The ultimate guide to boats - different models & which one is right for you

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More than ever, boating is your escape from it all and your safe way to finally enjoy a day trip with your friends and family, outside the house. Becoming the number one investment for the upcoming summer season, boats have an increasing interest from outdoor enthusiasts. But with the variety of options being so extensive, it can be difficult for beginners to find their way. To help you get started, we've pulled together the ultimate guide to boats. From powerful day cruisers to relaxing catamarans to clean electric boats, the boat of your dreams is waiting for you—and we'll help you find it!

Alright, let's dive in and find out which type of boat is right for you...

The different types of boats and their specifications

Before going deeper into each of the categories, let's demystify the concept of boating. When you start looking for your perfect boat, the endless list of specs and models can become overwhelming, quick. Maybe even spooky. But at the essence of every boat lies a purpose for which it's been considered and created. So, the first step in your journey to find your perfect boat is answering one simple question: what you want to do with your boat?

Would you like to explore winding rivers or the local lakes, practice your wakeboard skills or wander wherever the wind guides you?

Sailing boats: for a peaceful and quiet navigation

If you are an outdoor aficionado, owning a sailboat could be your way to being one with nature and exploring unknown places inaccessible by foot. With some experience, a sailboat can take you anywhere: all around the world and on every ocean and sea. However, navigating on a sailboat can be very slow and at the whims of Mother Nature. You decide whether it's a pro or con depending on your goals, but the sluggishness of a sailboat is the best way to get some rest and be almost disconnected from the rest of the world.

To give you a complete overview of sailboats and help you forge your opinion, here's a quick round-up of pros vs cons:


• It's quiet. Navigating with only open sails is the quietest way to cruise, whether you're on a river, ocean, or lake.It's environmentally friendly. By relying on wind and tide most of the time, sailboats don't require any electric or combustible energy. Although, modern sailboats are now equipped with engines that allow you to navigate even when the natural conditions are not favorable.

• The costs for fuel and engine upkeep are less important. Since a sailboat requires a smaller engine, compared to a motorboat, you'll spend less money on maintenance and replacement parts.

• It can take you anywhere in the world. Because a sailboat relies on nature's phenomena, you'll be able to travel long distances—even internationally.


• You don't have full control of your boating adventure. For the same reasons as listed above, sailboats can be very slow and unpredictable. It's up to you to choose if that's a pro or a con for your experience on the water.

• You won't be able to rest. Hoisting the sails, analyzing and planning courses, navigating, etc: pretty much everything on a sailboat requires human energy and attention. Also, a sailboat deck gives you less sun-exposed and deckchair-friendly spaces.

•It requires more experience and training. Before your sail trip resembles what you've been daydreaming about, you'll need quite a lot of training with experienced sailors. More than understanding the mechanics of the boat, you'll have to learn how wind, speed, tides, ocean characteristics, and water stream affect your journey on a sailboat.

If the description above corresponds to what you're daydreaming about, a sailboat is probably going to make you a happy captain. Now it's time to decide what kind of sailboat will fit you best. The different categories are based, very often, on a specific hull or mast characteristic. Let's go through the main types:

• Monohulls - Their single-hulled structures provide stability and a longer beam while sailing.

• Dinghy - Dinghies are mostly used to transport people or supplies from the port to the main sailboat. This makes it way smaller than a "classic" monohull but very handy to maneuver.

• Cutter - Mostly popular in sailing competitions, cutters are very agile and fast medium-sized vessels.

• Sloops - A sloop is a single-masted sailing vessel with fore-and-aft rigging such as the mainsail, the jib, and sometimes a headsail.

• Catamarans - Thanks to a twin-hulled structure, a catamaran is known for its strength, speed, and high-level stability.

To choose correctly your sailboat, you'll probably need to consider your budget. Globally—but with some exceptions of course—the bigger and more aesthetic the vessel, the more expensive it will get when purchasing it. Not to mention, after that you'll need to consider upkeep, harbors fees, fuel if needed, safety supplies, insurance, etc. For a beginner and/or small budget, a sloop may be the perfect compromise between agility, speed, and quietness of sailing. The price range for sloops in the used-boat market starts around $7,000 and can go up to $220,000.


See all sailboats for sale


Motorboats: for a sporty day trip on the water

Is boating, for you, a way to access water activities like wakeboarding or paddling on open water or wide lakes? If that's the case, a motorboat would fit you best. By being the perfect high-speed watercraft to take for a spin, motorboats combine speed and comfort to get a 100% enjoyable jaunt on the water. Thanks to evermore modern and powerful engines, you'll be able to travel between ports or islands in no time. Often seen as day cruisers and with an accessible price range, motorboats are perfect for a family or friend trip during a warm, summer weekend.

Here are our pros and cons before you start looking for your perfect motorboat:


• The speed. The two engines of a powerboat will feed your need for speed, adventure, and excitement.

