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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Hey guys/girls looking at getting my first boat. I have had a jet-ski for two seasons now and it was a great starter for learning the ways of boating but I think its time to upgrade. I am looking into a bowrider as a couple people pointed me in that direction in my first post. My question is can a bowrider potentially be used in the ocean on calm days? I thought I read somewhere that you can get a cover to put over the front to stop water from coming in...is this true? Boat will mainly be used in lakes/ponds for skiing/tubing but also the occasional Long Island sound and open ocean in Rhode Island. Thanks for the help...it is definitely appreciated.

  2. #2
    Commander studlymandingo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Watch the weather forecast, and watch for the wind picking up. You can get a bow cover that will keep some of the water out of the cockpit.
    The wetter, the better.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Depends on the size and design of the bowrider. Here is another thread on open bow choices for saltwater -

    http://forums.iboats.com/boat-topics-questions-not-engine-topics/dilemma-should-i-compromise-47821.html

    Kelly Cook

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Any boat will get you in trouble if you don't respect it's limitations and the weather. After nearly 70 years in boats, I have been in trouble a few times. It was never the fault of the boat.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    yes you can .... just make sure your bilge pump works .....
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Sure, just use some common sense and watch the weather.
    Also, look at all the center console boats out there.
    A good bilge pump, some proper driving and reliable engine is also important.
    It depends on the size of the boat too. A good bow cover will help, so will making sure all floor hatches are closed and sealed well up front. Many bow riders have crude seats that cover open areas in the deck out front that can take on water or worse, go flying in heavy seas. I saw one guy take a wave over the bow and get a seat in the face right over the windshield. The water washed the cushions right away as it came in. The boat had flotation so it stayed afloat and the bilge pumps did eventually pump it all out, but I think he lost a few cushions. For the ocean, I prefer a self bailing deck myself, but have taken my trihull out on calm days. Getting past the breakers is the worst part.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_reelfishin View Post
    Sure, just use some common sense and watch the weather.
    Also, look at all the center console boats out there.
    A good bilge pump, some proper driving and reliable engine is also important.
    I'd also say a good VHF radio just in case you ever do get into trouble on open ocean. I personally don't go out on large bodies of water without one. No oceans near where I am but Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba are some of the largest lakes on North America and can go from calm to very rough in no time. A good VHF radio affords you a little peace of mind that somebody might be on the way if it really comes down to it.

  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Bow Riders do not routinely take water over the bow, as some previous posters hinted. A bow rider is very similar in design to a center console (both have open bows), and many ocean going boats are of center console design. Bowriders are as inherently safe as cuddy's or center consoles of the same size. You bowriding passengers get a bit more spray, and get bounced around a bit, but that is all. Your bowriding passengers will also retreat to the rear, if it gets too bouncy. A canvass cover will keep the spray down, but I would only use one in the winter to keep the cold out.

    Bowriders are perfectly fine in the ocean, bay or lake. If you think that you are safe in a cuddy, with waves breaking over the bow, you are sadly mistaken. If you are taking water over the bow in any boat style, you are in deep dung.

  9. #9
    Admiral tommays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    i will disagre

    If you look at studlys boat is has a nice BOW FLARE which keeps the water away as well as provide more lift when its pushing into a wave

    A normal bow rider which are really lake boats does NOT have this feature


    I run a 19' cuddy and between the waves and the big boat wakes in this area(no wake zones are the worse) keeping a dry bow is not gonna happen with a couple of passangers sitting up front


    Tommays

  10. #10
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris1956 View Post
    Bowriders are perfectly fine in the ocean, bay or lake.
    Taking any boat out in the Ocean that has low freeboard and doesn't have a self draining cockpit is asking for problems. Relying on a bilge pump is just that, a pump to clear the bilge. A bildge pump is not going to do you much good when you stuff a wave and end up with 6” of standing water in the cockpit. If you take water over the bow on a boat like this how do you think a bow rider fair?

