Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Bayliner’s all-new Element M17 follows a neat progression from its smaller sister the Element M15, while still maintaining Bayliner’s focus on affordability and value. The M17 is one of nine models from 15 to 26 feet in Bayliner’s Deck Boat series.
Bayliner first introduced the Element almost ten years ago, and I wrote in my review of it at that time that Bayliner’s objectives were to: “Keep it simple. Make it practical. Make it affordable.” Almost ten years later, this new Element M17 follows those objectives to a tee.
The M17 runs on its proprietary M-Hull design which, when viewed longitudinally, resembles the capital letter “M” with a centre “V” section with a sponson on each side. These outer hull portions are to provide the M17 with increased stability at rest over a traditional V-bottom hull. The sponsons also assist in getting onto plane, at a more level (less bow-up) attitude, to allow planing at a lower speed, as well as maintaining a more level attitude with less leaning during cornering.
Bayliner has created what it calls “nook-style seating configuration of the cockpit, optimized for socializing.” When at rest, there is another “nook” facing aft on each side of the transom with a padded backrest ideal for relaxation. It’s also handy for watching watersports out the back, or for utilizing the starboard side telescoping boarding ladder recessed into the swim platform.
Between the two transom seats are a pair of convenient drinkholders and a mounting insert for the optionally available ski tow pylon. There is also a large in-transom top-loading insulated cooler with drain and hinged cover. This may be optionally converted to an aerated livewell for fishing enthusiasts.
Immediately ahead of the stern is a three-person wide bench seat with rounded padded corners creating a “nook” each for driver and passenger. Ahead of the passenger side is a similar looking but rear-facing “nook” suitable for a watersports observer, or, by utilizing an optional filler cushion between these two seats, a forward or rear-facing stretch-out lounger. This filler cushion also aids stepping into and out of the M17 to and from the dock.
This rear-facing seat backs onto the passenger console, which has an open storage bin on top and onto which an optional acrylic windscreen with side wing can be added. This windscreen would then match the standard driver’s side. Beneath the seat cushion of the rear-facing seat is a large storage area that extends forward under the console and is also accessible from the seatback of the portside bow seat.
For a seventeen-footer the bow of the Element M17 is surprisingly roomy, due in part to the legitimate U-shaped surround seating area. Stretch-out lounging is also encouraged with backrests on the forward faces of both driver and passenger consoles. Optional filler cushions create a sunlounge space, and an additional cushion blocks off the bow walk-thru to provide another forward facing backrest for lounging or to serve as a windbreak for the cockpit.
The helm is one of simplicity and practicality with a single large diameter multi-function gauge on the flat dash surface that includes a speedometer, voltmeter, and fuel gauge. Next to this is room for the optional in-dash digital depth finder. A 12-volt accessory outlet is provided. To the left of the steering wheel is a spot for the optional AM/FM Bluetooth-compatible 120-Watt stereo.
On top of the dash is a deep molded-in open tray for holding all manner of goodies like sunglasses, wallet, smartphone, etc. Within this driver’s console are upper and lower molded-in storage areas. The lower area is ideal to house a portable cooler.
A commendable feature of Bayliner’s Element M17 is that you get to choose from three no-charge hullside colours. There are also three combinations of interior upholstery colours from which to choose. Standard engine is a 60 horsepower Mercury® FourStroke outboard. You may choose to move up to a 75 or 90hp Mercury® depending on your priorities. A painted black swing tongue trailer is standard equipment.
Notable additional factory options include a six-foot bimini top with boot, bow, cockpit, and mooring covers, automatic bilge pump (instead of the standard manual electric pump), VesselView Mobile, hydraulic steering, gray cockpit flooring mat, a stainless steel appearance package, a couple of convenience and comfort packages, and a fishing package which includes an aerated livewell, a Lowrance fishfinder pedestal-mounted on the dash, a bow casting platform with seat, and a trolling motor bracket with a 12-volt plug. You may also upgrade to a galvanized trailer.
Bayliner’s latest Element M17 retains the principles of value and affordability as originally established for this brand all those years ago while updating those principles at the same time as reflecting the current needs of today’s boaters.
|Dry weight:||1,984 lbs||899.9 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||18 US gal||68 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|