The Riviera Belize 54 Daybridge is something special. And, it follows that she is intended for owners with special tastes with a high-degree of boating connoisseurship. She is a semi-production boat, and is very much a limited edition, with only a handful built each year. (More on this later.) She is designed to appeal to owners who want a boat for both day-boat entertaining and longer cruises with friends and family – all in a boat with remarkable styling attributes and an interior finish of fine motoryacht quality. At once she is designed to be different, yet attractive, and her limited production will necessarily mean that she will likely be a coveted boat on the used boat market when that time comes.
Riviera’s new Belize 54 Daybridge provides boaters with a bluewater capable cruising sedan that blends a touch of traditional styling with modern functionality. Her three staterooms make her large enough for a family to do distant cruising. And her flying bridge provides a fun place for sunning and entertaining when day-boating. Her flying bridge design minimizes top hamper, allowing the vessel to look much like an express.
Bluewater Ready. The Belize 54 Daybridge is built to operate in the wide open waters that surround Australia. Her seaworthy design blends the builder’s traditional indoor/outdoor livability with the latest technology — including pod drives from Volvo Penta and Cummins Zeus, and a Mastervolt CZone digital monitoring and control system for lighting, pumps, batteries and a host of other onboard equipment.
Her large aft deck, low flying bridge and open plan with aft galley will entertain six to eight in style. With two en suite staterooms and a third guest stateroom, plus a convertible dinette in the salon, the Belize 54 Daybridge can sleep as many as eight people.
General Details of the Belize 54 Daybridge
The Belize 54 Daybridge is one of two models built on the same 54’1’ (16.5 m) hull. The other model is an express version, sans flying bridge. Both running surfaces were designed by Oceanic Design and Surveys, a leading Australian marine architectural firm that has designed boats for virtually all of that country’s major boat builders. Her hull was tank tested at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.
She has a beam of 16’6” (5.03 m) and a draft of 3’6” (1.07 m). The forefoot is sharp and rounded, there’s a keel for good tracking in a seaway. She was designed from the beginning to accommodate Cummins Zeus pod drives, with twin tunnels and a semi-planing surface that ends in a 12-degree deadrise at transom.
She is also available with Volvo Penta IPS drives.
This requires a little clarification. Riviera and Belize used to be two separate companies, but when they merged, both models survived the consolidation. Belize seems to have a more “boutique” aspect to its boats. They’re more classic in their lines while still being able to bring modern touches because of the equipment utilized. Riviera, on the other hand seems to be more of a modern design externally and internally. But to be clear, this is now a Riviera Belize 54 Daybridge.
Built By Kha Shing
Both the Riviera 54 Belize Daybridge and Sedan Express are the only boats in the Riviera line that are not built at its factory in Australia. These two models are built by Kha Shing in Taiwan. This yard has been in business for the last 35 years and is well known in the industry. Over the years it has built over 1,300 yachts from 45’ to 185’ (14 m to 56 m), but most are in the large motoryacht category, 80’ (24 m) and more. Kha Shing is the primary builder of Hargrave motoryachts, for example.
Customization is Encouraged
The way that the build process works in Taiwan enables the Belize line to be semi-customizable. To what level seems to be tested on a regular basis from customer to customer. As long as there are no changes to the structural integrity of the boat, there really isn’t anything that won’t be entertained. As long as there are checkbooks, there will be the ability to meet specific demands.For example on our Belize 54 Daybridge, one major change that Riviera will allow is to remove the starboard cabin and replace this with an open plan study or lower lounge. That can be done because it won’t change the structural layout.
The build is typical of Riviera’s reputation for open water capable yachts. The hand-laid hull has a solid keel and chines up to a point above the waterline, above which coring material is used for weight savings. Vinylester resin is used for the first two hull laminations after the gelcoat for strength and osmotic protection. The hull has fiberglass over foam core stringers, with resin-infused main bulkheads and the forward floor is also foam cored to achieve strength and hull stiffness with less weight.
There’s a watertight collision bulkhead forward, as well as independent compartments throughout the hull. The flybridge, deck and flybridge superstructure are cored structures.
