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What Is A Bowrider Boat (Cost And Deck Boat vs Bowrider)

Owning a boat offers lots of opportunities for family fun, from sunbathing to water sports. There are few feelings more liberating than speeding over the surface of a vast lake or bay, with the steering wheel in your hands and the wind in your hair.

Buying a boat is a sizable investment, but if they are properly maintained, they can last you a lifetime of summertime, nautical fun.

What Is A Bowrider Boat

Bowriders and deck boats are both small-sized, personal boats that are capable of comfortably accomodating 4-8 people. This makes them an ideal choice for families who want to get out on the water.

At first glance, it can be very hard to tell the difference between these two types of boats. While manufacturers may treat both models as practically interchangeable, there are still some small, but crucial differences that affect both handling and capacity.

Today we’ll be going through what a Bowrider is, how much it costs and how it differs from a deck boat. This will allow you to know which vessel is best suited for your needs so you can make an informed purchase.

What Is A Bowrider?

A bowrider is a type of runabout boat which means it is a small motorboat capable of holding 4-8 people. The front area of the boat, called the bow, is taken up with a seating area, while the helm is located in the middle.

All boats have a pointed bow at the front where the hull meets the water but a bowrider is characterized by a sharper bow that is much more pointy than other boats of a similar size.

This makes them pretty much the sportscars of boats with great maneuverability and speed. As such bowriders are well suited for outdoor water sports such as wakeboarding or water skiing.

How Much Do They Cost?

Boats aren’t a cheap investment, but if you look after them properly then they will hold their value for a long time to come. That said bowriders are far from the most expensive variety of motorboats.

On average you can expect to pay between $15-30,000 for a standard 20ft long bowrider. Larger, more luxurious boats can cost significantly more, as much as $150,000 in some cases.

As with any vehicle though prices vary massively depending on the dealer you are purchasing from and the specs of the specific boat you are looking for. If you shop around a bit you are sure to find a bowrider within your budget, and possibly one that is considerably cheaper.

Bowriders VS Deck Boats

To the layman, it may be very easy to confuse a bowrider for a deck boat or vice versa. Both of them are available in a similar range of sizes, both contain open decks with seating for 4-8 passengers and both have offset helms that place the driver at the back of the boat rather than the front.

However, there are some key differences between these two vessels and in this section, we will be covering what they are so you can know which will work best for your specific needs.

Deck Space And Layout

Deck Space And Layout

One of the most substantial differences between a deck boat and a bowrider is the amount of available deck space. As their name suggests, deck boats are designed to have much larger decks than standard motorboats.

Some of them achieve this by having flared decks above traditional v-shaped hulls, while others have tri-hulls that naturally allow for a more open bow. Both methods have the same outcome of providing a spacious deck where passengers can have plenty of room to relax.

Some deck boats will make their available space even larger by utilizing a catamaran-style hull. This means the hull is split into two thinner parts with the deck bridging between them.

This offers a smooth ride across the water, and their gentle handling is another thing that makes deck boats a popular choice for families looking for some R&R.

By contrast, bowriders have much shaper, deep, v-shaped hulls, which means the bow portion of the deck tapers off to form a smaller space than typically seen on a deck boat. This doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to have a roomy bowrider capable of carrying up to 8 people.

Of course, in order to compete with the spacious interior of a deck boat, such a bowrider would need to be considerably longer, and therefore more expensive.

One thing you should consider when deciding which model of a motorboat to buy is how many people you want to take out on the water with you. If you plan on accomodating more than 6 passengers, then you may be better off with a deck boat over a bowrider.

Speed And Handling

Speed And Handling

Deck boats and bowriders may look similar, but the difference in handling between the two is like night and day. The sharper, more pointed hull on a bowrider is great at slicing through the water, which makes it much more aerodynamic.

Overall, these motorboats are capable of reaching higher speeds and performing sharper turns than your standard deck boat. However, this extra speed does come at the price of stability, and riding on a bowrider can often be as turbulent as it is exhilarating

Deck boats on the other hand have much wider, more shallow hulls, which means they will rarely be able to beat a bowrider in a race. The advantage of this is that deck boats handle much more gently and are therefore great for cruising along the water at a leisurely pace.

This means you and your passengers can kick back and relax without the boat constantly tossing and turning in the water. If you plan to have a refreshing beverage or small picnic on your vessel then a deck boat will be much more suitable than a bowrider.

The gentler handling is also better for fishing trips as you will be less likely to scare all the fish away with the turbulence left in your boat’s wake.


We briefly covered the cost of bowriders above, and we mentioned that they were one of the cheaper options for their size category. Given their larger capacity and more luxurious design, it is no surprise that deck boats tend to be a bit more expensive than many comparable bowriders.

This isn’t always the case though, and prices are likely to vary a lot between different dealers and different models of boat.

It is worth bearing in mind that it isn’t just the upfront cost of the boat that you have to think about. Fuel, accessories, and basic maintenance are factors you should consider before sinking your money into a new vessel.

Because they are smaller and lighter, bowriders can often use less fuel making them cheaper to use and maintain than many deck boats.


Whether you pick a deck boat, or a bowrider will essentially boil down to what you want to do with your vessel. Bowriders have slightly lower capacity, but if you and your family want to do water sports like wakeboarding, then they are probably the better option over a deck boat.

Their higher speed and maneuverability make them great for darting through the water in a way that most deck boats just can’t. If you are looking for some high-octane fun out on the water, then make sure you buy enough inflatable life jackets for you and all your passengers just in case somebody falls overboard.

On the other hand, if speed isn’t a priority and all you want to do is spend a pleasant day out on a lake or bay, a deck boat may be the better vehicle.

Since you can fit more people without the boat becoming overcrowded, they are great options for having picnics or small parties out on the water. Deck boats are also a better choice for fishing, and some of them even come with special packages for doing so.


Overall the decision between buying a deck boat or a bowrider comes down to a question of performance vs comfort. It isn’t to say that bowriders are inherently uncomfortable to ride in, but their faster speed and more precise handling will lead to more bumps and splashes as you traverse the water.

This may be exactly what you want, and there is definitely something very exhilarating about the raw power that these vessels offer.

Meanwhile, a deck boat is a perfect option for a larger family that wants to prioritize relaxation over pulse-pounding excitement. They are the vessel of choice for those who want to park their boat in the middle of a lake and enjoy a nice summer cocktail.

Deck boats not only offer a smoother ride, but with more deck space you can easily bring a small barbeque, a cooler of drinks, or set up a sunbathing bed.

Whichever one you pick, you are guaranteed hours upon hours of summertime fun out on the water. So why not contact your local boat dealer today and see if you can find a motorboat that does everything you want it to, and more.

Lucas Jones