Bayliner and Meridian Pilothouses- HISTORY AND UPDATES

Bayliner 5288, 4788, 5788 lined up together . You can clearly see the differences in their volume, which was well reflected in their pricing. The Meridians are (with only very minor exterior differences) identical -as they were built in the exact same moulds by the same workers in the same Washington State factory as the Bayliners. The Bayliner Pilothouses were built from 1984 -2002. The Meridian Pilothouses were built from 2003-2008, although 2005 was the last year they built the 540.


Bayliner History & Updates

I receive so many inquires asking the same question, I’m going to put the answer right up here at the top of the page  so you don’t have to read any further:  YES-The Bayliner 47’s are much better built boats than the 4588’s solely because many of the materials used in the construction of the 4788’s weren’t invented in the years (1984-1993) the 45’s were built.  The 47’s indeed have positive DESIGN features the 4588’s don’t have. If given the choice – go for a 4788-especially a 1997 or newer one.  JULY 2016 update: I’m now discovering that the 4788’s are starting to have the very same issues that plague the foredecks of the 4588’s. Boats that were in tip top condition just a few years ago, passing surveys with few issues are NOW finding that the bedding that holds the bow pulpit and windlass down, has dried up and is leaking water into the core of the deck and the pulpit.  So to ALL you 4788 owners I highly recommend you attend to this immediately. This applies to any manufacture of all yachts- remember- sealants don’t last forever.


If you have any questions about the Meridians and Bayliners, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I see a LOT of misinformation published about these boats especially on forums. Call me and I’ll be happy to tell you about their features, which boats on the market are good, and which ones should be avoided – and why.

 Marketwise in 2016;  I’m no longer taking listings on Bayliner Pilothouses older than 1997 due to the unrealistic expectations of their owners and the effects of time.

This doesn’t mean there’s not any nice older boats out there, it just means that I personally haven’t seen any since 2014 that weren’t overpriced to the market and/or in very poor condition. Somebody with a nice one please prove me wrong.

Built from 1984-2002-  Hurricanes and ‘Super Storms’ (whether coastal or inland), sinking (whether from striking things, or from improperly winterized vessels popping thru-hulls) has really depleted the availability of good Bayliner Pilothouse boats east of I-5. Combine that with the fact that most all of the good one’s on the east coast were exported off from 2003-2013 during America’s economic recession. The pickings in 2016 are slim for good one’s. I know which are the good one’s, you don’t, because you don’t know their history. I do.

When I  appraise a vessel, it will be accurate to the dollar, so when I tell you what your boat is worth, then you end up waiting three years (or more!) for it to finally sell for exactly the price I valued her years earlier- I obviously knew what I was talking about didn’t I?  Other brokers will blow smoke up your ass to get a listing, then years later tell you “you must lower your price to the market”. So how much money did you pay in dockage, and insurance alone since that broker first lied to you?  Then factor in maintenance. The market is the market is the market and it fluctuates. I’ll be happy to tell you what these boats are really selling for.

The Meridian Pilothouses (2003-08) were indeed built to a much higher fit and finish than the Bayliners which was reflected in their pricing when new, and in their resale values today.

Dedicated to Bayliner 4788s, 5288s, 5788,s and Meridian 490, 540, and 580 Pilothousehouse Motor Yachts.

HISTORY OF THE Pilothouse Motor Yachts

I apologize for the ‘clunkiness’ of the following but my site collapsed when a Boatquest host lost it all in 2009. It took several years to retrieve the info and rebuild.  I now have a secure host so this shouldn’t happen again. Enjoy:

  • In 2002: Brunswick (the company who built Bayliner, Sea ray, Hatteras, Sealine, Maxum, Boston Whaler, Cabo, Mercruiser, plus many other boat lines, and eventually even Cummins diesel) discontinued the Bayliner series of Motor yachts and Pilothouse Yachts and they were “reborn” as Meridians for the 2003 model year at a much higher price ($300k higher MSRP) as the year before when they were called  Bayliner. with just minor changes.   ALL  the BIG (49′ – 58′) Meridians were built from the same moulds in the same factory by the same people as when called Bayliner in Washington State. Bayliner 4788’s were also built in Maryland from 1997-1999.
  •  The Meridians have higher grade fabrics, hardware, bedding, faucets, etc., than the Bayliners, but many of the standard items offered on all Bayliners were options on the Meridians.  For example you’ll see wetbars and cockpit showers in the 4788’s, but not likely in a Meridian. Many little things didn’t pass along.
  • Please note that not many 2002 4788’s were ever built (some dealers were made aware of the upcoming Meridian change by 3/02, but Brunswick signed up a new Bayliner dealer as late as 5/02 (big lawsuit won on that), 5 or 6 made it to the East Coast and of those, two are in Australia, & one in New Zealand.  Not that many 03 490’s were ever built (although but as far as I know, NO 490’s were built with the high gloss cherry interiors from 2002 . Four (4) 03′ 490’s were shipped East.  Meridian spent their efforts constructing the higher profit margin Meridian 411’s and 459 Models.  But of the ALL the 490’s EVER built, only a handful (10?) made it to the East Coast (most stayed out west) which means even fewer now on the East Coast Brokerage Market.
  • NO Pilothouses were built after the plant closed in June 2008.
  • As of 2016- no Meridians are in production.


2010 Meridian 580

This is a 2010 model Meridian 580 (although the hull was layed in 2008) .  She’s now in Australia.  I sold her in Costa Rica after she cruised down from Alaska.  The fit and finish of this yacht was spectacular. Too bad they didn’t keep building these vessels.


PAST updates:


  • 1/1/11: no pilothouse designs are on the drawing boards of Meridian.
  • 1/1/10: the last of the Dealer left-over inventory of brand new pilothouses was sold. In Louisiana.
  • 4/2009 update: Meridian is to build some models at their Merritt Island Florida plant where they build Sea Ray’s Sure looks like a Sea Ray.  They aren’t Pilothouses, that’s for sure!
  • 6/08 update: Meridian closed their Washington facility where Pilothouses were built.  The moulds were destroyed.
  • Some of  the features that we all liked (such as port doors in the Pilothouse) on the Bayliners are no longer available on the 2003 Meridian 540 (no longer in production as of 06) or 580  Meridians.
  • The 490 has the same features we all liked on the 4788’s.     2005: In a huge improvement, they made an engine room access hatch in the salon sole BETWEEN the engines in addition to the standard entrance via the stairs. On flip side of that improvement- they eliminated the storage under the L-shaped settee, which is odd. There’s nothing in there, they just installed modular seats that do not open up. I’m sure a good upholstery shop can rectify this. On the 4788 this L-shaped seating areas is one of the storage area’s for bulk goods, and also a popular place to install an inverter, being that the batteries are (offset) below this space in the lazarette.

    • 2003-This new Meridian 580 has the looks of a real YACHT with the fit & finish that one expects when paying over a million dollars for a new boat. They’ve really dialed it in nicely!  Excellent fabrics & wood work. Teak looking (Flexiteek) material on aft-deck & swim platform and dingy area of the flybridge is beautiful. The flybridge seating is beautiful and the helm and companion seat is very high quality.  The new designed one piece salon windows really ‘pop the boats off’ (but don’t open like the 5788s)  but I really don’t like where they put the salon TV, which really wasn’t necessary in this day and age of pop-up and hidden screens.  The 5788 salon layout was a bit more user friendly (a place to nap).   Flat Screen TVs in master & guest staterooms are sharp looking.  The engine room is so much larger with the Cummins Diesels versus the physically larger MAN diesels.  There’s many system and fitting upgrades on the 580 Meridian over the 5788’s.

My main complaint I have about the new Meridian 580 is the elimination of the port side pilothouse door (I’ve had buyers actually choose 5788s over a 580 on this issue alone back in the early 2000s) . Other than that- this yacht is one sharp boat. This is where being owned by the same company as Sea Ray has paid off as the interior is contemporary & sharp just like the oh so popular Sea Ray designs. Say what you may about Sea Rays-but women love their interiors.

