Boats For Families: Finding The Best Boat For Your Family

Boats for Families: Finding The Best Boat For Your Family

Many adults take up recreational boating because of their upbringing and early experiences. The joy of recreational boating is an age-old tradition that your entire family can relish for countless generations to come. From the thrill of a child catching their first fish to the excitement of taking the wheel on mom or dad's lap for the first time, these bonding experiences will bring your family closer together.

When finding the perfect boat for your family, there are several factors to keep in mind. Size and capacity, safety features, comfort, and your budget all play a crucial role in making the right decision. Here are some key points to remember when selecting the ideal boat for your family's needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Family Boat

1. Size and Capacity

The size and capacity of your boat will partly depend on what activities you want to use it for. The size of your family plays a crucial role in determining the right size of the boat you'll need to ensure that everyone is safe and comfortable on board. These are the recommended guidelines for the minimum length of a boat that is required per number of passengers:

  • 3 passengers - 12 feet
  • 4 passengers - 15 feet
  • 5 passengers - 18 feet
  • 6 passengers - 20 feet
  • 8 passengers - 24 feet
  • 10 passengers - 26 feet
  • 12 passengers - 27 feet
  • 13+ passengers - 30+ feet

Consider purchasing a slightly larger boat if you plan on expanding your family in the future. This way, you'll have enough space to accommodate everyone comfortably.

2. Safety Features

Safety equipment will be an ongoing expense if you're planning to own a family boat. Make sure you have life preserver vests for each family member. It's also important to remember that as your children grow, they'll need larger sizes, so you may need to upgrade their vests accordingly. Any boat needs to have a well-stocked first aid kit on board. To ensure safety, signaling and sound devices and a VHF radio are also necessary. You will also need at least one fire extinguisher at the ready.

3. Comfort and Amenities

The activities you want to use a boat for may also impact size. If you plan to do overnight trips, you’ll need a boat large enough for a cabin, a galley, and a head (restroom). If you plan cruising or pleasure sailing, you'll want a boat with a larger deck or seating area. You may also want a Gemlux fly shade to provide your family with much-needed shade and heat protection. 

Where do you plan to go for fishing activities? For inshore fishing and lake fishing, a smaller boat might suffice. If you are considering heading out to the open waters for some offshore fishing, having a bigger boat is vital. Not only will it provide you with comfort, but it'll also ensure your safety.

4. Budget and Maintenance

If you are new to boat shopping, you should know that your budget will encompass much more than your monthly boat mortgage payment. You will also need to purchase an insurance policy and pay state registration fees. Boats require a lot of maintenance to keep them seaworthy, which can be expensive unless you are a do-it-yourselfer.

5. Storage and Transport

Are you considering storing your boat when it's not in use? If you don't have enough space on your property, you'll need to allocate additional funds to keep your boat at a dock or a dry storage facility during the off-season.

Unless you live on the water and have a private boat house, you will probably need to buy a trailer to transport your boat to and from the launch. When it comes to boat launches, both public and private facilities may require you to pay a fee for using them. This expense is another important financial consideration to consider when purchasing a boat.

The Role of Age and Activity Preferences

When choosing a family boat, it's important to consider the age of your children. Remember that boats are like cars or pickups in the sense that you can always "trade up" later on. So don't worry about selecting a boat that meets your family's needs because you're not stuck with it forever. As your kids get older, they might want to try water skiing or other sports, and you can always upgrade your boat to align its features with the activities your family wants to enjoy.

Buying New vs. Pre-Owned Boats

Purchasing a new boat from a licensed dealer comes with a monthly payment plan and a guarantee that no one else has ever used your vessel. There's an indescribable feeling that comes with owning a brand-new boat — one that only those who have experienced it can truly understand. 

However, purchasing a used or pre-owned boat can be beneficial in its own way. Much like cars, boats also lose value over time, so a second-hand one is likely less expensive. It's important to keep in mind that you may not have any warranty coverage to rely on.

If you're new to boating, be extra cautious when purchasing a used boat. It can be difficult to spot defects or issues, so bringing an experienced friend with you is best to assess the boat's condition. Remember that repairing a pre-owned boat to make it seaworthy again can be more expensive than buying a brand-new one.

Family Boating with Gemlux

When selecting a family boat, there are two key factors to consider: the size of your family (or the size it will be in the near future) and the activities you plan to enjoy on the water. As long as you stick to your budget and make a wise decision, you can be confident that you will create cherished memories with your loved ones that will last forever.

We're all about the boating lifestyle here at Gemlux, and we love that you're planning to introduce your family to the joys of boating. If you're in the market for top-notch fittings and add-ons for your brand-new family boat, such as outrigger systems for fishing, feel free to explore our inventory!