Bayliner 245 Cruiser Cruiser Boat Review
Bayliner’s 245 may be small by cruiser standards, but it’s a boat that really lives up to its name. This Bayliner bowrider offers comfortable cruising at 25 knots and two people can live aboard the 245 Cruiser for days at a time
The high viewpoint makes life easy. There’s a freshwater shower so you can clean off before relaxing with a drink. There’s enough room and equipment for three couples or a family to enjoy a day out without anyone getting under anyone’s feet.
Bayliner’s all-new-for-2009 245 Cruiser has many good points, but the most significant one is that two people can live aboard it for days at a time. Realistically, this would be restricted to a couple, but while this boat is only 7.65m, during our test I found it hard to accept it’s not considerably bigger. The space inside this boat is amazing.
People who’ve been around boats a while will notice the Bayliner 245 Cruiser has unusually high sides. This height contributes a lot of interior space and at 170cm, I had headroom to spare standing in the saloon, though Bayliner claim “more than 6ft”.
Its peers tend to be low slung and more sporty-looking, but Bayliner have gone the opposite way. The 245 Cruiser isn’t as slinky as some of its contemporaries, but anyone with any practical mindset will agree slinky good looks aren’t necessarily everything, not when the alternative is something that works so very well.
In the way it’s laid out, the Bayliner 245 Cruiser is a pretty standard bridge deck configuration, but there’s more up top than just the headroom. Inside a 2.5m beam, this boat uses every millimetre of available space brilliantly, and, more to the point, sensibly. The aft lounge/dinette runs out of personal space at five adults; less if the helm seatback is swung back; more if the helm seat and the lounge beside it are pressed into service.
The cabin dinette seats six adults without crowding anyone’s personal space—that’s three couples for day trips, or two plus some little people in a sub-25-footer!
One of the impositions caused by this only being a 7.65m boat is that getting into the bunk does require some agility. Once in there, too, it’s pretty enclosed if things like that worry you; and a good night’s sleep might depend on retro fitting a fan to move air in there. But enclosed shouldn’t be confused with cramped; a good fan isn’t hard to find. If that’s not enough though, air-conditioning and a gen set are on the options list. A30-amp shore power connection and power chord come standard.
Cooking facilities include a single ring electric stove and a mini-microwave, but I suspect a lot of Bayliner 245 Cruisers will sport a stainless barbecue out back. Our test boat had a fridge fitted beneath the galley and the adjacent sink was supplied with pressurised water from a 75-litre tank and 25-litre hot water system.
Stowage in the galley of any boat is at a premium; this one has more than most boats its size. There’s another sink on the portside of the aft lounge area beside the transom door, plus a hand basin in the bathroom. I seem to have mentioned this theme several times already, but the ‘bathroom’ is noticeably bigger than you’d expect in a boat this size. It features a manual flush toilet, a big mirror and ventilation hatch and surfaces are easy to wipe down.
Outboard, a swim deck covers the sterndrive leg as cruisers in this style do, with an extendable ladder portside aft of the transom door. Afreshwater shower hides behind a flush hatch in the walkway to wash saltwater and sand off before coming inboard and the entire deck area from transom door to cabin door is all on one level.
The cabin top has a non-slip surface and steps to access it through the opening wrap-around screen are moulded in beside the cabin door, which slides away into the bulkhead and can be locked securely.
Helm ergonomics are an important thing in boating comfort too often ignored by boat builders, but not here. The steering wheel is tilt adjustable, there’s a solid footrest moulded in below it, and the helm seat itself is quite a work of art. It sits on a pivot-and-slide arrangement that allows you to raise or lower it for either a high eyeline over the windscreen or a lower view through it, and out of the slipstream. As mentioned, the helm seat backrest swings over to serve either the helm or the aft lounge once the boat’s at rest.
Those high sides afford an excellent view into the water from the helm when standing at the wheel, and even if seated with the seat raised. This type of view is important in places like southern Moreton Bay where we tested the 245 Cruiser—the best way to avoid banks is to see them first.
The Gold Coast turned on a perfect autumn day for the test, the kind that makes us locals even happier we live there. It makes boating around Southport nothing short of delightful. To make it better, power-assisted rack and pinion steering proved light and precise and with the throttle control readily to hand and the high viewpoint at the helm, this little Bayliner felt smaller than it is—which was the one time I wasn’t thinking about this being the biggest boat of its size I’ve ever been aboard.
Bayliner claim their 245 Cruiser uses 50 litres of fuel per hour cruising at 25 knots when powered with the 260hp 5.0 litre MPI MerCruiser petrol V8 fitted to the test boat. Twenty-five knots around southern Moreton Bay gets you places quick enough for this to work out pretty economically.
Checked against a GPS, top speed was 33.4 knots at 5000rpm with four adults aboard. Between 3250 and 4250rpm, the MerCruiser V8 loped along effortlessly at cruising speeds between the high teens and late twenties.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable test drive—the time goes too quickly in this entirely pleasant boat. If you’re looking for a sub eight-metre vessel, you have to look at Bayliner’s 245 Cruiser.
Location : Gold Coast Broadwater, Qld
Conditions : Absolutely beautiful
Load : Four adults, safety and camera gear
2800 : 9.2 (min planing speed)
3000 : 15.2
3500 : 21.1
4000 : 26.9
4500 : 30.1
5000 : 33.4 (WOT)
Manufacturer : Bayliner USA, division of Brunswick Corporation
Test boat supplied by : Avante Marine, Gold Coast, (07) 5528 3625
Material : Hand-laid GRP with a vinylester skin coat
Build : CE certification optional
Boat type : Day and short break cruiser
Length overall : 7.65m
Beam : 2.59m
Hull weight : 2787kg with 5.0 litre MerCruiser
Power during test : 260hp 5.0 litre MPI MerCruiser V8
Other power options : 250hp 5.7 litre MerCruiser (petrol); 300hp 350 Mag MPI MerCruiser (petrol); 200hp 2.8 litre MerCruiser (diesel)
Sterndrive : MerCruiser Bravo II
Fuel : 265 litres
Freshwater : 75.7 litres
Holding tank : 75.7 litres
Basic packages (as tested) : From $131,810
Reviewed: August 2009
Author: Warren Steptoe