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What to Know Before Buying a Saltwater Fishing Boat

When you’re choosing a saltwater fishing boat, it’s a big decision. You may want a boat with an electric trolling motor, so you can do big-game fishing, or maybe you want something for bay fishing. Regardless, the goal with a saltwater boat is to find something that’s going to allow you to maximize how many fish you catch. 

There are differences between the design of saltwater fishing boats and other boats also.

The following are some things to keep in mind as you’re shopping around for a saltwater fishing vessel. 

Boat Types

There are a lot of different types of boats falling into the category of saltwater fishing vessels, and having an idea of what these are is a good starting point. Some of the primary types of saltwater fishing boats include:

  • Cuddy cabins, which are good for day cruising or family fishing
  • Center consoles for angling or cruising as well as water sports
  • Bay boats which are for basic saltwater fishing
  • Sport fishing boats that are large and designed for offshore fishing
  • Dual consoles
  • Flatboats
  • Convertible boats with spacious cabins

With saltwater fishing boats, there are small options that can be trailered and towed. There are also center console boats, that can usually be towed as well. There are inflatable fishing boats, and there are sport fishing boats which are better suited to offshore fishing. 

Questions to think about when you start your search include whether you plan to fish inshore, offshore or nearshore. You’ll also want to think about how many people you’ll take fishing at one time, and how long you’ll stay out during each trip. Built-in fishing features, some of which are discussed below, are also considerations. 

You should also know that your buying needs will be different if you plan to fish primarily in saltwater versus freshwater. 

Features to Look for

There are certain features to look for in a saltwater fishing boat that you might not necessarily need in other kinds of boats. For example, you will need a boat with at least 316-stainless steel fittings and parts. Otherwise, corrosion is going to be a problem almost immediately, and you’ll get no more than a few seasons’ uses out of the boat.

Fishboxes are also something to think about, as is the fuel capacity, particularly depending on where you’re planning to fish at and how far out you want to go. 

A good stowage area is a place to store all your gear so that you don’t have to take it off the boat after every fishing trip. 

Other features you might consider when choosing a saltwater fishing boat are:

  • Plentiful rod holders
  • Protection from the sun, such as a hardtop or a T-top
  • Access to the transom

Who to Buy From

As with a car, you have an option when you’re buying a boat. You can purchase from a private seller or a dealer. You may get a better deal from an individual who’s in a hurry to sell, but this is going to expose you to more risk as well. 

If there’s an issue with the boat down the road, you’re not going to have a lot of options available to you as far as how you deal with it, if you buy from a private seller. On the other hand, if you buy from a dealer, the cost of the boat may be higher, but there are legal benefits.

For example, a dealership is going to ensure the title is recorded the right way, and there may be warranty or warranty extension options that will give you some level of protection. 

Another option is buying from a wholesaler. A wholesaler buys old boats that can’t be kept in a dealer’s traditional inventory. You can save money, or they can help you locate something specific. 

Think About All the Costs

Finally, when you’re shopping for a new or used saltwater fishing boat, you have to remember there is a lot more to the costs than just the boat itself. 

For example, there are things like gas and insurance, registration fees, and you’ll have to find a place to store your boat when you’re not using it. You’ll need safety equipment, along with any fishing equipment you don’t already have. Factor these costs into your budget before making a decision. 

You may decide that you want a boat you can tow behind your vehicle, so size will factor into that as will whether or not your car can tow it.

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What to Know Before Buying a Saltwater Fishing Boat