Boating is a favorite pastime and can be enjoyed by just about every member of the family. Whether you have a baby that is just a few months old or a great grandma who just celebrated her 95th Birthday, boating is a great way to bond, spend time together, enjoy the great outdoors, relax, and create memories that last a lifetime. If you need to buy a boat and need a loan, learn how we do boat loans at Trident Funding.
Some popular ways to enjoy boating as a family include boating to waterfront restaurants, docking, enjoying lunch, and then jumping back on the boat. Picnicking on board, exploring sandbars, and snorkeling are also popular. You can even check out unique places that can only be accessed by boat. Additionally, you may want to try a new sport or activity. Get out the inner tubes and rafts for the kids and maybe the teenagers want to learn how to wakeboard or waterski. The possibilities are really endless.
The Guide: Best Boats for Families in Florida
Some important things to consider when deciding which boat to buy for your family include your budget, the size of your family, where you’re going to use the boat, your lifestyle, and available add ons for the boat you choose. Let’s dive right in with a splash so you can choose the best boat for families.
The best boats for families in Florida will ultimately be determined by your budget. Before you start browsing for boats online and getting your family all excited about the one they found that includes a shower, fancy built in waterproof bluetooth speakers, and an extended swim platform, use a boat loan calculator to get a better idea of your budget. Once you know how much you can afford to spend, then start browsing boats.
Boat prices vary greatly. Expect to spend around $75,000 up to $2 million for a reliable family boat. Larger boats with more features are typically more expensive, as are fast boats with lots of horsepower. But there are plenty of boats on the market, both new and used, that make great family boats that can be enjoyed for years to come.
The Size of Your Family
How many people are in your immediate family? Will you also be inviting extended family onboard? What about neighbors, friends, co-workers, and your kid’s friends? Get onboard the boat with your family and see how the space feels. Is there room to move around? Do you like the layout? Or do you feel too cramped? You don’t want to get a boat that’s too big for you to maneuver, dock, and store, but you definitely don’t want to get a boat that you feel like you’re outgrowing as soon as you buy it.
Thankfully boats come in many lengths and layouts and if you buy a new boat, you may be able to choose some of the finishes and the configurations. For example, you may decide that you want to change some of the storage compartments to seating, and add lounge cushions on the deck so there’s extra room for people to relax and enjoy the boat.
Where You Are Going to Use Your Boat
When you’re choosing from different types of boats for families, consider where you’re going to boat. Do you plan on going in the ocean? Then you won’t want to buy a pontoon boat or a jet boat. Instead, you will want a cabin cruiser, a yacht, a large convertible fishing boat, or a boat with a V-shaped hull that can cut through the waves.
Conversely, if you’re going to just be cruising around a small lake or a tight canal, you don’t want a boat that’s too big or hard to maneuver. Here you may consider a deck boat, pontoon boat, or a jet boat. Just make sure that whatever vessel you choose is suited to freshwater and saltwater and is intended to be used where you plan on using it.
Your lifestyle plays a huge factor in deciding which of the best boats for families you end up choosing. You may not know your boating style yet, but you can always choose a boat that is versatile. For example, you may want to be able to fish with your dad every month and then be able to have space for your kids to invite friends out on the boat and enjoy watersports. You may enjoy snorkeling and want a boat that has enough storage that your gear is out of the way. Or you may want to enjoy a cocktail on the bow and a fridge and extra cup holders are important to you.
Or having an onboard crew may be important to you so they can cook and clean and drive the boat for you. In that case, you will need a yacht that can accommodate crew quarters and a kitchen. Keep in mind your preferences and how you plan on using the boat.
Available Add Ons for the Boat
If you’re new to boating or haven’t done it in awhile, you may not know what you need or want, so having the option to purchase add ons for your boat at a later date may be important. Does the manufacturer make a chair that can extend from the swim platform and you can sit in the water behind your boat? That may be something you want to purchase in the future. You may want to upgrade your speakers or GPS in the future or add a more high tech fish finder. You may come to love fishing and want to purchase on board storage solutions, ice chests, and rod holders. Check out the additional gear you can outfit your boat with.
A Few Additional Tips When Buying a Boat for Families
In addition to considering things like your lifestyle and your budget, you also want to keep maintenance at the forefront of your decision. You probably have work to be done, a house to manage, and familial obligations, so the last thing you need is a high maintenance boat. Ask the boat dealership or the person selling the boat for maintenance records, recommended ongoing maintenance, and how it stacks up with other boats. You can also do some of this research online. And if you have specific questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer.
Safety is another thing that shouldn’t be taken lightly when choosing a boat. Your family will be on this vessel and you want to do everything in your power to keep them safe. If you’re buying a used boat, make sure it’s inspected and you have taken it on a sea trial with someone knowledgeable about that type of boat.
