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A Complete Guide to Family Fishing Boats

For many families, boating has become a treasured tradition to make memories, create everlasting bonds, and strengthen relationships. Finding the right family fishing boats to meet your needs is a big part of making those memories. There are many styles of watercraft that can be used as family fishing boats, and each style has unique features that make it suitable for specific types of family fun. Here is everything you need to know about choosing family fishing boats. 

Main Requirements for the Best Family Fishing Boats

When trying to find the best family fishing boats, there are a number of things to keep in mind. You will want to choose a boat that has sufficient accommodations, is suitable for the type of area where you intend to use it, and has ample storage space for all your family's necessities. There are also various accessories that you can find for family fishing boats to make the experience even more entertaining. Here are some of the things to look for.


Family on a sailboat



The U.S. Coast Guard requires certain safety equipment on recreational vessels like family fishing boats. Every recreational boat must carry at least one life jacket for each person aboard, and all boats 16 feet long or longer must also carry one throwable floatation device, unless the boat is classified as a canoe or kayak. Boats that use gasoline are required to have a ventilation system and an acceptable means of backfire flame control unless the boat uses an outboard motor. 

Recreational boats must also have navigation lights to use between sunset and sunrise and during fog, rain, or other times when visibility is restricted. Sound signals are required under certain circumstances, like meeting, crossing, and overtaking situations, as well as during periods of reduced visibility and while at anchor. Fire extinguishers and visual distress signals are other safety items you need to ensure your boat is properly outfitted. All these items should be U.S. Coast Guard approved or certified.


Comfort: from spacious decks to cozy cabin

Choosing family fishing boats that have spacious decks can provide you with many benefits. The spacious area gives you room for people, gear, bait, and the catch on extended fishing trips, and you can use it as space for entertaining at other times. A big deck area also allows for safer casting and minimizes the chances of fishing lines getting tangled. Wider boats also make it easier to navigate into shallow areas of water.

Another important element of a family fishing boat is a comfortable cabin. A comfortable cabin shelters your family from the sun and heat and provides a shield against inclement weather. Having a comfortable cabin also allows you to spend more time on the water and avoid the pricey hotels of many waterfront destinations. Some family fishing boats have air-conditioned cabin areas and full-sized bathrooms with a sink and a shower for maximum comfort during multiple days on the water. 


Fun: swimming, water skiing, dining, entertaining

If fishing starts to become monotonous, ramp up the excitement with some watersports. The best fishing boats for a family often have a swim platform toward the back of the boat that acts as a swimming dock while out on the water. Some of the best family fishing boats under $30k also have a ski pylon that can be used to tow family members during skiing or tubing. 

Dining elements, like a dining table, a microwave, and an onboard grill, are essential to prepare food for your family during extended stays on the water. With enough space, you can add features like coffee makers, freezers, and wine coolers to the galley so that you can enjoy all of the comforts of home. You can also choose from numerous standard and optional entertainment features, including Bluetooth connectivity, televisions, and sound systems.


Best Family Fishing Boats by Type

While many types of vessels can be referred to as family fishing boats, some have features that make them more suitable for family fishing trips than others. There are boat models specifically designed for lake or saltwater fishing, day cruising, watersports, and other activities. The best family fishing boats offer all the comforts of a cruising day boat and all the utility of a well-equipped fishing boat. When looking for family fishing boats, here are some types you should keep at the front of your mind. 


Father and son fishing on a boat


Best family fishing boats under $30k

If you want one of the best family fishing boats under $30k, consider a sailboat. These boats don't have powerful engines propelling them, which means they often cost significantly less than comparable powerboats. Operating a sailboat is more complicated than steering a powerboat, but the skill and teamwork required to operate a sailboat can be a bonding experience for your family, with every member having a role to play. Today, sailboats are available in all different sizes and comfort levels, making it easy to find one that fits your family's needs. Read more: What are the Different Types of Sailboats?

