What is the Best Boat to Own?
Lots of Boats to Choose
What Boat Do you Want?
The first thing any perspective boat owner should ask themselves is what do they want to do with a boat if they purchase a vessel. The answer to this question will help you narrow down what is the best boat to own as all boats are designed for very specific uses. While it is easy to say you want to have a boat that can do everything, there is no boat that is perfect for fishing rivers, going out to ocean, and being a suitable platform for just a lazy day floating at the local lake. Each boating activity has specific requirements which will impact what is the perfect boat for you. The following details should help you identify the characteristics of different types of watercraft so you can narrow down your choices. Being a boater can be a very fun thing and if you have an awesome boat that fits your needs that is well maintained you can really enjoy the few hours each month that you actually get to use it.
Different Types of VesselsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Types of Boat Hulls
One of the big determining factor of what is the right boat for you is to consider the shape of the hull.
The following are the most popular hull types. Certain racing boats and other high performance boats have specialized hull configurations, however those are not the types of boats the average boat owner would be selecting.
Flat Bottom - The flat bottom hull is generally considered a planning hull that will ride flat on the surface of the water. these are great in calmer water such as lakes a mild rivers, but can be dangerous in choppy water and will result in a “rough” ride when there is chop on the surface. If you do not want to spend a lot on gas and just need a simple fishing boat or something to put around the lake these are perfect and can run well on a small horsepower motor or even just an electric trolling motor. Many lower end fishing boats are made with a flat bottom design. The typical “John Boat” design is likely the most popular boat style for simple fishing and is a flat bottom boat.
Round Bottom Hull - The round bottom hull which is considered a displacement style due to the boats lower position in the water which pushed the boat through the water versus planning on the surface for faster speeds. These types of boats are easier to maneuver compared to the flat hulls at slow speeds on the water. Many pleasure boat models, live aboard boats, and even canoes and kayaks are designed with round bottom hulls.
Deep V Hull - The Deep V hull is most easily described as a combination of a flat bottom and round bottom and is the design most used for power boats. The boat will ride lower in the water in a displacement type position while moving the boat at slow speeds, but will easily ride on the surface of the water in a planning style during faster operation of the vessel. Due to the v shape of the hull the boat is much easier to drive in higher speeds than a flat bottom and maintain control due to the fact that it can get grip in the water for turning easier. Performance fishing vessels as well as the typical ski and wake board boat generally incorporate the deep v hull design.
Pontoon - The pontoon boat hull design is manufactured for pure laziness. The boat has two or more large stabilizing pontoons on the side with a large flat platform for lounging on. Most pontoon boats are set up with nice chairs and benches and even covers and lots of space for coolers, etc. The pontoon boat is not super easy to navigate during rough conditions, but they are built for being stable even during some chop and make a great base camp on the water. If you already own a jetski and are looking for another boat to increase your leisure capabilities at the lake a pontoon hull boat may be the perfect place to take the party too after zooming around the lake.
If you are looking for a great fishing boat there are so many different styles to choose from.
The flat bottom aluminum "John Boat" style boats are perfect for casual fisherman that want to enjoy a day on the lake. These boats generally have a single small boat motor to move the boat around and can be great for trolling for trout or fishing for bass or other warm water species.
If you demand to have a larger range and fish waters that may be more rough than a larger rough water boat that is built with a deep v hull will be on your list. Bass fisherman tend to prefer to have a boat with a very flat deck that is easy to stand on, lined with carpet and will have both a large outboard motor and a trolling motor. The outboard is used to move around the lake and the trolling motor is used while fishing to control the vessel. Bass boats tend to made out of fiberglass and are built to go fast when on plane with the main engine. Some common bass boat brands include Ranger Boats, Triton Boats, Skeeter, and Bass Cat. Other fishing vessels are built for trolling plugs and bait such as a salmon fishing boat which will also be made with a deep v hull but not designed for high end speed. These boats will be made out of aluminum and have higher walls to allow them to fish in much rougher water. Instead of a trolling motor these boats tend to have a kicker motor which is a small 5 - 15 horsepower motor that is used when fishing. Popular brands include Alumaweld, North River, and Willie Boats. Some of these boats are built with a cover and others are built in the sled fashion with no fixed cover.
Ocean Fishing Vessels
If you want to fish in the ocean than you likely will want to have a large fiberglass boat. There is two types of engines systems for most ocean fishing vessels. The most common is the inboard / outboard engine. These are large engines that you would see in a car or truck and can be maintained in much the same fashion except that they are on a boat. the second which has become more popular in recent years is using a traditional outboard motor, and specifically a 4 stroke engine which will provide better fuel economy. Most ocean fishing boats are no shorter than 21 feet and can be upwards of 40+ feet long. Most sport boats do not exceed this length of course there are commercial fishing boats that are significantly larger but these are generally not a good solution for the average fisherman that wants to fish in the salt.
A few popular brands for ocean fishing boats are: Grady White, Bertram, Striper, Trophy, Parker, and there many many more out there.
The cruiser boats are built with round hull designs and are meant to be excellent pleasure boats. These boats usually have a below deck cabin that is perfect for sleeping on and many people turn these types of boats into getaway cabins at the lake or river. A cruiser will be built with an inboard / outboard engine and be a great platform for having a good time hanging out with friends. Depending on the accessories that you choose to include you can make your average leisure cruising boat into an impressive yacht or you can keep it more simple its all about how you want to spend your time out on the water.
Perfect Boat for Chilling
Party boats also known as Pontoon boats are just floating platforms that are perfect for housing all of your water toys for the kids or coolers full of adult beverages. These boats will have an outboard engine with a motor usually between 40 and 90 horsepower and an anchor system that is easy to manipulate for perfect lakeside parking. If you want to camp at the lake with your boat this can be the boat for you. Pack all of your gear up and head out into a remote part of the lake and sleep on the deck of the pontoon boat. Most have an adjustable cover so you can have a way to get out of the direct sunlight during the heat of the summer day.
Ski and Wakeboard
A well powered ski or wakeboard boat is an awesome way to enjoy the warm months from spring through the fall. Kids love being pulled in inner tubes and other devices behind the boat. Most of these boats are equipped with an inboard / outboard motor due to the fact that they are designed for pulling a person behind and an outboard can get in the way of the rope. These boats have a deep v hull and are designed for pushing up a nice wake behind the boat so that the person has a wave to ride on.
What is Best for You
What Kind of Boat Do You Want
Man Powered Watercraft
There are a few different options for man powered watercraft. Like all boats some are better for certain activities and so you need to know how you will be using it, in order to pick the best man powered boat for your needs.
- Float Tubes - These are large inner tubes with a harness system. The person sits halfway in the water and has fins on their feet. These are perfect for fishing in small ponds and along the shores of local lakes where launching a regular boat would be difficult.
- Kickboat / Pontoon - Similar to the float tube, but the angler sits on a chair out of the water. Their feet are still in the water with fins for maneuverability however they also have oars that can be used to travel farther distances and cover more water than is possible in the float tube.
- Kayak - A single or two person vessel kayaks are paddled and can be a very efficient way of enjoying the local waterway.
- Canoe - Similar to the kayak but the top is open instead of enclosed like a kayak and can generally hold up to 4 people. Instead of a two sided paddle for a kayak, each person on a canoe has a paddle with a handle and one paddle on the end.
- Drift boat & Rowboat - Traditional shaped boats generally made out of wood or aluminum and powered by oars. Drift boats are specially designed rowboat style craft that are intended to be drifted down rivers and are made for going through that type of water.