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What Is The Best Bay Boat For The Money

Skimmer Skiffs 146 Flats Boat

Buying a Bay Boat? Top Contender for the $Money$ – SEAPRO 248

We love that the Skimmer Skiff 146 gets you out on a fiberglass shallow-water fishing machine with a mere four inches of draft. A $8,750 buy-in gets you the rolled-edge version with a 20 horse Tohatsu outboard and a trailer. Take the remaining $1,250 and choose options ranging from rod holders to fishboxes. We also love the all-composite construction, full height transom, and easy to handle 275-pound displacement. Youll have to plan in the cost of some additional but basic must-have features like a bilge pump and stainless-steel cleats , but Skimmers totally custom outfitting means you wont be paying for extra items you dont want in the first place.

Visit SkimmerSkiff Boats, to learn more.

The Sun Dolphin Pro 102 is shockingly efficient at taking you to the fish, at an extremely reasonable price-point.

Examining Price Vs Cost

Hang out long enough at a boat show, and you’ll hear a tire-kicker exclaim to his or her spouse or just a random passerby, “Who pays this much for a boat?” Usually he or she is standing in the vicinity of a flashy center-console or a luxury-filled motoryacht. And the answer is, well, no one does.

When shopping for boats, some consumers fall into the trap of equating the price of a boat with its cost. But the true cost of a boat is the difference between what you pay for it, and the money you get when you sell it, plus the operational and finance costs of ownership not what it says on the sticker.

Most of us won’t ever keep a boat for anything close to its lifetime, on average trading up or in within five to seven years. And to be fair, when you’re trying to buy a boat, the last thing on your mind is the day you’ll sell it. But sell it you will. So it pays to think about resale value before you buy.

Price is just one factor in the cost equation, and in fact, it’s easy to envision a scenario in which a boat with a lower price ends up costing you more. We’ll assume for the moment you’re comparing two boats of roughly equal size, so most of those operational costs are so similar as to be a wash, and you can write them off as sunk and ignore them for comparison purposes.

Michael Vatalaro

What Size Boat Do You Need

Again, your primary use cases will drive much of the decision making here. If watersports are your main concern, smaller boats with enough power in the engines to pull skiers and wakeboarders is a common option.

If fishing is your aim, youll want to consider where you plan to do most of your fishing. For inshore fishing, smaller flats boats and bay boats are common options as they enable you to get to shallow, hard-to-reach fishing spots. If your goal is to get offshore, the deep-V hulls and outboard power of center consoles will get the job done. Depending on your comfort level and needs, the size of the center console you need will vary. You can go as small as 20 feet or go 30 feet and up. The larger you go, the more capabilities and the rougher seas you can handle, but of course, the price goes up as well.

For versatile family fun, bowriders and dual consoles of all sizes can work well . Dual consoles on the larger end of the spectrum will enable going offshore when handling rougher seas. If youre sticking to family fun on freshwater lakes, bowriders, deck boats and pontoons anywhere from 17 ft. up to 25 ft. can be sufficient.

Additionally, your price will vary widely based on the age of the boat. While newer boats will cost more, they also typically come with some form of a warranty that can be quite helpful.

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Can You Live On The Ocean For Free

Theoretically, its possible to live on a boat for free. Youll need to become self-sufficient: invest in free energy and water, find free food sources, avoid taxes you only anchor in free locations. This is also called seasteading. In practice, it will be difficult to keep your cost of living down.

The Pontoon Boat Buyers Guide

Choosing the Best Bay Boat for the Money

Now that youve gone through our list of the best pontoon boats money can buy , go deeper into the subject with our guidelines to choosing the right pontoon boat for your needs.

Remember that pontoon boats are also generally easy to maintain, but they require some rinsing down the right kind of boat paint at least every other season.

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Ski Boats/wake Boats: Four Winns Hd 200 Surf

Towed watersports have exploded with popularity in the past decade, and its no wonder why. Whether youre surfing the wakes or practicing slalom skiing, watersports make for fast-paced and exciting athletic action. If youve shopped for dedicated watersports boats, however, you may have noticed that they can be on the expensive side. That doesnt necessarily have to be the case. New tech in drive units and boat designs has made it possible for many manufacturers to offer lower cost boats that work great for sports like surfing and water skiing.

The Four Winns HD 200 Surf is a great example, since it has everything needed in a serious watersports boat , but it doesnt edge too much above the $50,000 mark.

Alumacraft Classic 165 Sport

This boat is equipped with lots of storage and facilities. With a dry weight of 955 pounds, it can easily be towed on a single axle trailer behind a bicycle. This fishing boat consists of various amenities like interior courtesy lights, Livewell lights, and stowable running lights. There are grab handles for the seats on each gunnel and in front, with storage on either side. The helm has a single row of system switches to the right and a gauge cluster to the wheels left. You will also find a massive 34-gallon live well on the bow, which acts as the biggest bow platform storage. There are two storage hatches near the center seat base.

