Used Boats for Sale Roundup: Three Big Bowriders to Look For

Ten or 15 years ago most any bowrider over about 25 to 27 feet in length would have been considered truly huge by most standards. Today, however, these boats make up the middle of what is an ever-expanding range of bowriders on the market — some pushing well into the 30-foot-plus range. In fact, these super-size-me bowriders challenge most folks’ conceptions of what a bowrider really is. With that in mind we’ve selected a few relatively large bowriders that caught our eye as good used boats for sale, as well as one truly huge example measuring 38 feet in length. Let’s cast off the lines and see what these big-boy bowriders are all about.

Crownline 270 SS

If you know anything about Crownline Boats, you know they’re graceful, elegant, and chock-full of rich trim and comfy, buttery upholstery. That’s probably why the builder’s 270 SS bowrider model originally caught our eye when it was introduced at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show.

crownline 270 ss used boat for sale
The Crownline 270 SS is big enough to take out plenty of friends. Photo via Morgan Marine LG.

At first glance the Crownline 270 SS’s lines have the qualities not just of a bowrider, but also of a watersports boat, an express cruiser, and a runabout. And while that might sound like an awkward juxtaposition, the 270 SS carries all of these design elements with a lot of style. A two-tone paint scheme, swooping Bimini arch, and flowing sheer line help anchor the 270 SS’s smart looks.

Onboard at the stern you’ll find an expansive integrated swim platform with no-slip decking. It’s equipped with a drop-down swim ladder that should make getting in and out of the water a cinch. Just ahead of it at the transom is a convertible lounge that can do double duty as a forward- or aft-facing chaise longue. Simply moving its swinging seatback changes its orientation.

Farther forward, the cockpit features twin swiveling captain’s chairs behind a wraparound windshield and split console. An enclosed head sits inside the port console while the helm is situated to starboard. The aforementioned convertible chaise longue forms an L-shaped lounge in the cockpit with the seatback flipped aft. There’s a companion bench just opposite it, and all cockpit seating has tons of stowage cleverly hidden beneath it.

Crownline 270 SS Specifications:

  • Length: 27’3”
  • Beam: 8’6”
  • Draft: 3’3”
  • Deadrise: 19 deg.
  • Displacement: 5,200 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 55 gal.
  • Water Capacity: 15 gal.

The comfy bow seating area is U-shaped, with the bottom of the “U” facing forward. The area can be used either as a group seating area or more intimately by two folks relaxing in the pair of forward-facing lounges. The whole setup is very roomy and comfy. There’s also lots of easily accessible stowage beneath the seat bottoms, which are fitted with gas-assist struts. A pedestal table can be fitted to enhance the bow area’s entertaining capabilities.

Standard power in the 270 SS is a 300-horsepower MerCruiser 350 MAG/Bravo 3 powertrain, which is capable of propelling it up to a top speed of around 45 mph. Best cruise is around 29 to 31 mph, where the MerCruiser will sip about 10 gallons of fuel per hour. A 430-horsepower MerCruiser is an option for those with a need for speed. You know, like 50-plus mph worth of speed. That’s nothing to shake a stick at, performance-wise, especially for a bow rider.

So, what sort of folks will want to consider the 270 SS as a candidate for their boat-buying dollars? We figure anyone with a mess of family and friends to entertain will want to check out this well-appointed bowrider that has a touch of speed and performance baked in.

See Crownline 270 SS boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Sea Ray SLX 280

Brand new in 2016 having been introduced at the Miami International Boat Show, the Sea Ray SLX 280 is a bowrider that crosses into day boat territory with its expansive cockpit and luxurious and comfortable seating accommodations. As with any boat from an experienced builder like Sea Ray, we were expected big things from this model. And Sea Ray didn’t disappoint, as the 280 was an instant hit. As a result, there are plenty of these boats on the used market today.

sea ray slx 280 boats for sale
The Sea Ray SLX 280 is a very popular model and lots of used boats for sale can be found on the market. Photo via Sea Ray Boats.

