4 Great Boats for Beginners

By Debbie Hanson

Oct 13, 2014

Stress-relief, fresh air, and family bonding time -- just a few of the reasons you have decided to invest in your very first boat.

Stress-relief, fresh air, and family bonding time -- just a few of the reasons you have decided to invest in your very first boat. Since there is a boat for every budget, it's just a matter of choosing the right type of boat that suits your lifestyle and intended use.

The first thing you'll want to think about is whether you will be using your boat exclusively for fishing or if you plan to use it for watersports and cruising as well. Then, once you have determined the level of versatility you need, you may want to consider whom you'll be bringing along on your future boating adventures.

Here are four great boats for beginners based on ease of use:

1. All-Purpose Fishing Boat

All-purpose fishing boats are designed with versatility in mind, are trailerable, and can be used in either saltwater or freshwater. They are designed to navigate a variety of waterways, which is a big benefit if you plan to fish for a number of different species. Since additional deck space is needed for casting and reeling, there is less seating on an all purpose fishing boat than there is on a cruising boat like a bowrider or pontoon.

2. Aluminum Fishing Boat or Jon Boat

Aluminum fishing boats or jon boats are lightweight and easy-to-maneuver boats that are mainly used for freshwater fishing. They are easy to trailer and simply constructed with riveted or welded aluminum hulls and bench-style seating. One major benefit of aluminum fishing boats is that they can be operated in many "fish-friendly" areas such as shallow water, coves and inlets. An outboard engine with either tiller or remote steering is used to power these popular boats.


3. Bowrider

Bowriders are trailerable runabouts and sport boats with extra seating in an open bow up front. They are suitable for fishing, watersports or day cruising. Many bowriders have a tow eye at the stern, which can pull a skier, wakeboarder or tuber. They often come equipped with a swim platform for water sports and a ladder for entering and exiting the water.


4. Pontoon

Pontoon boats are ideal for taking family and friends out for a relaxing cruise or a day of casual fishing. Most pontoon boats are two-tube trailerable watercraft, which may include large or multiple outboard engines. Amenities on a pontoon deck may include cushioned seating, moveable tables, wet bars, stereos, and mood lighting.


If you want to do more research to determine which type of boat would be your best investment, you can use this boat selector tool to help you make your final decision.

Photo Credits: National Marine Manufacturers Association, DiscoverBoating.com

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.