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Bertram 43 Convertible: A Proven Sportfishing Machine

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Bertram was known for building serious offshore sportfishing machines, and models like the 43 Convertible were the reason why. This boat is rugged, most are rigged to the teeth for fishing, and for a boat just over 40’ they handle heavy seas like few other convertibles.

bertram 43
The 43 Convertible, like this 1993 currently for sale in Puerto Rico ($149,000), is sought after by serious offshore anglers.

One of the main reasons why these boats are such brutes is sheer displacement. The 43 tips the scales at around 50,000 pounds, which is significantly more than many boats of the same size and vintage. An Egg Harbor 42, for example, weighs around 5,000 pounds less. Same goes for an Ocean Yachts 42 Super Sport. As a result, when the Bertram 43 strikes a wave, it simply muscles through. Bangs and slams are unheard-of, and in rough seas there are few boats the same size that will offer more comfort.

There is, of course, a down-side. While many comparable Convertibles can cruise at around 20 knots, the Bertram 43 Convertible commonly cruises at 17 or 18 knots. Twin 550 HP Detroit Diesel 6V92 TA engines are in many of these boats, and at that cruising speed, they burn between 34 and 38 GPH.

You’ll find a wide variety of interiors in these boats, as many have been refurbished by now. There’s also a range of powerplant conditions, since plenty of those on the market have already undergone rebuilds. Note that this can dramatically increase the asking price of the boat, but expect to see listings range widely depending on the boat’s conditions. The least expensive 43 on the market at this moment is an ‘89 listed at $79,000, while the most expensive 43 currently listed is a ’96 that has an all new 2015 décor, just 200 hours on the engines, and a number of new appliances and upgrades, and is priced at $250,000.

The cabin in the 43 Convertible commonly features a saloon with an L-shaped settee aft to port, and a galley forward. In some cases the settee was split and the dinette moved forward. Naturally, due to the age of these boats and the nature of retrofits, each you see can be quite different and saloon layouts will vary in both design and condition. All have two staterooms with en suite heads below; the master is forward and has a queen berth, while the second stateroom has a pair of single berths.

The introduction of the 43 dates back almost 30 years (the first was unveiled at the 1988 New York Boat Show), and the demand for this boat on the brokerage market proves that even today, it’s a convertible sportfishing machine that holds both its value and its attractiveness to anglers. To learn more about what 43’s are available right now, visit these Bertram 43 Convertible listings.

Written by Lenny Rudow

Written by: Lenny Rudow

With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.