Bayliner 285 SB

The 285 SB features two private staterooms and a price under $95k.

July 28, 2010

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For a video of the 285 SB in action click here.

For roughly the cost of an elite 25-foot bowrider, or less, bay liner offers this new 28-foot-7-inch sport cruiser. Think about it: a weekender with galley, full head and two private staterooms priced like a day-tripper. We went into our test looking for the rub.


Compared with Bayliner’s previous cruisers, the edges at the transom are softer and there’s an aerodynamic slope to the foredeck. Sometimes that slope can make us feel like we’re running downhill to tend lines, but the nonskid finish and two-foot- high bow rail kept our forward movement safe. The design lends volume to the cabin yet looks sleek from outside.

You could argue that volume is the most vital facet of an overnighter, much of it to do with beam and headroom. At 9 feet 11 inches, the 285’s beam is only one inch shy of Chaparral’s 31-foot 310 Signature. The aft cockpit has room for facing couches, and we measured clearance under the standard radar arch at 6 feet 8 inches. By using a curved couch instead of an l-arrangement to port, traffic space is noticeably wide from the aft cockpit to the cabin.

Belowdecks, the side windows and a large overhead hatch allowed so much natural illumination that we never turned on the lights. Rather than a traditional salon to starboard, we found a dinette (designed like a booth at a diner), which converts to a small bed. The size of the dinette/sleeper does impugn the forward berth some, but the berth is still big enough for a happily married couple. If the galley is a couple of inches narrow, it’s because of the size of the aft berth. This is one of the only sub-30 sport cruisers that we’ve tested in which the mid-stateroom is private, as in “has a wall and door.” Behind the door is a hanging closet and a bed so big I’d prefer it to the master.


You’ll notice a top speed of 37.8 mph. Not exactly Olympian, but this was with a single 300 hp stern-drive. You can opt up to 380 hp, and those who boat in tidal waters might consider a bow thruster since the 285 isn’t available with twins, but neither is that fancy bowrider.

Comparable model: Chaparral 310 Signature


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