More candidates for the best family fishing boats under $30k can be found among walkaround boats. These are suitable for both inland and offshore adventures and can be ideal for families that enjoy fishing, day cruising, and overnight excursions. These boats often have a large, open aft cockpit for activities and an enclosed bow that provides both weather protection and sleeping accommodations. Many families with young children choose walkaround boats because of their added protection from chilly or rainy conditions. Rightboat has a large selection of walkaround boats to choose from at a wide range of prices to suit different budgets. 


Best family freshwater fishing boats

Some say that the best freshwater boat for fishing and family fun is the fish-and-ski boat. With these boats, your family can chase fish in the morning, and then, end the day with water skiing, wakeboarding, or another watersport. These boats are available over a wide price range that typically depends on the boat's size and amenities.

Designed for freshwater use, fish-and-ski boats are often based on fishing boat styles with additions that make them suitable for cruising and watersports. Most of these boats have tow-sports equipment, like a ski-tow pylon and ski lockers, as well as fishing features like live wells, rod holders, and a trolling motor. There are also some that are based on premium boats and have more features and deluxe appointments.

Pontoon boats are another popular boat choice for family fishing trips. For recreational fishing on freshwater lakes and rivers, pontoon boats are exceptionally stable and comfortable enough for lounging on the water for lengthy periods of time. Their rectangular shape lets everyone fish from a different spot without entangling lines with each other.

Pontoon boats typically come with a lot of comfortable seating and have plenty of room for everyone's gear, snacks, and water. Some even have enough room for a small grill to cook your catch on the boat. Pontoon boats also come with powerful engines that can move the boats fast enough to make watersports enjoyable, so make sure your family brings their tubes and water skis.


Pontoon boat


Best family saltwater fishing boats

Some of the best family saltwater fishing boats are cabin cruisers. These boats are styled like mobile homes, with everything you need to take the entire family on waterborne adventures that can last for days. Large cabin cruisers can often sleep up to a dozen people, while small cabin cruisers typically have sleeping room for four to six people.

Cabin cruisers can cost quite a bit more than many other boats due to their size and standard features. These boats generally come fully equipped with sleeping areas, a cooking area, and bathroom accommodations. When your family wants a respite from the water, you can pull the boat into a slip that you can rent by the night or weekend. This allows your family to visit attractions and waterfront restaurants near the port.

Jet boats are another favorite choice for family fishing boats that will be mainly used in saltwater. Most jet boats are composed of fiberglass materials that are resistant to saltwater corrosion and have components capable of surviving saltwater environments. Jet boats have excellent handling as they are propelled by powerful jets of water and have a minimal draft, allowing them to be used in shallow water. 

The range of available choices can be a bit limited with jet boats, as there are a limited number of manufacturers currently making them. However, Rightboat typically has options available to choose from. Take a look at our selection, and see if we have a jet boat that is right for your family and your budget.

More information: Saltwater Boats vs Freshwater Boats: What’s the Difference?


Choose a Family Fishing Boat to Suit Everyone

Spending time on the water is a great way to draw your family closer together, so when looking for a family fishing boat, focus on finding a boat that will make you and your loved ones happy. Finding the right family fishing boats will depend on what you need to ensure your family's comfort and safety. The needs of a family with small children will be different than the needs of a family whose members are adults and teens. 

At Rightboat, we have a wide selection of family fishing boats in various styles and sizes to meet the requirements of any size family. The boats we sell come with a wide range of fishing features, luxury materials, and enhanced amenities to help you maintain an excellent lifestyle on the water. Let our listings guide you to the boat of your dreams. Explore our selection of family fishing boats, and contact us to learn more!

Related article: Best Fishing Boat Brands


Written By: Toi Williams

Toi grew up in coastal New England, Her parents had a second home on Newfound Lake, in New Hampshire. Because of this, Toi was able to enjoy boating at sea as well as in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Today, she regularly wakeboards and waterskis on her Malibu wake surfing boat. She also sailed at sea in Maine, and taken many trips to the Isles of Shoals.

More from: Toi Williams

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