Every boat brand has its strengths and its weaknesses. It’s important to be an informed consumer when buying a boat. This list details some of the problems that come straight out of the factory as well as those that users reported.
Some problems are big enough to cause an incident, some spark a recall, and others bring attention to safety concerns.
Here are the main problems people have experienced with Bayliner boats.
The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for keeping tabs on how safe a boat is.
Since 1976, the Coast Guard has received 14 kinds of complaints, which has resulted in 3,257 Bayliners being recalled.
1) Generator Issues On Older Models
Some Bayliner boats in 1982 were equipped with an Onan MCCK generator.
The models of these boats are not recorded in USCG documents. According to files by the Coast Guard, there were two main issues. The first issue was with the generator starter motor.
The second issue is that the generator which attached to the starter was not explosion-proof. There was a recall initiated on February 17, 1982, and ended on March 8, 1982. This affected ten boats.
Boats made in later years do not have these problems.
2) Bayliner 2004 Model Bowrider
There were several issues identified with the 2004 Bayliner model 180s. Because of an improperly wired stereo, 63 of these boats were recalled. This issue was identified as being a potential fire hazard.
Other issues that were identified were issues with stability.
This can be dangerous when they are being used, and a stable boat is important for the safety of the boat’s passengers.
Another potential issue in the construction was the ungrounded fuel fill pipes. A fuel system that is properly grounded helps keep all of the electrical and mechanical connections secure.
It heads off risks of higher static ignition and reduces the potential of an explosion.
There were other engine issues that were identified. One of these issues was insufficient ventilation in the engine enclosures, which could be another risk for an explosion.
Improper switches were also seen on some of the boats. In some models, the batteries were mounted too close to the fuel lines which can cause too much heat and potentially start a fire. Some boats had a regulatory violation with removable capacity plates.
154 boats of the 1980 Bayliner Force model had a USCG Capacities Plate that could be removed by lifting the plate. On the plate, it has specifications of the maximum number of passengers and the total weight that the vessel can carry as well as the maximum horsepower with which the engine can be powered.
Removing the plate is in violation of federal law, and it is a safety hazard.
3) Issues With Bayliner Boats
Many of the issues that Bayliners have are what you’d expect from an entry-level boat.
One way to be sure that a boat that you’re buying is free and clear of any issues is to have a survey done before you purchase it.
In order to have a boat that is affordable, they had to shave corners in some aspects. For many boat owners, this includes wiring problems or the quality of the physical boat itself.
4) Bayliner Models Most Affected With Problems
- The Bayliner Capri is the build of a boat that had the most problems identified. By the numbers, 1,240 had fuel-filler pipes that were not grounded.
457 of these boats had ventilation problems in the engine space. 346 had stability problems and were not able to float level.
- The 1977 Victoria Commander BR model had 263 boats that had instability problems.
- Twelve of the Motoryacht 3388 model from 1988 had electrical issues in the engine room.
- There were also unspecified problems in the 873 Bowrider 160 BR and 180 BR.
There was a recall initiated on March 15, 2014 for these boats and it was closed on August 14, 2014. 477 of the 873 boats were repaired.
5) Structural Issues To Pay Attention To
There are some problems with certain types of boats. Specifically, beneath the seams below the rub rails there are issues with coming apart, cracking and in general not being sturdy or durable.
Bayliners have a reputation of not being able to take a pounding.
Boat owners take issue with the fiberglass layup. This can result in bubbles in the laminate. Other people do not like the interiors of the hull.
Early 80’s models had structural issues that many boat owners identified. They had a tendency to fall apart when on the water or when used heavily.
This can be seen in many areas of the boat.
The windows can potentially leak. Another issue is that the railing and hardware can pop out of place, which can be a nuisance. When initially installed, they were screwed into the hull with self-tapping screws.
The engine of these boats is lacking, and they are in some cases very underpowered. The exhaust from the engine built up, and carbon monoxide can accumulate in the helm.
After use, the boat can have visible signs of damage. For example, the hull can crack.
There are also some issues about the quality of materials used in the boat. The hardware in some boats is chrome-plated zinc. When there is a slight impact on the hull of the boat, it can rattle and shake. For some people, the deck and hull joint is not appropriate for the ocean and is made for quieter lakes.
Other people pointed out that the wiring harness was not up to par.
In the control panel, some people noted that the switches were proprietary and cheap. Windshields in some of the boats are flimsy, thin and poorly supported. Underneath the seat cushions, there is untreated plywood. The colors of the hull faded fast, and the overall ride quality was low.
This is mainly seen in the late 80’s Bayliner.
The quality since the late 80’s run has significantly improved.
Some people say that the hatches sag when you step on them. Another problem is that they used to come with Force motors which were not as powerful.
There were also issues with the steering in some of the boats. The boat could wander even at no-wake speeds. A lot of the hardware is made out of plastic, including the latches and hinges, which translates to lower quality. A lot of the materials used in the boat are not real and are of lower quality. The seat cushions are easily damaged by water as well.
Many people who are enthusiastic about boating consider Bayliners to be an introductory level boat. The build quality on some of the boats is considered basic, and many consider it to be a beginner boat. However, Bayliners are still good boats.
Poor Resale Value
Buying a Bayliner new is, by some accounts, not a good investment.
Their value depreciates significantly because of its wide availability. Buying a Bayliner used is much less than buying one that is new. They are a common boat and because of that do not sell for higher prices. This is one thing that potential buyers will want to keep in mind as they are looking at boats to purchase.
The investment value is an important thing to think about when paying large amounts of money for a boat.
Each make and model has its own quirks and peculiarities that come with the design. The 1999 Bayliner Trophy 20′ center console has a livewell that is mounted on the floor, and it will spill out over the deck.
The newer boats are of higher quality. In the ’70s and ’80s, Bayliners had a reputation of making lower-quality boats. This is reflected in the recalls that were in this time period.
The smaller, runabout Bayliners have more problems. The more inexpensive cruisers are not as bad as some of the other kinds.
In general, it’s advised to look out for small motors.
Before you invest in a boat (new or used!) you should pay attention to the boat depreciation guide we’ve made.
Some of the boats are built in Mexico.
The factories were relocated from the United States for cheaper labor. While properly trained people in factories can produce goods of similar quality, some boat owners take issue with the fact that the labor is being outsourced.
Bayliner was among the first in the ’80s to the mass market and mass-produce boat, motor, and trailer packages.
The widespread accessibility of the boats also means that more newbies purchase and use them, who may not know how to maintain and take care of the boat properly.
Every production boat has its problems, and Bayliners are no exception.
There are many makes and models of the boats that are in good condition and are well kept. It depends on how much you’re willing to take care of the boat and what you invest in it. The newer boats are an improvement on the older ones, but keep in mind that an investment in a newer Bayliner might not necessarily pay off in the long run.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.