    • Some (not all) 2007 model 490s and all the 2008 Meridians have electronic QSB engines and controls,   The 580’s had them much earlier with the larger QSM engines. NO smoke, electronic controls allow “plug and play” installation of additional controls, PLUS, PLUS. Huge advantage with these electronic engines and controls.
    • BAYLINER 4788 HISTORY; (differences between 4588’s)
    • In 1994 Bayliner replaced the popular 4588 model (52′ Loa) with the new 4788 (54′ Loa). The extra 2′ is in the main salon.
    • The prop pockets of the 45 (shallower draft by 4″) were eliminated. 6 degree dead rise at transom.
    • The exterior was faired to a more streamlined look and the radar arch is now slanted forward.
    • The draft is deeper by 4″ and the bridge clearance is higher by 3′ on the 4788s.
    • The Hino diesels HP was boosted from 250 (220hp up through 1991 model year, then 250 hp through 93 model years) to 310 Hp through 1995 models.
    • In 1996 Cummins Diesels were introduced with the standard being 315HP, although some 96 models can be found with Hinos.
    • In 1997 the standard engines became 315 hp Cummins with 330’s & 370’s ($16k retail cost -$10k-dealer cost for 370’s) being optional.
    • IF a 330hp Cummins has a Bosch fuel pump, it can have it’s horsepower boosted to 370 hp –if it has the Japanese fuel pump, it cannot.
    • NOTE: the salon superstructures, doors, window frames, pilasters are made of Aluminum. This is another reason these boats have a low center of gravity, and as everybody knows; Aluminum is very strong and light. Pretty high tech for a low priced yacht  isn’t it?  This is also the reason why the salon windows don’t leak or crack on the Bayliner pilothouse models.  The window frames are not supporting the weight of the flybridge as are other marques.  Because  in these other brands it’s the window frames alone structurally supporting the flybridge above, which is why they continually have  windows crack as the bridges bounce.  NOT the Bayliner- they have a strong aluminum structure, AND strong window frames. Aluminum is subject to corrosion if not properly zinc treated, and salt is allowed to build up. Many 1999-2002 models have either had to have their exterior aluminum refinished, or is in need of refinishing.
    • The 45’s have balsa cored decks and time is finding them rotting out due to sealants for the windlass, railings, seating etc.,drying out. Or as refits have discovered -not sealed at all!  The 4788’s do NOT have this issue past the early 1994 models.

Proof of how thick 4788’s are built. Hull of 2000 model 4788 that sat on a reef for a week. She was barged back to the States, rebuilt and is out there somewhere. I lost contact with the boat in Daytona Fl. There’s no Car Fax for boats, so it’s good to know the provenance of vessels.


Bayliner 4788 hull -cut open for installation of  a bow thruster 2014.   Thick enough for you?


This is a cut out for installing a bow thruster on a Bayliner 4788.

Another view.  The outer layer ALONE is thicker than many so called “quality” yachts entire hull thickness.


Factory drawings of the hull construction


  • I’ve posted the fuel burns of the 330’s and 370’s here.  In related fact– The owner of the “Barbara K” (99 4788 w/370’s) cruised down from Charleston SC to Miami for loading on a ship to New Zealand, and she burned exactly 180 gallons of fuel. His speeds varied and this was running both in the open ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.
  • One owner has reported that his Cummins 330’s get 1.5 Nautical Mile per gallon at 9 knots  and 1.75 NMG at 8 knots.  Factoring in 20% fuel reserves on 444 gallons gives a 600 nautical mile at 8 knots, and 500 NM at 9 knots. That’s pretty impressive range. The nice thing about a 4788 is you can go slow OR if you feel like it-you can get up and GO.

Factory figures on fuel burns

  • Layout drawing of a 4788. Note they came with 2 chairs in the salon


    4788 – 490 props and keel


    Meridian 490 layout drawing- you can see the 490’s only came with one salon chair.

