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Boat Buying Guide: What Type Of Boat Should I Buy?

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Types Of Boats


Cruising at the helm of a center console boat going 30 mph along Miami Beach is a totally different experience from using the wind to sail at a leisurely pace to the Dry Tortugas. And that’s the beauty of boating. You can experience different ways of enjoying the water and the outdoors, depending on your vessel.


Buying a boat is an exciting purchase, but the first question you might be asking yourself is, what type of boat should I buy? We could tell you that, when it comes to boating, the world is your oyster. But with dozens of boats to choose from (that’s not including the number of brands or models), we’re here to help you narrow down your search and understand the best type of boat that fits your needs.


In this guide, we’ll break down popular types of boats over 35 feet to help you understand what type of boat you may want and how you can use it.


Do you envision yourself taking offshore fishing trips with friends?

A sportfish yacht or center console boat might be the best place to start your search.


Sportfish yachts are luxury fishing boats that are built with speed and durability in mind. Fishing enthusiasts may gravitate toward this type of boat as it’s usually equipped with plenty of storage, high performance, and comfortable amenities. If you’re looking for a serious boat that can help you win fishing tournaments while also being a comfortable vessel for weekend trips with the family, then a sportfish yacht might be your dream boat. Reputable sportfish brands include Viking, Hatteras, Merritt Yachts, and Bertram Yachts, all ranging in price depending on condition, size, model, year, and features.


Center console boats are smaller in size, easier to handle, and slightly more versatile than sportfish yachts. While center consoles are known as fishing boats, they’re also built for leisurely activities such as snorkeling or scuba diving, anchoring at sandbars, or being a yacht tender. These boats are usually fitted with comfortable seating options, fish and tackle storage, and a head/shower, plus some CCs are trailerable (depending on your truck). Center consoles typically range in size from 18 to 48 feet and may be equipped with a range of amenities depending on how you’ll use the boat.


Are you dreaming of sailing into the sunset at a leisurely pace?

A monohull or catamaran sailboat is the perfect boat for that.


A monohull is a single-hull sailboat that’s built for adventure and life at sea. These types of boats are built with long-distance travel and exploration in mind; sailboats can support day sailing or liveaboard lifestyles thanks to highly functional onboard amenities, ease of operation, and comfortable living onboard the vessel.


Depending on the boat's size (which may range from 22 to 100+ feet), the interior ​​usually features private cabins, galley, heads, showers, and living areas. Sailboats are usually supported by a small inboard or outboard engine, but of course, taking advantage of the wind and sails is the best way to get around.


If you’ve never sailed before, learning to sail is a skill that you can practice at any time in your life and take with you anywhere in the world. Bluesail Owner and Licensed Yacht Salesperson Scott Mayer recently developed MarinerIQ, a program that gives boaters the opportunity to learn basic seamanship skills with a licensed Captain and professional accredited instructor.


A catamaran is a multi-hulled boat with a wide beam and spacious accommodations. There are two types of catamarans: sailing and power. Sailing catamarans rely on the wind for navigation and usually offer a more leisurely ride on the water. Power catamarans typically go 2-3 times the speed of a sailing catamaran and have slightly more spacious deck and fly ridge accommodations, yet they do burn significantly more fuel.


Catamarans are popular for long-distance cruising, while also being an ideal charter boat. If you don’t think you’ll use your catamaran year-round, it might be a good idea to enter it into a charter fleet so a professional team can manage and charter the boat for you to help offset the costs of ownership.


On the other hand, power cats have large engines with no mast or sails (providing low clearance when it comes to bridges or height restrictions). They’re sturdy boats, built with speed and interior volume in mind. With two hulls, power catamarans offer enhanced stability underway and at anchor.


Are you thinking about using a boat for entertaining guests or cruising along the coasts?

An express cruiser or trawler offers enough onboard space for guests to feel comfortable while underway.


Express cruisers are a broad category of boats. They may range in size from 30 feet and are built for fast cruising in comfort and style. These motor boats have a sleek design with a mix of indoor and outdoor entertainment areas. The helm is usually tucked behind a windshield on the starboard side, opening up the cockpit for lounge seating, dining tables, or an outdoor kitchenette. Below, there might be three or more cabins with a living area, galley, head, and shower.


Express cruisers typically have inboard engines that cruise comfortably at 20-30 knots, but it’s not unheard of to see an outboard motor on these types of boats. Ironically these high-performance vessels are not typically used for watersports or fishing, but rather for entertaining guests during a day or night cruise.


On the other hand, a trawler is the express cruiser’s slower cousin. While speed may not be its forte, a large fuel capacity makes trawlers equipped for long-distance cruising or extended passages. We’re talkin’ Great Loop explorations or traveling from the Florida Keys to Rhode Island at a leisurely pace.


Trawlers are livable, practical, safe, and (some may say) homey, making for the perfect family yacht. Trawlers range in size generally from 30-60 feet, offering spacious accommodation and versatility in performance. These types of boats are perfect for an owner-operator; an adventurer who might want to explore long areas of coastline at his or her own pace.


How will you use the boat?

There are so many different types of boats on the market that it might seem like a tough decision. When you start your boat search, narrow down your options by determining the following:

  • What type of activities it will be used for?

  • How many people do you plan to bring onboard?

  • Do you want to liveaboard?

  • Do you want to travel slow and comfortably or fast and furious?

  • Do you plan to trailer the boat?

  • Where will you be using the boat (vessel draft is important here)?

This is simply a guide to get you started in the boat buying process. Once you can answer those questions, then research further or ask your broker about size and brands or new versus used. Contact us to learn more about buying a boat through Team Bluesail at Just Catamarans or learning how to become a more competent mariner through MarinerIQ.




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