Which Is The Best Boat For Me?
With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide which style of boat would best fit your needs. The first thing you need to decide is how many people will you generally have with you and what do you intend to use your boat for? This will help guide you to the proper style of boat. In the following chapters, I will discuss each style of boats starting with the most popular styles for our area lakes.
Bowriders (also called Runabouts or Speed Boats). Bowriders are the type of boat most people think of when they think of boats. They are fiberglass boats with V-shaped hulls and an open bow (front) area for additional seating. Bowriders are great all purpose boats. They are good for water sports such as skiing, wakeboarding and tubing. They can also be used for fishing, but are not necessarily designed for fishing.
For Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, it is recommended that you get at least a 20′ bowrider and larger. 20′ is the most popular size. This is because the weekend traffic on these lakes are so busy that a larger boat is needed to comfortably handle the waves. If you are using the boats during the week, this is no longer neccesary. If you boat on Mountain Island Lake, it is also less traveled and a smaller boat will handle the water well.
In the picture above you have a Stringray 25ft Bowrider Boat – Great All-Rounder
Premier Escalante Pontoon
Pontoons are a very popular boat in our area. Pontoons are the most comfortable style of boat you can buy. Pontoons are more fuel efficient,more spacious, more stable in rough water and more comfortable than bowriders. They are also slower and lack that boating look. If you are planning on spending most of your time on the water hanging out and catching some rays, this is the boat for you. You can also get a pontoon with more speed by checking out tri-toon pontoons below.
For Lake Norman and Lake Wylie weekends, it is recommended to get at least a 22′ pontoon to handle the rough water. 24′ pontoons are the most popular size. It is also recommended to get at least 90 hp. If you want to pull skiers and tubers, a 115 hp or more is recommended.
Tri-toons have all the positives of a pontoon with the addition of bowrider speed and performance. Tri-toons also have more stability and a better ride due to the increased buoyancy of the middle pontoon. They also plane off instead of plowing through the water like a regular pontoon does. Planing off means that the boat gets on top of the water when under power.
A 24′ tri-toon with 150 hp will go about 40 mph. If you upgrade to a 225 hp, you can expect to go about 50 mph. They are so quick, you can barefoot ski behind them. Tri-toons should be 22′ or larger and have a minimum of 140 hp.
Stingray Deck Boat
Deck Boats are a hybrid between a pontoon and a bowrider. They are designed for more comfortable seating and increased bow area yet still have the look and performance of a bowrider. This is the SUV of boats. For similar sized boats, deck boats seat more people than bowriders but still less than pontoons. They are more comfortable and spacious than bow riders, but less than pontoons. Performance between bowriders and deck boats is similar, with deck boats being a little slower due to the fact that they are heavier.
For Lake Norman and Lake Wylie weekends, it is recommeded to get a 20′ or larger. 20′ deck boats are the most popular.
Searay Sport Cruiser
Cruisers are boats that are split with half of the space being located in a cabin and half of the boat is outside in the cockpit. Cruisers are 24′ and bigger. Once you get to 28-29′, they come with twin engines Cruisers offer the ability to stay overnight on the water. They have at least one bed, stove, fridge, microwave and head (bathroom). Cruisers are great for people searching for a boat they will stay overnight in. It is also great for people that don’t live on the lake to use as a weekend getaway. If you do not plan to spend the night out, this is probably not the boat for you.
Some great options for cruisers are heat/AC, generator, windlass, spotlight and Vacuflush head.
Bass Boats Fishing
Bass Boats are pure inland fishing machines. Everything about them is designed for the hard core fishing enthusiast. They have built-in livewells for bait and your catch, rod holders and most are powered with large engines to get you from the boat launch to the best fishing spots as fast as possible. If you have interest in salt-water and fresh water fishing, check out center consoles below.
Center Console Boat – Fishing
Center Consoles are also for the hard core fishing enthusiast. They are made for fresh or salt water and are easy to keep clean. They are made so they can be hosed out. They have rod holders, live wells and can have T-tops as shown above. Center consoles start at 16′ and go above 30′.
Houseboats are a mix between cruisers and pontoons. They have enormous interiors and are extremely comfortable. Houseboats are not that common in our area but they are around. Inland Sea Marina in Mooresville is the best area marina for houseboaters.
Wake / Ski Boats
Wake / Ski Boats are some of the best multipurpose boats to maximize your fun on the water. It can create a large wake so you can practice some flying lessons while you wakeboard or a wave that you can surf. Wake surfing is a fun and new sport. Then some of the best fun and laughter on water is towing tubes of which there are every type from lazy lounger to adrenaline inducing, laughter creating, epic crash instant youtube hit tube.
Jet Boats are incredible as there is no harmful prop but it push a jet of water just like a jet ski. Ever wanted to have more people on a jetski or go in shallow water. A jet boat is the answer some can behave like a 5 man jetski, spinning, racing turing and even pull a special trick where you create a wave that dumps into the boat. A jetboat has some of the best turning and aim it is recommended allround family boat.
JetSki / Personal Water Craft (PWC) / Waverunner
Jet ski pwc or waverunner is a small jet-propelled vehicle which skims across the surface of water and is ridden in a similar way to a motorcycle. Extreme fun.
Stand Up Jet Ski Like a jetski is a road bike, a stand up jetski is the motocross version, it is also a small jet-propelled vehicle which skims across the surface of water and is ridden in a similar way to a motorcycle but this requires alot more skil and can be the most fun you have on water, flips, tricks. What a brilliant invention.