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These Seven New Multipurpose Powerboats Offer Fun And Comfort For The Whole Family

There was a time when boats were just boats. If you weren’t a sailor, you were a powerboater, and if so, you were happy to have one any one, any size so you could buzz around the bay, cast a line, waterski, or do whatever you loved to do on the water.

Times change, and powerboats evolved into specialized niche designs specifically for lake or saltwater fishing, extended cruising, watersports, and more. When times were good, the lucky ones could afford multiple boats maybe one to go fishing with the guys on Saturday, another to tool around the lake or take a river cruise, then go for a swim with the family on Sunday.

Boat designers and builders have been trying to cram multipurpose utility into boats for years, but they’ve only recently refined them into truly multipurpose designs. One such trend, for lack of a better term, is the “family fish boat” a well-equipped fishing boat that has the creature comforts of a cruising day boat.

Sure, the integrated rod holders are there, but the freeboard is at the right height for leaning into with a rod, and those padded coaming bolsters at the transom fold down into a comfortable bench seat. In fact, there is a lot of seating all around, whether it’s a center-console or the re-emerging dual-console design along with a head and swim platform with freshwater wash down.

Whether you’re an angler who also likes to cruise or a cruiser who also enjoys casting a line, these new boats may offer the best of both worlds.

Bass Boats: Ranger Rt188p

Best Budget Family Boat for the Money! Best Boat for Lakes? Which Boat to Buy? Tahoe Boat

While well stipulate that there are some extremely expensive bass boats on the market, there are also plenty of lower-cost bass boats out there that are very competent fishing machines. They may not have the bling of models that are triple the cost, but boats like the Ranger RT188P have it where it counts: in the bass fishing department. This boat-motor-trailer package offers 115 horses, a fishfinder, a bow-mount trolling motor, multiple rodboxes and livewells, onboard tackle stowage, and an onboard battery charger. Even with all these big-ticket goodies included, base price is just $27,095. Oh, and did we mention that it looks great, too?

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The Best Family Boat: A Guide To Help You Buy The Perfect Boat For Your Family

Posted Date: 08/26/2019

When it comes to buying the best family boat, matching the right boat with your familys needs is an important step to ensuring you make the best long-term purchase that enables you and your family to make memories for years to come. Different boats do different things well, and different boats enable certain types of activities out on the water. As such, typically we start with how a family plans to use the boat and what that means for the type of boat that should be considered.

Activities on the water can range from freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, watersports, day cruising or overnight cruising. Considering how you plan to realistically use the boat with respect to these activities is a great starting point when considering the best family boat for you and your family members. After discussing the planned activities, its time to consider the type of boat to purchase. Lets review some of the popular options.

Pontoon boats are boats with wide-open decks that sit on aluminum logs which provide the stability and buoyancy. They typically are used in freshwater scenarios, although some of the higher end pontoon models can come with saltwater packages. Pontoons are very versatile and can be used for cruising and even watersports.

Freshwater And Saltwater Fishing

These medium-sized, trailer-able boats are generally used for boating activities like freshwater and saltwater fishing. Fishing with these boats is the name of the game.

True, some bay vessels would have a tow pylon option, and when the bite is slow, you could even use them to pull the children around on water-toys. But these boats are constructed for fishing, fishing, and more fishing, other than activities like that.

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Look At The Used Market To Get More For Your Money:

If you are really looking to get the most out of your dollar on your next pontoon or tritoon, consider a used boat.

One word of caution, dont just buy the first used pontoon you find that looks like a good deal. Be sure to inspect the used boat fully and use the free resources we provide.

Here are two must watch these videos if you are thinking of going the used pontoon or used tritoon route:

Boston Whaler 240 Vantage

Best Aluminum Fishing Boat For The Money 2019

Boston Whaler 240 Vantage

Boston Whaler calls its versatile 240 Vantage the Swiss Army knife of boating, based on its smart features and options for fishing, cruising, beaching, water sports and entertaining. A convertible ports-ide lounge adjusts to provide a variety of seating configurations, while theres a head and sink concealed in the boats stylish port-side console. The extra-wide bow provides further seating options, with room to spare. Upgrades including an integrated hard top and a glass helm allow buyers to personalize this boat exactly as they wish, making this one of the most versatile boats for families on our list.

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Family Boats Worth Considering

Versatile Bowrider: The Cobalt 23SC

The 23SC is a perfect blend of style, size and performance. This mid-sized, outboard bowrider is created to do it all well! With either a Yamaha or Mercury outboard, you can get into the shallowest of waters while not sacrificing performance and all the while keeping maintenance to a minimum. This vessel offers a built-in head under the port console to make sure your time on the water is not cut short, and in addition, offers not only a bow ladder for beach landings but also a stern ladder for easy access in and out of the water. .

