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Bertram 28


Designed by David Napier in 1971, the sleek and powerful Bertram 28 almost immediately began to give the Bertram 31, the most popular Bertram model at that time, some stiff competition as the company’s best seller. The boat quickly began to make a name for itself among fishermen interested in a smaller craft designed with their sport in mind. This model soon came close to equaling the sales of the larger Bertram 31.


In creating the Bertram 28, Napier built on the advantages offered by the Bertram 31, especially the deep-v hull. Unlike its larger predecessor, however, Napier managed to equip the Bertram 28 with a dead rise of twenty-two degrees under the transom. By adding another flare in the bow, Napier also gave the Bertram 28 the ability to push water away from the boat to prevent passengers from getting soaked by the spray.

With a windshield designed in two curving pieces, a narrow, angular flybridge, and a sleek fiberglass construction, the Bertram 28 is stylish and durable. To help create added stability when it is not in motion, this boat has an eleven foot beam. Laminated surfaces in the cabin and on the bulkhead were installed in earlier models to make cleaning and maintenance much easier, but the boats manufactured after 1983 had the more modern oak finishes. Some owners wonder if this may be a cause to worry about rotting over time.

Fishermen find the Bertram 28 has many options which make their sport easier and more enjoyable. The cockpit, which is nearly nine feet in length, gives them a spacious area for handling lines, with extra space available if they wish to have it equipped with a fighting chair. The engines on the 28 have no walkway between them, but this boat is designed with a step-up to the deck space instead. Because of safety issues, this area is surrounded by a decorative railing to prevent passengers from taking a fall if they encounter rough water. The living areas of the cabin, including the galley and head, while not spacious, have enough room for their intended purposes. The interior arrangement has the head aft and the galley forward.

To allow owner’s easy access to the engines, the Bertram 28 comes equipped with a large hatch just above the engine and another smaller opening near the center to make quick fluid checks possible. Steps lead from the engine compartment to the fly bridge. The cabin has windows on each side, which gives all passengers an opportunity to enjoy the view, and the dinette accommodates four people for meals. This boat also provides an area where two people can sleep at close quarters.

Some weaknesses have been found in the design of this small twenty-eight foot craft, and most are the result of its size. Owners have complained that the cockpit is too shallow and because there are no rails guarding the aft, fishing requires more balance than in larger model boats. Some find the screws used to attach the side-panels cheap looking and unattractive on such a stylish vessel. Also, the engine controls are in a strange position, and this makes maneuvering them a bit difficult for some. Other owners are dismayed to find that, because of their height, they have to duck when entering and exiting the cabin. Structurally, some owners feel that the weakest element of all Bertram classic models is the strut backing pad.


Weighing in at over 12,000 pounds, the Bertram 28 equipped with a Mercury 260 HP engine has plenty of power and is capable of cruising at twenty knots or better. It can actually run at speeds of up to thirty knots, but this may lower the fuel efficiency, which is usually around one mpg. Some Bertram 28’s have an optional diesel engine, the Volvo 200 HP. These rare boats are usually a bit cheaper to run and can cruise at speeds from twenty-five to thirty knots, but all of the Bertram 28’s are better suited for fishing or diving than cruising.


Over two thousand and eight hundred Bertram 28 models were built from 1971 until 1994. In the early nineties, the basic 28 with a gas engine sold for close to a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. Those equipped with extra features could sale for close to a hundred and fifty thousand. Because of Bertram’s reputation for building superior boats, it is often difficult to find one for sale at a reasonable price today, especially those equipped with a diesel engine, but patience and persistence often bring results. Bertram does keep an excellent supply of parts warehoused for this classic model and are quite helpful to those working to restore one of these beautiful antique water crafts to its original pristine condition.

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