  • 4788 Master stateroom

  • In 1997 the 47’s interiors were upgraded with the addition of Corian in the galley and main salon, “leather” look upholstery in main salon and the pilothouse.
  • The Pilothouse has Burl wood (actually a wood like plastic laminate on metal) inlay in the dash starting in 97, which is very sharp.
  • The appliances in the galley are all white -2001.
  • The 2002 models have wood grained refrigerator to match the salon.
  • The interior is basically unchanged from 97 to 2002 models except the 2002 models offered a beautiful high gloss Cherry wood option ($7,370.00).  2014 update: This laminate in the 2002 models has started to crack on some curved surfaces and fog up in area’s receiving direct sun light.
  • Interior woods were either Teak with Ash or Maple options ($1,600.00) prior to 02.  Although I’ve seen some white interiors on 1995 models. These boats with the white interiors bring substantially less money on the resale market.  A common statement of those seeing those for the first time is ” this looks like a trailer”.
  • Starting in 99 stainless steel rub rails became a standard, a MUCH DESIRED feature.  If choosing between a 1998  and 1999 models, this feature alone is worth the price difference.  Those Aluminum hull deck joint covers were useless as rub rails, and sourcing replacement sections is proving difficult. TACO Metals in Miami, Florida was the distributor, so check with them first.
  • These boats came from the factory pretty well equipped with standard items that most manufacturers would call options such as 330hp Cummins,  8kw gen, 4 electric heaters,  electric davit, w/icemaker in main salon, fully equipped galley w/trash compactor, microwave, etc, canvas covers, electronics package w/Autopilot, Gps, radar, Vhf, TV/Vcr, stereos, electric windlass,etc.
  • All have Bronze shaft struts and rudders, Bronze Seacocks, color coded  wiring, Racor filters and top of the line appliances, machinery and equipment.
  • The Cummins diesels came with a major component warranty of 6 years or 1800 hrs, and Bayliner warranted the Hulls for structural for 5 years pre 01 models, 6 for the 2001 models, and 7 years for the 02 models. All warranties are transferable. (note-this was written back in 02)
  • ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
  • BAYLINER 5288s introduced for the 99  model (means some were built in 1998) year: 14 inches wider than the 4788’s, and 17,500 lbs more weight PLUS draft pushing 5′ (if not more) loaded, these larger yachts give a real “yacht feel and ride”. The engine rooms are accessed from the cockpit via hinged stairs to the flybridge. The headroom and space in these engine rooms is excellent. Incredible amount of storage in the lazarette, and in the hollow swim platform.

    5288 layout drawing

    Salon of 2000 Bayliner 5288


Layout:  The salon and galley layout varied boat to boat-year to year.  Two bar stool chairs were standard at the breakfast bar of the galley instead of two free standing chairs to port. In 2000 models this was changed and they have two free standing chairs on the port side the same as the 4788’s as apparently they moved the galley forward enough to allow this improvement.  The  master stateroom is full width amidships. The VIP stateroom is forward with an ensuite head. A guest stateroom with fixed upper and lower berths. The house sized washer and dryer are located in this stateroom.  Jesus folks, change your bedspreads at least every ten years. Nothing dates a boat like original bedspreads. Go to Home Goods or TJ Maxx and pick out something new.


5288 master stateroom

The first engines were M.A.N diesels.  The 500hp in the early models were replaced with 610 hp engines as the 500 hp MANS had a hard time giving a 17 knot cruise with a medium load.  The 610 hp MANS will cruise at 20 knot’s. A few 2002 models were built with Cummins QSM diesels.  Quite rare and more desirable than the M.A.N powered boats-purely because of the price differences in parts, space in the engine room, and availability of Cummins service professionals.

