People often purchase recreational boats to suit a wide range of needs and applications. Fortunately, you’ll find an equally wide range of recreational boat types, forms, and sizes to serve your particular goals, whether you plan to go on small individual and family outings exclusively or you want to host boat parties for your friends.
The sheer number of available choices can prove both a boon and a puzzlement to first-time boat shoppers. First and foremost, you need to understand the basic types and categories of recreational boats, with their prospective pros and cons for different applications. Start by considering the following four choices.
As the name suggests, an open boat usually lacks any kind of cabin or other crew enclosure, featuring a simple open deck instead. By contrast, a closed boat will include at least one enclosure via either a hard shell or a soft roof.
Since most smaller recreational rowboats and power boats feature open designs, your budget and space needs may dictate your choice of this category over a closed boat. The other main point revolves around your tolerance for getting drenched in wet weather or on rough waters.
Pontoon boats provide one of the most cost-effective ways to leap into the world of casual boating. These simple vehicles, named after the aluminum tubes that keep them afloat, boast a reasonably wide, flat space for boaters to enjoy a day on the water. However, their poor handling in choppy seas usually limits their use to freshwater environments.
Runabouts don’t do as well in the sea either, but they thrive in the same freshwater applications as pontoons while usually providing a more stylish experience than their bare-boned cousins. They can also go faster and maneuver more easily than pontoon boots.
Rigid inflatable boats offer another attractive option in this category. These boats combine a hard hull with inflatable siding for a lightweight, easy-to-transport boat that can still accommodate several passengers. These boats may do better in choppy waters than either pontoon boats or runabouts.
If you need more versatility than you can get from the lightweight options listed above, you might want to consider a bowrider. A bowrider gets its name from its design scheme, which includes a seated, forward-facing cockpit as well as forward-facing passenger seating in the bow area. Its V-shaped hull helps it make sharp turns.
A deck boat lacks the nimble handling of a bowrider while still offering greater speed and maneuverability than some other boat styles. Instead of a V-shaped hull, you get a flat-bottomed hull that provides more free space of deck as well as excellent stability in calm waters. Passengers sit in a U-formation behind the bow.
Even the most luxuriously equipped deck boat lacks the enclosed cabin you need for overnight stays and day excursions in questionable weather. If you want the most comfortable boating experience possible, you may need to expand your budget to accommodate a cabin cruiser.
You can think of cabin cruisers as the full-sized RVs of the recreational boating world. These vehicles include a fully enclosed cabin that protects pilots and passengers alike from rain and high water. The enclosed design also improves seaworthiness by redirecting crashing rains and pelting rains away from the boat itself.
With its onboard sleeping and galley amenities, a cabin cruiser makes good sense if you’d like to spend large stretches of time on the water. They can serve as the bridge between an occasional recreational boat and a residential houseboat.
Lifestyle Marine offers a handsome inventory of new and pre-used boats to suit every recreational need. If you need help deciding on the right type of boat for you and your loved ones, contact us with any questions or simply drop by our Hialeah, Florida, location.