Bayliner 305 Diesel Review

Issue: December 2005

Bayliner has been building boats in the United States for almost 50 years and has a solid reputation for producing quality, value for money bowriders, runabouts and cruisers. Its boats are aimed squarely at family boating and Bayliner’s latest 30-footer is an ideal vessel for long weekends away. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you have more members than the average family (two adults and two and a half children), because this boat can sleep up to eight people.

Diesel Option

But her sleeping capacity is not the only feature this boat has going for it. In a first for Bayliner (thanks to partnership with MerCruiser and Cummins) the 305 now offers a diesel option – twin 300hp 4.2lt Cummins turbocharged engines.

With 600 horses below deck, the 305 has plenty of sting in her tail and is capable of reaching a top speed of 45mph at 4800rpm. But pull the throttles back to 3800rpm and she’ll purr along at a comfortable 35mph and remain extremely fuel-efficient. With diesel approaching $1.40 per litre that’s a big plus.

The twin 300hp Cummin’s diesels are matched perfectly with the 305’s hull. While she is classified as a deep-vee hull, with 17-degree of deadrise at the transom, she’s not that sharp that she loses lateral stability at rest or underway.

The hull has a pronounced delta flat at the transom, which helps this boat jump onto the plane quickly with little bow-up attitude. Th is also helps the boat stay on the plane even at low speeds, which aids fuel consumption considerably. Weighing in at almost 6000kg fully loaded, she’s no lightweight, but still performs more like a 6m runabout than a 30-footer and is very easy to drive.


For family weekends away, the 305 fits the bill in all respects. Her express cruiser design means there’s plenty of room in the main cockpit for entertaining and al fresco dining. Once you have finished, stow the cockpit table and there’s ample space for the kids to move around and try their hands at a spot of fishing.

If it’s water toys they’re into the 305 also has it covered. She may be a 30-footer, but her ease of handling makes it a simple affair to tie a tube to the transom and take the kids (both big and small) for a ride. Camping covers and a bimini can be attached to the Targa arch, so protecting the family from the sun has also been catered for.
The dash has a complete array of gauges for the two engines. Below these enough room has been left to mount a big GPS/sounder or two separate units. The navigator’s seat is also well padded, but it’s a bit on the narrow side.

For an express cruiser, the amount of room below deck is surprising. The six foot plus cabin roof and large windows down each side (yes, you can see out of these easily when below) add to the feeling of space in the main saloon.

The forward berth is slightly off set, so it doesn’t take up as much room in the saloon. There’s a U-shaped dinette/bed to starboard opposite the galley. The galley is large for a boat of this size and features all the comforts and accessories you’d find in a household kitchen, which enhances this boat’s weekend away appeal. The toilet and shower is on the portside. It is functional, but larger people may find it a bit squeezy.

To keep the kids entertained once the sun goes down, there’s a flat-screen LCD television in a galley cupboard and an AM/FM/CD stereo player.


With her wide beam (11′) six foot plus headroom in the saloon and an overall length of 32′, the 305 is a big 30 footer. This is an excellent boat for family weekends away and having a sleeping capacity of eight adds even more to her appeal. You could take a couple of friends and their kids as well.

The option of offering 300hp diesel engines adds another facet to the 305’s repertoire and will be bring many more buyers to the world-wide Bayliner family. So, what does it cost to purchase one? Try $255,790 as tested.

Pro System

Between water-balloon fights, tomato sauce spills, and countless hours of water sports, only well-made boats will survive. So, to stand up to the elements, and a gaggle of five-year-olds, Bayliner has developed its latest PRO System.

The PRO System is an approach that seeks the best manufacturing methods and highest quality parts at the best prices, followed by rigorous performance testing. This process produces extremely dependable, smooth-riding boats at a surprisingly affordable cost to you.

And as they say at Bayliner, nothing should ever get in the way of having a good time on your boat.

Engine Room

This 305 was powered by two 300hp 4.2lt Cummins diesels. Other petrol engine options include twin 5lt 220hp, twin 5.7lt 250hp and twin 350MAG MPI 300hp engines.


During this test in calm condition with two adults onboard the 305 recorded the following speed to rpm figures.

Speed to RPM: 35 mph @ 3800 rpm, 45 mph @ 4800 rpm.


LOA: 31’9″
BEAM: 11′
DRAFT: 2’9″
DEADRISE: 17 degrees
FUEL: 594lt
PRICE: $255,790

+ Sleeping capacity
– Small head

Words and Photos by Ian Macrae