Top 10 Boat Types Every Boater Can Enjoy

Small white motorboats of different boat types in Florida
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If you’re just getting into boating, you might be struggling with finding the best boat. With plenty of lakes and open waters to ride through, the US is brimming with life and numerous boating possibilities.

However, being new to boating, you might not know which type of boat you should get. Luckily, in this guide, we’ll go over all of the best boat types you can buy to go boating this season.

Best 10 Boat Types 

Before buying a boat, you will need to know what kinds of activities you will want to do when you’re on the water. Depending on what you’ll be doing, there are different types of boats that you can choose from.

Water Sports Boats

Water sports boats are a popular choice amongst many buyers, simply for how fun they can be. As the name implies, they are designed to be good for all sorts of water sports, including wakesurfing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding, and more. Each boat comes with a transom that holds the towing point. You can usually find the towing point on a high arch or a pole. Furthermore, some more expensive options, like the Super Air Nautique G25, come equipped with special trim tabs. These tabs can create bigger waves, allowing for an even better boarding or surfing experience.   

Young people socializing on a wakeboarding boat

While certainly fun to use when out on the beach or the lake, these boats tend to serve a very specific niche. Therefore, staying on the boat overnight, taking it out to fish, or even trying to beach this boat may feel very odd.


Trawlers are often bigger and more massive boats that offer plenty of space for all of their passengers. They are for cruising the open seas, as their engines have very good fuel efficiency compared to other boats. 

Trawler boats in the harbor

Of course, you can increase their speed to up to 20 knots, but this will quickly dry up your fuel supply. Another great thing about trawlers is the sheer number of models. There are smaller boats or larger yachts, like the Nordhavn 52.

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats were once the slowest and generally the “worst-looking” boats that you could find at a dock. However, over the years, improvements have allowed them to be faster, more comfortable, and much better looking. 

Pontoon boat on the Colorado river

Even though they are not very versatile in different types of waters, they have a lot of deck space and modular seating. If you’re looking to have a small party on the water or great family time, pontoons are perfect for hosting and having fun while boating.


Speedboats also fill a very specific niche and when you’re out on the open blue waters, they’ll certainly become your favorite. With each boat being capable of reaching breakneck speeds, speed junkies will enjoy the rush that comes with taking these beasts out on the water.  

Speedboat cruising in the sea

Of course, they do come with a few drawbacks. Specifically, speedboats usually have fewer seats and don’t come equipped with many storage compartments. They also tend to be very loud. Although, for boaters who love speed, roaring engines are never really a bad thing.

Saltwater Fishing Boats 

If you’re someone who likes to spend their time putting out a line and patiently waiting for a game, a saltwater fishing boat just might be what you’re looking for. However, different types of saltwater fishing boats can fall into the categories of walkarounds, expresses, convertibles, center consoles, and bay boats. 

Boston Whaler fishing boat

Each of these boats offers very specific benefits, like bay boats being cheaper but unable to go far offshore. Center consoles can also be a good choice if you’re looking to bring in a lot of game and even family and friends on board, as they usually have seating in the front and back of the boat. 


Sailboats happen to be the most difficult type of boat to ride in this list since they require a lot of knowledge about steering with the wind and setting the sails. Still, they can offer a very rewarding experience for people who want to have a good time on the open seas. For those whom the journey is just as important as the destination, sailboats will surely be an excellent choice. 

Beautiful white sailboat

You can also find different subtypes of sailboats with performance/racers, cruisers, and daysailers being the most popular ones. Cruisers can be massive and very comfortable to ride in, whereas the performance models are lightweight and better for racing.


Runabouts are possibly one of the most diverse types of boats you can find, as they can be just about any type of boat. Whether you want something that you can take on a speed trip through the lake or a freshwater stream to fish, runabouts could be a good pick. 

Runabout boat

The name itself is a catch-all term that refers to smaller boats that can do multiple things. The only downside is that these boats can only work in fair weather during the day, making them the perfect vessels to use on lakes.

Freshwater Fishing Boats

Freshwater fishing boats are a must-have if you’re looking to ride out and fish for bass or trout. In fact, many of these boats come with specific features that make them more effective for catching specific types of fish. Aluminum, multispecies, and bass fishing boats are subtypes of Freshwater Fishing Boats. 

Bass boat in the lake

Bass boats, for example, tend to be equipped with various features to catch big-mouth bass specifically. At the back, you can find electric trolling motors and high-end fish finders. All of this high tech also makes it one of the more expensive boats to ride in freshwater.  On the other hand, aluminum fishing boats tend to be the cheapest option in the market, with the multispecies one being the jack of all trades of fishing boats.


While you can find a variety of cruiser types, they all check a few boxes. They tend to have living accommodations, a galley, and an efficient motor that can take you some distance. Different types of cruisers include pocket cruisers, motor yachts, express cruisers, convertibles, and aft cabin cruisers. 

A Nice Blue and White Yacht in Intracoastal Waterway

Cruisers make for a great boat purchase, mainly because you can travel to different parts of the country without having to step on dry land.


Bowriders are possibly the most advanced types of boats you may see on the water, with each one equipped with many features. They are often fast and mobile, while also equipped with a backspace designed for fishing and even water skiing. 

VR5 Bowrider

Some of them can even be big enough to have cabins inside, making them more akin to cruisers. The major downside of bowriders is that they are often very expensive. Still, while those features don’t come cheap, this type of boat is well worth the price.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Boats to Live in? 

Houseboats, cruisers, catamarans, and canal boats make for some of the best boats to live on. They are both spacious and offer many facilities that can make living on them much easier. Of course, if you’re willing to spend the extra money, you can even customize and renovate your boat from scratch so it meets your specific needs.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Boat? 

Ask any boater worth their salt, and they will tell you that the best time to get a boat is during the boat show season in the Winter. 

Most manufacturers also offer incentives to buyers who are looking for a new boat since they run promotions for their different models. Even if you’re looking to buy a slightly used boat, you can often find some sweet deals offered by boat owners and dealerships.

Can You Live on a Boat? 

Living on a boat is very possible, especially with the many advancements that include proper electricity and plenty of space to store food and supplies. As long as you are making regular trips to land to restock, you can easily live on a boat.

What Are the Best Places to Have a Boat? 

Some of the best places to have a boat include Tampa Bay (Florida), Long Island (New York), and Green Bay (Wisconsin). All of these locations offer plenty of docking points, and have major city areas that are accessible from boat. However, there are many other locations in the US for boating as well. 

Can Deck Boats Navigate the Ocean?

Deck boats combine the layout of pontoons with runabouts' hull design. They can generally work on the rough waters of the ocean or sea, but it does depend on the hull. If the boat has a deep V hull and a narrow bow, it can effectively cut through heavy waves.

The US is brimming with plenty of interesting locations to ride a boat, and with the list of boats mentioned above, you can choose the best one for you. Some even have specific features that make them useful for different fun activities like fishing or knee boarding.

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