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Choosing the Right Boat: Buying Guide for Recreational Boating

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Published on: 2012/07/17

from:  Choosing the Right Boat: Buying Guide for Recreational Boating.

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Choosing the Right Boat: Buying Guide for Recreational Boating

There is a boat for every person and activity, as well as every budget.  Look for answers to your most frequently asked questions throughout this section of your guide.
Which type of boat is right for me?
Since you are thinking of joining the 18 million Americans who enjoy recreational boating, you probably have an idea about the kinds of fun on the water that your boat will provide. One of the terrific things about boating is that there are boats designed for different activities, and there truly is something for everyone.

To narrow down your search, simply ask yourself what will the boat be used for. Fishing and generally enjoying local waterways? Waterskiing, wakeboarding and exciting watersports? Cruising with family and friends? Racing? A little of everything? There is a boat that’s right for you.
What type of hull is right for me?
Hull is the structural body of the boat that rests in the water. There is no perfect hull. All boats are compromises among performance, useable space and cost. To simplify the process of choosing, here are a few categories to consider when deciding what hull design is right for you.

  • Flat bottom boats (such as a jonboat) plane on top of the water, thus allowing the boat to go very fast. But they are difficult to control and do not perform comfortably in choppy conditions.
  • Vee hulls (like an offshore center console fishing boat) with flatter bottoms amidship aft (towards the back) are designed to cut through the water and make the boat start planing. The hull has chines and strakes to lift the boat up when it goes fast enough. The deeper the vee, the easier it will be to cut through choppy waters. As you may expect, the tradeoff is less stability. A shallower vee (such as a deck boat) is more stable in choppy water at lower speeds, but will not “cut through” the waves as easily at higher speeds. A wider beam (the boat’s width at its widest point) will increase these effects.
  • Multihull boats utilize two or three deep vee hulls which cut through chop exceptionally well, while maintaining stability due to the width of the boat between hulls. The main drawback to a multihulled boat is its lack of interior space, though boat designers seem to be doing a better and better job at reducing this drawback.
  • Round hulls (such as a trawler or sailboat) are displacement hulls (as opposed to planing hulls). These boats are restricted to relatively slow speeds but are very fuel efficient. A displacement hull tends to create a gentle motion while underway, although rolling from side to side in waves can be a problem.


10 Comments - Leave a comment
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