stylish before, but lacked function. Designers addressed that in the new version by molding a pair of steps into the upper half. The large, nonslip-covered first step can be used to enter the cockpit, or for an elevated platform. The second step can also be used for access, or to temporarily stow the countless items passengers bring aboard. Want more? A trio of tie-downs are included to fasten down a tube or carry-on cooler. Dual drink holders below keep beverages handy for those in the flanking jump seats.
More change is afoot further aft. In addition to the foot-wide molded-in swim platform, Bayliner now also offers an optional extended platform that covers the drive unit, as well as drops skiers and swimmers closer to the water. It’s a bolt-on, so don’t expect seamless looks, but it adds two feet to the overall platform space and nicely incorporates a three-step ladder to starboard.
Other changes are less obvious. The formerly cluttered instrument panel is now reduced to a simple pair of gauges, with a tachometer to starboard and combination speedo, fuel gauge, and volt meter to port.
Some things haven’t changed. The layout still incorporates the traditional bow cockpit, main cockpit consisting of helm seat and back-to-back convertible lounge to port, and the aforementioned jump seats aft. Power remains the venerable 135hp MerCruiser 3.0. That makes the boat a good, all-purpose performer. Niches, however, can certainly be accommodated. A fish-and-ski package adds a casting platform, pedestal seat, trolling motor, fishfinder, and 88-gallon livewell. Wake sports-types can opt for the Flight package, which adds the extended swim platform, a wakeboard tower, and edgier hull graphics.
Also new this year is the ability to get a 175 in an outboard version; check out our video boat review of the 175 OB for more information on this arrangement.
Max Draft: 3’0”
Displacement: 1,923 lbs.
Deadrise: 19 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 21 gal.
- Jeff Hemmel writes for boats.com, Boating, PersonalWatercraft.com, and Powersports Business. The former Senior Editor at Watercraft World, Jeff is a multi-time award winner as well as a 2008 inductee into the IJSBA Hall of Fame. His first book, "The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things For Young Mariners To Try, Do, & Build On the Water," received a bronze medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. For more info, visit Jeff Hemmel's website.