FUEL BURNS of a 2002 5288 with 610 MANS measured by Flow Scan fuel meters:

Interestingly enough the RPM’s almost mirror the speed the variable is of course the fuel consumption. Below are an owners experience with 1/2 load of fuel, full of water and a 14’Novurania  RIB w/ 50HP Mercury;
So 650rpm= 6.5 knots       2.0NM per gallon
750rpm=      7.5 knots       1.7NM per gallon
850rpm=      8.5 knot         1.5NM per gallon
1000rpm=   10 knots         1.18NM per gallon
1475rpm =  14 knots        .75 NM per gallon
2000rpm=    23 knots       .34 NM per gallon

The dealer cost on the 5288 was almost $300k more than the 4788s.  This much higher price, combined with the deep draft,  and lack of a dinette,  did not make the 5288 a particularly popular seller when new.  Many buyers preferred to just pay “a little more” and get a WHOLE LOT more with the 5788 model.  I’ve seen different variations of the galley on the 5288 models,  I sold a brand new 1999 model in 2000 that the buyer spent $28k making the galley similar to their 4788 .   You can’t beat the engine room access and the master staterooms in comparison to a 4788!   Not many 5288’s were ever built, and Meridian dropped the 540 model  as of 2006.


5788s NOW we’re talking! These Yachts have the size, fit and finish of a true yacht and she can ‘hold her own’ with yachts in this size range that cost twice as much.

Photo showing the advantage of a 5788 over a 580 Meridian.. The 57’s have a port side door in the Pilothouse, the Meridians do not.  If you can find a 2002 Bayliner 5788 with the Cummins engines, the high gloss cherry wood. If you can find one-  BUY it.  RARE.


Her beam is  17’02”, which is over a foot wider than the 5288’s, but her draft is the same. 49,000 lbs and TEN DEGREE dead rise gives a good ride. You can do some comfortable ocean voyaging in one of these.




A owner on BOC reported his fuel burns on a 2400 NM trip in his 97 5788 with 610 hp MAN diesels ;

“Total US gallons consumed 2900 (excluding  generator)
Distance traveled  2400 nm
Total engine hours 244
Average speed 9.8 knts (Dock to dock including)
NM per US gallon 0.83
US gallons per hour 11.88
Cruised mostly at 1200 RPM and of course the speed over ground varies immensely with the tides and currents along the Inside passage.

We have 610 MAN’s with approximately 1500 trouble free hours on them”

2000 5788 Passion cruising on the Erie Canal.





Her main salon has a LARGE

dinette directly across from the galley and a large settee in the salon. The entertainment center is huge. A large pilothouse with great seating for guests behind the helmsman allows excellent viewing as you cruise.

The flybridge is very  spacious with ample seating along with a wet bar and room for big tenders, not just RIBs. Several 5788’s also have extra davits on the swim platform. Down below the ample beams allows for very spacious staterooms throughout, with large heads and vanities.


Meridian 580 Layout drawings

5788 layout drawing- comparing to the Meridian 580 drawing above, you can see that the primary difference is aft in the salon.



All in all, very nice yachts which have proven themselves in some serious off-shore cruising.

These big yachts have held their value quite well,(2008 update: ALL prices have ‘fallen off a cliff’)  while also representing some of the best buys on the brokerage market. I sold a gorgeous ‘as new’ 2001 5788 with two gens, two davits, top notch electronics with very low hours for mid $700s (back in 02) and she ran on her bottom from Mexico to Grays Harbour Intlet en-route to Alaska where she survived a harrowing bar crossing when a huge wave stood her on end, then while in the trough, another huge wave broke on top of her, fully submerging her deep under the surface-yet all windows held and she survived, both engines and the generator were still running- only sweeping loose the flybridge seats, tender, etc. when she popped back up-  this would had sunk many other yachts, which proved for a fact that these yachts have what it takes. After being repaired she continued on to Alaska, but with her owner in a cast from the broken leg he received during the ordeal.



1/16. Meridian is no longer building any boats.

1/08. The last Meridian 490 ever has now been built.  1/10 the last one was sold at a dealership in Louisiana.

Although no Meridian 58’s or 490’s hulls were laid up after 2008,  three (3) 580s were  given 2010 HIN numbers, as they were still at the factory in 2009, and not sold until 2010. You would have to ask the Coast Guard that ‘trick’.  One is now in Australia, 2 are in Washington State.

