Family Lake Boat Choices

By Andy Whitcomb

Nov 14, 2016

Some factors to consider when choosing a family lake boat

My neighbor is going through some boat growing pains. His first water vessel was a nifty kayak. It was loaded with all the bells and whistles, including an inboard electric trolling motor and a USB port! However it only had room for 1. With two youngsters who now want to go fishing too, a bigger, family-sized boat is required.  Thus, to maximize quality on-the-water family time, he has upgraded to a big jon boat.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a lake boat for your family:

1. More Room…  With passengers, you’ll need not only seating but storage for additional rods, tackle, gear, and a cooler for plenty of kid snacks. More boat room also helps when landing fish. (Ever tried to unhook a pike on your lap in a kayak?!)

2. But not too much room. Although part of my family still wants a giant two-story pontoon boat with a slide, a smaller family lake boat is more manageable not only for towing on the road but for handling and access to shallow areas and smaller bodies of water. 

3. Stable. With a flat bottom, wide design, this boat is not “tippy” even with everyone on one side, “helping” to land or photograph fish. It is easy to load and unload passengers and when anchored or trolling slowly, they are free to move around a bit. I like to position novice anglers at the front to keep an eye on them plus, they get first choice of casting targets. 

4. Versatile. This boat will work great in lakes but it is also tough enough to withstand the ample rocky river hazards. It is currently paired with a 9.9 hp outboard for just enough power on the river but could handle a larger motor someday. For a winter project, there are modifications planned for decking and storage underneath.

Here are some more tips for buying/selling a boat.  And when you do choose one, make sure you get your boat registered promptly. The quest of the perfect lake boat may never actually end, so make sure to just enjoy the ride.  
Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.