Whether you’re looking for a fishing boat, a runabout, or even a cabin cruiser, you’ll have a different idea of just what “affordable” means depending on your own personal financial situation. That said, some boats are clearly more affordable than others and in recent years it seems like the pricing for many boats has gone through the roof. Never fear, dear boater — there are plenty of affordable boats out there no matter how hefty or how harsh your bank account may be. You just need to know what to look for. Here are three choices in three different categories of affordability:
Affordable Boats Under $50,000
The Bayliner T20CC is the only boat in this roundup to come in under the $50,000 mark while also breaking the 20-foot barrier, with a 20’6” LOA. This one will be a top choice of saltwater anglers, and it comes with plenty of fishing features like livewells in the leaning post and transom, rod holders in the gunwales and rod racks on the inwales, and an integrated insulated fishbox. The tandem axel trailer and a 115-hp Mercury Marine FourStroke are included.
See Bayliner T20CC boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Hurricane Sundeck 187 OB
With an MSRP in the low- to mid-$40,000 range the Hurricane Sundeck is priced low enough to upgrade the stock 115-hp outboard to a sporty 200-hp powerplant, add in a few optional perks, and still remain under the $50K pricing bar. It has a big L-shaped seat in the cockpit, a helm chair, and seating in the bow, so everyone in a crew of up to 10 has a place to relax. Note that the deckboat design gives it swim platforms both at the bow and stern.
See Hurricane Sundeck 187 OB boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Tracker Targa V-19WT
The Tracker Targa V-19 is a relatively large, beefy V-hull aluminum multispecies fishing boat made for freshwater fishing in big open lakes. It has 35 degrees of V in the bow and a 20-degree transom deadrise, so when the wind kicks up you’ll be happy to have it underfoot. Fishing features include a 19-gallon livewell in the bow and a 30-gallon livewell in the stern, a Minn Kota Powerdrive 70-pound thrust electric trolling motor, a Lowrance Hook2 7 Reveal fishfinder, a bow rodbox, and three movable pedestal fishing seats. You can pick one up new in the mid-$40,000 range, and that price tag includes a Mercury Marine 150 FourStroke outboard and a tandem axel trailer with brakes, a spare tire, a swing-away tongue, and chrome wheels. This is a full-featured rig yet it’ll cost you less than a nicely equipped full-size pickup truck.
See Tracker Targa V-19WT boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Affordable Boats Under $100,000
Cobia 220 DC
Cobia’s 220 DC is a great family boat for multiple activities ranging from fishing to watersports. It has a head inside the passenger’s console for comfort, a ski-tow bar for towing toys, and stainless-steel gunwale rodholders and a 22-gallon livewell to please the anglers in the crew. MSRP for the stock boat checks in at $94,535 with a Yamaha F200 outboard as of press time. And take note, with that power you’ll see speeds in the mid-40s and cruise at over 30 mph.
See Cobia 220 DC boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Jeanneau Leader 6.5 Series 3
With a starting point around $76,000 you can get a Jeanneau Leader 6.5 Series 3 and have plenty of room in the budget for upgrades, options, and even a year or two worth of fuel. This is the boat you’ll want to check out if you like the idea of having a cabin with weekending abilities, because the 22’6” boat is enclosed from the helm forward with a flush deck that protects a V-berth below. The stock powerplant is a Yamaha F150, and the cockpit has L-shaped seating that converts to a full U-shaped wraparound seat plus helm and passenger’s chairs.
See Jeanneau Leader 6.5 Series 3 boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Sportsman Open 232
With a starting point just a hair over $90K the Sportsman Open 232 not only gets you an affordable new center console fishing boat, it also gets you a brand new 2024 model. In fact, the Open 232 recently made our top picks for New Angler Boats for 2024. It’s rigged for serious fishing with all the accouterments you need, but what’s more impressive is that it comes standard with the new Seakeeper Ride system. This high-tech vessel attitude control mitigates both pitch and roll whenever underway at speeds of 10-plus-mph, taking an amazing 1,000 measurements per second to make an also-amazing 100 adjustments per second to mitigate rocking and rolling to the tune of 45- to 70-percent.
See Sportsman Open 232 boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Affordable Boats Under $200,000
Boston Whaler 250 Outrage
Checking in for a little over $171,000 with a single 300-hp Mercury outboard or at around $195,000 with a pair of 200-hp outboards, the not-so-inexpensive Boston Whaler 250 Outrage may seem like a strange choice when affordability is the main criteria. Remember, however, that Boston Whaler boats retain their resale value far better than most other brands. As a result, when you sell the boat you recoup a lot more of your initial investment — so in the long run it may actually cost you less than many other boats with a similar price tag. More importantly, you’ll love the boat thanks to a long list of fishing features and the ability to take it wherever you want to go ranging from the bay to dozens of miles offshore.
See Boston Whaler 250 Outrage boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Cutwater C248 C
Cruisers in search of an affordable boat with the accommodations for vacationing aboard will like the Cutwater C248 C, a pocket cruiser with a private stateroom, a head, and a galley with sink, microwave, stove top, and refrigerator/freezer. Sure, it’s relatively small for a cruiser, but it checks all the boxes and comes across the finish line at a hair under a $160,000 base price. Standard power is a Yamaha F250, and there’s a surprising list of upper-end features included like a bow thruster, Fusion stereo system, and Garmin navigation system.
See Cutwater C248 C boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Harris Crowne SL 270
You say you want to be king of the lake? You can be, on the Harris Crowne SL270, a big, bodacious, mega-luxury pontoon boat that comes in with a starting MSRP slightly over $194,000. That may sound like a lot for a pontoon boat, but only until you check this one out. This is a three-tube ‘toon with 150 stock horses, fiberglass fences and furniture bases, three massive couches plus an aft lounger, a powered arch, and pillowtop upholstery.
See Harris Crowne SL 270 pontoon boats for sale on Boat Trader.
You say you still haven’t run across the ideal and affordable boat for you and your family? Be sure to take a look at 10 Truly Affordable Boats: Budget Picks for 2023. If you plan to spend extended time aboard, see Affordable Live-Aboard Boats. And if you’re simply looking for ways to make boating more affordable, check out Affordable Boating: Getting Started for Less.