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Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider (2015-)

2 x 320-hp Volvo Penta V8-320C DP EVC

Brief Summary

Carrying more people means fewer friends get left behind. But for those who want to overnight once in a while, that means a cuddy that shuts off the whole bow of the boat for entertaining. Half the boat becomes useless, which means half the friends get left behind, all just to have a boat to spend a weekend on once or twice a season… until now.

The design team at Cruisers Yachts has come up with a model that combines the best of a massive bowrider with a large mid-cabin suitable for overnighting by a couple in comfortable surroundings without having to resort to crawl space to do it. It’s the Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider and we think it’s about to start making waves.

The boat shown in the video is from the 2014 model year when it was called the 328 Bowrider. Cruiser Yachts renamed her "338 Bowrider" for the 2016 model year.

Key Features

The Black Diamond Edition includes:

  • Stereo
  • Black Diamond colored canvas matched to hull
  • Platinum cockpit seating
  • Stationary companion seat to port
  • Helm seat with swivel
  • Carpet in cabin and cockpit
  • Interior storage
  • Electric head with holding tank

Test Results

650 4.3 3.7 2.2 1.93 1.68 268 233 60
1000 7.3 6.3 3.35 2.18 1.89 302 263 72
1500 8.6 7.5 5.35 1.61 1.4 223 194 69
2000 9.6 8.3 8.8 1.09 0.94 150 131 80
2500 12.5 10.9 12 1.04 0.91 144 126 84
3000 19 16.5 16 1.18 1.03 164 143 83
3500 29.8 25.9 19.5 1.53 1.33 212 184 83
4000 36.7 31.9 24.5 1.5 1.3 207 180 85
4500 42.3 36.8 29.5 1.43 1.25 199 173 87
5000 47.9 41.7 40.5 1.18 1.03 164 143 89
5300 50.3 43.7 46 1.09 0.95 152 132 90


Length Overall 32' 11"
9.98 m
Beam 10' 6"
3.20 m
Dry Weight 11,000 lbs.
4,990 kg
Tested Weight 11,570 lbs.
5,248 kg
Draft 35.5"
0.90 m
Deadrise/Transom 22-deg.
Max Headroom Open
Bridge Clearance 75"
1.91 m
Fuel Capacity 154 gal.
583 L
Total Weight 11,570 lbs.
5,248 kg

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.9 sec.
0 to 30 9.7 sec.
Props FH6
Load 2 persons, 4/25 fuel, no water, 50 lbs of fuel
Climate 72 deg., 68 humid.; wind: 10-15 mph; seas: choppy

Engine Options

Tested Engine 2 x 320-hp Volvo Penta V8-320C DP EVC
Opt. Power 1 x 300-hp Volvo Penta D4-300 DP EVC Joystick diesel
4 Volvo Penta gas engine options from 320-hp to 380-hp
6 MerCruiser gas engine options from 300-hp to 380-hp

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider will be turning heads wherever she goes — which will be pretty much anywhere.

Mission NOT Impossible — The Cruisers Yachts 338 BR

The mission is to build a bowrider that can host a small army of friends for cruising, picnics, grilling or towing watersports by day, be a sunset cocktail platform in the evening and an overnight cabin cruiser with sleeping and living accommodations for a couple. Combine all of this with the ability to tackle blue water and inland lakes. 

That is a tough mission statement but one we think has been met by the Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider. She measures 32'11" (9.98 m) LOA with a 10'6" (3.2 m) beam. That means she can be loaded up with friends and family — up to 16 people according to our count — to spend the day on the water.

What about the once in awhile trips to the remote destination for overnights? The Cruisers Yachts 338 has that covered as well. She has a mid-cabin with standing headroom suitable for two people to sleep quite comfortably, plus a mini galley and an enclosed wet head. Now those "once-in-a-while" overnight trips become once every weekend. Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider red boat

The new “Palm Beach Edition” of the Cruisers Yachts 338 bowrider somehow looks bigger at the dock than her 32’11” (9.98 m) LOA might suggest. Her beam is 10'6" (3.2 m) and her black cherry hull color will set her apart from every other yacht in the marina.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider gray boat

The “South Beach Edition” of the 338 has the unmistakable authority of her battleship gray hull that instantly gains respect from the mere mortals in Clorox-bottle white boats.

The Layout

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The Bow

The bow area is recessed below the main cockpit deck and offers a roomy layout for half a dozen people to relax and enjoy each other's company without feeling crowded by knocking knees. Remember, this boat has a 10'6" (3.2 m) beam, much of which is carried well forward. An optional pedestal table adds to the inviting atmosphere. There are accommodations for storage under each of the seats and a dedicated place for the table. Stainless-steel drink holders are nestled into the bulwarks along with speakers. The fit and finish is on par with the premium build. Stainless grab rails are mounted low to the caprail.

Bow Riding Offshore.