- • Choice of Volvo Penta IPS or Cummins Zeus pod drive systems
- • Garmin Glass Bridge MFDs at helm stations
- • Three-stateroom layout with master suite amidships
- • Stylish exterior design with recessed hull windows and opening ports
- • Aft salon bulkhead with strong stainless steel sliding door and awning-style window
- • Aft deck transom bench with table, plus swing out seats near portside galley breakfast bar
- • Open plan salon and galley on one deck with opening and fixed windows
- • An extensive list of quality standard equipment
The flying bridge deck is enclosed on four sides by stainless steel handrails and fiberglass bulwarks. A folding Bimini top, sized to protect the entire flying bridge, stows away behind the windscreen.
The flying bridge is accessed from a stainless steel exterior ladder with teak treads located on the starboard side of the aft deck, and has a lockable hatch at the top of the stairs for safety in a seaway. Handholds for the stairs are well placed for safety, including a rail around the wet bar.There’s an L-shaped lounge with storage beneath on the port side for four to five guests. It is served by a fixed, folding table that can drop down to become a sun pad that is more private than the sun pad on the bow.
The wet bar to starboard houses a drawer-style refrigerator and locker space below for glass/bottle storage and a trash bin.
The helm is on the centerline behind a forward-angled windscreen, and is large enough to accommodate one 12” Garmin multifunction display (MFD), a 3.5” CZone digital monitoring and switching control screen, and a VHF radio. An electronic engine control binnacle and joystick are set to the right of the wheel.
Riviera’s camera offering includes an infrared dome in the engine room, plus VGA units on the aft deck, at the anchor pulpit, and on the swim platform. They can all be viewed from the MFD at either helm.
The fiberglass mast for radome and various antennas are mounted behind the after edge of the flying bridge. We’d like to see it made taller to add useful range and equipped with a mechanism that allows it to fold down for low bridge clearances.
The Aft Deck
One of the most notable features of the aft deck, which is on the same level as the galley and salon deck level, is the massive opening of the aft bulkhead. Once the sliding door is opened and locked to starboard, there is a rear bulkhead awning-styled window to port that hinges up, held in place by stout gas cylinders, to improve the indoor/outdoor connection between the galley and salon with the aft deck.
At the end of the portside galley, another amenity is the breakfast bar with two stools on stout supports that swing out for casual seating at a teak or solid surface tabletop, with an icemaker below. Just opposite, there’s a locker that is molded to provide the first few steps up to the flying bridge, but also houses the wet bar with a drawer-style refrigerator and glass/bottle storage.
The outdoor grill is located on the transom beneath a lid well supported by gas assist struts. A micro switch prevents the engines from starting when the lid is lifted and someone is preparing a meal. An electric cooking surface and a molded sink with hot and cold pressure water are included.
We like this transom grill arrangement as it adds useable space and functionality to the boat. Since the grill is completely outside, smoke does not stain the overhead.
Tender Garage. The presence of two large hinges just aft of the outdoor grill are clues that point to an electric hatch just below. Inside, there is a tender garage for a 9.5’ (3 m) inflatable RIB with attached outboard. There’s a nylon runner system with electric winch to help make launching smoother, and the center section of the swim platform hydraulically lowers to facilitate the launch.
Several other details stand out on the aft deck. The custom stainless steel cleats are mounted on teak-planked lockers that offer storage for the ends of docklines, to help keep the aft deck clear, particularly in the way of the steps. Custom fairleads are designed for crossed or direct leads for docklines. And the stainless steel gates, with smooth, polished welds, lift up and pivot to lock in place.
Going Forward. Molded steps in the forward corners of the aft deck and the small handrails mounted to the trailing edge of the triangular acrylic clear panels supporting the awning make climbing to the side decks safer. There are long thigh-high outboard rails mounted on the bulwarks that run all the way to the bow on either side of the boat. FYI – bulwarks, even relatively low ones are usually not seen on this size and type of vessel.
The anchoring gear includes a vertical winch with 196’ (60 m) of 10 mm galvanized chain, a thru-stem bowsprit with roller, and a 77-pound (35 kg) stainless steel anchor. The anchor locker is divided for chain and rope rode separation, and is equipped with foot switches, remote switches at the helm, as well as fresh and saltwater washdowns.
The anchor locker is split so that it can accommodate chains on one side, fenders and lines on the other. Here, too, is the freshwater washdown quick-disconnect fitting.
