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The Guide on How to Choose the Best Boat

If you’re asking yourself: What kind of boat is best for me? What kind of boat is best to live on? Or just maybe, what kind of boat is best for fishing? Stick around. The following information could prove useful to you in your search for answers to those questions and many more.

The Most Common Types of Boats

To buy exactly what you want you need to know the features of the basic types of boats such as non-motorized and motorized boats.

Non-Motorized Boats

Kayaks. Kayaks are easy to maneuver (no matter your level of expertise), and there are a lot of different types of them. There are fishing kayaks, ocean kayaks, white-water rafting kayaks, open river kayaks, speed kayaks and the list goes on.

And though they can be expensive, there are many good kayaks on the market that are affordable. Most kayaks seat one person, but there are also some that hold two.

Canoes. Throughout the years, their design has stayed relevant and useful. And as a bonus, there are certain canoes that can be used for lower-intensity white-water. Canoes are useful for fishing and taking an easy ride around the water.

They are easy to maneuver but require a little more skill than kayaks. Usually, 3-4 people can fit comfortably in a standard canoe. Even though there are some pricy ones, canoes are all relatively affordable. A good used one shouldn’t hurt the wallet in the least.

Rowboats. Rowboats are known for their stability. They’re slow, they’re cumbersome, but they will not flip over unless something goes wrong.

So if you’re looking for something you can use to enjoy a river or lake, a rowboat is an excellent option. They can be used for fishing, but hunting is a bit of a stretch unless you have a lot of experience handling weapons on a boat like this.

Rowboats can be found for dirt-cheap. There is no need to spend much for one of these. But as with everything, if you want to spend more for something nice, that is an option as well.

Pedal Boats. One of the most fun options for getting out on the water and having a great time is the good-ole pedal boat. These are the spice of life when it comes to family reunions on a lake or river.

A fleet of pedal boats on the water with friends and the family is the perfect recipe for fun and laughter. They don’t require much skill to maneuver and are the perfect boat for anyone who wants to enjoy the water.

They are small (easy to store) and inexpensive. Simply, they are the life of any waterside gathering. Try one out if you haven’t already! They are loads of fun!

Motorized Boats

Speedboats. Otherwise known as motorboats, speedboats are some of the fastest water vessels out there. Some can drive at speeds of around 57 miles per hour. There are different types of speedboats for luxury, day-trips, travel, fishing and hunting. Basically, there’s a speedboat for any niche out there.

Specialty Fishing Speedboats. These usually have a well for storing fish, special chairs (to keep people securely fastened while reeling in a catch) and slots for putting fishing rods into.

Hunting Speedboats. These, on the other hand, are camouflaged.

Due to the variety, prices are equally varied. It’s best to think of speedboats like cars – there’s something out there for any price range. And just like with cars, you get what you pay for.  So if you’re considering buying one, it’s good to know what exactly you want to do with it, how many people you want to be able to board and how much space/storage you want.

Many speedboats can hold around 4-5 people, but that number depends specifically on the boat. Make sure you know the boarding weight limit of your boat before taking it out on the water – this is extremely important.

Yachts. This term refers to boats that look like speedboats, but are more for luxurious purposes. They are bigger, have more storage/on deck space and are more adept for longer stays on the water than speedboats, as they are outfitted for living in.

Many speedboats are simply small yachts (as a point of comparison) - although the definition of “yacht,” in this sense, is specific to the U.S., as in other countries, a sailboat can be referred to as a yacht as well. Nice yachts are comparable to nice houses in price – they are expensive. So if you’re looking for a yacht and you don’t have money trees in your backyard, try looking for something used.

Pontoons. Pontoons are the perfect vessel for use in calmer waters, such as in small lakes. They are big, slow and perfect to relax on.

They don’t do well in any kind of rough waters; so don’t chance it with one of these. Also, salt is not good to them, so stick to fresh (non-salt) water.

These are fun boats – the perfect option for taking your family out in. There’s a lot of space on the deck of about every pontoon with a nice open view for everyone. They can be quite expensive -- not as expensive as many yachts, but if you want a nice pontoon, it will cost you.

They aren’t ideal for hunting, but they do work well for fishing. If you want something for spending time with your loved ones out on the water without breaking any speed records, this is your best bet.

Sailboats. Sailing is a hobby and sport for many. And though it’s a fun way to spend time on the water, it is difficult to grasp at first. So be sure to learn the proper techniques for rigging and maneuvering a sailboat from a professional.

Some sailboats have onboard motors, and some don’t. The decision to use a motor is a matter of opinion and personal preference. Some people believe that true sailing shouldn’t involve a motor, whereas some enjoy having an engine as a backup plan.

Lot’s of sailboats, depending on the size, have ample storage space for living on. And as such, many devoted sailors enjoy spending lengthy amounts of time on-board. They are a lot of fun and provide a getaway to those willing to put in the extra work on deck. Sailboat prices, once again, are comparable to those of cars. There is a little something out there for any budget.

Personal Watercraft. If you’re looking for the time of your life, a personal watercraft is the way to go. Some of the fastest clock in at close to 67 mph.

These “water motorcycles” are a blast; and unlike boats, they don’t require a ton of storage space. Most personal watercraft can hold1-2 people. Some personal watercraft can cost you a fortune, while others are cheap (if they’re used). So if you’re looking for a zippy, fun way to enjoy the water, try out a personal watercraft!

5 Tips on How to Buy Boats

Here are some bonus tips on things you should do when buying a boat. Hopefully, they will save you time and money – something we all need as of as we can get!

Know your price-range

As with anything, boats are more expensive brand-new, but you’ll likely have easier maintenance to deal with on a new boat than a used one. A used boat, though, is a good option if you want to save some money on something that works well, but has seen a little usage. Regardless of whether a boat is new or used, however, look up its value before agreeing to purchase it to make sure you’re paying a fair price. This goes for all boats motorized and un-motorized, new and old.

Research the make/model

Look at online review sites, forums and videos to see what people are saying about the boat. Check for consistent complaints about it in any particular area at all, but look specifically for manufacturing issues. If a complaint arises consistently, know that you may deal with that problem too.

Try it before you buy it

See if you like how it drives/feels/handles. There is much to be said for personal comfort when it comes to boating – motorized and un-motorized. And if you can’t try it out, read reviews and watch videos about it to get a good idea about what it’s like.

For a motorized boat: Find out its engine history

If you’re looking for a motorized boat, find out about the maintenance history of the engine, and how many hours are on it. To check the hours, look at the number on the hour meter. Also, make sure the number shown is accurate – meaning make sure the meter is working properly. Just like with the miles on a car, boats’ engines see wear and tear based on mileage.

Find a trustworthy mechanic

Make sure you have a good mechanic you can trust to do repairs on any boat with an engine - unless you plan on repairing it yourself. Having someone you can trust will make all the difference. And if possible, bring along your mechanic when you are checking the boat out. Doing this will ensure you aren’t missing anything that could be costly in the long run.

Follow these steps, and remember to always look for the most durable boat you can find. With a little research, you’ll find a great one that will allow you to enjoy the water for years to come. Happy boating!