Although built in the same moulds as the Bayliner Yachts, the Meridians have different shaped port lights than the Bayliners, and the Meridian 580’s have larger salon windows that don’t open-unlike the 5788’s.  The 580 and 540 Meridians do not have port side pilothouse doors. The fit and finish of the interior is richer with the Meridians, better grade carpeting, hardware, and a MUCH higher quality pilothouse helm chair, etc.

Electronic Controls for the Electronic Cummins engines on QSM serie’s of diesels. The  Meridan 540s and 580’s had this as early as 03, but the 490’s didn’t have electronic controls until late 2007.


Meridian History & Updates; the first year (2003) the Meridians were introduced they actually were just leftover 2002 4788’s models with teak interiors, with the last letter of the HIN number changed. . The portlight shapes are different in the hull, as are the engine air intakes.  Other than that…pretty much identical exteriors.  I had clients attempt to purchase new 03 Meridians back in 03, and the dealers stood firm at $530k no matter how hard they tried to buy for less. Surprisingly enough -none of the new 490’s had the high gloss Cherry Wood interiors everybody loved about the 2002 4788’s.

The salon TV’s on Merididan 490’s no longer have a cover, so you always have a “glass eye” staring at you. Their prices were substantially ($150k dealer cost) higher than what the 02 Bayliners. Brunswick did a major dealer “sweep” in 2002 and eliminated many long time Bayliner dealers from selling this “new” line of boats, instead having many Sea Ray dealers market these vessels.  As you can imagine this threw this market in total disarray as most Sea Ray dealers who had been selling Sea Rays, sometimes literally across the street from Bayliner Dealers for decades, now all of a sudden were being instructed to promote a boat they had spent years selling against. It’s safe to say it caused a lot of confusion in the boat market and sales were sporadic as there was huge buyer reluctance to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more for basically the exact same boat (minus standard features of a 4788) it had replaced only months earlier.

Meridian construction features:

Hull side core sample thru-hull from  from a 07 Meridian 580

These really are quite high-tech built yachts, as Bayliner was one of the first boat builders to use Cam controlled laser machine tools. All models use a unitized construction process; load-bearing bulkheads are bonded to the hull and deck to provide a yacht that is stronger and more durable than most boats today. Longitudinal hull stiffeners give additional strength on the hull sides give additional strength on the hull sides, absorbing stress that would otherwise continue to move through the boat.  When so called “quality” yachts especially oriental built boats are flunking surveys left and right mostly due to rotted fuel tanks, blistered bottoms, and leaking teak decks, the Bayliner and Meridians pass with flying colors. So much for cost equating quality. Comparing Lincolns and VW Beetles would be a great example. Look how few of the former exist, and how high the current values of the latter.  These Bayliners weren’t expensive new because they were built  in high tech plants. Brunswick bought their materials, equipment, engines, etc., in bulk, something no other manufacturer could do.

Every Meridian features a precision-overlap, bonded hull deck and joint that forms a tight seal against the elements. Stainless-steel through-bolts further strengthen the joint.

MOST importantly they use a Vinylester barrier coat which prevents water from penetrating the laminate, minimizing the risk of blisters forming on the hull.

During their fiberglass construction process, each part is hand laid by skilled craftsmen using heavy-grade 24 ounce woven roving and biaxial stitched fabric, hand rolled and finished between alternating layers of strand. This ensures superior strength while providing a mirror-like exterior finish. It also allows them to offer a 10 year structural hull and deck limited warranty on the Meridians.

They use the finest pre-cured gel coats for a uniform, high-gloss finish that stands up to the toughest elements. Their boot stripes outlast taped stripes because they are incorporated in the gel-coat.

Engine beds with transverse crossbeams reduce vibration and add strength. These structural engine mounting transfer the weight, torque and thrust of the propulsion system to the structural components of the hull.

The radar arches are now fiberglass which will not corrode as the older Aluminum ones would. The Rail stanchions are welded inside and out to provide maximum strength. All exterior welds on rail systems are ground and polished to minimize surface corrosion. All molds are created by a five-axis milling machine. This process allows molds to be constructed to minimal tolerances for unparalleled consistency in the final product.

