My Needs, Size, How Often & Where
There’s nothing quite like the freedom of owning your own boat, whether it be for the lavish lifestyle, the relaxing weekend breaks, or the thrill of the waves. It’s a pastime that the entire family can enjoy together. It is important that you choose the right boat that suits your needs, dreams, and desires as you don’t want to end up disappointed later down the line when you or someone in your family decides they want to try water skiing but your boat doesn’t allow for it.
It’s a costly purchase and a decision that should not be taken lightly, and at first the process can be quite daunting, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer. Here in Part 2 of our BoatLife comprehensive guide to boat purchasing and ownership we take you through the next few steps in the process.
What Size Boat Should I Buy?
If you were to consider this from only the enjoyment angle then here are a few thoughts that have been bandied about by boat owners before you.
According to some, whilst a flybridge with its sitting room and patio arrangement of the saloon and cockpit is more practical for those bad weather days, which is more often the norm in the UK, the optimists like to be prepared for those sunny days. When the sun is out then they say that’s when you want to own a big, say 50ft sportcrusier. They can see themselves lounging around in the large cockpit and lying stretched out on the sun pad. It does also have better shelter from the high windscreen as opposed to the short-screened flybridge, and then of course the cosy, enclosed cabin down below for when the sun fades away at the end of the day. They’re also faster, have a more stylish look and feel to them and are easier to clean.
So let’s talk a bit about actual size. One school of thought is that a 35ft sportscruiser is the optimum size and style of boat. Others claim that the smaller the boat, the more fun you have, which is not entirely correct but does have some validity to it. Many long-term boat owners have been known to work their way up to large luxury motor yachts, which then require crews on board, but have then experienced a significant reduction in the joy factor and have then moved back down to the smaller boats again.
What then is the optimum size? Well if this question were that easy to answer here at Burton Waters we would only be selling one size of boat. Your particular needs, how often you will be using it, and where you’d like to be out on the water are important deciding factors as well. It has been said by some enthusiasts that they think the mid-30ft sportcrusier could be ahead by a nose because it’s big enough to take across the Channel, small enough to sail single-handedly, easy to slot into any marina, and roomy enough for a week’s family cruise.
Before jumping to that conclusion though, let’s have a look at some of the other deciding factors previously mentioned. There are many types of boats and whilst we at Burton Waters specialise in powerboats our staff are skilled and knowledgeable across the full range of craft available to you. Discover Boating has gone into a fair amount of detail in compiling a list of types of boats which I have copied below and yes, it does possibly make matters more confusing and difficult, so contact us or come and visit our Marina and we can help you to narrow down your choices to best fit your needs.
The boating activities that suit you and your family might cover more than one type. The more common activities are: freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, watersports, sailing, day crusing, and overnight cruising. Some boats are more specialised than others, and may be perfect for one activity but inappropriate for another. There are also many models that are meant to be more general-purpose in nature, and we have an extensive range of these on offer.
Types of Boats
- All-Purpose Fishing Boats - If you like to cast for everything from bass to bowfin, you need a fishing boat with maximum versatility.
- Aluminum Fishing Boats - Light, easy to transport, and rugged, aluminum fishing boats are incredibly popular among a wide range of anglers.
- Bass Boats - These highly-specialized fishing machines are the ultimate when targeting bass is in the plans.
- Bay Boats/Flats Boats - Light tackle and fly anglers honing their skills will be attracted to these types of boats.
- Bowriders - Joy-rides with the family, watersports, and trips to the beach are all in store when you have a bowrider.
- Cabin Cruisers - When you want to cruise in luxury, a cabin cruiser fits the bill.
- Centre Consoles - Saltwater anglers in particular love the fishing flexibility a centre console provides.
- Cuddy Cabins - Cuddy cabin boats let you enjoy the open air and sunshine, while still providing some shelter when you need it.
- Deck Boats - Maximizing interior volume and seating is what these boats are all about, so you can invite a big crew aboard.
- Dinghies - Whether you need transportation from the dock to a mooring or a mini-boat to gunkhole around in, a dinghy will do the job.
- Fish-and-Ski - You’re an angler who also enjoys water skiing and wakeboarding? Then this might be the right pick for you.
- High Performance Boats - If you feel the need for speed, a high performance boat can’t be beat.
- Inflatables - Whether you have a specific need for an inflatable boat or you just want a watercraft you can deflate and stow under the couch, there are plenty of inflatables to choose from.
- Jet Boats - Sporty and no propeller—what’s not to like?
- Motor Yachts/Power Cruisers - When you want a boat that puts you squarely in the lap of luxury, a motor yacht/cruiser is the way to go.
- Multi-Hull Powerboats - Some boaters believe that two hulls are better than one, and multi-hull powerboats are their top pick.
- Personal Watercrafts (PWCs) - Get a personal watercraft, and you’d better get ready for a serious adrenaline rush.
- Pontoon Boats - Modern pontoon boats are a whole lot more than mere party barges.
- Sailboats - Become one with the watery world and harness the wind, with a new sailboat.
- Ski Boats/Wake Boats - If watersports are your thing, a ski, wake, or surf boat will get the party started.
- Sportfishing Yachts - Few fishing challenges are as intense as hunting for big-game sportfish, and few boats are as ideal for tackling that challenge as sportfishing yachts.
- Trawlers - When you believe half the adventure is in getting there, a trawler will be perfect for the voyage.
- Walkarounds - Fishing, weekending, and cruising can all be in the mix, if you own a walkaround boat.
Who Will Use the Boat, How Will it Be Used, and How Often?
Will it just be yourself or to spend quality time with family and friends, and to escape on family holidays at weekends, or for a week or two at a time? If so then you’re going to need quite a lot of space and living quarters, somewhere to entertain, to eat, and with a shower and toilet.
Or perhaps you may want to go cruising around on small day trips; you may want to fuel hobbies such as fishing on your own, skiing, wakeboarding, diving, river cruising, coastal cruising, and so on. With so many different possibilities there are also many different choices on boats suited to these different needs, as shown above.
Make a list of all the possible ways that you might like to use your boat and then assign priorities to each one, such as “essential” and “nice to have.” This is a fun exercise that the whole family will enjoy so do include them in this. To get you started we’ve provided some thoughts and ideas below:
- To cruise
- To cruise and occasionally race
- To race and occasionally cruise
- To race to win
- To potter about in
- To fish from
- To relieve stress
- As a style statement
- To satisfy peer pressure
- To promote family togetherness
- As a retirement project
- To live on full time
- For exercise
- As a DIY project
- As a status symbol
- A family decision
- To find new friends
- To keep existing friends
- To use as a floating caravan
- To charter
- To fulfil a dream
- To help in recuperation from an illness
- To relax on
- To long-distance cruise
- As an investment
- To coast = hop cruise
- Pride of ownership
- As a mobile property
- Long-distance racing
- To cruise inland waterways
- For training prior to your dream/ultimate boat
- Other reasons
Lastly, you may only be wanting to use your boat seasonally in the warmer months, or perhaps all year-round. If you will be using your boat more regularly this inevitably means more fuel consumption. If only seasonally, you will need to think about things such as storage, maintenance and moorings, which again has an impact on the size of boat you’re looking to buy. Read more on these factors in our next blog where we cover items such as budget and costs.