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When you decide to buy a boat, you need to think about how you want to use it. Each type of boat is designed for something very different. There are runabouts, fishing boats, sailboats, and yachts. There are made of aluminum, fiberglass, wood, composite, and various combinations of each.

The size of the boat and engine, as well as construction, should be considered depending on the water sources your boat will be used in. Large reservoirs, small lakes, inland waterways, and ocean boating all have different requirements.  

  • A 20’ boat or smaller can handle a quiet body of water with little activity.
  • Go over 20’ and heavier for a boat used in a lake with lots of speed boat and skiing activity generating wakes.
  • Out on the ocean, a sturdier boat with a bigger engine is necessary to handle waves and weather for many hours.

The type of boat you would buy as an avid fisherman is not the same one to purchase for water sports or partying with friends.

  • A small aluminum boat is best to fish quietly in a cove on your own, or a bass boat can take you and a friend quickly from one end of the lake to another.
  • Runabouts and powerboats are great for watersports from skiing and wakeboarding with family to all-out competitions.
  • A pontoon fits more people for cruising while enjoying food and drink with friends.

A boat is an excellent investment in quality recreational activity, but not one to profit from financially. Like a car, they depreciate in value the moment you buy them and require regular maintenance for the best performance.

Be sure your reason for having a boat is more about your lifestyle and sharing activities with family members and friends. There is nothing better for relaxing and playing than being on the water.


Lydecker, R., and Podlich, M., A Profile of Recreational Boating in the United States, Boat Owners Association of the United States, Industry-Driven Changes and Policy Responses (BOAT/U.S.)https://aamboceanservice.blob.core.windows.net/oceanservice-prod/websites/retiredsites/natdia_pdf/14boatus.pdf