It’s logical that the boat should seem a little bit roomier than other bowriders its size because it carries a nine-foot beam. And yes, that means you’ll need a permit to trailer it in most states. Still, the compromise seems worth it. A group of 12 easily spreads out in the SLX’s three distinct social zones, which includes the spacious bow area, a large cockpit seating scheme, and an expansive swim platform with adjacent transom seating. Transformer-like seating that’s richly upholstered and convertible enhances relaxation, but also adds utility with lots of easily accessed and generous stowage underneath. We also liked that each person was never out of reach of his or her own cup holder or personal stowage cubby.

Sea Ray SLX 280 Specifications

  • Length: 28’6”
  • Beam: 9’0”
  • Draft: 3’8”
  • Deadrise: 21 deg.
  • Displacement: 7,018 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 90 gal.

Gizmos and gadgets can either make a boat infinitely better or painfully annoying. So, when we saw Sea Ray’s Dynamic Display touch-screen interface sandwiched into the dash, we were skeptical. But to our surprise the touch screen display makes operating the boat’s systems much easier than a conventional array of control switches and dials. You can even electrically actuate the clever hinged Bimini tower with the touch screen display. It’s hinged in such a way that it stows flat across the cockpit, doing double-duty as a boat cover. Super cool, once you’ve seen it in person.

Under the engine hatch you’ll find a 350-horsepower MerCruiser® 6.2L MPI ECT Bravo III w/ DTS Sterndrive as standard, though you can up the horsepower ante with as many as 430 ponies, courtesy an 8.2-liter MerCruiser gasoline inboard. With those options you’ll likely never want for performance.

You’re not likely to run out of room for comfortably entertaining your friends and family on the SLX 280. If we were in the market for a bowrider, this one would be near the top of our list.

See Sea Ray SLX 280 used boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Boston Whaler 380 Realm

Before you say it, we know what you’re thinking: Why in the heck would anyone want a 38-foot bowrider? Luckily we have a lot of good answers to that question, thanks to the Boston Whaler 380 Realm. This boat takes what’s usually a lot of wasted foredeck space on a typical express cruiser and turns it into an incredibly useful relaxation zone.

boston whaler 380 realm used boat for sale
The Boston Whaler 380 Realm is a cruiser, as well as a bowrider. Photo via Chesapeake Boat Basin.

The 380 Realm is a much more substantial boat than the average bowrider, with a port-side cabin built into the passenger’s console. Inside you’ll find sleeping accommodations, a stand-up head, and a compact but fully equipped galley. This gives you overnighting and weekending abilities, expanding the ways you might go boating substantially.

If you’re interested in this model, check out our in-depth review and video of this boat at Boston Whaler 380 Realm walkthrough Review.

Boston Whaler 380 Realm Specifications

  • Length: 38’0”
  • Beam: 11’8”
  • Draft: 2’5″
  • Deadrise: 23 deg.
  • Displacement: 17,000 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 445 gal.
  • Water Capacity: 55 gal.

In the bow cockpit the 380 Realm has a large lounger built into the front of the cabin, with wrap-around seating forward and to port. The stern cockpit is clearly designed for entertaining with features like a prep station with an outdoor grill, oodles of cupholders, multiple coolers, and a dive door with removable boarding ladder. It does also have the basics for fishing, however, with rod holders at the transom and in the gunwales, plus coaming bolsters all around.

You may find different power packages on the 380, but we ran one with quadruple Mercury Marine 400-hp outboards. To call the performance with this 1,600-hp package outstanding would not be an overstatement – we hit a top-end of over 60 mph, and cruising in the 30s was thoroughly comfortable.

Is the 380 Realm the king of the bowrider fleet? That’s your call to make, but one thing is for sure: this is one bodacious bowrider, and it fully qualifies as a cruiser, as well.

See Boston Whaler 380 Realm used boats for sale on Boat Trader.

You still haven’t found the used boat that’s ideal for your needs, and these bowriders are a bit larger than you’d like? Also see Six Great Used Boats for Sale Under 25 Feet.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and was last updated in January of 2023.

Written by: Gary Reich

Gary Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer and photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the marine industry. He is the former editor of PropTalk Magazine and was the managing editor of the Waterway Guide. His writing and photography have been published in PassageMaker Magazine, Soundings, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Yachting Magazine, and Lakeland Boating, among others.

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