The Open Plan Salon
The new Belize 54 Daybridge emphasizes long sight lines and features like the massive, highly polished stainless steel aft bulkhead awning-style window and sliding door to further the builder’s inside/outside design concept.
Galley. Located along the port side in the salon, the contemporary galley has the same enjoyable views that family and guests enjoy, whether in the L-shaped lounge/dinette seating area to starboard or under the awning on the aft deck. Most of the storage in the galley is beneath the solid surface countertops, with some space dedicated to under-counter drawer-style AC/DC Vitrifrigo refrigerators and freezer, or the built-in microwave oven.
The convection oven, stovetop and microwave are by Miele. An optional drawer-style dishwasher is available, made to store dishes and cookware, to avoid a corresponding loss of storage pots and pans.
Satin finish American walnut is standard wherever wood is used for cabinetry, bulkheads, and trim. Decking in the saloon, galley and helm areas is solid teak planking with polyurethane finish. The cabinet at the aft end of the L-shaped lounge stores an LED television on a lift. And the panel opposite houses the main CZone digital monitoring and switching system’s touch screen display.
The L-shaped settee to starboard has a standard fixed table with storage drawers and leafs. An optional, manually adjusted high/low table that dines four to six when up or converts to a double bed when down. Designer fabrics and multiple density support look good and add pleasure for those who choose to enjoy the cruise from the main salon. Sliding windows add to the natural ventilation possibilities when at anchor. The windows have special gutters that drain into a hose and overboard.
There is 24,000 BTUs of air conditioning and heating dedicated to the salon/galley/helm area.
The Helm. Designed with a retro style, the centerline helm is faced by two leather upholstered chairs and an outboard chaise lounge. The captain’s seat facing the wheel adjusts for and aft electrically, and the left armrest can be equipped with an optional joystick. Otherwise, it is located on a flat panel to the left of the left-most MFD. An angled footrest is provided below the console for both seats. There’s a stainless steel handrail outboard, covered with a stitched leather wrapping, and a sliding window.
Instruments. Two 15” MFDs dominate the upper portion of the console, with a night-light equipped compass on the centerline between them for backup reference. In the installation pictured above, the MFD control panel resides on the left hand side of the steering wheel. Electronic shift and throttle controls, either Volvo Penta or Cummins Zeus, mount to the right of the wheel.
All of the system switches are individually lighted pushbuttons that span the upper edge of the lower console section, neatly labeled for fast identification. An anchor windlass control with chain counter and an engine room extinguisher system with alarm and test panel are also found on the console.
Views from the helm are good on every point of the compass, with the only exception being the small angle in the aft port corner above the galley. Three pantograph windscreen wipers with fresh water washdowns and intermittent controls help keep the view ahead clear — a good idea in case one fails in a seaway.
CZone. With controls at the helm and in the galley, this Mastervolt touchscreen system allows owners control of multiple systems for entertainment, lighting, and climate control — just to name a few. It has three pre-programmed modes to cover operation of systems according to their use, be it cruising, entertaining, or at the dock. When the owner wants to dim the lights, control the windscreen wipers, or shut down all power and systems when leaving the boat, it happens at the touch of a finger.
Belize 54 Sedan Version
The Belize 54 is also available in an express version that Riviera calls the Belize 54 Sedan. With no flying bridge the overhead inside the salon is increased slightly, a glass skylight is over the galley and an opening sunroof will be fitted forward over the helm. For all intents and purposes, the rest of the boat is the same.
This is a good time to discuss the fit-and-finish, as it’s a topic that Riviera takes very seriously. Everywhere our OCD test captain looked he found straight seams at all joinery work, screw heads all aligned with one another, elongated grab handles, and nowhere was there any caulk used to fix a crooked cut. It was perfection through and through.
The master suite is amidships, with two long in-hull windows for good views and opening portlights for natural ventilation. There are 16,000 BTUs dedicated to the master and the adjoining private en suite head. The queen size berth is furnished with an 8” innerspring, and there are carefully concealed storage drawers in the base beneath. Other storage includes two drawers in the bulkhead beneath the LED television, and two cedar-lined wardrobes.
