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Old 07-22-2021, 09:11 PM   #1
LoveLakeLife
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Default Bow Rider vs. Closed Bow

Iím acting on XCrís suggestion in another thread and hereby open this thread on the pros and cons of bow riders versus closed bow boats. What are peopleís preference and why? Has anyone changed allegiance? Dive in, as it were.


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Old 07-22-2021, 09:17 PM   #2
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If you live on lake Iíd go bow rider all day. I bought my boat when I used to tow here from MA on weekends. It closed bow. Gave us nice dry storage when we piled everything in boat for the day as well place for kids to change and nap. Now we have a home and the bow rider would be welcomed. More seating less storage.
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:34 PM   #3
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Lake? Open bow... with the design that allows one to close the companionway and windshield for cooler days.

Ocean? Closed bow or a center console with plenty of freeboard.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:14 PM   #4
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Personally I HATE the bow rider design as the driver, as someone is always in the line of view sitting up front and I am always trying to see around them.

From a passengers perspective the bow rider is great as it has so much extra seating and they seem to like the ride up front - great view.

I think the 1960's cockpit forward design with a short closed bow and big open and generous cockpit space in the back is the best possible layout. But I haven't seen any boats designed like that in many years, with the single exception of the Chris Craft Corsair of like 2020 and older.

So glad someone asked, been dying to get that off my chest for a while,,, ;-)
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Old 07-23-2021, 01:25 AM   #5
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One thing not mentioned is a Bow rider is much easier to dock with and moor.

I always get a separate snap on cover for the bow and it protects you similar to a closed bow when needed.

I never had much issue with passengers blocking my view. They are usually slouched down in front.

Having a bow rider also helps balance the load. If everyone is in back, then you canít see with the bow way up.

Itís easier to get swamped with a big wave with a bow rider. Especially in a full inboard.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:01 AM   #6
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I had bow riders for 20 years on the lake and loved them. Now I have a closed bow boat and don't think I will ever go back. https://www.rossiterboats.com/model/rossiter-20/

I agree with XCR-700 - The kids all wanted to be up front, the adults were in the back and I felt like I had to watch the lake AND watch the kids. I was getting way too stressed and pissed off every-time we took the boat out.

Plus, I work in emergency medicine and there was a bad call with a kid leaning over to touch the water in a bow rider and it left me with a bit of PTSD.

Anyway, I got my boat 4 years ago and absolutely love it every-time I take it out. Everyone likes hanging out in the big open back cockpit. There are no kids trying to go from front to back while underway. Its the job of the adults in the back to watch the kids. And I just worry about driving the boat.

One of the best things I've ever done for my enjoyment of the lake!
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:49 AM   #7
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I also agree with XCR. We had a 230 Searay bow rider for years and adults or kids upfront were always distracting for me as well as interfering with my forward visibility. Full disclosureÖ I am relatively short and were I taller I might feel differently.

I can see the advantages of the BR, but the heightened risk just didnít seem worth it for me.
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:37 AM   #8
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That Rossiter is a sweet boat

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Originally Posted by winnipiseogee View Post
I had bow riders for 20 years on the lake and loved them. Now I have a closed bow boat and don't think I will ever go back. https://www.rossiterboats.com/model/rossiter-20/

I agree with XCR-700 - The kids all wanted to be up front, the adults were in the back and I felt like I had to watch the lake AND watch the kids. I was getting way too stressed and pissed off every-time we took the boat out.

Plus, I work in emergency medicine and there was a bad call with a kid leaning over to touch the water in a bow rider and it left me with a bit of PTSD.

Anyway, I got my boat 4 years ago and absolutely love it every-time I take it out. Everyone likes hanging out in the big open back cockpit. There are no kids trying to go from front to back while underway. Its the job of the adults in the back to watch the kids. And I just worry about driving the boat.

