What’s the Best Boat for Family Outings?

Tips for Finding the Perfect Boat for Your Family

Many people purchase boats specifically so they can have family adventures. Together on the water, you and your family can enjoy fishing, water sports, or just each other’s company.

Much depends on the boat you choose, so how can you make sure you have the right vessel for the job?

Factors to Consider

Let's start with some of the most important factors you'll need to consider when shopping around for a boat for your family.

  • Size. Smaller boats, like 16-foot runabouts, can be advantageous in several ways. For example, they tend to be lighter and more manoeuvrable while also being less expensive. However, if you want plenty of space to move around, you’ll need something 30 feet or greater. Smaller boats won't give you much wiggle room, which is fine if you only plan on being a passive passenger.
  • Function. What is the primary function of this boat? And what are you trying to do with your family? Some boats are designed to go fast, meant to get your family from one place to the next quickly and efficiently. Others are designed for leisure and relaxation, moving more slowly but offering more space. Still others are designed with one or two specific functions in mind, like sailboats or fishing boats. If you have a specific goal for when you're on the water, this can make your decision easy.
  • Versatility. If you're not sure what you want to do on the water, you should look for a boat with more versatility. Some vessels are capable of a wide variety of feats, making them ideal if you want to pick up a variety of hobbies or if you want to experiment on the water.
  • Ease of use. You'll also need to think about how easy it is to use this boat. Is it something a layperson could start up and manoeuvre, or does it take months of training to grasp the basics? For example, some powered vessels are highly intuitive, but sailing is much more nuanced and requires some education and training.
  • Price. Of course, you’ll also need to think about price. If you're not sure that boating is going to be a long-term passion for your family, or if you're just trying to find family activities on a budget, you'll want to choose a vessel that's inexpensive as well as functional. You can find many new vessels for under 20,000 pounds/dollars/euros that suit your needs perfectly, and if you're willing to shop for used boats, you can find even steeper discounts.

Excellent Options for Family

If you're not sure where to start, these are some excellent options for families:

  • Bowriders. Bowriders are typically smaller boats that are perfect for short joyrides. They’re also excellent for towing water toys and facilitating water sports. You’ll also enjoy plenty of seating for everyone in your family – and they come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, too.
  • Cabin cruisers. If you’re looking for something bigger, or something that can travel further distances with no issue, consider a cabin cruiser. Many families use these vessels for weekend journeys or even overnight stays on the water.
  • Sailboats. If you're willing to spend some time learning how to sail, a sailboat could be the perfect craft for you. It's a challenging and stimulating activity filled with possibilities.
  • Pontoon boats. Pontoon boats are large and flat, providing plenty of open space for your family to walk around and enjoy the scenery. If you’re heading to the water to relax and bond, it could be the perfect option – but you’re not going to have much available functionality for water sports.
  • Jet boats. Jet boats are similar to runabouts, offering significant power and manoeuvrability, but they have one important difference that could be significant for your family; there’s no propeller, meaning you won’t have to worry about potential propeller injuries. Jet boats are also beginner-friendly since they’re so easy to use.

How to Find the Perfect Boat for Your Family

Are you still not sure what type of boat would be right for you and your family? These are some great places to start:

  • Have a conversation. Talk to your family about your goals and needs. What types of activities seem most interesting to you? Are there any concerns that some of your family members have? Together, can you rule out any possibilities. Are there any boats that stand out to you? Once you get a better feel for the opinions and direction of your family members, you can create a list of goals you want to achieve with your boat purchase. From there, it should get much easier to define the right vessel.
  • Plan for the future. When considering different options, try to plan for the future. Buying a boat is a major decision, and one that could bring you years of relaxation and entertainment – so you don't want to rush the decision and buy something that's only suitable for today. For example, if you have young children, remember that they'll eventually grow up. They're going to need more space and may be interested in different aquatic activities. If you plan on having more kids in the future, you may also require more space eventually. Don't lock yourself into place with a small boat or one that's only good for a few activities.
  • Try out various options. The best way to determine if a boat is a good fit is to try it out on the water yourself. Consider going to a boat rental facility and trying the type of boats you're thinking about purchasing. You can also go to a local boat dealership and test drive some of the models that interest you.
  • Shop online. When you’re ready to buy, shop online. You'll have to take some extra precautions when buying a boat online, but you'll have access to a much wider variety of different models, and you'll be able to find much lower prices than you would at a dealership.

Are you in the market for an amazing, affordable boat that can bring your family closer together? TheYachtMarket is a great place to start. We have thousands of new and used boats for sale, so check out our robust selection today!

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