Last Updated on February 12, 2022

If you’re a beginner who’s buying a boat for the first time, figuring out what kind to get can be a real pickle. Even with experienced boat owners, buying a new boat can come with all kinds of pressure and uncertainty.

One great place to begin is deciding what activities you’ll be performing with your boat. There are many different boat varieties, and they are each adapted for vastly different activities. By knowing what activities you plan to participate in, you can figure out which boat is best for you.

There are also other factors to consider such as whether you should buy a brand new or used boat and how much you should spend. But don’t worry because we break all these concepts down for you in this article. If you’re asking yourself, “What kind of boat should I buy?” This article has the answer.

Types of Boats 101

Let’s begin by looking at the different types of boats, and what activity each is best suited for.


Bowriders are awesome machines that are perfect for almost every activity. If you’re boat shopping, you’ve probably seen a bowrider before. These boats have a versatile design with an open bow cockpit, which is how they got their name.

Early bowrider models were compact and small, but recent models are larger with some even having a full cabin. Bowriders are also great because they are affordable, and will accommodate a small family.

So what’s the downside of bowriders? They are a jack-of-all-trades, which means they are great for a lot of things but may not be excellent for any one activity.


Cruisers are great for leisurely trips and vacations. A cruiser is the type of boat with enough power down below to take you great distances, but also enough room for people to stay the night. A cruiser can be as long as 100 feet, or as short as 40 feet.

There are several types of cruisers, so you have some flexibility when making your decision. If you love sun on your face and wind in your hair, go for a convertible cruiser. They also have a deck below that’s protected from the elements.

On the other hand, you can choose an express cruiser. These don’t have an open steering station but instead feature sunroofs and windows.

Cabin cruisers are kind of a hybrid of the convertible cruiser and the express cruiser, combining several features of both types together.

Fishing Boats

This one is a no-brainer. If you want to fish, get a fishing boat. But as you’ve probably figured out by now, it’s not that simple. There are different types and sizes of fishing boats so you need to know the type of fish you plan to catch and the environment in which they live. This will determine which fishing boat is best for you.

For example, bass boats are great for helping you catch large-mouth bass. They are fast, fitted with accessories, and have livewells for keeping your catch.

If you’re planning to be adventurous, get a multi-species boat. These come in a variety of designs and may feature an open side console, a center console, or a windshield. Don’t worry because multi-species boats also have livewells.

The most popular type is the aluminum fishing boat, which is well-known to anyone who likes to fish. They are great for catching most freshwater fish and can usually be found at bargain prices.

Saltwater Fishing Boats

If you are planning to do some ocean fishing, you’ll need a different kind of boat. Popular types of saltwater fishing boats include bay boats, convertibles, and expresses. The major difference between these boats and freshwater boats is that the former is designed to tolerate the harsh and corrosive effects of saltwater.

Speed Boats

You’ve probably been waiting for this boat variety as these are the best for having fun. Speed boats are built for one thing: ripping through the waves and going as fast as possible. If you feel the need for speed with a splash of water mixed in, get a speed boat.

This boat type lacks features like storage space, accessories, and other comforts, but they do their main job exceptionally well. A speed boat is also known as a performance boat due to its racecar-like qualities.

Boats for Water Sports

This is a broad category and the specific boat you buy depends on your activity (e.g., wakeboarding, water skiing, etc.). Many people prefer to rent boats in this category just because it gives them more flexibility to get the exact boat they need for the activity of the day.

You can rent a boat to go water skiing or wakeboarding but if you own the boat, you’re limited to the specific kind of activity your boat is designed for.

Should You Buy a New or Used Boat?

The new versus used debate is as old as time. On the one hand, a new boat comes with brand new parts, lower insurance premiums, and the pride of owning a new item. On the other hand, a used boat is more affordable and proven to be reliable.

If you’re considering buying a new boat, it’s important to check its operating conditions. For one thing, you need to check the engine life. Boat engines are measured in run hours as opposed to car engines, which are measured by mileage.

If you’re looking at a used boat, you should investigate possible leaks, rot, and electrical system malfunctions. If you’re buying from a private seller, it may be worth it to invite a mechanic along for an inspection. That way, you can confirm everything before you pay.

Before you decide to buy a used boat, consider all your options carefully. For example, you may have finishing options with the boat dealer, and with good credit, you could get great rates!

How Much Should You Spend on a Boat?

This is entirely up to you. However, here’s a rule of thumb: If you can accomplish the same task with a smaller boat, it’s a good idea to buy the smaller boat. Handling a boat is not as easy as it looks, so get the smallest one you can to develop your skills.

What Kind of Boat Should I Buy? Final Words

To create this article, we asked ourselves what kind of boat should I buy, and we hope we have given you some insight. Now you can match your excitement about your new boat with actionable information.

Just remember, whatever you plan to do with the boat determines which kind to buy. Looking for some speed and excitement? Then you should get a speed boat. If you’re looking to vacation with the family, a cruiser is the better choice.

Additionally, price is not your only concern while deciding between a new or used boat. You need to ensure the used boat has enough life left in it to serve you.

We hope you have found this guide helpful. If you are interested in more information about buying boats and vehicles, be sure to check out our site for more great articles.