    If you think that you are safe in a cuddy, with waves breaking over the bow, you are sadly mistaken. If you are taking water over the bow in any boat style, you are in deep dung.
    I must be sadly mistaken because I take water over my bow on the regular basis and don’t think anything of it. It’s expected from time to time when you run the ocean.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    i have a 86 17ft four winns bowrider, and never have any problems with water or spray comming in the boat. it's all in the design of the hull. my hull is very deep and cuts waves. Even with two adults on the front i have no problems. I've taken my bost in the ocean many times with no problems.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Actually, "cutting waves" is what will put water into the boat. To stay dry the boat needs to ride on top, not cut deeply into waves. Though obviously the ride will suffer! Or just get a closed deck like dingbat's deal.

    Kelly

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Any boat can be used safely or unsafely depending on the water and the operator. An open bow being used safely can be just as safe as a cuddy as long as you pay attention to the waves and weather.
    1996 Crestliner 2160 Phantom, 1996 Evinrude 130 HP

  14. #14
    Petty Officer 3rd Class d_saum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I had a 21ft Winner years ago and took it out in some rough water. The boat had a nice cuddy cabin up front and I took a pretty big wave over the bow and the water fell off the sides. (big swell came up out of nowhere) Let me tell you this.... it was A LOT of water. If I was in a bowrider, I would have swamped the boat and maybe even sunk it. Scared the poop outta me.

    Now, I wouldn't say that you can't or shouldn't take a bowrider out in the ocean, but personally I just think a closed bow is MUCH safer.

  15. #15
    Vice Admiral Tail_Gunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Quote Originally Posted by tommays View Post
    i will disagre

    If you look at studlys boat is has a nice BOW FLARE which keeps the water away as well as provide more lift when its pushing into a wave

    A normal bow rider which are really lake boats does NOT have this feature


    I run a 19' cuddy and between the waves and the big boat wakes in this area(no wake zones are the worse) keeping a dry bow is not gonna happen with a couple of passangers sitting up front


    Tommays

    I fish a bit on a river bar which meet's the ocean and sometime's just fishing the bow does dip into a 4-5' rolling swell. Not much water get's in, she generally pop's right out. My temp solution was to take the kid's tube inflated stuff it in the bow and put the bow cover on, work's perfect and the tube provide's plenty of support if i ever miss a big one.

    Where i live thing's can get out of hand quickly, i would never run with people in the bow on the ocean
    Stickly a opinion your milage may vary.

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    Torque is how far you move the wall"

  16. #16
    Rear Admiral Boatist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Even a 16 foot full open aluminum car top boat can be used on the ocean and be safe a lot of the time. Problem is many will push the limits. have one big wave break on the bow or the stern you in trouble. The canvas cover for the front will stop the spray from running in but ever get green warer on it and it will not hold. There are open bow boats that have a walk thru window and bulk head under the window. the floor of the bow is elevated and it is self bailing. They would be safe except in the worst conditions.

    Bottom line every boat has it limits and you must respect the ocean and be willing to say we are not going to launch today.

    My boat a 21 foot Crestliner close bow runabout we will not launch if waves are over 8 feet or closer together than 8 seconds. We have been out in 9 feet every 6 seconds but came in early and did not have much fun.
    Last edited by Boatist; August 29th, 2007 at 11:53 PM.
    Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
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  17. #17
    Commander studlymandingo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I think what everyone is agreed upon is the fact that you must respect the weather and the water. As tommays mentioned, my boat has a good bit of bow flare to push away the water; even so, I have had a good bit of water coming over the bow when things have gotten nasty. My center console is designed to take that water and move it out the back quickly via 4 large deck drains, the hatches on the deck are designed to keep the majority of water from going below into the bilge; even so water gets down there which is why I have 2 bilge pumps. One pump would do it, but I don't want to have a bunch of water in the bilge and a single pump stop pumping...redundancy.

    The bowriders I have had in the past are shaped differently than the bow of my center console, they haven't had the big deck drains that my CC has, so the bilge pump has to take care of any water getting onboard.