One of the best things I've ever done for my enjoyment of the lake!
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:41 AM   #9
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That Rossiter is a sweet boat
I have to agree, Looks like a quality rig.

They need to offer a 25' and maybe a 27'/28' streamline the windshield just a bit and they will have more orders than they can handle! Especially with the renewed popularity in outboards.
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:51 AM   #10
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Default Islander

As an islander, going out in all sorts of weather to get to work, I prefer the cuddy. (24' SeaRay) Yes, I have buried the bow in smaller boats and I wouldn't want to do that in a BR. Nice to have easy lockable storage to keep stuff out of sight when the boat is unattended. Occasionally, somebody sleeps aboard. We also have a head in the cuddy. Privacy is important to many folks.
I prefer to ride farther back, its smoother. My daughter has a 19' BR. It was their compromise between center console for fishing and a closed bow. The kids love to ride up front and bounce around. Whoever is driving rarely sits, so visibility is no problem. In the rain, cold weather, everybody sits in back same as closed bow, but there really isn't much dry storage. Real die-hard islanders like Steve-on-Mark have a closed cabin. It's the difference between needed transportation and only going out when the sun is shining and it is warm. (Transportation vs Recreation. Lots of islanders have more than one boat, for different generations, not counting jet skis).
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:54 AM   #11
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Default BR all the way...

Here on the lake, BR hands down! In the early-mid 90's, before kids, we had a SeaRay 250 Cuddy Cabin. The cabin was really a complete waste of space and it ended up just being a place for random things to call home. We got out of boating when the kids came along and fast forward to 2013, we got back into boating with a used Cobalt 250 BR...loved it, but it felt a little small. Few years later, we upgraded to a new Formula 270BR, which is awesome. Plenty of space for everyone, even if we have company. The open bow makes it much easier for docking and attaching/un-attaching to the mooring. I always stand when I drive, so if folks are sitting up there, there is no issue with my line of sight being blocked. The days of small children being around are long gone, so we don't have that concern of them bouncing overboard up front un-supervised.

I will also say that Formula has an amazing concept in their Crossover Bowrider, which has a small cabin in addition to the open bow. With that boat, you definitely get the best of both worlds. At 33 and 35', however, they are big boats with BIG pricetags, so you need both a big wallet and a big dock at which to keep them. I'm actually surprised that the other manufacturers haven't mimicked that type of design.
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:53 AM   #12
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Default Bow vs. Closed

My 2 cents. I own a pontoon, so no comment regarding which is preferable.
However, I can provide a tip if you go with a bow rider. At our boat club, after a heavy rain, many of the bow riders get waterlogged as the bow covers sag and water pools on the cover. I'm talking many, many gallons of water. Whatever you do, make sure that the cover chosen drains well to the outside of the boat, otherwise you'll always find a nice little kiddie pool fool of water trying to uncover.
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:56 AM   #13
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I find many of the comments here interesting...

Closed Bow and Bow Riders both have a place, and I have owned both. I didn't see any advantages or disadvantages to either, that would sway my opinion one way or the other....

The key is always to understand you boat and what its capabilities and limitations are....

Arguments about Bow Riders concerning passengers up front being a distraction... You are the Captain, make the rules and enforce them so it isn't a problem.

If you think a bow rider is easier to dock, well I will not even go there.....

I may sound a bit grumpy with those last to comments, but people make illogical comments to support their beliefs or feellings, which of course is human nature.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:14 AM   #14
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Had a cuddy cabin (21' Chapparal) for 15 years at the lake. Only buried the bow once after 2 - 30 footers crossed my path. It was unexpected because the wake from the 2 boats added up and caused a huge swell. I was pretty happy to see that bow rise back up.

Got no dog in this fight, but my preference would be a closed bow boat. I have seen that lake get pretty rough between the wind and all of the wakes hitting from different angles. Also liked that the cuddy had a lot of freeboard so there was less wash over into the boat. In the end, it is personal preference and knowing how your boat reacts to the various conditions on the lake.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:23 AM   #15
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Ha ha this akin to the great debate ....................Ford or Chevy LOL.

