Are you one of the millions of Americans who love boating? Whether you take to the water for fishing, sunbathing, or recreational sports, it’s about time you own a boat of your own.
Similar to buying a car or any other vehicle, there are several things to consider before purchasing a boat. Size, brand, motor, and layout are just a few features you can choose from.
Small boats are the best option for beginners. Keep reading to learn more about the best type of small boat for first-timers.
Let’s get ready to set sail!
Different Boats for Different Folks
When shopping for a boat you need to consider its use. Do you plan on fishing, cruising, or jet skiing? Different boats have different features for your needs.
Consider the size of the boat, design, and capacity. If you plan to fish primarily on your own or with a few friends, a smaller boat will suit you just fine.
Do you have a big family or love to entertain? A larger patio boat would be best and offers ample room.
Here are a few of the most popular types of small boats and their most notable features:
Aluminum Fishing Boats
Aluminum boats are popular thanks to their lightweight features. These small fishing boats are easy to transport and extremely durable.
With “fishing” right in the name, these small boats are perfect for anglers of all skill levels. With a sleek and slender design, aluminum fishing boats average between 8 and 24 feet.
Their streamlined build and V-shaped hull make this boat easy to navigate through the water. This is ideal for new boaters looking for a no-frills option.
Not only are aluminum boats durable but they’re also inexpensive. These small fishing boats are also best used in inlets and shallow, freshwater.
Another popular fishing boat, bassboats are designed specifically for bass fishing — but their features are attractive to boaters of all types. First-time owners will love the speed and easy operation that these platform boats offer.
Designed for fishing, the large platform allows you to cast off both the front and back of the boat. Bassboats are designed for use in shallow, freshwater including rivers and lakes.
Avid fishermen will love the extra storage onboard for tackle equipment and other boat accessories. This also allows extra space for friends! You can utilize the platform for standing or fishing chairs.
Bassboats average between 15 and 25 feet but comfortably seat just 3 to 5 passengers.
Don’t let the small size of this boat fool you, though — it has plenty of power and speed to make for a fun ride.
Although many boaters use bowriders for fishing, they’re a popular choice for entertaining and relaxing on the water. Named for the large bow area at the front of the boat, bowriders fall into the category of powerboats.
Most bowriders have a sterndrive or outboard engine which makes for a smooth ride. The V-shaped bottom of a bowrider also makes it easy and enjoyable to navigate choppy waters and waves.
With a maximum passenger capacity of 10, you’ll enjoy plenty of seating and space to move around. Bowriders are a fun boat for water sports as well including waterskiing and tubing.
Designed for use in lakes and oceans, bowriders range from 15 to 35 feet in length and are relatively affordable to purchase and maintain.
Durable and easy to navigate with plenty of seating, center consoles are great for saltwater fishing and other activities. Ranging in length from 20 to 55 feet, boaters can choose from a small design or a larger, more luxurious one.
The steering column on these boats is located in the center, giving it its name and is popular among sports fishermen. If you’re looking for a smooth ride, you’ll find it thanks to the boat’s V-hull and durable outboard motors.
Center consoles aren’t just for anglers. Buyers looking for a comfortable boat to take day cruising with plenty of seating won’t be disappointed with this design.
Those looking for some cover from the sun and other weather will love the covered console.
Deck boats are similar to the bowrider but offer more seating options and a maximum passenger load of 12. Designed with a V-shaped bow, deck boats have more space for entertaining, fishing, and watersports.
Deck boats range in length from 18 to 28 feet and are popular in bays, oceans, and lakes. The flat hull of a deck boat offers safety and stability for small children and families onboard.
A deck boat combines luxury and sports fishing with day cruising, making them slightly more expensive than pontoon boats. Avoid taking your deck boat out in inclement weather since most designs don’t offer coverage or shelter from the elements.
Who doesn’t love a good party? Pontoon boats, also known as patio or party boats, are designed with luxury in mind.
Like a room on the water, these boats have ample seating, standing room, and open areas to sunbathe. Most patio boats even have tables for eating and entertaining.
Patio boats are built with multiple pontoons beneath them which make for a smooth, stable ride. Pontoon boats aren’t meant for speeding or cutting through choppy waves, but instead for leisurely rides with friends. Traditional patio boats have two pontoons on the bottle of the deck, but some newer models boast three for added mobility.
This stable design makes pontoon boats great for families with small children or those new to the boating world.
Ranging in length from 16 to 30 feet, you can choose the right boat for your size crew — up to 25 people!
Although pontoon boats aren’t designed for fishing, you can still cast your line into open waters while day cruising. Water sports are another favorite past time on these family-friendly boats.
Patio boats are easy to operate and transport, making them perfect for first-time owners.
Choose the Best Type of Small Boat for Your Needs
Are you an avid fisherman or do you prefer a leisurely day on the water? Whether you plan on fishing with a few buddies or hosting an epic party on the water, there’s a boat to fit your needs.
The type of small boat you choose will depend on your experience, interests, and budget.
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