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Our Top 10 Trade-Offs of the Bayliner 4788 Motoryacht

We love our boat Y-Not, and we’re very pleased with our lives aboard her for the past two plus years.

But every boat (or RV) decision comes with compromises. And we’re often asked what are some of the trade-offs we see with the Bayliner 4788.

So, this is that post. These are the things that we’ve had to accept or deal with in selecting this model of boat for our Great Loop (#slooping) adventures.

First, here’s the video version of this post if you prefer:


Our new screens on all the doors are making a HUGE difference.

The 4788 has a LOT of windows and doors. We have a total of 4 entry points, and windows all over the place. This does make temperature regulation more difficult, as there are lots of opportunity for the sun to beat in on the windows, or cool/warm air to escape. And each door is something we have to double check to make sure are secured when locking up or making sure Kiki stays in. Also, none of the doors came with screens, which is also a difficulty with keeping pets in and pests out. And lots of windows means when at dock, we have more things to cover up for privacy.


The wide open panoramic views and great visibility was a big allure of this boat for us. As we spend a lot of time at home in our salon, we benefit from the incredible views non-stop.

To deal with daytime privacy and temperature regulation we have snap on covers on most exterior windows, which helps a ton. We installed pleated shades with up/down draw that gives us more options for privacy and blocking sunlight when needed. And we had custom snap on screen doors created for each of our doors which allows fantastic air flow on a cooler day. We also love having so many options for boarding the boat – either from the cockpit or the pilothouse.


The purpose of a BAYliner is right in the name – Bays. It’s not a blue water ocean going vessel. The fuel tanks are only 440 gallons, giving a safe cruising range of 400-500 nautical miles, max. There are no stabilizers to handle swells, rolls and waves. A fully equipped 4788 only has 200 gallons of fresh water capacity (ours was trimmed to 150 gallons when the bow thruster was installed by a prior owner), and no stock watermaker to turn raw water into fresh.


We purchased our 4788 precisely for intracoastal, river, coastal and lake cruising. We may one day cruise to the Bahamas, and our boat is perfectly capable of that if we wait for an ideal weather window. We can add on a watermaker if we so choose in the future too, there are even portable watermakers. With some careful planning, we can probably go a bit further into the Caribbean if we really wanted to – but any further than that, we’d be looking for a different style of boat.


We originally wanted an aft cabin sun deck style layout – with a master suite in the aft of the vessel, and the guest cabin in the V at the front. We figured this would give us great separation of space when guests are onboard. A definite trade-off of the Bayliner’s front cabin layout is that all of the cabins are down the same hallway. And this does have a reduction of privacy, making having guests on board more than a 3-4 days at a time uncomfortable.


This layout gives us a HUGE salon (living room) in the aft, which is where we spend the majority of our time anyway. And most of the time, it’s just us. Besides visits from our parents, we’re just not hosting as many guests onboard as we thought we might.


You must be this short to ride this ride…

Our front V-birth definitely has some compromises. As the fresh tanks are below the bed, the bed is pretty high off the deck, requiring climbing up the sides to get in. While we can fit a full queen mattress, it has enough of a ‘V’ that we did have to make some modifications. But the biggest downside is the lack of head room. We can barely sit up in bed without hitting our noggins. And non-sleeping bedroom activities are a bit restricted as a result (if you catch my drift.)


We do love the front V-birth… for sleeping. On a nice cool evening at anchor, we get amazing breeze over us – as the boat tends to go into the wind, current permitting. The front cabin is nicely separated from the living quarters, which is great for our sometimes offset sleep patterns. And well… we have a lot of areas on the boat to get creative with.


We didn’t really want a go-fast boat. A full displacement hull like that of a trawler would have been more our speed of cruising at 6-7 knots. A single engine would have been much more economical to maintain. The Bayliner however is a planing hull and has two huge engines (dual Cummins 370s). And while we drive it like a trawler most of the time at hull speed, we do have to go balls to the wall every few hours to blow out the gunk.


We CAN go fast when we need to. It’s come in handy sometimes to speed up a passage to get to dock before a predicted storm. Or when wanting to power through a choppy part of a sound or lake. And it is fun to go fast sometimes when we find some nice open water where our wake isn’t impacting anyone (and by fast, we’re talking 16-18 knots). And having two engine does give us redundancy should one fail.


No bones about it, while their motor yacht line was Bayliner’s flagship (hah) – it’s not in the high end yacht category. It’s definitely no Hatteras, Nordhavn, Selene, Grand Banks or Fleming. You can see it in thing like the fit and finish, and general accessibility of things.