It's more accessible. Depending on the size of your future vessel, usually, only a quick and accessible certification will be required. Requiring less experience than a sailboat, navigating on a motorboat is pretty simple once you've understood the basic rules of boating and mooring.

It can go anywhere you want, whenever you want. Thanks to its engines and shallow draft, a motorboat can take you closer to beaches. Also, because it doesn't have sails, you'll not have to worry about bridges on your way—trust us, bridges can be very inconvenient when boating.

It's spacious. Because a motorboat has more usable deck and interior space, you'll be able to enjoy your day trip on the water with a small group, often between 2 and 12 people.


It requires a lot of fuel. Filling up the tank will cost you a lot of money if you're not careful. Also, keep in mind that a powerboat can take you as far as your fuel tank will carry you.

It offers fewer restful moments. With two engines running in the back of your boat, the loud and constant noise could eventually bother you. So ask yourself, are you usually bothered by the noise of cars driving?

Upkeep for your boat can become very expensive. Because a motorboat only relies on engines to navigate, you'll have to do a regular checkup to keep your mechanics running smoothly.

If despite those few cons your taste for motorboats remains, congrats! You've just found your perfect boat! 👏 Well, the reality is a little bit more complex. The number of categories and classifications increases widely when it comes to choosing a motorboat. To help you find your best fit, let's dive deeper into those categories—starting with the most affordable ones.

Dinghies and inflatable boats

Summer is sneaking up on us and you might lose hope in purchasing a boat on time. Between getting a potential boat license, searching and finding your perfect boat, and taking care of all the administrative requirements, your dream of becoming a boat owner could seem compromised.

But no worries, some small vessels like dinghies and rigid inflatables boats (RIB) are the perfect solution in this scenario. They gather a lot of advantages that you'll surely appreciate. First of all, those light, stable, and almost unsinkable vessels can be deflated for storage, which is gonna save you a lot of money. More than that, dinghies and RIBs allow you to go pretty much everywhere you want. From island to island in the Caribbean, or beach to beach in the Mediterranean sea, there is a whole lot to love and discover with these kinds of vessels!

Now, let's talk about pricing. Even though you can find some—very—expensive smalls vessels, dinghies and RIBs are known to be one of the cheapest alternatives when it comes to boating. We would advise you plan for a budget between $1,000 and $5,000 to find the first boat that is gonna make you feel confident and comfortable on the water.

Fishing boats

Are you hoping to go fishing as soon as you become a boat owner? Or do you want to hone your finishing skills? Then you certainly need a finishing boat. Yes yes, even amateur fishermen have fishing boats. In this case, we're not talking about those commercial fishing boats that are ready to go through hurricane-level storms. Fishing boats today can be very comfortable, almost as leisurely as a family motorboat.

Whether you're navigating on salt or freshwater, fishing boats are quite adaptable. Fishing boats have proven a strong resistance to all kinds of water conditions and are stable enough to make you feel comfortable while catching the evening's dinner. The specifications of a fishing boat mostly come from its features such as rod lockers, a trolling motor system, or a front bow. Also, a fishing boat will most likely have an outboard engine system.

Let's have a look at the price range. Smaller vessels going from 16 to 20 feet, with a single-engine and small center console cost usually between $10,000 to $50,000. If your dream is to own a bigger fishing boat with more storage, functionalities, and power—or if you simply want to upgrade your current boat—your budget could exceed $300.000! Explore our fishing boats for sale now and get ready to catch the food you'll eat. 🐟

Leisure boats

Are you daydreaming of sunbathing on the deck of your boat while mooring in a beautiful bay of turquoise water? If so, your ideal boat is probably a leisure boat. What's a leisure boat? A leisure boat, also called a pleasure boat, is a way of navigating. If you think of using your boat for vacations on the water with your family, or for a weekend gateway with friends, we'd recommend you to look for a boat that has been built especially with this in mind.

If you plan to spend quite a lot of time on your boat with groups, you need to have a vessel big enough to host your friends and family. And if you're on a day-trip, you'll find a small kitchen area very practical and functional. If this is sounding like you, a cabin cruiser will surely make you happy!

Then again, on the other side of the spectrum, you can decide to minimize the interior space and get as much outside deck space as possible. In this case, you need to look for a deck boat. If you're not living close to the open water but still want to be able to navigate on the canals available close to you, refine your research for canals boats.

Because the boat market is so wide and extensive, it'd be impossible to give an accurate price range for leisure and recreational boats. We advise you to make a list of activities you want your boat to accommodate and then define a budget for this investment. That's when you can get in touch with dealers in your area to get professional advice and find the boat of your dreams.

Start searching for your perfect boat on

Think of it as your hunt for your own little oasis, like your own private island away from worry. At BOATIM, we want to make your dream come true! By gathering more than 400 dealers on the platform, we've opened the gates to boat ownership for everyone!

So, what's the ultimate boat for you?

Come on board, captain!

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