The VIP guest stateroom in the bow has a double berth with an 8” innerspring mattress on a raised island, with steps for good access on both sides. Storage is found in drawers in the base, and two cedar-lined wardrobes. There’s a makeup dresser and mirror on the bulkhead, with a fold-out seat. A round deck hatch with integral screens adds natural ventilation to the natural illumination provided by twin fixed portlights, but there is also 12,000 BTU air conditioning available. The VIP has private access to the port side head compartment, which also serves as the day head and the guest stateroom to starboard.
Access to the engine room is through a hatch in the aft deck sole, via a strong fixed stainless ladder with teak treads. Every wire, loom and plumbing line is color coded wherever possible for quick identification. The air conditioning system is mounted high to help keep the system dry, supplemented by a commercial-grade ventilation and demister system.
Standard power is twin 626-hp Volvo Penta IPS800 diesels. Optional power includes a pair of 600-hp Cummins QSC 8.3 Zeus pod drives, or twin 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950 diesels. In both cases carbon fiber jackshafts are used.
Our test boat had a pair of 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950 diesels. We reached a top speed of 38 mph (33 kts) at 2540 rpm while burning 76 gph. At 1750 rpm, best cruise speed was 22.4 mph (19.5 knots) while burning 30 gph.
Time-to-plane was 7.4 seconds, while time to 20 knots was 8.7 seconds.
Her handling characteristics are excellent. She exhibits the typical manifestations of a pod driven boat… slow to turn, wide turning radius etc… but the sea handling speaks volumes of the hull.
We had some good sized swells offshore, not to mention the building seas at the inlet and it gave us a good chance to wring out any peculiarities about her handling, of which there were very few. We could get some good hull slap if we ran her hard into a head sea, but dialed back to cruise had her slicing through at a much more comfortable pace. With the seas just off the bow, we were able to again increase the speed and while the pounding was less, it was still present.
Now come around to a following sea or beam, things get much prettier. She rides those like a graceful dancer and speed is no longer a factor. We opened it up to top speed and were still able to walk around without holding onto anything.
Of course any of the handling characteristics pale in comparison to her abilities around the dock and that’s thanks to her pod drives and joystick maneuverability. We had no trouble maneuvering her into a tight slip, stern to, and she responds with just a gentle touch of the stick.
- • Acoustic and thermal linings to engine room and machinery spaces
- • Emergency fuel shut-off valves outside of engine room
- • LED TVs in all three staterooms, varying sizes
- • Cockpit floor reinforced with metal plate for future fighting chair
- • Starboard side wet bar and grill on aft deck
- • Electric windlass, hand-held control on bow, remote controls at both helms
- • Mastervolt CZone digital switching system
But what we find most appealing is that it comes to the customer “turn-key”. All bedding, linens, plates, cutlery, dock lines and fenders… it all comes with the boat. All the owner needs to bring are personal effects and guests.
- • Hull painted in standard choice of metallic or non-metallic colors
- • Fisher & Paykel dishwasher pot drawer
- • Washer/dryer
- • Fourth camera fitted aft
- • Tender, BRIG Falcon 300HL (outboard not included)
- • Electric blinds in master stateroom and master en suite
Styling Also Means More Room. What we have not discussed is the styling of the Belize 54 Daybridge which is a combination of retro (round opening portlights and forward hatch, nearly plumb bow, near-vertical hull sides) and a family resemblance to other boats in the Riviera stable. Both the blunt bow and the vertical hull sides add interior volume to the boat, allowing most of the 16’6” (5.03 m) beam to be used inside – not just on deck.
In profile she is remarkably low, thanks to her extremely low top hamper as well as her low cabin profile, which makes the Belize 54 Daybridge look sleek and well-proportioned. But the most arresting aspect of the boat is in her stern quarters where there is pronounced tumblehome that extends forward. This, along with a design “crease” that extends forward from the stern and takes its cue from the same reliefs in the side of the coach roof, have an art decor look which adds another subtle element to her retro style.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Riviera Belize 54 Daybridge (2016-) is 38.0 mph (61.2 kph), burning 76.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 287.66 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Riviera Belize 54 Daybridge (2016-) is 15.9 mph (25.6 kph), and the boat gets 0.7 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.3 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 385 miles (619.6 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 735-hp Volvo Penta IPS950.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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