A Bayliner motor yacht is a decent boat and has pretty high respect in the industry as a whole. It’s a good solid boat with some really nice touches. And it’s a lot more affordable. Boats of similar size & age of higher build quality can easily be 2-3 times as much. For what we could afford, the Bayliner strikes the right balance for us.



The Bayliner motor yacht line was one of the most mass produced boats of this size. Instead of each being lovingly custom hand crafted, they were built more assembly line fashion to make production more efficient. Where this comes up later is in maintenance, things weren’t necessarily thought through of how to get to them later.


Because there are so many on the water, there is an active Bayliner’s Owners Club – where you can access a lot of knowledge. We frequently encounter other owners in marinas, and it’s fun to exchange tips and modification advice. And because there were few customizations during build, most every unit is identical – which makes it a lot easier to follow someone else’s lead.

Narrow side deck


To get from the bow and aft of the Bayliner, you have to walk down a very narrow little side deck outside the salon windows. Thankfully there is a handle bar the entire way, but there’s no other protection. The fuel and pump out are also on the side decks – which can be precarious when performing both (especially if the side we need isn’t currently dockside). I’m thankful there’s anyway to get from aft to bow along the outside, but I’m certainly not doing it in any thing but absolutely calm conditions.


The narrow side decks leaves an almost full 15′ beam width for the salon – which we greatly appreciate. After all, we spend much more time in our living room / office than we do hanging off the side of the boat.

A full size soaking tub makes up for a lot.


Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – size DOES matter. In boats everything is charged by the foot – dockage, bottom paint, cleaning, etc. The 4788 is documented at 47′ 4″. But that’s just the hull length. Add on the bow spirit (the front thingie with the anchor), the swim platform and our dinghy – and we’re actually closer to 54-56′. That’s a LOT of boat to handle and pay for. (Thankfully, a lot of places only charge the 47′.) We honestly could happily knock off a good 5′ off our boat.


Full. Size. Bathtub.  Need I say more?

The size does allow us to move faster and gives us more stability. And we do appreciate the extra storage space the third cabin (two bunk beds off the side of the master stateroom) gives us to stash all the fricken tech gear we’re constantly testing as part of our ‘day job’ running the Mobile Internet Resource Center.

Engine Cave


The biggest (smallest?) downside of the 4788 is the engine “room”.  It’s more like a crawl space and we have SERIOUS engine room envy when we walk on just about anyone else’s boat. This does make engine maintenance more challenging, and difficult for us both to be actively involved at the same time.


The low clearance engine room gives us a HUGE salon above and a 3.5 foot draft – which allows us to navigate some much skinnier waters than other boats. And we have been able to work great as a mechanical team with one of us being the ‘mechanic’ and the other the apprentice. And one day.. we’ll do the modification to cut out the center hatch which will make access a lot better.


So there you have it – the trade-offs we made in selecting the Bayliner 4788 as our cruising vessel.

Our main living space brings us so much joy and comfort. (Yes, there’s almost always tech sprawled about somewhere.)

All and all, they’re all worth it, and we’d make the same choice today as we did two and half years ago.

Want to learn more about our choice of boat?

Here’s some past posts:

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11 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. Really good analysis of Pros and Cons on your boat. We’ve been camping/road tripping for over 6 years in a 16 foot Airstream. While I’d love a big bathroom, I wouldn’t trade that for our ability to get into places and campsites where our previous 27 foot Airstream couldn’t go. As someone else posted, looking at both sides is always illuminating. Keep up the great posts!

  2. Keeping Kiki safe and inside would be a priority. Having many windows and doors would let in light, which would be a bonus. Going full speed from time to time would be kind of fun. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons. That applies to many things in life. It is good to be reminded there are two sides to every coin. Having a large spacious living room is a plus. Love the rug in the living room. Thanks for sharing. I love your posts and videos.


  3. Great job with the post. Love to listen to your stories and read about all the upgrades tech and otherwise.

  4. I too have lots of windows in my Travel Trailer. I found that the Levelor room darkening cellular shades have aluminum foil liners in the cells. What a huge difference in keeping heat in or out. They are sold at Lowes and can be trimmed to width in the store. They are not up down type. Just the bottom moves. One one window I did make the shade move with the existing accordion shade which lets lots of light through I attached the top of the Levelor to the bottom of the accordion. Can have either or combination.

  5. Great posr. Even though Bsyliners were mass-produced, it’s really impressive to see how you’ve customized yours to meet your needs.

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