buying a boat


Recreational boating is riding a wave of popularity.

Over 87 million adults in the U.S. participate in some boating activity, whether for fishing, travel, or fun. An astounding 11.87 million boats were registered in the year 2015. The total value of boats sold the following year reached a whopping $3.6 billion.

You know you want to get in on this exciting hobby. But the question you’re likely asking yourself is, “what kind of boat should I buy?”

Before you let the options overwhelm you, let’s dive in!

What Kind of Boat Should I Buy?

Well, this all depends on what you want to use your boat for.

Ask yourself a few crucial questions before you begin shopping around. (And shop around you should — don’t forget to compare and contrast like crazy.)

How large (or small) would you like your boat to be?

Do you intend to take day trips? Or overnight it?

What is your primary reason for wanting to buy a boat? Maybe it’s for watersports; maybe it’s for fishing. Or perhaps you want to spread your sails and enjoy a leisurely, exhilarating ride with the wind at your back.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start looking at the different types of boats on the market.

What Types of Boats Are There?

The variety of boats is massive — but for this buying guide, we’ll stick to some main categories. Feel free to research any of these further for style references, speed, length, price, and more. Each class offers a plethora of choices.


These boats are not exactly for the novice, but don’t be scared to learn! This option becomes a worthwhile skill that can last a lifetime and can take you on serious adventures.

Sails almost entirely propel sailboats, so you’ll need to master the art of working with the wind.


This is a broad platform boat that’s supported by aluminum tubes. This type of boat is excellent for large groups who want to take their time and keep leisure levels high. They’re also perfect for fishing.

Pontoons commonly range in size from 15 to 30 feet, giving you many size options.


This type of boat is very common and typically considered a runabout. They range in size from about 14 to 24 feet in length. This is a great all-around option since it’s acceptable for watersports, fishing, cruising, and the like.

For more info, this page covers even more options in the powerboat category: sport yachts, walkarounds, etc.


Bowriders are in the same category of runabouts. They offer more open space in the helm, providing an open bow with room for extra seating. These boats are great for beginners, families, and those who want to entertain a group of people.

Bowriders sit between 17 and 30 feet long.

See You on the Water!

By now, you should’ve answered the pressing question “what kind of boat should I buy?”

If you’re still unsure, take the time to do further research. A boat is a significant investment, and you want to make sure you’ve made the right decision — before signing the check.

Check out the rest of our page for boat reviews and more to help you make up your mind.

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