Are you ready to feel the lake or sea water spray on your face on a warm summer day?
Before you become a proud boat owner, you’ll need to choose what kind of boat you want to buy. They are highly specialized, so the type of boat you choose should be largely determined by your favorite water activities. Are you going to be doing lots of on-deck entertaining? Will you use your boat mainly for fishing? Are your kids dying to spend each weekend water-skiing?
There’s a boat out there for everything!
To help you hit those waves sooner, we’ve put together a handy guide for the most popular boats on the market. Read on to find out what floats your boat!
With their versatile design and open bow cockpit, bowriders are an all-time favorite. Take her out for a day trip, invite your friends over for a ride at sunset or get your adrenaline boost by attaching some water skis.
These boats were originally quite compact, but recently there’s been a small explosion of generously sized bowriders entering the market, some complete with full cabins. Most bowrider enthusiasts have their eyes set on the classic styles ranging from 18′ to 26′ in size. They’re more affordable than their monstrous cousins, yet still big enough to comfortably fit the whole family. You can find a bowrider powered by a stern drive or an outboard, depending on your preference.
The biggest upside of bowriders is also their biggest drawback. The jack of all trades is a master of none – bowriders’ versatility means they don’t specialize in any particular activity.
Are you looking for a boat that can really take you places? Then you need a cruiser! These boats are perfect for extended vacations and trips to foreign ports.
Cruisers are powerboats that are equipped with overnight accommodations, a galley and the ability to take you far. They come as small as 30′ and as large as 100′. Though typically powered with inboards, stern drives or pod drives, you can also find a select few outboard cruisers on the market.
Here are some popular cruiser styles:
- Convertibles. These cruisers have a flying bridge and are often designed for saltwater fishing. They usually come with a steering station on the bridge and another below in the cabin, making them ideal for any-weather cruising.
- Express cruisers. These cruisers are lower and have a cockpit aft, a helm deck amidships, and staterooms forward. You won’t have an open steering station, but many newer models have sunroofs and lots of windows so you can get your fix of fresh air and sunshine.
- Motor Yachts. The line between ordinary cruisers and motor yachts is a bit blurred, but most boaters consider anything topping the 50-foot mark to be a motor yacht. This extravagant cruiser comes with a matching price tag, but offers a truly luxurious ride.
- Pocket cruisers. These very small cruisers have limited space and are popular with retired couples who enjoy exploring new places.
3.) Freshwater fishing boats
With the right fishing boat, you won’t let the big one get away! These boats are a must-have for fresh-fish aficionados. There are loads of freshwater fishing boat subcategories, though. These are the three most popular choices:
- Bass boats. These are designed for catching largemouth bass. They’re super-fast and equipped with lots of accessories to bring you the biggest catch, like bow-mounted electric trolling motors and high-tech fish-finders. They also have convenient livewells so you can keep that catch fresh until you dock. Bass boats are some of the most expensive fishing boats you can buy.
- Multi-species boats. These have a wider appeal than bass boats and come in a greater variety of styles. Some have open side consoles, others have tall windshields at the helm, and some are equipped with center consoles. You’ll also find livewells, rod boxes and mounted seats in most multi-species boats. These boats are ideal for fishers who love to catch a variety.
- Aluminum fishing boats. These are some of the most popular boats ever. If you want to go fishing without blowing a ton of money, you can find a simple aluminum jon boat for less than $5,000.
4.) Pontoon boats
Pontoon boats fill the waters of smaller lakes and seaboards – and for good reason. All pontoons float on aluminum “logs” instead of the classic fiberglass hull. Pontoons were once slow and cumbersome. Today, however, they can be sleek and shockingly fast. They also offer loads of deck space and the capacity to add your favorite amenities, like a wet bar, towing arch or more.
5.) Saltwater fishing boats
If you love stalking the mangroves for striped bass and tuna, you might need a saltwater fishing boat. These boats come in tremendous range of styles and sizes. Here are some of the most popular types:
- Bay boats. These shallow-draft boats were created for plying inshore waters. However, some larger varieties offer offshore capacity as well. Almost all bay boats are outboard-powered.
- Center consoles. These wildly popular saltwater fishing boats range from dinghy-sized to true behemoths, like the Hydra-Sports 53 Suenos. Most center consoles are no-frills, though more expensive models come with luxury seating, built-in grills, and more.
- Convertibles. These inboards run on pod drives and have large aft cockpits and tall flying bridges.
- Expresses. Some offshore anglers love these smaller boats since the helm is right near the action. You can dash from the wheel to the rod in seconds.
6.) Speed boats
Speed junkies, this one’s for you! Get off the highway and out into the water on one of these hair-raising, adrenaline-pumping speed boats. You won’t find lots of space or luxury accessories on these boats, but you’ll get a thrill out of every ride!
7.) Watersport boats
If you use the water for sports, like wakeboarding, water skiing and wake surfing, you’ll need a watersport boat. This genre comes with a towing point for watersports of every shape and kind. These sports-dedicated boats are narrow in their versatility and aren’t very practical for overnighting, fishing or beaching.
Your Turn: Are you a happy boat-owner? Tell us all about your own model and why it was your boat of choice.