Anyone who's a gambling addict, er, "hobbyist" knows you have to gamble big to win big — and Bayliner has hit the jackpot with its new 225 bowrider. The 22-foot-long boat is now Bayliner's biggest bowrider, and we tested it with the biggest engine package available: a 300 hp 350 MAG MPI MerCruiser Bravo 3 stern drive.

Even your friends who abhor the thought of gambling and consider it a big waste of money will have to admit that Bayliner has made a smart gamble, betting that its customers were looking for a larger bowrider to move up to, beyond the company's 205. The company is also betting that a creative layout will attract buyers who are bored with the same-old, same-old.

Top speed for the Bayliner 225 was 53.2 mph.

Top speed for the Bayliner 225 was 53.2 mph.

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Those thrifty, gambling-weary friends of yours will also appreciate what a great value the 225 is. The 225, which has a base price of $27,400, is one of the least expensive 22-foot bowriders on the market — and it does so without being a barebones model bereft of important amenities.

We tested the Bayliner 225 during one of our whirlwind days in Florida, testing a competitor's boat that morning in St. Petersburg, driving down to Sanibel, Florida to test the 225 and then rushing back to St. Petersburg in time for a late dinner that same night — and that was after flying in from California the day before, with plans to fly out the day after. We don't get down to Sanibel very often, though, so it was a nice change of pace.

We were met with light chop as we cruised through the coastal waters. It was an almost windless day, so most of the bigger waves we encountered were from the chop of other boats.

A 220 hp 5.0L MerCruiser Alpha 1 stern drive is the standard power on the Bayliner 225, but our test boat had the aforementioned 300 hp 350 MAG. With that kind of power, we knew the 225 would easily top 40 mph — and possibly 45 mph — but we weren't expecting a top speed of 53.2 mph. If you want to see your friends go green with envy, tell them what speed you just hit on the 225; then, tell them what you paid for the boat. It's worth buying the 225 for that fun alone.

On the way up to top speed, the boat hit plane at 2,200 rpm, where it was running at 20.3 mph. Our time to plane was 4 seconds, and it took us just 7 seconds to go from 0 to 30 mph.

With two adults and 1/4 of a tank of fuel on board during our test, we experienced moderate to OK pounding in light chop, and turns were good throughout our ride. Visibility was also quite good.

The 225 is rated to carry up to 11 passengers — or 1,500 pounds — but we'd suggest a more realistic maximum of eight or nine persons. The boat is constructed of hand-laid fiberglass, and Bayliner includes a limited lifetime warranty on the structural hull.

Big-Time Space

The 225's 8-foot, 6-inch beam-forward design gives the boat an extremely spacious feel. The bow is so wide that it's almost crescent-shaped, rather than coming to a point. The settee at the bow is more U-shaped than the standard V-shaped settee you find on most bowriders, and a notch in the deck allows a pedestal table to serve the space if you wish. In addition to the four cupholders built into the table, two cupholders are built into each side of the settee.

As you stroll back from the bow, you must step through the walk-through windshield, which has a reinforcement rod on each side of the hatch, ensuring the unit's stability. The helm console is to starboard, as you'd expect, with a full set of instrumentation that includes a speedometer, a tachometer, a voltmeter, and fuel, trim, water temperature and oil pressure gauges. Overall, the helm is simple but not unsightly.

Step over to the passenger-side console and you start to see where Bayliner has taken some chances with the layout. Instead of a matching bucket seat, like the one that serves the helm console, there are two opposite-facing bench settees that face forward and backward.

Bayliner has employed opposite-facing seats in some of its previous models, but those are usually closer to bucket-style seating. The seats found on the 225 are a doublewide version that is almost wide enough to seat two people. The bench seat facing backward butts right up to the L-shaped settee that wraps around the back side of the boat. In effect, this turns the settee into a J-shaped seating area, and it allows you to lean back on the bench as your legs take up one full side of the settee. Moreover, the rear-facing seat can convert to a sunlounger.

Storage area is hidden underneath all of the settees, and the pedestal table that serves the bow settee can also be moved back to serve the aft one. There's dedicated storage for the boat's 36-quart cooler under the starboard side of the aft settee, and the large sunpad that runs athwartship can be pulled up for easy access to the engine.

The tail end of the 225 is taken up by a swim platform with a transom shower. The platform is connected to the cockpit by a walk-through, and it has a recessed ladder that makes for safer and easier access from the water.

You also have a choice of a galvanized or painted tandem-axle trailer with brakes and a swing-away tongue. A ski tow eye is standard, as are navigation lights, anchor storage, mooring cleats, tilt steering, bow filler cushions and an AM/FM stereo system with two speakers and a CD controller with a plug-in jack and niche for a CD player.

In theory, the excellent price of the Bayliner 225 makes it possible for you to actually pay less for this bowrider than you paid for your previous model that was several feet smaller. It would be difficult to ever feel claustrophobic on this spacious, big-time bowrider, and we want to thank Bayliner for creating boats like the 225, because the company is introducing new buyers to boating.

Bayliner 225 Specifications

Length22'
Beam8'6"
Draft (max)2'11"
Weight (w/engine)3,368 pounds
Fuel capacity50 gallons
Maximum power300 hp
Base price$27,400

Standard Features

Ski/wakeboard storage, trash receptacle, AM/FM stereo system w/two speakers and CD controller w/plug-in niche for CD player, 36-quart cooler, courtesy lights, table, 12v accessory outlet, rack-and-pinion steering, tilt steering, ski tow ring, fiberglass floor liner, full instrumentation, galvanized or painted tandem-axle trailer.

Options

Bimini top w/boot, bow filler cushions, carpet runners, 10-gallon water system, side and aft curtains for convertible top, extended transom platform w/water toy inflator, XT option package (with graphics package and tower).

For More Information

Bayliner Marine Corp.
P.O. Box 9029
Everett, WA 98206
(800) 443-9119
www.bayliner.com

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