If you are thinking about buying a boat, it is important to consider where you intend to fish, as well as what you would like to catch before making a purchase. For example, some boats are designed for saltwater fishing while others are designed for freshwater fishing and bay areas. By learning more about the various kinds of boats available, you will be able to make an informed decision on your purchase.

When buying a boat, it is important to calculate the various costs that you can expect, including maintenance fees and boating insurance fees, as well as determining whether or not you would like to purchase a new or used boat. By exploring finance options, you will be better prepared for your big purchase.

The Most Common Types of Fishing Boats

There are several types of fishing boats from which to choose, but depending on where or what you intend to fish, certain boats may better serve your needs. Therefore, it is important to review the most common boat types that you will likely encounter, in order to determine the best fishing boat for you.

Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat is not only great for fishing, but it is considered a luxury boat that can be used for any outing on the water, including for activities such as water skiing, tubing and wakeboarding. This type of boat is both stylish and comfortable, along with various amenities and angling accessories built right into the boat. Pontoon boat engines vary in power, in order to tackle both on and offshore fishing and watersport activities.

Jon Boats

A Jon boat is a type of smaller boat that has a flat bottom, making it the perfect watercraft for fishing in ponds, small rivers and even shallow lakes. This type of boat is small, lightweight and easily transported. An excellent boat for first-time owners, these boats can either be manually powered by a small trolling motor or an outboard engine. Due to its smaller size, these boats generally accommodate two or three people, and are designed for inland fishing.

Bow Rider Boats

A bowrider boat is a popular choice among a variety of boaters, as these boat types are versatile and, depending on the brand, they can be used for inland or offshore fishing. This type of boat will generally seat a set number of people (typically four to five); however, some brands do feature larger boats that can accommodate more people. In addition to fishing, this boat can also be used for towable watersport activities.

Bay Boats/Skiffs

Bay boats are incredibly affordable and versatile, making them perfect for freshwater or inshore saltwater fishing. These boats average a length of 16 to 24 feet, and often feature small, economical outboard motors with a horsepower of 100 to 200.

Bass Boat

Bass boats specialize in bass fishing, as well as any other type of panfish, such as bluegill. They are designed to be used on freshwater rivers and lakes, rather than saltwater fishing. However, this type of boat can often be costly, due to its sleek and fast nature. This boat is generally between 16 and 25 feet in length, and engine power may vary, but is typically between 50 and 300 horsepower.

Cabin Cruiser Boats

Cabin cruiser boats are perfect for lengthy outings, as most boats include a sleeping and cooking area below the deck. These boats offer versatile fishing and watersport activities, and are usable primarily in saltwater areas that are deep enough to accommodate the boat. Depending on the boat’s size, the boat may be able to accommodate up to 10 people.

Saltwater Fishing Boats Vs. Offshore Fishing Boats

When reviewing fishing boats, it is important to know that only specific boats are designed for offshore fishing. These boats will typically be larger, and have a wider beam. This type of boat also accommodates more passengers, and will generally have a more powerful engine, in order to handle the sea. When looking at offshore boats, it is important to review safety features and stability, as well as ensure that the boat has a T-Top. The largest difference between offshore and inland boats is that boats that are designed to go offshore are designed to allow you to go out further, and stay out longer.

Additional Costs to Consider When Buying a Boat

If you are considering buying a boat, it is worth reviewing the additional costs that you will face outside of the cost of the actual boat itself. With any boat purchase, you should expect to pay fees such as:

  • Titling and registration fees.
  • Taxes.
  • Fuel costs.
  • Annual tune-ups and boat maintenance costs, including regular oil changes, propeller repairs or replacements and winterization (depending on where you live).
  • Unexpected maintenance costs.

When buying a boat, you may need to carry boat owner’s insurance. This is most commonly required when getting a loan for your purchase; however, a boat owner’s policy is strongly encouraged, even if you are not required to obtain one. A boat can be a steep investment, and the best way to protect your investment is by having adequate boat insurance, including coverage for fire, theft, vandalism and physical damage. Depending on the state in which you live, you may also be legally required to carry a certain level of boating insurance.

Financial Options When Purchasing a Fishing Boat

When purchasing any type of fishing boat, you will need to consider your options, in terms of finances. Unless you can purchase a boat outright, you will likely need to obtain a loan for your boat purchase. While having the amount of cash needed to buy a boat outright allows you to avoid monthly payments and interest charges, lump-sum payments are not always an option for prospective buyers.

Should you need to obtain finance to buy a boat, it is worth reviewing multiple lenders in order to find the best finance options. Your financing rates (and approval rates) will depend on your income, credit score, credit history and debt-to-income ratio. Your loan term can also influence the amount that you will need to pay each month, and over the course of your loan. While longer loans may offer lower monthly payments, these loans will cost more over the life of the loan, due to interest payments each month. When seeking financing, it is also important to keep in mind that most lenders will require a minimum down payment of at least 10 percent of the sale price of the boat.

When reviewing fishing boats, it is also worth considering whether you would like to purchase a new boat or a used boat. Used boats in good condition can potentially save you several thousand dollars. However, you should always have an inspection performed on any boat that you intend to purchase before finalizing your purchase – especially a used boat.