Boat Float Blog

Finding the Right Boat Fit

family on a boat

By meg

December 12, 2022

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision. You’re ready to buy a recreational boat, but you’re not exactly sure which kind. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re serious about buying a boat, including the obvious ones about budget and finances, but have you thought about what about what type of activities you like and plan on using the boat for? What kind of car or truck you’ll need to tow your boat? How about how many people do think you’ll be usually taking out on the water with you—the entire family or just you and some fishing buddies?

There’s a lot more thought that should go into a boat other than deciding you want one and then go shopping that weekend. There are so many different types of boats available that choosing the right one for you can be a tough decision. Some boats are more specialized than others, and may be perfect for one activity, such as freshwater fishing, watersports, or sailing but they’re entirely inappropriate for another type of activity.

Luckily there are a lot of models that are more general-purpose in nature. Below is a list of popular general recreational type boats and the activities associated with them to give you some help in answering the question “What boat is right for me?” and finding out if the boat you want is actually the boat you’ll need.

All-Purpose Fishing Boats For the fisherman in you that likes versatility, whether you’re casting for bass or bowfin.

Aluminum Fishing Boats Light, rugged, and easy to transport, aluminum fishing boats are very popular among a wide range of anglers.

Bass Boats Highly-specialized fishing boats for bass fishing.

Bay Boats/Flats Boats The perfect boat for light tackle and fly fishermen.

Bowriders Also called runabouts, bowriders are the perfect family boat for enjoying the water from watersports to tooling around the lake.

Cabin Cruisers Consider these when you’re looking for a mini-vacation home on the water and want to add some luxury to your water adventure.

Center Consoles These boats are medium-sized, trailerable, and commonly used for freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, and day cruising.

Cuddy Cabins Cuddy cabin boats let you enjoy the open air and sunshine, while still providing some shelter when you need it with a cabin on the bow.

Deck Boats Deck boats are ideal when you’re looking for something bigger than a bowrider. Deck boats have a lot of deck space perfect for a big crew, seating, amenities and stowage.

Dinghies A type of small boat, often carried or towed by a larger vessel and are usually rowboats and are perfect if you need transportation from the dock to a mooring or a mini-boat a dinghy.

Fish-and-Ski These boats are based on a runabout or deck boat and supports casual angling to family boating, with either outboard or sterndrive.

High Performance Boats If day-cruising and speeding are your style, a high performance boat may be the boat in your future.

Inflatables An inflatable boat is a small open boat powered by oars, motor, or sails. It’s a versatile craft that’s easy to deploy with many styles to choose from.

Jet Boats Fun and sporty. Today’s Jet Boats are more than oversized personal watercraft (PWC). They’re full-size family runabouts with the same bounty of features and amenities found in today’s sterndrives.

Motor Yachts/Power Cruisers Luxury on the water at its best. With one or two engines for primary propulsion, this allows you to cruise farther for longer periods of time.

Multi-Hull Powerboats Generally referred to as power catamarans or power cats because most of these designs ride on two hulls. They offer more deck and cabin space, tend to be more fuel efficient, and they’re very stable at rest.

Personal Watercrafts (PWCs) A PWC is a small pleasure craft that uses an inboard jet drive as its primary source of propulsion and is designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on the PWC rather than inside the pleasure craft. Perfect for those looking for a serious adrenaline rush.

Pontoon Boats The modern pontoon boats aren’t what they used to be—they’re a whole lot more fun and perfect for day cruising and watersports. More than a party boat, they can offer hours of different water activities making this a perfect choice for basically unlimited activities.

Sailboats Sailboats can run the gamut in size, from the simplest dinghy to the most prestigious “tall ship” but what they all have in common is harnessing the wind for their power. A great way to feel the power of the elements and be one with the water!

Ski Boats/Wake Boats If water skiing or wakeboarding is your thing, this is the boat for you. Whereas water skiing requires the smallest, flattest wakes possible, wakeboarders want the biggest wave they can get. Ski boats/wake boats will definitely get the party started.

Sportfishing Yachts Big-game sportfishing enthusiasts will feel right at home in a sport fishing yacht. It’s ideal for tackling those river monsters. Sportfisher yachts are built with game-fish in mind and can give you speed, comfort, stability, and reliability.

Trawlers Originally designed for long-distance cruising and in many cases, living aboard for significant stretches of time, trawlers are perfect if you’re the kind of person who believes that half the fun is in getting to where you’re headed.

Walkarounds These boats offer a small open cabin providing an unobstructed view around the bow to the front. It’s perfect for fishing or if you just feel like weekending and doing some cruising.

Naturally, a big part of what makes a boat ideal for you and your family depends on how you’ll be using it. If you’re still unsure, don’t rush into buying something that won’t give you all of what you’re looking for on the water. If you think you’ve found “the one” or a few strong possibilities, take your time, read over the list again and enjoy some shopping to make sure you find the perfect fit. And no matter style of boat you descide upon…we can help you build out a dock solution that fits as well.

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