Buying a boat is a big deal. It's your lifeline on the water, your ticket to the next big catch, and your escape from a monotonous life.
When you're ready to make that big purchase, how do you know which boat is right for you? From aluminum crafts with a single motor and multi-hull speedboats with trolling motors to jon boats and center consoles, boats have an enormous span of customizations. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your big purchase.
The first thing to identify is what you're going to be doing on the water. A boat for fishing in a river is significantly different than one used in the ocean. Include water sports and sailing and you've got a wide variety of crafts to choose from.
Your intended use is going to put all of the following specifications to use. Everything from the size of the boat to the type of the motor will determine how well you can get the job done.
Your intended use will dictate how large of a boat you're getting. Family expeditions on the water will require significantly more space than a two-man fishing trip on a pond. An aluminum fishing boat can range from 8 to 24 feet, holding as many as eight people at its maximum. Similarly, a speedboat designed for fishing and day cruising ranges from 16 to 22 feet, but can hold the same number comfortably.
Select the occupancy that'll be most common, coupled with what you're doing, when looking into specifications.
Type of Hull
Below your boat's deck is the hull, or the body of the boat. A hull comes in many structures, depending on the type of boat it's for. Here are a few common hulls to consider:
- Flat-bottom hulls are great for increased speed, but they're not good for choppy conditions, and the design makes them difficult to control.
- Vee hulls are flatter in the back, but significantly more stable in choppy waters. The "vee" can be made at different angles, sacrificing stability for the deeper cut.
- Multihulls are made of multiple vee hulls. They are able to negotiate even the choppiest waves with ease, although there is generally less space.
- Round hulls are restricted to slower speeds but are fuel efficient. They do risk rolling from side to side as waves get larger.
Your method of getting around will drive the type of boat you decide on as well. You can select an outboard motor, which can be attached to most boats; a sterndrive, which resembles an outboard in the water, but sits inside; or jets that operate with their own science.
There are others, but those are the main types you should consider for buying your first boat. Each has differing speeds and can affect the appearance of your craft.
Is your potential boat already outfitted with a GPS or a fish finder? Maybe it comes with a trolling motor. Hopefully it comes with a trailer if you're planning on towing it. All of these will raise the price, but if you're planning on purchasing them separately, they can drastically reduce your overall cost.
It's hard to judge the exact cost but expect to spend at least $10,000 and upwards of $70,000 or more for a new boat. Brands play a large role in the pricing. You'll pay less for a Lowe than a Ranger, but both are still quality boats. It all depends on your person preference and budget.
If you want to start lower, consider buying a used boat. It might not be brand new, but it will still give you the ability to get out on the water without making a significant change in your bank account.