As this boat is made for blue water (Bimini, anyone?), the bow cockpit is deep, with full-size backrests plus a raised grab rail port and starboard. Riding here should be comfortable in normal conditions at all speeds thanks to her deep-V bottom and high freeboard. Speed and wave height will determine comfort sitting here offshore, but if speed matches the conditions we think the bow will be a fun place to sit in all but sloppy conditions. Because of the J-shaped seating, two people can be seated facing forward, something that most bowriders can't accommodate. Under this seat is a standard slide-out 48-qt. (45.42 L) cooler for beverages. By having a cooler here, guests up front don't have to depend on their friends aft to keep them well supplied. At the foredeck is a hatch concealing a recessed optional windlass with the anchor and rode running through the stem, leaving a clean look to the bow.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

There’s plenty of room here for half a dozen people to sit in an inviting conversational atmosphere.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The usual accommodations for storage are underneath the seats and note the wide, double action hinges. It's so much more convenient not having to hold open the cushion to add or retrieve items from the storage.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Under the aft seat cushion is dedicated storage for the standard 48-quart (45.42 L) cooler.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

A trash receptacle is located just under the step to the walkthrough. Notice the deck drain in the corner and the courtesy light next to the speaker.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The walkthrough between the bow in the cockpit is off to the porthand side. This design scheme allows for standing headroom below throughout the mid-cabin.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Cruisers didn’t forget the air dam for operating on chilly mornings. It’s hinged and lies flush against the bulkhead when not in use.

The Helm

The helm is elegant and functional with carbon fiber paneling accented with brushed stainless steel and vinyl trim accents. Dual fuel gauges take a prominent location to the upper left of the panel. A trio of multi-function gauges takes the center top position. To the mid-left of the panel is an optional Raymarine E97 display. A VHF radio can be added. The wheel is leather-wrapped with color-matched accent stitching. All switches are toggle type and lighted at the ends when activated.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Cruisers went all out creating an elegant and functional workstation for the 338 Bow Rider.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The 338 Bow Rider can be powered by either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta engines. Here, the digital engine controls are driving twin Volvo V8-320C engines turning Duoprop outdrives, also operated by the sterndrive joystick.

The Cockpit

The cockpit makes an equally inviting atmosphere with the captain and observer seats swiveling around to join the conversation. As with the bow, an optional pedestal table completes the warm ambiance. A wet bar is offered as an option with either a cooler or a cockpit refrigerator.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

While the captain and observer’s seats may not be double-wide, "extra-wide" would certainly be an accurate statement. Both swivel around to join the conversation at the aft seats. Note the cockpit depth, which adds to the safety factor of the 338 Bow Rider. This boat is made to order for small children.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Classy, quilted padding on the bulwarks is stitched with thread that matches the accent colors throughout the cockpit. Speaker grills are stainless steel.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The companion seat features the same flip-up bolster and flip-down armrests as the captain’s seat. The swivel lever is easy to access.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The aft seat back easily converts to a sun pad wide enough for two tall people.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The aft-facing transom seat makes a wonderful place to relax and watch the kids enjoy their time in the water. Notice the concealed swim ladder is mounted off to the side, away from the sharp edges of the running gear. Sound from the dual speakers is controlled by an optional remote control to the left of the seat.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The walkthrough to the cockpit is to the starboard side. Cockpit carpeting is standard — this woven mat is an optional upgrade. Note the two hinges on the swim platform that allow the aft seat to be raised to access the sterndrive engines below.

The Cabin

Now we come to the most distinguishing feature of the 338 Bow Rider… the cabin. Of course, it seems like a contradiction of terms to discuss a cabin and a bowrider in the same sentence, but it’s accurate here. Just to the left of the helm is the cabin door leading into a spacious and well-laid-out mid-cabin. With this clever design, Cruisers was able to design a cabin with standing headroom throughout and even include the now requisite amenities that overnight boaters are demanding such as an enclosed wet head, mini galley, TV, stereo and even air conditioning. Naturally, these are options. Making them available requires making space to accommodate them and it is done here with style included.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The door to the cabin is located just to the port side of the helm. A flexible screen can be inserted here if anchored in a buggy location, but offshore breezes usually keep them away.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The wood tread stairs are built on stainless tube frames and notice how the nonskid strips accent woodgrain rather than conceal it.

Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

To the portside are the electronics, nestled into a small shelf above the seating.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The cabin isn't just for sleeping, it also makes a comfortable space to sit and relax before turning in for the night.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Having the seating convert to a berth adds much more utility to the cabin than just having a dedicated berth that can only be used at night.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Cruisers Yachts' cabinetry is all built in-house and expertly finished. The refrigerator is at right.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

An optional microwave will add to the build list.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The flatscreen TV is optional and it's recessed into a wood-trimmed cutout in the padded bulkhead.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

No space is wasted here. Additional storage can be found behind the seatback and notice how the hatch can be held in place with a support arm.

Attention to Detail

One of the impressive things about this 338 Bow Rider is the level Cruisers Yachts has gone to with its attention to detail. Everywhere the eye can move shows another example of how just a little more attention was taken to fine-tune the product and enhance its appeal. This is the kind of TLC that separates high-end builders such as Cruisers Yachts from high-volume production boat builders.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Inside the enclosed wet head is an interesting sink design: a half pipe with a glass barrier.


The Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider has a length overall of 32'11" (9.98 m), a beam of 10'6" (3.20 m) and a draft of 27" (.69 m) with gear up. She has a 22-degree deadrise at the transom. With an empty weight of 11,000 lbs. (4,990 kg) and two people onboard we had an estimated test weight of more than 11,570 lbs. (5,259 kg) With a pair of Volvo Penta V-8 320 catalyzed engines turning DuoProp outdrives with FH6 propellers, we reached a top speed of 50.3 mph at 5300 rpm. At that speed, we were burning 46 gph — giving us a range of 152 miles.

Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 29.8 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 19.5 gph, giving us a range of 212 miles and an endurance of 7 hours and 6 minutes while still holding back a 10% fuel reserve. We had a time to plane of 3.9 seconds, reached 20 mph in 6.1 seconds and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 9.7 seconds.


As this is an EVC-controlled boat, we let the auto trim control the outdrives making for effortless driving. She comes up on plane with just a momentary loss of visibility to the horizon. Time-to-plane is remarkably fast for this weight of boat. While the 338 was equipped with trim tabs, we never felt the need to use them and they would probably only be necessary for an uneven distribution of weight.


When turning she rolls only 11-degrees into the turn remaining comfortable throughout. She presents a wonderfully solid ride, remaining barely perceptible when crossing through wakes and throwing hardly any spray. This also makes her one of the driest boats we've operated in class.


Response to the digital controls was instantaneous and we also used the engine sync to match the two engines together. With her 11,000-lb.+ displacement and her deep-V bottom she was a joy to take through the chop and her ride was just as soft as one might expect with this bottom shape. When it was time to come back into the dock the stern drive joystick made it ever so easy to dock the 338 with nearly surgical precision and accuracy. This should remove any doubts about whether transitioning up into a boat this size will present any difficulties.

Options To Consider

Every good builder designs each boat to accommodate a wide range of customers. The only way to do that is by making options available that will meet the needs specific to each customer. This 338 Bow Rider is no exception. Here are some of the options that we think should be considered:


We would start with the electrical system. Here it is important to carefully consider how the cabin of the boat will be used. Will it be used at anchor now and then, more or less like camping out? Will it be used only at a marina? Will it be used on the hook for extended periods in tropical locations? What level of amenities and comfort are desired below?

An Inverter.

The answers to these questions will determine what options to buy. For any use other than a casual "camping out" night or two aboard will mean extra batteries with an inverter. (Inverters take DC power from a battery and, utilizing sophisticated circuitry, change it into 120 Volt AC current. But they will only provide 120 Volt AC power as long as there is ample juice left in the 12 Volt batteries. It is strongly recommended that you have a separate, dedicated engine starting battery to avoid accidentally draining the entire 12V system.) Marina operation will mean a 120V inverter so shore power can be used for 12V appliances and recharging the batteries. Those requiring 120V can be run offshore power.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The quilted patterns in the bulwark padding are all done in-house using UV-resistant Gore-Tenera thread.

More Power to You.

For those planning on spending several nights anchored out, particularly in the tropics, air conditioning might be wanted. Then a generator will be needed. A 5 kW gas genset or a 5 kW diesel will both be enclosed in a sound protective shield. It's nice to be able to cook while underway with the optional microwave. Food will need to be stored somewhere, which means a refrigerator. Another option is a flatscreen TV. An electric head with a holding tank comes standard, but no one wants to do with a troublesome head so why not upgrade to a centrifuge system with a holding tank?

Exterior and Mechanical

We're going to need at least two cockpit tables, one forward and one aft. There's no sense having a class act boat like this with the standard stereo. An upgrade includes an amplifier, two additional speakers, subwoofer, and remote controls at the bow and stern. A transom shower is a must-have. Might as well go the full class route with the underwater lights and an anchor windlass with line and chain.

The Black Diamond Limited Edition

For Cruisers' 60th anniversary, the company is making a limited run of its Black Diamond series available which includes a host of upgrades that include IMEDGE gelcoat, special edition cockpit upholstery, black gunwale molding, the cockpit woven matting, platinum cockpit tables, and bow filler cushions, all at a price to be determined.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

While it would have been just as easy to use a plain door to the cabin, the honeycomb pattern added to this one signals higher quality.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

The helm features carbon fiber panels. Accent pieces are double stitched with the same UV-resistant thread seen in the cockpit.


From our perspective, the Cruisers Yachts 338 BR is remarkably functional for people who want to do a lot of day boating with friends and then sneak away as a couple for a long weekend to a distant location. Because she has two large cockpits that each function independently with an enclosed head in between, she can be used with adults in one end and their kids in the other. During sunset cocktail cruises golfers can be at one end and tennis players at the other, etc. Because she holds so many people she can be a yacht club VIP for the start of sailboat races. Because the Cruisers Yachts 338 BR is really two boats in one, for some people she may be the best buy on the market.