IMO it depends on the boat and the application of use. Certain hulls don't do well with the weight up top. In addition a commercial boat has no need for a bridge. I personally love running the boat from up above as the visibility is so much better. You would be amazed at how much more you see when looking for life and setting out two anchors. The only thing I wish is that my bridge was enclosed for the winter time. Curtains suck when it gets snotty and cold. As for space, it opens up the cabin significantly. More room for passengers in the salon.
If you go with the bridge you end up alone all day, it Also makes it hard to run boat alone, nice thing about no bridge your right there to throw a line.In my case all girls on my crew, run the boat by my self even with wife and kids! Bottom line personal preference.
I love them as an open air second station- no enclosure, just to be used on the nice days. I think keeping it bare bones & low profile up there prevents it from really affecting the boat on the drift, whch is where it will hurt you the most.
Loved being on Capt Larry's fly bridge while trolling or running home from a shark trip in calm seas. Drove home for 5 hours from up there one time, felt like driving a big ole center console
Love the bridge but I dont do any commercial work and can see how they would be unnecessary but.... there is nothing like sunset ride and after dark, a bridge with no glass is the best place to drive (if its warm). You can see everything and ever the water in the dark.
On larger boats, it is just an aesthetic thing, it is just about what looks right to you. Some DE boats to me look too tall and out of proportion with a flybridge.
On smaller boats, flybridges can really effect the handling of the vessel by shifting the vertical center of gravity too high. Realize that this is exacerbated by the fact that on that nice day, everyone on board wants to be up on the flybridge, and now you have just added 400 pounds of people 10 feet above the water. Probably not a big deal on a 10,000+ lb boat, but on a 5,000 lb 25 footer- not so great.
Flybridges, especially with an enclosure, greatly increase the effect of wind on your vessel. This is especially noticeable at anchor when the boat sails back and forth.
That all being said, it is awesome on a nice day to sit on your flybridge at anchor and catch the breeze. My kids also like doing cannonballs off of it.
I'm with the bridge people. I built my own and added it 15 yrs ago, it's like getting a new boat. Mine is super light maybe 125 lbs unoccupied; it did not change the handling of the boat at all. When I don't need it, I don't use it, and the boat is exactly as it was b/4; but at night or on a nice day, there is nothing like it.
Soon for me I hope.
My goal is to have the yard in Maryland do the spring commissioning and drop by the end of April and bring the boat up to City Island the first weekend in May.
That's the plan anyway, who knows if the weather will comply (it rarely does).