Meridian 490 misconception; The engine room access hatch in the salon was NOT a standard feature on these vessels to the mid 2005 models. Like the 4788’s, many of the 2003-2005 Meridian 490 owners had the hatch installed. It’s a rather simple procedure, but it does necessitate new carpet in the salon.


If you have any questions about  boats, please don’t hesitate to call me. I will be happy to talk to you. I don’t expect everybody to be a buyer this year.  

Non-Florida residents can legally leave their purchase here in Florida for 180 days without Florida sales tax being due via two decals, which can be purchased from a Dealer or Yacht Broker at time of purchase that allows a buyer another 90 days for a total of 180 days. So-fly here, cruise the Bahamas (48 miles away),& the Keys (30 miles away) and experience crystal clear water while enjoying your new yacht before taking her home!


Photo of the nicest Pilothouse helms to be found- and it’s a Bayliner/Meridian.  Note; the dash wood inlay is found starting in late 97 models through the 2002 year on Bayliners, and thru 08 on Meridians.  The Meridians have a pretty fancy fixed helm seat.

The 4788 has proven to be a very successful and popular yacht. I have NEVER lost a 97 or newer model 4788 Pilothouse on a survey, although I’ve seen older models having gel-coat (blisters on 95 models)  and Hino engine  (exhaust risers and manicooler parts are expensive) issues. I wish I could say the same about so-called “quality yachts” that cost double the price!  This is but ONE reason Blake Davis Yacht Brokerage specializes in these marques- the deals always go through if the buyers and sellers are reasonable.  Folks with more common sense than a need to impress the Jones realize they can buy a late model yacht with warranties for the same price of a much older so-called quality yacht that have NO warranties -that will eat them alive with upkeep and refits. So, smart people buy these Pilothouses and enjoy cruising them.  Talk to a Bayliner Pilothouse owner yourself while dock walking some day and you will soon understand their popularity.      It’s simple, they are GREAT designs!

I know this market and can TRULY tell you what they sold for NEW ( as I sold them new). If you have one for sell- I would like to know about her- I have buyers from literally all over the world looking to buy, and my listings SELL FAST.

I have sold several 4788’s sight unseen to buyers.  A fellow from New Zealand who purchased one from me sight unseen (2004) stated when asked upon his first inspection if he was satisfied stated:. “I got more than I expected, this yacht is totally equipped and in condition better than one could had hoped for”.  He cruised her from Miami to Canada and back, and then put her on the Dock Express and she is now in Auckland New Zealand.  Another HAPPY buyer!  He then purchased a 2000 5788 from me sight unseen in 2008.

Another buyer of 2002 4788 that was purchased sight unseen arrived in Australia and her owner reported: “Sea Lady arrived early last week. She is great. Thank you for all your work. We unloaded her and had a couple of nights on board at a marina in Brisbane and then took her down to the Gold Coast and lifted her out to have the bottom done and a few other little things. It was great taking the boat on a four hour run and sitting on 18 knots. My wife is rapt in the internals (and so am I. They have it so modern and low maintenance compared with our 4588)”.

That’s what I expect to hear from my clients.

I received a email from another New Zealand client as he was heading up the east coast, and I got such a kick from it I copied it for all to see because it’s so true: <<<we took off on the great adventure. Presently in Newport, Virginia, will make a run outside for NY as soon as “Charlie” passes through. So far, no majors, she is sweet and getting lots of praise. What is it with Bayliner 4788’s? Sea Ray owners, particularly, who have spent more money than me, and act like they are experienced boaters, keep wanting to know what she is; rave about the interior, and cream themselves over the bridge!! Didn’t Bayliner bother to tell anybody about these boats – they must be the best kept secret in boating!! I reckon good ones will really hold their value.<<<< FOLLOW UP 5/08- this buyer has sold his 4788 in New Zealand, and bought a 2000 5788 from me and is cruising the East Coast of America. 1/16 the vessel is home in New Zealand.

