Buying The Best Boat For You

Like the lakes that host them, boats come in a variety of shapes, sizes and have many different uses. If you’re asking yourself “What boat should I buy?”, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying the best boat for you and your lifestyle.

While this is by no means a complete list, this essential guide provides an overview of some of the most common crafts you’ll find on lakes across the country.

The Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are great for both novice and long-time boaters, and perfect for groups of friends and families. Their large size offers plenty of storage for coolers, floaties, and fishing gear. Most crafts can seat an average of 8 to 10 passengers.

Pontoon boats typically reach top speed at about 20 mph, so they aren’t ideal for tubing or skiing, but they are perfect for the leisurely lake lover.

On average, new pontoon boats sell for between $15,000 to $50,000 based on size, engine, features and build quality. Pontoons range in size from 16 to 30 feet in length.

The Deck Boat

Deck boats are traditionally boxier than your average fishing boat, and unlike many freshwater boats, these vessels have wide, flat bows (rather than pointed ones) often used as additional seating or sunbathing.

Their versatility makes deck boats an attractive option to many lakers and is just right for the daytime cruiser who may want a little bit extra oomph.

Powered by either stern drives or outboard motors, deck boats can just as easily be used for fishing as they can for a long day of water sporting.

Deck boats have an average price of roughly $42,000. They range in size from 18 to 28 feet use stern drives, outboard engines, and even jet propulsion.

The Jon Boat

Jon boats are the most common type of freshwater fishing boat you will find on the lake.

Not only are they available in a wide range of sizes, between 9 and 20 feet, but Jon boats are also among the most affordable boats on the market at $5,400, on average. Jon boats use outboard engines for propulsion.

These vessels have flat bottoms and are typically built out of aluminum; however, fiberglass has recently begun to make its way onto the Jon boat-construction scene.

Primarily used for fishing, Jon boats are also great for trot-lining, duck hunting, and alligator hunting.

The Ski Boat/Wakeboard Boat

As the name implies, these boats are used for recreation rather than leisure.

What sets ski and wakeboard boats apart from other types of activity vessels, like deck boats, is their propulsion systems.

Whereas a deck boat is powered by stern drives or outboard motors, ski and wakeboard boats, also known as “tow boats,” feature inboard engines or jets.

These boats also differ in seating capacity, designed to host three or four passengers at a time.

Tow boats are also more expensive, with an average price of $75,000.

The Bass Boat

You can guess how these boats are used from the name.

Designed with low sides for easy casting and minimal seating, bass boats feature powerful engines and only two seats. Other features include a large, flat bow and a large live well for storing the day’s catch.

Bass boats are not ideal for families or children and aren’t recommended for use as recreational crafts.

While they are great for speeding around on tournament day, these boats do not fair well in rough waters and should be operated by a veteran boater.

The average price of your basic bass boat is about $30,000.

Don’t end your quest for boat knowledge here! Be sure to read our other boating “Recreational Boating – Tips for Buying a Used Boat” and “Unique Boats for Family Fun at the Lake.”

The information featured in “Buying the Best Boat for Your” was sourced primarily from For more information visit

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