Always make sure all U.S. Coast Guard required equipment is on board. This includes things like personal flotation devices for every passenger, working navigation lights, fire extinguisher, visual distress signals, and more. If you need someone to help you with Coast Guard documentation, Trident Funding is the right company. Not only do we offer boat loans with competitive rates, but we can guide you through the entire boat purchase process including all inspections and registration, etc.
Other considerations when checking out the best boats for families in Florida include:
- Protection from the sun: Florida is sunny! This can be great but you don’t want to end up sun burnt or dehydrated. Make sure you have sunscreen onboard, hats, sunglasses, and long sleeve tops, as well as plenty of fresh water. Additionally, consider a boat with a Bimini top or a cabin so you can get a reprieve from the sun. This is especially important if children and elderly people will be on board.
- An onboard bathroom: Often referred to as a ‘head,’ you may want to consider a boat with at least a small bathroom on board. If your three-year-old needs to go potty now, this can come in handy!
- A shower: Even a ‘wet head’ is helpful. This is a hand held nozzle that is attached to the end of a water hose. It’s very convenient for rinsing off salt water after a dip in the ocean. You can also use it to hose down the boat, rinse off messes, and even rinse off your dog.
5 Best Boats For Families in Florida: The Types of Boats to Consider
So many factors go into deciding which boat is best for your family, but overall the most popular family boats include:
- Pontoon boat: Ideal for calm waterways, a pontoon boat is stable, has ample seating, is easy to maintain and can be used for entertaining and exploring lakes, rivers, and canals.
- Jet boat: This is the perfect boat for exploring sandbars and for watersports. These vessels are usually equipped with the newest technology, are relatively fast, and can easily tow skiers and tubers.
- Deck boat: These boats are versatile enough to use for entertaining, water sports, and fishing. Depending on the shape of the hull, they can be used in the ocean, as well as other waterways. They come in various lengths so they can accommodate small and large families.
- Yacht: The ideal family boat, you won’t ever run out of space on a yacht. You can enjoy some luxurious amenities like your own air conditioned cabin, full bathrooms, kitchens, and plenty of storage space.
- Cabin cruiser: These boats are like smaller versions of yachts. They can still be used for overnight trips, can be used in all bodies of water, and are also quite versatile.
The Wrap Up: Best Family Boats
Boating is such a positive pastime and is enjoyed by millions of families each year. A good family boat will have enough space for your family and friends to spread out. It will be sturdy, reliable, seaworthy, and not need a lot of maintenance. It will also have all of the things that are important to your family such as fishing storage areas, deck loungers, a mini fridge, and a head. The best boats for families in Florida often offer some type of shade and protection from the sun and can be used in different bodies of water including saltwater.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Boat to Buy for Family
What Size Boat Should You Get for a Family of Six?
The best boats for a large family really depend on how you’re going to use the boat and your budget. The obvious choice is a yacht because it can easily accommodate a family of six plus their friends and any extended family members. You will be able to spread out on board, have space to lounge, play, dine, shower, and even sleep.
If you want to buy a yacht and need a yacht loan, learn how we do boat loans at Trident Funding. We specialize in yacht loans for new and used yachts up to $2 million.
If a yacht isn’t in your budget consider a pontoon boat. They feature open seating plans with plenty of places to lounge. Deck boats, cabin cruisers, and jet boats can also accommodate larger families.
Check out a free online boat loan calculator to see how much boat you can afford to purchase for your family. You can even see your estimated monthly payment. Once you play around with the numbers and find a loan amount that works for you, apply for the loan online and get an approval in about 48 hours. Trident Funding makes the entire process smooth sailing.
What is the Most Low Maintenance Boat?
All boats need maintenance, but some require less than others. Outboard engines generally are easier to maintain than inboard motors, making them a more low maintenance option because they’re easier to get access to when they need to be serviced, repaired, or replaced. Aluminum and fiberglass hulls are typically the lowest maintenance materials and smaller boats are typically easier and cheaper to maintain. Generally, boats under 30 feet are less maintenance because there is just less boat and less systems to worry about.
The following are typically considered low maintenance boats:
- Pontoon boats
- Aluminum fishing boats
- Deck boats
- Jet boats
Which Boats are Most Reliable?
Boats need to be maintained, cleaned, serviced, and repaired to be reliable. They also need to be used! You can’t tell if a boat is reliable if it’s never taken out on the water. With that being said, the most reliable boats are generally brand new boats that are accompanied by a manufacturer’s warranty. However, you can definitely still buy used boats that are reliable. Buy one that has been well maintained, has service records, and doesn’t have too many hours on it. Always take a used boat for a sea trial and have it inspected by a professional before purchasing it.
Before you buy a boat, research the brand and see what customer reviews are saying about the particular make, model, and year boat that you like. You may notice overarching trends saying this boat is phenomenal or skip this model year and choose a different one.