10 Great Boats Under $20,000

Owning a boat is an unreachable dream for many outdoors enthusiasts. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap boats on the market that can fulfill your wildest dreams. Whether you require financing or are working with a limited cash budget, there is a boat out there to meet your needs. From smaller boats with basic features to surprisingly affordable fishing boats with onboard technology and other perks, here are ten great boats under $20,000.

1. Tracker Grizzly 1648 SC

If a no-frills aluminum boat package is what you’re looking for, Tracker’s Grizzly 1648 SC is a supremely affordable option. The powder-coated aluminum boat is durable (no wood here) and has a Mod V hull for smooth (and dry) boating. All-welded side-console construction and foam-filled walls help with buoyancy and handling, so while it might not look like a sporty boat, the Grizzly 1648 SC handles itself well.

VERSATRACK accessory mounting and two pedestal seat bases accommodate your fishing needs while the lockable bow deck storage compartment adds security and utility. Despite the low price, the Grizzly 1648 SC comes with the motor and trailer, proving that some cheap boats are worth more than their sticker price.

● Starts at: $9,795

● Length: 16 feet

● Engine: 20 ELPT FourStroke

2. Mako Pro Skiff 15 CC

If saltwater boating is your thing, Mako’s Pro Skiff 15 CC is an affordable dream come true. Its composite construction is rugged, and the marine-grade vinyl upholstery can ward off even the toughest salt spray. With a one-piece deck liner with closed-cell foam, stability is a priority here. Lockable storage and an anchor locker, below-console storage, rod holders, grab rail, and electronics mounting options let you bring all your gear along.

An aerated baitwell and removable seat/cooler add to the perks for fishers, but the 40 ELPT engine gives you enough power to enjoy the ride, too. Overall, the skiff is visually appealing and functional for fishing and other on-the-water adventures.

● Starts at: $14,995

● Length: 15’ 2”

● Engine: 40 ELPT FourStroke

3. Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX

If a party barge is more your speed, Sun Tracker still makes the excursion affordable with the Party Barge 18 DLX. Multichambered pontoon logs give you a stable ride, vinyl flooring is durable and easily wipeable, and port and starboard bow lounges make room for everyone. A full-width swim platform makes water access easy so you can cool off anytime.

Under-seat storage is handy, including a cooler spot under the console, and a stereo really gets the party going. From its nine-person capacity to the built-in Bimini, the spacious layout means you can stay out on the water all day in comfort and style. While it’s not our top choice for fishing enthusiasts, a party barge is a recreational boater’s dream.

Note, however, that the price excludes the optional trailer.

● Starts at: $17,295

● Length: 20 feet

● Engine: 40 ELPT FourStroke Command Thrust

4. Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 DLX

For fishing enthusiast families, the Bass Buggy 16 DLX from Sun Tracker contains everything you need to enjoy a day of fishing with excess weight and features. It’s easy to tow and easy to operate, plus you can bring the whole family and enjoy the shade with your built-in Bimini top. A cross between a pontoon party barge and a pro fisher’s utility boat, the Bass Buggy makes fishing comfortable and accessible.

Multichambered pontoon logs lend stability, and a bow fishing deck with fold-down fishing chairs let you make the most of the spacious deck. An aerated live well, vinyl flooring, rod holders, and under-seat storage deliver the basics without going over budget.

Note that the price excludes the optional trailer.

● Starts at: $13,995

● Length: 16 feet

● Engine: 25 ELPT FourStroke

5. Sea-Doo FISH PRO

Sea-Doo has a reputation for producing fun and fast personal watercraft, and the FISH PRO is no exception. The Sea-Doo FISH PRO accommodates three riders and has plenty of cargo storage for your fishing gear.

Plus, the FISH PRO weighs just over 850 pounds, making it easy to tow. With a comfortable and stable fishing seat, a cooler, fishing rod holders, plus a rear platform for extra space, you won’t want for any extra features here. An on-board Garmin unit even helps you find fish and chart details.

With the boarding ladder, it’s easier than ever for passengers to climb aboard, and front storage helps with packing before your trip, too. Trolling mode is ideal for fishing excursions while the stable hull helps keep you solid even in rough water.

