How Much Does A Fishing Boat Cost?

Fishing can be a great escape from everyday stress and concerns, especially in the current times. Throwing the hook off the coast and fishing in a stream is a great experience, but nothing can compare to embarking from the coast and sailing towards the horizon.

Answering the question of how much a fishing boat costs mostly comes down to your needs and budget. Whether it is your first boat or you are looking to upgrade, finding the right option can be a lot of work, especially in the current market. As prices of fishing boats start at $10,000 and skyrocket into millions, the focus of the article will be on the more sensible options that won’t break your budget. 

Fishing Boat Types

The beauty of fishing is that you don’t need more than a rod, bait, and a floating vessel to enjoy yourself. Homemade rafts, dinghies, and even yachts can be an excellent basis for a recreational boat. However, for the more serious adventures, you will need a purpose-built fishing boat. Let us take a look at the most prominent types and their cost. 

Bass Boats

Bass boats are one of the most common types of fishing vessels in the United States. As the name implies, their primary purpose is bass fishing, but they are also used to catch other panfish found in lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the country. 

An outboard motor propels the light and narrow bass boat at high speeds, even with full occupancy. A trolling motor can be installed on the bow or next to the stern-mounted outboard motor, allowing an angler to move slowly through a fishing spot. It can also be used in the case of primary engine failure, albeit at a much lower power threshold. Should both engines fail, the bass boat is light enough to be paddled back to shore. 

The aluminum models are usually lighter, less expensive, and smaller than the fiberglass options. However, the fiberglass boats are better suited for larger outboard motors, handle better, and provide more space. The modern renditions are equipped with swivel chairs to provide rotation, storage bins for fishing equipment, and a live well for the catch. 

In a package with the appropriate motor and trailer, a bass boat will set you back anywhere from $10,000 for a basic model to $70,000 for a boat with luxurious options and a world-class motor and trailer. Some of the popular models are:

  • Tracker Bass Tracker Classic XL is a reliable boat with great value and decent build quality. Its price starts at $11,000, while the 40 ELPT Mercury Four-Stroke version comes up to $15,000.
  • The Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk is a capable four-seater aluminum boat. The base version comes with a powerful Mercury 115 hp EFI Four-Stroke and a price tag of $32,331. 
  • Bass Cat Puma FTD is an all-fiberglass, feature-rich premium bass boat powered by a motor with up to 300 horsepower. Its luxury does come with a high price, starting close to $50,000.

Saltwater Boats

Saltwater fishing boats are categorized by their onshore and offshore application. However, the massive range of purpose-oriented designs, sizes, and dual-application vessels has blurred the line between them. As luxury and size can grow nearly indefinitely, so can the cost, making it challenging to find a suitable vessel without establishing priorities. 

Even if you spent an astronomical amount of money, you wouldn’t be able to get a boat that can do everything well. Versatile options certainly exist, but narrowing down the criteria will ultimately raise the satisfaction with the acquired vessel. We understand that everyone’s needs are different, so we will cover specialized fishing boats and other suitable options for recreational use. 

Convertibles are excellent offshore fishing vessels, with over 30 feet in length and plenty of space for sleeping. They are ideal for long ventures into the ocean. The prices of more affordable models generally start around $500,000 making the convertibles a luxury only a select few can afford. Used boats go for far less, but the excruciating costs of repairs and maintenance can quickly pile on. 

Expresses are an alternative to convertibles, favored by many captains due to the large helm deck. Rather than being isolated on the flybridge, the captain can socialize with the crew and reach for the fishing gear more easily. 

Express boats are more affordable than convertibles but are still very expensive to acquire. The Grady-White 300 Express is an excellent 33’ boat with plenty of features and powerful Yamaha Twin Four-Stroke motors. Its starting price is $215,380 and can escalate quickly depending on the optional equipment. 

Center Consoles are the most prominent saltwater fishing boats, praised for their affordability and utilitarian nature. The lack of a proper cabin makes them more suitable for inshore fishing, but many anglers take on the blue waters if the weather allows it. Let us take a look at a few options that stand out for their quality and great value: 

  • The Boston Whaler 150 Montauk is only 15’ 5” long and has a 40 horsepower engine at the lower end, but with a price of just $25,697, there isn’t much to complain about. The compact size lends itself to more effortless towing and storage.
  • The Tidewater 198 CC Adventure is a beautiful boat powered by an F115 Yamaha motor. It offers plenty in terms of customization, with a starting price of $33,400. 
  • Sea Hunt’s Ultra series offers an outstanding balance of luxury and affordability, with the Ultra 219 starting at $45,350, without the trailer and freight cost. 

Summary

The vast range of fishing boats available on the market makes it challenging to pinpoint an estimated cost, even when you narrow down the selection. Bass and center console boats are the best choices for an angler with a reasonable budget. However, even their prices can spiral out of control as you pile on optional equipment.

Create a list of requirements, focusing on size, material, necessary equipment, and a trailer. Take into account the initial cost of insurance, license, and registration. Once your boat is ready for use, you will have to think about the fuel consumption, maintenance, mooring, or storage fees, as well as navigation devices and lifesaving equipment.

The additional costs of running a boat are not trivial by any standards, so try not to blow the entire budget on the boat itself. A budget of around $30,000 to $40,000 should be enough to acquire a respectable fishing boat and all the necessary accessories.