Boats are so expensive now if you have no experience with them it could be worth renting each type for a day or find some friends who have each and tag along.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:24 AM   #16
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Default Open vs closed.

I agree with LIforrelaxin. It's a matter of preference.

On the big Lake I prefer closed bow hands down. It's a much better rough water boat especially if it's a deep vee. I would get a pontoon boat over an open bow. It's way more comfortable.

I have a closed bow deep vee on 'pesaukee and a pontoon on 'squam. It's a perfect medium for the size of the lakes.

Enjoy the Winnies! LOL!
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:36 PM   #17
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If it was for traveling to an island I would want the closed bow.

But I stand by, bow riders are easier to dock. So easy to have someone sitting up front with a line you pull in and the lace up, and someone in back. Versus crawling on the deck.

Same for mooring, much easier and safer with a bow rider, no crawling on possibly wet slippery deck. I would just coast into the mooring and just walk up and tie up. I'd rather be in the boat than on the boat. Especially if it was rough.

Never had water issues since 1986. Always a full mooring cover with a tent poll in the bow section.

My experience is with smaller boats, under 20ft. I might think different with 25ft and up. You don't get a head in a 20ft closed bow

I also like full mooring covers. You don't typically see those with closed bow and would not be easy to install. With a bow rider, full mooring cover is fairly easy. All from within the boat.
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:15 AM   #18
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I agree with the folks that say its a preference more than anything.

We almost never boat with little kids anymore, when mine were young I did not have would not have a bow rider simply due to my fear/concerns.

We now have a Formula 270 BR and we LOVE the boat and ability to carry more people, but somehow or because of balance, I always end up with someone taller than I prefer in front of me. On a nice day the woman seem to hit the front of the boat first, and they rarely lay out, mostly sitting upright, and the Formula has a deep cockpit so with me at only 5' 11" (when I'm not slouching,,,) I can struggle a bit to have completely unfettered view even when standing. In this boat sitting is not even an option when there are adults in front.

I am actually contemplating a low riser on the floor and the same for the booster seat, might try to get Formula to use the original seat material to build an extra topper that could strap around and sit on top of the bolster. Just a few more inches would help.

Plus I have to confess, growing up and spending summers on Winnipesaukee in the 1960's, all we ever had was closed bow cockpit forward boats, and its just a look I really like. In the early 70's they started building the closed bow boats with a windshield that opened, and molded in stairs and anchor locker. Some had grab bars from the windshield going forward and a textured surface and maybe a short bow rail around the whole nose. Then they layered in lots of seating in the long and open cockpit. So you got a really useful boat with very reasonable carrying capacity. I would really love to see a couple of the mainstream brands bring back a design like that, I think it would be popular. Well so says I,,,
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:26 AM   #19
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On my SeaRay Sundeck (open bow) I dictate who sits in front of me.

That way the taller person does not obstruct my view.

Regarding the ease of docking...

In my opinion coming along side the dock is equal in both styles of boat.

The open bow boat allows for a mate to be ready with a line for the bow cleat without walking on a fore deck.

They can also help fend off in a tight parallel docking.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:17 AM   #20
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I've had both, I think it depends on what kind of boater you are.
I'm a fair weather boater so a bowrider suites me just fine. It's so much easier to dock also.
If you're and Islander then you need a different boat.
As I got older I decided to sell the bowrider and bought a pontoon, which suites me just fine now.
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randalnh View Post
Had a cuddy cabin (21' Chapparal) for 15 years at the lake. Only buried the bow once after 2 - 30 footers crossed my path. It was unexpected because the wake from the 2 boats added up and caused a huge swell. I was pretty happy to see that bow rise back up. Got no dog in this fight, but my preference would be a closed bow boat. I have seen that lake get pretty rough between the wind and all of the wakes hitting from different angles. Also liked that the cuddy had a lot of freeboard so there was less wash over into the boat. In the end, it is personal preference and knowing how your boat reacts to the various conditions on the lake.
Neither design can escape the violence of today's wakes. Try a quiet moment stopped anywhere for a floating snack, and you're lucky to keep from being ejected.