● Starts at: $14,799

● Length: 147”

● Engine: ROTAX 1503 NA

6. Bayliner Element E16

For fishing or recreation, the Bayliner Element E16 gives you maximum entertainment in a spacious package. The 16-foot boat can accommodate six passengers and its design cuts down on sloshing and jostling through turns.

Even for beginner boaters, the operation is straightforward and visibility is exceptional. Stowing and comfort features like cup holders, grab handles, and six mooring cleats make for a functional layout. Automotive-style handling is a helpful addition, and the M-Hull design makes for a smooth ride.

A handful of color and graphic choices add to your customization options, and an engine upgrade (to a 115 HP) is available, too.

● Starts at: $15,099

● Length: 16’ 2”

● Engine: 60 HP ELPT FourStroke Mercury Outboard

7. Bayliner 160 Bowrider

The Bayliner 160 Bowrider has plenty of storage space, a full windshield, and reliable performance in any water conditions. An entry-level bowrider, the 160 can handle up to five people thanks to a comfortable aft bench seat.

Bring the music with you—there’s an onboard stereo that’s MP3 compatible—and enjoy a day on the water with your family. Bimini canvas and other covers are optional, but you can also select a ski tow pylon as an add-on to further enhance the fun. Even with add-ons, the base price (and motor options) make your boating dreams a reality.

● Starts at: $16,499

● Length:16’ 2”

● Engine: 60 HP ELPT Mercury Four-Stroke Outboard

8. Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW

Equipped with a 60 ELPT FourStroke engine, the Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW is an affordable way to meet all your fishing needs. New boat prices depend on a few factors, the motor being one of them, so if you want to lower costs, you could opt for a 20 ELPT FourStroke as a cheaper alternative.

Regardless of the motor type, the Pro Team 175 TXW boasts a Revolution hull, a color fishfinder, two pedestal seat bases (with movable folding fishing seats), gear storage compartments, an accessory mounting channel, a trolling motor, and a custom matching trailer.

● Starts at: $17,995

● Length: 17’ 7”

● Engine: 60 ELPT FourStroke

9. Tahoe T16

Tahoe’s T16 gives you the sport feel you’re looking for with all the comfort of more expensive barges. A fiberglass hull and lightweight construction help you glide across the water and keeps your tow weight down. Looking to haul a boat with a smaller vehicle? The T16 might be the perfect fit.

Aft swim platforms and a telescoping boarding ladder enable all the on-the-water fun you can handle, while the built-in storage stows your gear. All told, the package (trailer included) weighs 2,200 pounds, meaning you can tow it with any Class 2 or larger hitch with your SUV.

● Starts at: $15,995

● Length: 16’ 5”

● Engine: 60 HP Mercury FourStroke

10. Carolina Skiff 13 JV SS

Carolina Skiff offers a few affordable models under $20k, but the 13 JV SS is an entry-level option that comes in under budget even with add-ons. A composite boat with easy handling, the 13 JV SS can handle three occupants and maxes out at 30 HP.

Each JV-series boat is either Center Console or Tiller Handle, which gives you options, but the wood-free design means your boat will last for years. Plus, the shallow Vee keeps your ride dry and makes the boat easier to maneuver. Other features, such as a live well and pedestal seat base, help upgrade the boating experience on this entry-level model.

● Starts at: $10,300

● Length: 12’ 8”

● Engine: 30 HP

The Bottom Line

Whether you purchase a brand-new boat or buy one second-hand, choosing accessories adds to the bottom line. Whatever personal watercraft, fishing barge, or sport boat you select, use a boat payment calculator to determine the total cost before purchase.

Also consider the type of boat you prefer and whether a hybrid option—such as a sport and fishing boat—will fulfill your needs. If water sports are your preference, look for boats with optional add-ons and only select the features you need.

Consider shopping for second-hand items like used outboard motors to further reduce costs. A reliable and well-kept boat may prove a better purchase than a brand-new boat with excess features, depending on your budget, preferences, and financing options.

Calculate insurance costs to get an accurate idea of what your new boat will truly cost. Regular maintenance, storage fees, and replacement parts can also run up your budget, making a cheaper boat a smart idea from the start if budget is your top concern.