The Riviera 48 Offshore Express gets its heritage from the Riviera 4000, which was taken out of production a few years ago. It continues the same theme of a sports utility vessel that is designed to be multi functional and multi talented.
Firstly, you can go natural, with a full open boat with the option of a full game-tower as the ultimate game fisher, with no hardtop or biminis. Then there is the stylish targa for alfresco entertaining, with removable clears all round. And if you like to be better protected and have more comfortable all-weather protection you can go for the three-sided enclosed hardtop. There’s even a rear curtain that clips in place to give all-round defence from the weather and an aft canvas extension to give shade to the aft mezzanine seating.
Split Level Cockpit
The 48 Offshore Express has a split level cockpit arrangement with the working space aft in an uncluttered area and the raised helm and mezzanine area forward. The design concept is for a big open cockpit with a number of transom options to suit your requirements, be they for fishing, cruising or entertaining. There’s the choice of a moulded seat in the centre of the transom, a live bait well with twin opening top hatches and viewing screen, or it can be simply a large storage bin.
The cockpit sole features huge bins across the aft section that are also removable and make ideal fish or storage bins. In keeping with its design as a serious fishing machine, flush decks with hawser holes through the aft corners and recessed cleats give a clean surface for fishing. Teak on the cockpit sole, deck and throughout the exterior areas of the 48 Offshore Express is an option.
Again, catering for the serious fishing owners, while the full width-boarding platform is a standard feature, it is a no-cost option to have it taken off! An optional hydraulic swim platform lifter can be fitted for ease of launching and retrieving a PWC or tender.
The transom door opens out and a lift-up bridge operates independently to ensure anglers’ safety. Toe kicks are moulded around the cockpit below lockers for storage and electrical and water shore connections.
The cockpit is specifically designed to drain water quickly for game fishermen. When backing up on a fish, water is going to get into the cockpit, so there is plenty of drainage and useable open space.
The mezzanine area is where it all happens, be it on the open game fishing version or the fully-enclosed hardtop. The layouts are all the same, with the large helm to port with twin adjustable Pompanette Platinum helm chairs and a facia especially designed to cater for a trio of very large navigation screens.
You have the choice of either a single control box on one side of the Edson steering wheel or as preferred by most skippers backing up on a fish, one either side. Even the angle of the wheel can be changed to suit either driving mode. Unless you have a game-tower this is the only steering station, but it is well positioned for the skipper to see all ‘corners’ of the vessel.
The windscreen is curved tempered toughened glass panes in a GRP frame, and includes three heavy-duty pantograph windscreen wipers with fresh water washers. Side windows are fixed tinted, toughened glass.
Seating is provided with a rear facing bench seat for three, with a eutectic freezer under and also day access to the engine room. The helm deck floor is hinged and operated via electric actuator to provide engine room access for major servicing. The rear facing mezzanine seat is certainly the best spot to sit and watch the fishing action or again if you are more into cruising then the optional table is a good addition. Forward on the same side and aft of the helm is an L-shaped settee complete with small fibreglass table and opposite a separate fore and aft facing lounge completes the seating layout. A moulded unit aft of the starboard lounge is complete with wet bar, optional bait prep station and a series of three lockers under for anything from tackle trays to an icemaker and even a bar fridge. The choice is yours.
When you step down into the living areas of the 48 Offshore Express, you can’t help but be impressed by the purposeful layout that brings together a number of dedicated areas into one flowing space. Being a production boat the layout you see is the one you get, but then who would really want to change it. Riviera’s interior designers, while still managing to provide private accommodation areas, have, by way of folding doors been able to give the impression of a very big space below. Both the double master cabin forward and the rear guest cabin can be fully exposed to the saloon area or closed off for privacy.
Trifold doors to the second cabin open to reveal an extension to the saloon area with a leather lounge that converts to bunks.
The master stateroom features a central island queen double with inner sprung mattress and en-suite, plus ample storage areas in drawers and a hanging locker. The bed is hinged and supported by two gas struts so that it may be easily lifted to reveal a large storage space underneath. Light and ventilation are provided through side ports and an overhead hatch.
Further accommodation is available when a timber panel behind the lounger is opened to reveal a Pullman bunk. If you don’t go for the bunk then it doubles as a great rod storage area. All up there are dedicated sleeping areas for five.
There is a day bathroom on the starboard side with full size shower and head with solid surface vanity and raised ceramic basin. Amtico timber veneer flooring is used in the bathroom and throughout the saloon.
The galley is to starboard of the main saloon. A large skylight in the saloon headliner provides ample natural light for both areas. There is a large high/low adjustable dining table providing seating for four to five guests. Opposite the lounge is an entertainment unit with a 32” LCD TV integrated with an AM/FM stereo, CD/DVD player with iPod interface and storage space underneath.
Like the rest of the 48 Offshore Express we reviewed, the galley is all American cherry with a solid surface bench top. This is large enough for easy food preparation and is surrounded by all the necessary features such as convection microwave oven (hidden from view behind cherry panels), recessed dual-element electric cook top, two-drawer refrigerator, freezer and optional dishwasher. This is one area where Riviera gives you some options and what you have in the galley is entirely your choice.
Riviera also offers a teak timber option and just as for the cherry, this is available in a gloss or semi-gloss finish.
The 48 Offshore Express is shaft drive only in tunnels with underwater exhausts, with the standard engine package being a pair of Cummins QSM11s, rated at 660hp each, producing at top speed of around 28 knots. You can upgrade to twin Caterpillar C12 turbo diesel engines rated at 715hp each, MTU Series 60 turbo diesel engines rated at 825hp each or Caterpillar C18 turbo diesel engines rated at 1,015hp each. Twin Cat C18s @1015hp will give you a top speed of 38.2 knots.
The tunnel hull was designed in co-operation with internationally renowned naval architect Frank Mulder.
Fuel capacity is 3,500 litres standard plus an option for an additional 1,000 litres. Water capacity is 620 litres contained in dual tanks. Volvo QL Interceptor trim tabs are fitted. This trim tab system provides highly efficient low-drag trimming of the boat. It is easily operated through a push button control panel with integrated LED trim indication. A bow thruster is also fitted as standard equipment.
The Riviera 48 Offshore Express is a versatile package, so one week it can be an all-out game fishing boat and the next, a couple can go cruising with their friends or family. It is a robust, rugged fishing boat as well as being perfect for entertaining.
If the 48 Offshore Express is a little big for you, then Riviera will be releasing at the Sydney International Boat Show in August the all-new 43 Offshore Express, which while incorporating many of the layout features of the 48, will have a one-level cockpit, two cabins, one head and be available only with Volvo Penta IPS pod drives.
- Boat Design Name: Riviera 48 Offshore Express
- Year Launched: 2008
- Designer: Frank Mulder
- Builder: Riviera Marine
- LOA: 16.40m
- Beam: 4.90m
- Draft: 1.30m
- Displacement: 19,500kg
- Max Speed: 28 knots
- Cruise Speed: 26 knots
- Construction: GRP/Composites
- Fuel Capacity: 3500 litres
- Water Capacity: 620 litres
- Engines: 2 x Cummins QSM11@ 660hp each