    Just bear in mind before you make the decision to go offshore what the conditions are like, if it is windy... stay close. Don't put yourself or passengers in harm's way if you can help it. If things do get rough, make sure you know your craft and how to handle it in big water. Every boat handles waves differently, be sure you know how yours does.
    The wetter, the better.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I have a Wellcraft 18' bowrider that is seeing alot of salt water and ocean time. I think a bowrider can handle the ocean well when it is calm but you must have a boat that can handle things when waves and weather turn for the worst. I meet up with a friend who has a 4Winns 18' (dont recall the exact model), but he was getting wet and pounded on a snotty ride home and at the mouth of the bay, where it was really turned up, I was nervious for him. We were bolth rolling in it but I was takeing care of it and it was takeing care of him. Not a place for him to be. We were still 100% dry and his family was wet.

    I am vigulant about watching the approching weather, wind direction, weather forcasts on VHF, and watching what other boaters are doing. I still have had more then a handfull of times when it has gone from flat calm to 3-4ft with 10 seconds between.

    1St Look at the desighn of the hull. Is it a deep V. Yes, most have a V but is the boat your looking at have even more so. Top of the V does it brow out? If so..how much? Look inside the hull, You have water coming and splashing in, does it have drains in the back so water can leave quickly without going into the bilge? Your canvise cover for the nose how well does it seal? Rubber pipeing around the edge with a center post?

    The Manufacturer, do the advertise and desighn there boats for the salt water user of fresh water? Does the manufaturer put salt water edition motors on the back of there boats? What is the manufacturer's specialty and does that apply to your application?

    How easy is it going to be to clean it after a day of splashing in the salt? Hose it with a little brushing or is it going to be a 2 1/2 hour process and still waiting for the carpeting to dry?

    If you answer these questions then you will know if it is safe to take out into the ocean or not.

    Best of luck on your choices.

  19. #19
    Lieutenant Commander NSBCraig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I've spent lots of time in a 19' bowrider playing and fishing offshore of Fort Lauderdale, water flat or swelling 6-8, it's all in paying attention like everything else in boating.

    Usually the hard part is the inlet not the ocean.

  20. #20
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    a bow cover is an absolute necessity.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    As long as you pay attention to the marine forecast and practice good boating skills. If the waves are so bad that you need a bow cover then you shouldn't be out there.
    1996 Crestliner 2160 Phantom, 1996 Evinrude 130 HP

  22. #22
    Admiral tommays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Quote Originally Posted by rndn View Post
    If the waves are so bad that you need a bow cover then you shouldn't be out there.


    That is really not true just from the BIG boat wakes down here EVEN in those NO WAKE zones it is hard to not dip the bow


    Last time i was out a 55' gave me a balance test when i was pulling my anchor in a marked boat anchorage area




    Tommays

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I've had my 17 ft Larson bowrider in the ocean many times. I pretty much do all my boating in the ocean (only been in a lake twice). I've been in mildly rough conditions (maybe 1-2 ft seas) a few times and never took too much water over the bow. When it gets rough you need to slow down of course. The worse part is the spray on the windshield for me. I even took it to Catalina Island along with my dad in his 13 ft Boston Whaler dinghy once. We left early morning before it got too rough and had no problems. This picture was taken 10-15 miles from shore coming back from that trip. Even in a big boat you have to be carefull. My dad has a 48 ft Uniflite and had it in 17 ft seas once and was worried about going down. He was getting water over his flybridge.
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  24. #24
    Chief Petty Officer AZSenza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    I'm planning a trip to Catalina in a 97 Larson 226 Open Bow. Have a portable VHF Radio, PLENTY of life Jackets but not the off shore variety, anchors, even bringing along an inflateable life raft. Its even equipped with a Windshield Wiper! Engines in grate shape, with a Bravo III pushing it. I'll be running Dual GPS', a magnetic compass, plenty of cell phones and flares etc. I'm a good boater, I dont take chances and have read everything I can about deep water. I'll watch weather forecasts and choose as calm a day as possible. Anyone else make this trip? Any Suggestions?
    1997 Larson 226LXi
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  25. #25
    Petty Officer 1st Class INJUN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a bowrider be used on the ocean on calm days?

    Everyone here states the truth. Just use common sense.
    There is nothing more worthwhile doing than messing 'round with boats.

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