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What Is A Good First Boat To Buy

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What Is A Good First Boat To Buy – I’ve been there and know the challenge when it comes to selecting what will be a major purchase.

Let’s face it when it comes to buying your first boat it can be a bit stressful. So many to choose from and they are not cheap.

So we are here to help you decide on what is a good first boat to buy.

First things first, you will need to decide on what type of boat fits you best. Why do you want a boat? What will you be doing on the boat etc?

Finding out your purpose for your boat such as platoon boats, cruiser boats, fishing boats or maybe you want a speed boat.

Once you figure that outlook into what you feel will be best for you.

Below we will cover a few topics on boats to help you decide what you feel might work for you.

Best Family Boat For The Money

If you’re looking for a family boat no worries, we got you covered. A family boat will be much larger and in that case, ill cost a pretty penny. So we will show you some of the best family boats for the money so you don’t waste a ton of money on your first boat.

Bayliner Boats ranging from $7,000 – $15,000 would be a good starter family boat for the money.

Four Winns boats that run under $12,000 is another option

Four Winns boats

Glastron boats running from $2,000 – $11,000 is another one to consider.

Glastron boats

Monterey Boats if money is not a big deal finding a Monterey boat under $29000 is something to consider.

Princecraft Boats this is another great option for a family boat

Princecraft Boats

Scarab Jet Boats maybe a nice speed family boat but do keep in mind this will cost ya!

Scarab Jet Boats

Best Cheap Boats

We all love a deal but we need to be realistic. For most of us, boats are not cheap but with a little due diligence, you could score a nice cheap boat with the right amount of effort such as buying a used boat.

Realistically buying a used boat would be your best bet when it comes to finding a cheap boat. However, there are a few options for brand new that could run a bit on the cheaper side.

I don’t know if these could actually be considered a “boat” but they will get you into the water for less than a grand.

Here is a list of what we consider to be the “best cheap boats”

Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat With Motor Mount

Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat With Motor Mount

Newport Vessels 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat

Newport Vessels 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Dinghy Boat

Sun Dolphin Water Tender Row Boat

Sun Dolphin Water Tender Row Boat

Aquos Heavy-Duty

Aquos Heavy-Duty

Sea Eagle FishSUP 126

Sea Eagle FishSUP 126


Worst Boat Brands

We would hate to name and shame a company. For that reason, we won’t be directly stating what we feel are the worst boat brands to avoid. However, we did find a forum with a discussion going on about this topic and what better than to take the advice of other boat owners who can share their experience. Click Here to visit the forum thread

Best First Bay Boat

So maybe it’s a bay boat or center console boat you’re after. Here are some first time bay boats you may want to consider.

  • Boston Whaler 170 Montauk
  • Scout 175 Sportfish
  • Grady-White Fisherman 180
  • Contender 22 Sport
  • Everglades 230CC

The source can be found here:

They have a great write up on these bay boats. We suggest taking a look at it.

The Best Boat Under 20k

When it comes to boats under 20k there are a lot of options, first, you’d want to know if you want to get something brand new or something used.

For this sake, we are going to focus on brand new boats that run under $20,000.

Bennington 208SF

Bennington 208SF

Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC

Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC

Grizzly 1860 CC

Grizzly 1860 CC

Bayliner Element E18

Bayliner Element E18

Bayliner VR5

Bayliner VR5

Boats Under 5000 lbs

For whatever reason it may be, you may be in the market for a boat that will weigh less than 5000 lbs. Of course, we at got you covered. Here are a few boats that weigh less than 5000 lbs.

  • Pioneer 19
  • Mojito Panga 23
  • Tideline 18
  • Robalo Cayman 20

Boat Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have answered your question on “what is a good first boat to buy” let’s get more in-depth with a boat buying guide so that you don’t waste your time and money.

Hopefully, you are at the point where you have more of an idea on what type of boat will fit you. So let’s get into the boat buying guide.

Before You Buy

The first step is determining and establishing your budget for your boat. By getting together your budget it will help you on deciding if you want to go brand new or buying a pre-owned boat.


Next, you will want to figure out the size of your first boat. Here are some things to take into consideration when determining which size boat you should get.

  • People: How many people do you plan to take with you. Is it you and a few friends or do you want something large enough to fit family and friends?
  • Location: Where will you be using your boat? In a lake? In the open ocean? If you plan to use your boat in the ocean, of course, you’d want a good saltwater boat capable of handling the rough waters.
  • Towing: Always keep this in mind, if you plan to haul your boat around, will your vehicle be able to handle the towing of your boat.
  • Storage: a lot of people overlook storage. If you plan to do open water saltwater fishing then chances are you’ll be bringing up some large game fish. You’ll want a boat that has sufficient storage.