TRANSPORTING THESE BOATS: (note photos below)

ALL of the 45’s & 4788’s were designed to be trucked from the factory, so it’s no big deal to truck them. Most all were trucked new from their factories (at one time, Maryland, Washington State, and North Carolina) to their dealers all across the United States. I have sent many out West by truck– from San Diego to Bellingham Wa.   With the 45’er it’s just a matter of dropping the arch, but the 4788 requires that the flybridge windshield, the engine control pod w/wheel, arch (of course) and the props must be removed prior to trucking.

10/09 update: Many boat truckers  got out of the boat trucking (instead hauling military gear for Blackwater and Haliburtion) business after so many boat manufacturers closed down in the past year, so the remaining boat truckers have raised their prices in classic “supply and demand” fashion. Trucking prices are changing daily up and down. You really have to shop around.  All I can tell you is that prices are now dramatically higher after 2008. I’ve previously sent 4788s from South Florida to Seattle -Bellingham from as low as $12k  to $18k. Quotes in 2012 have been $18k to $28k- which is just insane. Received a quote in 2013 for $35k for a haul from Mississippi to California.  At these prices, it’s cheaper to send them via ship. Slower, but they don’t have to be broken apart and reassembled do they?

The 5288’s and 5788’s were built in the Washington State plant, then trucked to Galveston Texas where they were assembled then run on their bottoms to the East Coast Dealers when new. Preowned they will require MUCH more in decommissioning to truck than the smaller boats but these boats are quite capable of running on their bottoms pretty much anywhere coastwise (or across the Caribbean) if you have the time.

OR VIA SHIP-I’m finding that with the higher and higher prices of trucking, it now makes sense if your going coast to coast to just use the DOCK EXPRESS or SEVEN STAR (link on front page) . It’s almost the same kind of money and the boat does not need to have any thing taken apart. The rates get cheaper as the shipping date arrives- if there’s vacancy on the boat. They can drop you off in Costa Rica or Mexico.  I’ve recently (2014) sent 4788’s to New Zealand and Australia from $35k to $50k. 5788 for $75k in 2016. It all depends on supply and demand so please contact the shippers direct (links here on my site).

2014 Shipping update:  Dockwise and Seven Star have merged.

2016 update:  I’ve been told that the normally scheduled ships from the USA to Australia and New Zealand are on hold until further notice due to the low demand due Australia’s current economic problems, plus the strong US dollar, which has now made American goods quite pricey.



Note that the air intake covers on the 490 Meridian extend past the rub rail, so an easy way to discern the difference between a Meridian and a 4788 from afar is that usually these will be cracked or missing on the Meridian. On the 4788’s they are flush with the hull. Might have LOOKED good on the drawing board, but is stupid in reality. This is the reason the Meridians have their beam listed at 15’01” and the Bayliners are 14’11”, it’s just the engine vent covers. The engine room vent covers on the 4788’s are safely protected by the rub rail.


If your going to truck a 4788 or 490 you need to get it down to this height as shown in the photo below.

The following must be brought down to do so: arch, flybridge windshield, the steering wheel pod, bridge entertainment center, and props. ALL were brought from the factory like this. They were DESIGNED to be trucked so it’s no big deal. Everything comes off easily and goes back together easily. Expect to pay $3k on both ends for a yard to take it apart, and another to put back together.


The 4588’s only needs the arch to be lowered as the 45′ has shallower draft and lower height.

A Meridian 490 being trucked. The Bayliner 4788 is exactly the same dimensions


Meridian 580 that arrived 12/15 via truck from the Great Lakes waiting to have it's bridge reassembled.

Meridian 580 that arrived 12/15 in Florida via truck from Ohio waiting to have it’s bridge reassembled. Originally quoted $28k, it ended up costing almost $50k. I could had told them that.

Bayliner 5788 prepared for trucking-the flybridge was on a separate truck. Transporting these boats can be expensive due to the labor in breaking them down and re-assembling them. Two trucks are required. A crane has to be brought in on both sides for the move.






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This site is powered by Blake E. Davis. Please buy a yacht from me as I have a wife to support!