3 of the Best Boats for Lakes

As spring fades into summer, many people begin to drift toward water-related activities. Undoubtedly, some of the most exciting water-related recreational activities require a safe, comfortable lake boat. Some common lake boating activities include fishing, skiing, tubing, and simply cruising around sightseeing. Different boat types tend to be better suited to different activities, but a report by RailBlaza points out a considerable overlap among boat types. Let’s look at the three best boats for lakes.

Things to consider before buying a boat

A row of sail boats anchored in the middle of a lake
Boats in the middle of a lake | Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images

Before spending your hard-earned cash on a sleek model covered in a high-gloss metallic finish capable of floating your cares away, it is important to have some idea of what activities a particular boat design is and is not best suited to.

Sailboats, for example, are not well suited to largemouth bass fishing. Of course, people can and do catch largemouth bass from sailboats. However, sailboats require a keel that extends deep below the hull to counterbalance the tall masts and rigging. This keel makes it impossible for a sailboat to access shallow water, most often associated with the best largemouth bass fishing. On the other hand, fishing boats are not well suited to spending a day on the water relaxing and swimming.

Best boats for lake fishing

Boats for lake fishing can be a rather broad category, ranging from small, aluminum, V-bottom boats powered by small displacement outboard engines to state-of-the-art tri-hull, fiberglass boats with gleaming metallic finishes and large displacement outboards capable of interstate highway speeds on the water. Sometimes people also fish from pontoon boats, ski boats, and deck boats, although these models are not ideal for fishing.

Most fishing boats share some common characteristics. Large bow platforms located at the front of the boat allow anglers to take an elevated position to reduce glare that decreases visibility into the water. Trolling motors allow stealth when moving through areas that hold fish or remaining stationary in water current or windy conditions. Electronic fish finders provide a view under the water to detect fish and structures that may hold fish nearby.

Best boats for lake skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing

Ski boats are often large and powerful to accommodate small groups of skiers. While some pontoon boats and bass boats can pull skiers, tubers, and wakeboarders, the best ski boats are specifically designed to pull people behind them.

Boats designed to pull skiers typically have large towers attached to the stern (back of the boat) to help keep ski ropes elevated and above the water when pulling skiers out of the water and encountering large waves. Powerful outboard or inboard engines are helpful when pulling skiers up to begin skiing. Large, open deck plans with optimal seating configuration allow spectators and additional skiers to ride along in comfort.

Best models for lake cruising

The best boats for lake cruising are often pontoon boats, but cabin cruisers, bowriders, yachts, sailboats, and deck boats are also great boats to cruise the lake. Pontoon boats are ideal for lake cruising because they feature wide, stable decks and plenty of seating for guests. Many pontoon boats are specifically designed to provide a swimming platform with ladders that extend into the water to allow easy re-entry onto the boat.

The best lake cruising boats offer large decks, premium sound systems and are built for comfort but not necessarily speed. Comfortable seating and providing shade for passengers when the summer sun gets too hot for comfort are also important when spending a full day on the water.

No matter which boat is right for you, it is always essential to obey applicable laws regarding alcohol usage, personal flotation devices, and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers. Taking a boating course is recommended to keep you safe, and they can provide boaters information on common courtesy while on the water.

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