Now let’s take a look at what the purpose of your boat will be for. If you plan to do wakeboarding activities then chances are you’ll want a boat that will support this type of activity. Maybe you plan to use your boat to fish or do some deep sea diving. Deciding on the types of activities you plan to do with your boat will save you a lot of time and money.

Here is a list of boating activities you’d want to consider.

  • Watersports
  • Saltwater Fishing
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Overnight Cruising
  • Day Cruising

Financing Options

Boating can become very expensive, hopefully, by now you have narrowed down your selection. The next step, if you can’t afford to pay cash for your boat is to look into the different financing options out there.

Also keep in mind other purchases that come with owning a boat such as:

  • Insurance
  • Docking or storage fees
  • Trailers
  • accessories
  • Life jackets

These should all be a part of your checklist and should be entered into consideration when setting your budget.

Click here if you are looking for a loan

Inspecting the Boats

Great, got almost everything down from above now it’s time to inspect the boat. It is extremely important to have a thorough inspection of all major components especially the engine, propeller, steering, electrical and fuel tank.

Test drive the boat

Just like vehicles, boats should be test driven before purchasing. Think about the people you will be bringing on the boat. It’s always a good idea to have the number of people you plan to take on your boat trips in your test drive as well. The boat may seem fine during a test run with 1 or 2 people but what happens when you purchase the boat and later down the line find out that the engine has no horsepower.

Boat Surveys

Because this is a huge purchase they have independent marine surveyors which are similar to a home inspector. This is perfect for first-time boat owners because a surveyor will inspect the boat from top to bottom and inside and out.

What to Look for in Your Boat Inspection

If you decide to do the inspection on your own here are a few things to look for when inspecting the boat.

  • Turn it on (see if there is any stall when turning it on)
  • Make sure all lights work
  • Check the gauges
  • Ensure that all the electronic parts work
  • Run the engine at full throttle
  • Open all lockers and storage units
  • Look for any loose screws
  • Check the fiberglass work
  • Check for gaps for rain

Final Costs

Keep in mind that there could be a few additional costs that aren’t listed with the sale of the boat.

Such cost could be dealer fees, registration or insurance. Also, accessories, storage, and upkeep should all be discussed with your boat dealer to disclose the full cost of the boat.

Boat Accessories

Always ask about any boat accessories. A lot of time, they will include a safety kit with your purchase such as life jackets, etc.


Delivery and Ownership

Be sure to ask your boat dealer about the delivery. Always ask about scheduled maintenance and or repairs. Ask about a boater-education course in your area to learn the basic seamanship skills and acquire as much knowledge as possible. On a side note, if you complete a boater education course it could possibly get you a discount on your boat insurance.

Be Safe and Enjoy

Finally! Go out and enjoy your new boat. Hit the water, have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime.

How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?

Let’s face it, you are going to be coming across other boats. So how exactly do you safely pass a fishing boat?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Bayliner boats so cheap?

Due to its wide availability, their value depreciates drastically. Buying a used Bayliner is much cheaper than buying a new one. They are popular boats and do not sell for higher prices because of that. This is one thing prospective buyers are going to want to keep in mind when they look at buying boats.

Are boats a waste of money?

If you do not overshoot your target, boats are a safe investment. Nothing trumps the pleasure of spending time on the water if you study your options and go for a vessel that you can afford. A boat, however may certainly be a bad investment as well. A rule of thumb is to only buy in cash a cruise that you can afford to pay for.

How many hours is a lot for a boat?

When a boat is 10-15 years old, it is most likely that 200-300 hours is not enough. For a boat of that age, you would like to see that amount closer to 500 or more. Generally speaking, it has had a hard life for 1000 hours on an inboard petrol V8 putting out 350hp or more in a large sports cruiser (think 25ft or larger).


We hope we answered your question on What Is A Good First Boat To Buy. As always, we hope we at have provided you with valuable information. It is always important to be safe while boating and do your own due diligence as well. If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read up on Best Inflatable Life Vest For Fishing Or since you’re looking into boats maybe you’d also be interested in Best Boat Shoes For Fishing. As always, be sure to bookmark us for more valuable fishing, spearfishing, and outdoor activities. Have a safe journey and be sure to go through your checklist before purchasing a boat!

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