Watersports: Cobalt R7WSS

The Cobalt R7WSS Surf boasts a massive cockpit, achieved by Cobalt’s ‘Free Space Reclamation’. With the plush, sporty performance you’ve come to expect from a Cobalt, the Cobalt R7WSS Surf certainly holds its own w/ a deep V hull design that’s as much at home in choppy intercostal waters, as it is for your favorite water sports. With the WSS Surf package the boat becomes even more versatile and gives you functionality water sport enthusiasts crave, including ballast tanks & one touch Surf settings. Building the perfect wake with the push of a button to Surf left or right. Simply engage Performance Mode, and the Surf system adjusts, and you’re enjoying the smooth, stable running of a deep-v Cobalt! .

Versatile Dual Console: EdgeWater 248CX

High Performing Center Console: EdgeWater 230CC

Versatile Center Console: Everglades 235CC

Comfortable Cruiser: Carver C34 Coupe

Best Bay Boats For The Money

August 9, 2017 by Paul Watson

There are more than 30 million fishers in the USA . And each of these fishers may have their own distinct idea of what comprises the supreme fishing experience. The fishing bay boats shown in this post will reflect such diversity.

Inshore fishing competitions spread like wild fire before the 2008 economic recession. Smiling professional fishers posed for the television cameras, sporting vibrant polyester jerseys like all those other ESPN heroes.

Bay boats targeted at inshore fisheries and designed with low freeboard, multiple fishing accoutrements, and moderate deadrise, grew popular over a decade ago. They were one of the strongest markets through the Great Recession, and these days, you can hardly cruise through a Gulf Coast inlet or a Florida coastal bay without seeing one or two or ten.


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Walkarounds: Striper 200 Walkaround Ob

Many people, especially parents with small kids, feel a cabin is a must-have whether they plan to go fishing, day cruising or spend a night or two camping aboard. And even the smallest of the walkarounds out there provide you with a place to sleep, protection from the weather, and somewhere to relieve yourself. Boats like the Striper 200 Walkaround OB check all those boxes. And listing an MSRP of $66,893, its certainly easier to afford than a cabin at the lake.

And dont forget people, while you could dedicate that boat budget to a car, vacations, or a pool, we think a boat has got all of those things beathands-down. Who would rather travel down the road, when open waterways beckon? Why restrict your recreation to short-lived vacations, when going boating is like taking a vacation each and every time you pull off the dock? Doesnt choosing a pool seem rather limiting, when your boat will provide you with countless places to take the plunge? Find the perfect boat for you, your family, and your budget, and youll never regret it.

Editor’s Note: Pricing is accurate as last date of publish, May 12, 2020. Please contact each boat manufacturers or your local boat dealer directly for the most updated pricing.

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Tips For Used Pontoon Or Tritoon Buyers:


If buying a used boat, considering who will handle your service needs is an important decision.

If doing yourself, where will you get the parts necessary?

If you are not comfortable doing all of the mechanical work, is there a service provider you can trust that has expertise working on the brand pontoon and more importantly the brand of motor?

It may seem like a small detail but in my experience considering these factors before making a buying decision will ensure a more enjoyable and longer time as a pontoon boater.

So, youve found out all the ways to save to get the most for your money on your pontoon or tri-toon, now here are some thoughts on add-ons or upgrades you may want to consider.

Options to Consider

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Tracker Grizzly 1860 Cc

We talked earlier about the advantages and disadvantages of an aluminum hull while discussing the G3, and those same attributes apply to the Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC. Heres one more bonus this boat provides: at the $15,995 MSRP , it delivers more room at lower cost than just about anything else. It has larger fore and aft casting decks than the others in this mix. It has a sizable cockpit, a relatively wide seven foot beam, is rated for up to seven people, and hauls 19 gallons of fuel. Size-wise, itll be tough to beat under the $20,000 mark. True, the relatively low seven-degree deadrise will be best suited to relatively calm waters, but it will also deliver excellent stability and very low draft. Visit Tracker Boats for more info, or to get an in-depth look at a similar model in a side-console version, read our Tracker Grizzly 1754 MVX SC review. Editor’s Update: Since the publication of this article pricing for the 1860 CC has increased by approximately $2,500, but the standard powerplant has been upgraded to 60 horsepower.

On small center console fishing boats, the powercat ride just can’t be beat.

Cuddy Cabins: Rinker 22mtx

If you like the idea of having a boat with a cabin and spending nights or weekends aboard is an option you desirebut spending big bucks on a yacht is nota cuddy cabin will likely prove ideal. Cuddies have all the basics you need like a berth to sleep on, basic restroom facilities, and sometimes even a compact galley , but theyre still small and simple enough to keep pricing down at reasonable levels. Just whats reasonable?

While cabin boats do tend to cost a bit more than open models, some like the Rinker 22MTX will cost less than many nice cars . Yet boats like this come fully-equipped with everything you need for memory-making mini-vacations.

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