Help & Advice

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT BOAT

An Introduction

If you are thinking for the first time of joining the 3 million Britons who enjoy recreational boating, you probably have an idea about the kinds of fun on the water that your boat will provide. One of the terrific things about boating is that there are numerous different types of boats designed for different activities - and there truly is something for everyone. However that can mean there is too much choice - and for the beginner the sheer range of different boat types can be bewildering.

If you are new to boating, to narrow down your search, simply ask yourself the four key questions;

 WHAT?

This one simple four letter word defines what will the boat be used for. This is vitally important. 

Wildlife explorations? Sunbathing in sunny coves in the Med?. Deep sea expeditions? Fishing? Generally enjoying local waterways? Water skiing or wakeboarding? Cruising with family and friends? Sports cruising or even racing? A little of everything? There is a boat that’s right for you.

WHERE?

Where will you use your boat - on the sea?, a lake?, a river?, canal?, a reservoir?, even on a small pond?

WHO?

Who will be using the boat and how experienced are they?. How many passengers and how much gear will you be carrying?

WHERE?

Where will you be storing the boat? Marina? Boat park? Local Club? Jetty? Trailer? Garage?

 

What type of hull is right for me?

The hull is the structural body of the boat that rests in the water. There is no perfect hull. All boats are compromises among performance, useable space and cost. To simplify the process of choosing, here are a few categories to consider when deciding what hull design is right for you.

 

  • Flat bottom boats - these either push thought the water at low speeds, or plane on top of the water at faster speeds. However they are difficult to control and flat bottomed boats are very uncomfortable in choppy conditions.

 

  • V -Hulls  - these are more suitable for sea use. V-Hulls are  designed to cut through the water and make the boat start planing. The hull has chines and strakes to lift the boat up when it goes fast enough. The deeper the V, the easier it will be to cut through choppy waters. As you may expect, the tradeoff can be less stability in flat water. A shallower V (such as a deck boat) is more stable in choppy water at lower speeds, but will not "cut through" the waves as easily at higher speeds. A wider beam (the boat’s width at its widest point) will increase these effects.

 

  • Multi- hull boats - caterman's - these will have two hulls which cut through chop exceptionally well, while maintaining stability due to the width of the boat between hulls. The main drawback to a multi-hulled boat is its poor turning ability.

 

  • Round hulls - (such as a trawler or sailboat) -are displacement hulls (as opposed to planing hulls). These boats are restricted to relatively slow speeds, however displacement hulls are very fuel efficient. A displacement hull tends to create a gentle motion while underway, although rolling from side to side in waves can be a problem.

 

What type of Engine should I get for my boat?

Choosing the right type of propulsion system for your boat is a very important matter. Its weight and horsepower will both have a massive impact on the performance of your boat. If your boat is underpowered, its engine will work hard continually and it will provide a very poor performance. If overpowered, it will be very difficult and dangerous to control. There are definitely pros and cons for each type of engine - different types of engine are recommended when fitted in different types of boat. Please also note that the engine will often be half the cost of a "new boat and engine package" and also that most of your annual service bill will be engine related. In decades gone by, inboard engines were often preferred. However the modern four-stroke engine technology means that the modern Japanese outboards are exceptionally reliable, fuel efficient and powerful.

 

When is the best time to buy?

You can find a great deal on a boat brought from us here in Skipton at any time of the year. Like buying a new car, there are often bargains to be had from us here at Pennine Marine on "new but old" stock, ex- showroom models and old demonstrators  - especially when new models come out. In fact you can often find the best deals on brand new boats that are a year or two old. 

There are still some bargains to be had at the national boat shows, however all the boat and engine manufacturers offer us here at Pennine Marine  the "boat show offers". This means that you will not have to travel hundreds of miles across the country. Nonetheless, the best time to buy your new boat is simply when you are ready.

People who are new to boating have a lot to consider. Your families and friends should be part of the decision-making process. It’s a good idea to take an RYA powerboat training course during the period when you are searching for your boat.  We find that this training helps people understand the differences between the different powerboat types and thus chrysalises their thinking.