Your Guide to Buying a Fishing Boat

There are countless types of boats to choose from when picking a new vessel for your fishing needs. Whether you are browsing through all of the new boats for sale or want to buy a pre-owned boat, weighing a few different factors will help you reach the right decision. Overall the type of fishing you want to do, as well as your price range, will be the deciding factors. 

Even when looking at cheap boats for sale, it’s important to keep in mind that owning a boat is an expensive endeavor. If you are serious about fishing, though, owning your own vessel can be the next step in realizing your goals and opening up new fishing opportunities in the future. Below, learn more about choosing the best boat for your needs and discover how to make the right decision. 

What are the best types of boats for fishing

When looking at fishing boats for sale, you will quickly realize that there are seemingly endless varieties to choose from. Some boats are specifically suited for saltwater fishing, while others are more for freshwater sports. However, certain styles can be used for either any of fishing depending on their size and design. Generally speaking, most saltwater fishing boats are larger in size than those for freshwater fishing. Overall, common boat styles include the following: 

  • Bowriders
  • Center console
  • Deck boats
  • Pontoons 
  • Jet boats
  • Walkaround boats
  • Convertibles
  • Bass boats

As you are researching your options, you will find that some boats are multi-purpose. For example, deck boats are great for watersports or fishing due to their large deck size and high-power engines.

Boat Features to Consider 

For most people, the best types of boats for fishing will have a deck that provides easy access to the water, as well as storage solutions for rods and other equipment. Ultimately, the ideal boat for you will depend on what kind of fishing you want to do and whether you plan on using your boat for any other activities. For example, many anglers prefer a boat that can double as a family-friendly vessel when it’s not being used for fishing. 

With that in mind, there are countless boat features to consider when picking the best option. As you look at different boats for sale, make sure to think about these design features: 

  • The hull style and material, such as fiberglass, aluminum or wood
  • The engine type and capacity
  • The boat’s overall size and passenger capacity. 
  • The deck layout and size
  • Sticker price and operating costs, such as the cost to insure, maintain and store the boat
  • Whether the boat is towable or easily transported

Where can I find fishing boats for sale near me

Once you’ve decided on the type of fishing boat you want, it’s time to start comparison shopping. Where you shop for your first boat will depend on whether you want a new or used vessel. For example, if you are looking at new boats for sale, you will generally stick to dealerships. Keep in mind that the dealership you work with may have just as much of an impact on your experience as the type of boat you ultimately choose.

If you want to find a used fishing boat for sale, you have access to a wider variety of sellers. Used boats can be found just about anywhere, and you can find sellers in the classified section of a local publication or through other advertisements. There are also a variety of websites dedicated to providing used boat listings.

When looking at any fishing boat for sale, it’s crucial to think about how you will finance your purchase. Depending on the cost of your ideal boat, it may be worth getting prequalified for a loan before heading to a dealership.

How to Inspect a New Boat for Sale 

Buying a fishing boat is a bit different than buying a car or any other type of vehicle, but you will end up going through a similar process before signing any agreements. After finding a boat that you are seriously considering, take the following steps before finalizing your purchase: 

  • Visually inspect all of the major components, such as the engine, fuel system, hull, bilge (inside of the hull), electrical system and steering mechanisms. 
  • Test out the components to ensure that they work, or hire a professional surveyor to go over everything. 
  • Take the boat on a sea trial to make sure you enjoy the ride and are comfortable with its controls. 

How to Close the Deal on a New Fishing Boat 

Once you find a boat that checks all of your boxes, it’s time to seal the deal. Price negotiations are part of just about any boat purchase, so you should be prepared. Don’t forget that the cost includes more than just the sticker price. Additional features, warranties, dealer fees, taxes and other expenses may come as a surprise if you’re not ready for them. 

Your options for warranties and other extras may be somewhat limited if you are buying used. However, new boats for sale will oftentimes be offered with a variety of items that are not included automatically. Be sure to ask for the full package that you want before finalizing the sale.

What to Do After Buying a New Boat for Fishing 

Many types of boats are expensive not just to buy, but to own. As soon as you finalize your purchase, it’s important to get your boat insured and registered. If you plan on storing your boat at a marina, you should also make arrangements for this as soon as possible. 

If your vessel is missing any features, such as rod storage, coolers or other accessories, make sure you install these before getting out on the water so that you can get the most out of your purchase. Finally, make sure the boat has enough life vests on board for any passengers who may ride with you. 

Another important step to take after buying a new fishing boat is to make a maintenance schedule. For example, many boats need oil changes and routine engine work to ensure that they’re always in top-notch condition. No matter what type of boat you have, it will also need to be cleaned and waxed regularly to keep it looking and performing its best.