The Glastron GT-180 entry-level bowrider can be described in one word: fun. It might be entry-level due to its size and attractive price, but in a world filled with bowriders, this is one that stands out for finish, quality construction and, yes, because it’s just plain fun.
This is a great boat for a family, and one that they can count on growing into over the years. As a starter boat for families with young children it has high coamings, thoughtful padding and good handgrips that make it secure physically — as well as psychologically. Both are important for boating parents with little kids. But when the youngsters become teenagers, you can hand over the boat keys without worrying. It’s not too fast (45 mph-ish), but it still provides plenty of reserve power for great tubing and use of water toys with a crowd aboard — and if their youthful hormones overcome them, it’s difficult for them to get into trouble. In proof, we cranked the wheel as hard as we could while motoring flat out during our test; the GT-180 just took over and kept things cool. With normal handling, you can make the turns you want for towing, but get too rambunctious and the GT-180 kills off speed to keep things calm.
Our test boat showed up equipped with the XL package, which we suggest you order if only for the two lovely helm seats with folding bolsters. The XL package also includes quality snap-in carpet, stainless-steel pop-up cleats and stainless-steel trim. The standard boat is fitted with well-padded bowrider seats, great backrests and a comfy full-width bench seat aft. Stowage is outstanding, with self-draining carpeted lockers forward, a huge centerline ski locker with a rubber mat, and a cavernous glove box fitted with the Bluetooth stereo, MP3 plug and cigar plug. A cooler is hidden under the rear seat, and there is plenty of stowage for everything, from life jackets to beach gear.
Our test boat boasted the powerful and efficient Mercury 115EL FourStroke on its transom. Glastron allows you to opt for up to 150 hp for the GT-180, but why would you? This new bowrider is absolutely perfect powered by the 115, in our opinion. If you’re dipping your toes into boating, you won’t regret the Glastron GT-180, because it will stay with you as your family grows.
* Fiberglass stringers mean no hidden wood to rot.
* Twin swim platforms with folding ladder make water access safe.
* Big in-floor ski locker keeps the cockpit tidy while stowing toys and other gear securely.
* Large glove box easily handles sunglasses and sunscreen potions.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 115EL FourStroke
Drive/Prop: Outboard/13¾" x 15" 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 2.07:1
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
$27,253 (base with MerCruiser 115EL)
Glastron Boats Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; glastron.com