Today, being chilly and overcast, hasn't been so bad.

With the exception of pontoon boats (of any size), there are simply too many over-sized boats out there. (Over-sized boats don't even have to behave to ruin someone's afternoon ).
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:29 PM   #22
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I am a big fan of the dual console designs coming from the likes of Pursuit, Key West, BW, and GW to name a few. All built on self bailing cockpits and ocean worthy hulls so no worry about stuffing the bow with the open seating up front since they are designed to self bail. Check out the new DC246 from Pursuit, she's my dream as far as an all purpose, family/fishing/lake/ocean boat... https://www.pursuitboats.com/DC246.php
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juiced06GTO View Post
I am a big fan of the dual console designs coming from the likes of Pursuit, Key West, BW, and GW to name a few. All built on self bailing cockpits and ocean worthy hulls so no worry about stuffing the bow with the open seating up front since they are designed to self bail. Check out the new DC246 from Pursuit, she's my dream as far as an all purpose, family/fishing/lake/ocean boat... https://www.pursuitboats.com/DC246.php
That is a sweet looking boat. I have always been a big fan of Pursuit and Hydra Sports boats. Don't see them on the lake much, but you see them all the time on the ocean. Notice the arm rests for the two seats in the bow!!
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:55 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juiced06GTO View Post
I am a big fan of the dual console designs coming from the likes of Pursuit, Key West, BW, and GW to name a few. All built on self bailing cockpits and ocean worthy hulls so no worry about stuffing the bow with the open seating up front since they are designed to self bail. Check out the new DC246 from Pursuit, she's my dream as far as an all purpose, family/fishing/lake/ocean boat... https://www.pursuitboats.com/DC246.php
That is a beauty! I have a Tiara 2700 Open that will be on the lake this fall breaking in a rebuilt stbd engine. S2, parent of Tiara and Pursuit just agreed to sell Pursuit to Malibu. They are built like tanks
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:26 PM   #25
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I had an open bow/dual console boat for several years and it's a very practical layout. Very family friendly. Pretty much can do anything with it.
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Old 07-27-2021, 12:09 AM   #26
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Many good comments here. Really a personal preference. Had a Boston Whaler Revenge on Cape Cod. Everyone loved the cuddy as when it was too hot on the beach, cuddy was the place to go. Great boat, unable to sink the bow in high seas, soft riding and good handling. I found that trimming the engine worked well with lowering or rising the bow as needed. Trim tabs were not necessary.
A friend took me out in their bow rider. Scared me silly sitting in the bow in seas and looking up to see the water was many feet above me. Not for me.

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Old 07-27-2021, 01:16 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Many good comments here. Really a personal preference. Had a Boston Whaler Revenge on Cape Cod. Everyone loved the cuddy as when it was too hot on the beach, cuddy was the place to go. Great boat, unable to sink the bow in high seas, soft riding and good handling. I found that trimming the engine worked well with lowering or rising the bow as needed. Trim tabs were not necessary.
A friend took me out in their bow rider. Scared me silly sitting in the bow in seas and looking up to see the water was many feet above me. Not for me.
Trim tabs are underrated both for levelling and running rough seas in stern drive or outboard boats. I will always have tabs on a boat!
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Old 07-27-2021, 02:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Trim tabs are underrated both for levelling and running rough seas in stern drive or outboard boats. I will always have tabs on a boat!
I have to agree, but only on boats over a certain size, not sure they are worth the cost on say an 18' boat used on a pond.

But for any 23' or larger boat and on somewhere like Winnipesaukee, they are a great asset.
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