Check out the latest trend in boat design – the rise of the fold-down sides. These cool features, also known as "bulwarks," are making waves by expanding deck space and creating awesome access to the water, especially when paired with outboard setups. Of course, there are some considerations to bear in mind as well. Let's explore this innovative feature and check out five great boats with bitchin bulwarks.

The Alium 42S has a folding deck on each side. Image courtesy of Alium yachts.


Having a bulwark on a boat is pretty cool for a few reasons. First off, it gives you more space to hang out and do stuff on the deck – you can fish, relax, or just chill with friends. Plus, if you've got outboard engines, it's way easier to hop in and out of the water. It's like having your own personal swimming platform.

Safety-wise, the bulwark acts like a barrier on the sides, so you don't accidentally take a dive into the water. And the best part? You can customize your deck setup depending on what you're up to that day – it's like a deck that adapts to your plans.

Oh, and the fact that boat designers are all about these fold-down sides shows they're keeping up with what boaters want. It adds a modern twist to the boat's look while making things more practical and fun on the water.


Ok, this one is really more yacht than boat, and it’s gorgeous! Alium is like the Swiss Army knife of boats – super versatile and ready for whatever you throw its way. The idea is to give you all the flexibility you could want on a 42-footer, making sure you're cruising in total comfort.

They've added some big boat vibes to it, with cool stuff like dual side bars, three fridges (yes, you heard that right), a plancha grill, and even an ice maker for those extra-chilled vibes. And guess what? They've put in these movable seats, so you can mix up the layout like a pro. Whether you're throwing a party, cruising for the day, or just exploring over the weekend, this boat's got your back. Plus, they've cooked up some sweet options for the 42S series, like a cool hard top, a comfy sun bed, and even hybrid propulsion if you're feeling extra fancy.

The Sea Ray SLX 400. Image courtesy of Sea Ray.


Get ready to meet the SLX 400, aka "The Entertainer," crowned with an NMMA Innovation Award. This boat isn't just any boat; it's your ultimate socializing companion on the water. It's all about combining comfort, performance, style, and cool tech in one sleek package. Think of it as your floating hangout spot. From the comfy cockpit and cabin to the futuristic digital helm and the ingenious fold-down swim terrace, the SLX 400 is here to make a splash in the world of leisure.

The Azimut 47 Verve. Image courtesy of Azimut Yachts.


The cockpit serves as the lively core of this sporty weekend cruiser, extending to a fold-out platform on the port side just above the waterline, complete with a retractable ladder. The Azimut 47 Verve prioritizes practicality, offering versatility with various adaptable features. For instance, there's a full-size table that effortlessly vanishes into the floor, creating extra room between meals. You'll also find a TV that can be set up outdoors for open-air viewing get-togethers. The comprehensive kitchen island is fully equipped to cater to gatherings of all kinds, featuring a wet bar, fridge, ice maker, barbecue, hot plate, and sink.

Ocean Alexander Divergence 45. Image courtesy of Ocean Alexander.


Ocean Alexander has rocked the boat world with their game-changing Divergence line, and the buzz continues with their latest creation, the 45 Divergence Coupe. This 45-footer smashes the limits, blending yacht-like comforts with the speed and accessibility of a sports boat. The fold down decks create a truly lavish outdoor experience on this vessel.

Ocean Alexander has kept the beloved features of the 45 Sport, and they've injected it with innovative flexibility that adapts to the owner's needs. Top-notch engineering and lavish finishes come standard. Plus, they've upped the ante with more interior space, perfect for those overnight escapes or long weekends. With over 400 ways to customize its appearance, this vessel is practically a blank canvas for you to imprint with your personal style. And that's not all – Ocean Alexander offers a slew of optional services that make the Divergence truly one-of-a-kind.

Expansive decks on the Scout 530 LXF. Image courtesy of Scout Boats.


The 530 LXF stands out for its meticulous craftsmanship, combining Carbon Epoxy Construction and advanced dual Scout Stepped Hull Technology. This boat brings together top-notch materials like Carbon Fiber/E-Glass in the Epoxy Infusion process for an unbeatable construction. Plus, it's packed with a blend of sophisticated features and technologies.

The Double Trouble Hydraulic Beach Platforms are designed to make your boating life easier. They're electronically operated and provide a safe and convenient way to hop on, off, and enjoy water sports. Lower them down, and you've got a spacious deck of 17 feet and 10 inches – plenty of room for entertaining with a generous 150 square feet of cockpit space. Need a change of scene? Raise them up to create 105 square feet of prime fishing space. And don't forget the dual aft cockpit transom doors that fold out of the way, simplifying stern maneuvers. It's all about enjoying your time on the water without the hassle on this beautiful boat.

Written by: Laila Elise
Laila Elise is a former fashion model, writer, actress and entrepreneur, with an affinity for a life on the water. She has a Masters in Finance and a Bachelor's in Business Education, and has traveled extensively around the world working with top agencies and designers. She writes regularly about her passion for the sea on her blog: