2022 Bayliner M15 Deck Boat Review: Simple On Purpose

Last month we had the chance to hop onboard Bayliner’s brand new 2022 Element M15 deck boat and take her for a spin on the Tennessee River in Knoxville. This little boat is a joy to drive and very easy to maneuver, making her an ideal starter boat, bang around lake boat, inshore boat for fishing or a relaxed cruising boat for family and small groups of friends. Watch our full walkthrough and a quick sea trial in the video below.

Above: Ryan McVinney walks through a Bayliner Element M15 deck boat and takes her for a quick spin along the Tennessee River in Knoxville, TN.

Vessel Overview

My kind of vessel, this is a no stress, no hassle boat – simple yet comfortable and feature-packed to the gills! The simplicity is on purpose; she is built to be easily trailerable and a joy at the ramp so you won’t have any trouble when you’re learning how to launch a boat and splashing her into the water for the first time, no matter who you are or what your boating experience may be. If you’re a young couple, or a new boater just looking to “get your feet wet”, this is a great boat to consider. Or if you’re a small family that is looking for a basic, uncomplicated boat with all the electronics and features expected of a modern vessel in an easy to learn design layout, this one might right up your alley. She feels bigger than her 15 foot length, and, get this – the M15 also comes with a trailer! That makes her even more attractive if you’re looking for an all-in-one package to get you on the water quickly.

Bayliner Element M15 Deck Boat

Above: Ryan McVinney at the helm of a 2022 Bayliner Element M15 deck boat – an easy to handle, fun, lightweight boat that is ideal as a starter boat or a lake boat.

Sometimes a compact vessel that is lightweight and nimble is just the type of boat that is needed, and this model makes for a low-maintenance machine that truly makes boating easy breezy for nearly anyone. As with all deck boats, the M15 is flared at the top to create more usable deck space and seating. Simply put: this may be hands down one of the best deck boats in 2021 for the money.

Bow Area

Making great use of space on a small boat like this is important and, because this is a deck boat, onboard space is maximized throughout including in the bow area. With a wide open cockpit and big U-shaped, nook-style bow seating with premium upholstery her bow seating arrangement is conducive to conversations and enjoying a relaxing cruise together. The configuration of the cockpit, from the bow back to the stern, is optimized for socializing with little to block onboard movement, mobility or line of sight.

Bayliner Element M15 Deck Boat Bow Seating

Above: The nook-style, U-shaped bow seating area onboard the Bayliner Element M15 deck boat.

Cockpit Features

Throughout the boat passengers will appreciate molded-in storage, cupholders and nicely waterproof Jensen speakers powered by a premium marine audio system. Forward of the transom is a really great and comfy bench seat with storage and a dedicated fuel tank area below. One really cool thing about the transom on the M15 is that it is notched out a bit so you can actually sit in the rear of the vessel with your feet on the swim platform – a nice place to hang out if you’re anchored in a cove, sandbar or private beach.

Transom And Swim Platform On Bayliner Element M15 Deck Boat

Above: The transom and swim platform as seem from above while underway on the 2022 Bayliner Element M15 deck boat.

At The Helm

At the helm owners will find simple yet intuitive controls. Bayliner’s well-known and respected M-Hull design gives her great handling and better stability with predictable on-the-water motion and responsiveness. Of course this isn’t a boat you’re going to want to take out into big rough open water, but she can hold her own when needed and is very at home on a river, lake or calm body of water. Plus, if the wind kicks up you can rest-assured that she’ll get you back to the docks safely without concern. For a lightweight little craft, she handles moderate chop adequately and safely.

Ryan McVinney Driving Bayliner Element M15 Deck Boat

Above: Ryan McVinney at the helm driving a 2022 Bayliner Element M15 deck boat. Note the windshield protecting the dashboard and the Bimini top support.

Key Features: Standards And Options

The Bayliner Element M15 comes in two optional style packages. There’s the “EX” which comes with a bilge pump, a Bimini top and a Jensen stereo system, plus a mooring cover and your choice of three different colors. The second option is the “EXL” which comes with everything the EX has plus premium Gatorstep non-skid foam deck padding throughout the cockpit along with some extra filler cushions for a little bit more luxurious seating.

Bayliner Element M15 Deck Boat

Above: The layout of the 2022 Bayliner Element M15 deck boat is optimized for socializing.

Propulsion System: Engine Options And Performance

The Bayliner M15 comes standard with a Mercury 40 horsepower outboard engine rigged to her transom and you can opt up to a 50 horsepower Mercury if you choose. Both will get you moving on the water nicely, but the 50 will give you a bit more oomph when you have up to 5 passengers onboard. If you’re on the fence about which power option to choose, consider that the 40 HP should be enough power for many (we tested it with the 40 HP and one person aboard which was plenty fast), but if you plan on having bigger groups of passengers onboard and heavier loads, we’d recommend upgrading for the optional 50 HP outboard. With the 50 horsepower, top speed is somewhere around 30-32 MPH. She’ll hop on plane quickly with either motor, but you’ll get there faster with the 50 horses, likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 seconds depending on load.

Mercury 40 Horsepower Outboard Engine on Bayliner Element M15 deck boat

Above: The Element M15 by Bayliner comes with a 40 HP Mercury outboard engine standard, with an option for a 50 horsepower.


Perhaps best of all is that this boat has a very reasonable sticker price that most families and young couples can afford. Often when we talk about affordability in boating the term is relative, and cheap boats can sound like an oxymoron to some. However with a starting price of a modest $13.9K, this boat can be had for less than many used cars, and trailered by many lightweight vehicles. That all adds up to a practical, wallet-friendly, entry-level deck boat that can offer years of trouble-free operation and hours of family entertainment for less than a trip to Disney World might cost. entry-level deck boat – remember this includes a trailer!

The Bayliner Element M15 starts around $13,999.00.


BEAM: 6′ 7″
DRAFT: 2′ 1″
FUEL: 12 gallons
DEADRISE: 17 degrees
DRY WEIGHT: (w/ standard engine): 1,385 LBS
MAX PASSENGERS: 5 (weight 700 LBS)

View Bayliner M15 boats for sale on Boat Trader right now.

Visit Bayliner Boats for more information.

Written by: Ryan McVinney

C. Ryan McVinney is a film director, writer and producer. As an experienced boater he regularly produces and directs on-the-water video shoots for major boat manufacturers, yacht brokers and dealers, as well as independent film and media companies. He is president of the National Soho House Film Club with chapters in Miami, FL, Manhattan, NY and Los Angeles, CA and regularly contributes content to YachtWorld, boats.com and Boat Trader.