Bayliner’s 3488 Motoryacht boasts reliable construction and adroit handling, thanks to a novel control system.

Despite its notorious climate, Seattle is a city of the outdoors. The Olympic Range beckons in one direction, while in the other Mount Rainier and the Cascades loom like Oz. Even on overcast weekends a large measure of the city’s population empties into the open air. But only some head to mountain trails. For nearly everywhere you look the landscape is reflected on water. Bound by Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east and embracing Lake Union, Seattle is for boaters. 

Since 1955 these surroundings have inspired Bayliner, based in nearby Arlington, to meet the needs of pleasureboaters not just in the Northwest but coast to coast. Dependable quality at the right price has always been central to the popularity of Bayliner’s boats, but with the introduction of the 3488 Motoryacht, the builder has taken reliable workmanship to a new level. 

The first yacht built using Bayliner’s modular production system, the 3488 is assembled from several precisely constructed sections that were developed using advanced software and Computer Aided Design (CAD). Such extensive computer modeling enabled Bayliner to determine an optimum hull shape and devise the best configurations for electrical circuitry and mechanical equipment, plus exploit normally unused interior spaces. 

Bayliner 3488 Fuel ConsumptionThe modified deep-V hull, of course, is paramount. Its hand-laid fiberglass is protected from osmotic blistering by vinylester resin applied over the gelcoat. The engine room module is bonded to the hull with strong urethane adhesive, and when the module consisting of the forward stateroom, head, and midcabin is added, its electrical and mechanical systems are already in, waiting only to be linked to the likewise “plug-and-play” saloon module. 

Such precision is evident as soon as you enter the 3488’s saloon and see how seamlessly her parts are joined. Product manager Rob Anderson proudly pointed out how the design of the air conditioning system had been incorporated into the molded headliner. Although the air handler is beneath the flying-bridge console, it can be serviced through a panel in the overhead, and its ducting is integrated into the headliner in a broad arc for highly efficient distribution. 

It’s clear that the space it cools will be easily maintained over the many years of enjoyment the 3488 should provide. The comfortable settees (ours covered in optional Luxor leather), the molded-fiberglass dash, the L-shape countertop in the galley—all these durable surfaces clean up quickly and with minimal effort. As a further testament to the exactness of modular construction, the soles here and forward drop snugly into place like puzzle pieces. Should the carpet need replacing after a few seasons of cruising, simply lift out the panels, wheel them up to your SUV on a dock cart, and drop them off for recovering. You could do the same if eventually you wanted to refinish the teak and holly sole of the galley.

The comforts of the saloon are commensurate with the conveniences of the teak-trimmed galley, which include a Norcold below-counter refrigerator, a stainless steel double sink, two-burner stove (LPG or electric), and microwave/convection oven. When meals are ready, you can extend the leaves and raise the teak table to dining level before the port-side settee. Stowage beneath this settee is ample, with deep compartments taking full advantage of available space. Likewise, there is plenty of room for belongings in the forward stateroom in hull-side shelves, a starboard hanging locker, three drawers built into the double berth, and a compartment beneath the mattress. The common-access head with shower and optional VacuFlush MSD is port of a midcabin with a recessed double berth that kids should enjoy for its novelty and adults should appreciate for its roominess. 

Access to the engine compartment is through a hatch in the saloon sole that drops you in between the twin powerplants. You may feel cramped when doing work on the outboard sides of the engines, but you can go at them comfortably when taking care of routine maintenance on the inboard sides. For major jobs, two more hatches open directly above each engine. 

Our test boat was equipped with a lower helm to starboard in the saloon in place of the second settee on standard models. Visibility from it was good. I especially liked the view astern through the sliding glass door. Anderson said that most rain-drenched Northwesterners were requesting this option, but he expects boaters in sunnier climes to be more than satisfied with the standard flying-bridge helm. 


At that station, with the 3488’s dimensions in clear sight fore and aft, you’ll feel high and mighty. As we motored through the cut between Lake Union and Lake Washington, we towered over dedicated members of University of Washington’s crew team rowing needle-thin boats. I envied their heat-generating exertions; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and hardly any wind, but it was January nonetheless, and cold—especially when we put the 3488’s optional twin 240-hp 4B-250 Cummins diesel inboards to work. Her 26.7 mph at wide-open throttle (3000 rpm) was a little too bracing. Talk about wind-chill factor! The peak of Mount Rainier suspended to the southeast didn’t look any colder. Even at a typical cruising rpm of 2750, we were still doing nearly 24 mph, and the chattering of my teeth seemed a lot louder than the 77 decibels we recorded on the dB meter. As Bayliner’s photo-shoot manager Chuck Thompson and I recorded acceleration curves, the 3488 charged ahead like a three-year-old filly. The brisker the better, she seemed to say, while Thompson and I wondered just who was being put to the test here. 

What a relief when it came time to check out the boat’s niftiest option, the Integrated Control System (ICS) for close-quarters (thankfully, slow and relatively warm) maneuvering. Including bow and stern thrusters controlled by a hull-shaped module at the helm, the ICS might bring skippers about as close as you can get nowadays to point-and-click docking. Push the “bow” of the module to port, and you activate the bow thruster, causing the boat itself to mimic the motion of the module. Push the “stern&148; over, and the aft thruster kicks in. If you rotate the hull shape firmly clockwise, both thrusters go to work in opposite directions and the 3488 spins on a dime. Push the module laterally, and the thrusters work together to walk the boat sideways. It’s as simple as that—perhaps the greatest onboard stress reliever since the invention of the dock-side margarita. 

When I used this clever switch, the 3488 reacted so nimbly I even felt a little cruel, like some ruthless puppeteer. It was, I think, the opposite reaction I’ve seen in more than a few skippers who, just after crunching a fuel dock, will address their vessels using terms usually reserved for one’s most reviled enemies. As we tied up again on the edge of Lake Union, it occurred to me that you’d be unlikely to have many arguments with a user-friendly boat like the 3488. She’s just too easy to get along with. 

Base price: $153,483 with 2/260-hp 5.7 L MPI, RWC MerCruiser gasoline inboards 
Optional power: 2/260-hp 5.7 L MPI, FWC MerCruiser gasoline inboards; 2/240-hp 4B-250 Cummins diesel inboards 
Standard equipment: AM/FM stereo/CD player w/ 2 speakers; Rule 4.5-inch flush-mount, illuminated compass; Standard Horizon Eclipse Plus VHF radio; Bennett trim tabs; Norcold refrigerator; Princess 2-burner stove

SPECIFICATIONS 
LOA: 35'0" 
Beam: 11'8" 
Draft: 3'2" 
Weight: 17,000 lbs. 
Fuel capacity: 224 gal. 
Water capacity: 92 gal. 
Test engines:
 2/240-hp 4B-250 Cummins diesel inboards 
Transmissions: Herta 630 
Ratios: 2.0:1 
Props: 20x24 HS bronze 4-blade 
Steering: Hynautic hydraulic 
Controls: Morse mechanical 
Optional equipment on test boat: lower helm; Integrated Control System; VacuFlush MSD; Luxor leather lounge; windlass; central vacuum; spotlight; transom shower; raw-water washdown

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BAYLINER YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine, April 2001 and is written by Tim Clark. For more great powerboat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/uncategorized/subscribe-power-motoryacht

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