Whether you’re looking for a boat for summer family outings or big fishing trips with friends, there are many models on today’s market to choose from. Should you be looking for a general family boat? Or should you be looking for something specialized?
What you need to know about family boats
According to the team at Wave to Wave, there are two types of boat builders. One set produces purpose-built boats designed for a specific niche. Those manufacturers design for competitive skiing, fishing, or performance offshore. That means these manufacturers will work hard to be competitive in their segment. They strive to build watercraft that offers better design and performance.
The other set of builders mass-produce family boats. Family boats can vary greatly in quality and design. You’ll find family cruisers, deck boats, and runabouts in this camp. There’s no specific market for which they are meant. That means there’s no competition to inspire better designs or improved performance.
There is a desire on the part of these family boat manufacturers to latch onto the latest trend. A boat may try to get in on the wakeboard trend or slant toward outboarding. Some family model manufacturers hoping to get in on the pontoon boat fad will add lounge seats, kitchen appliances, and stereo speakers that you swore you owned a few decades back, Wake to Wake explains.
These have no specific market and are designed to be many things. The only problem is that when you try to offer a marine vehicle that’s multi-purpose, there’s nothing special about it. The Wave to Wave team explains that family boats are a lot like minivans – serviceable and convenient but nothing special or remarkable.
Why specialized boats do it better
In trying to do too much, family boats often aren’t good at anything. They aren’t usually well-equipped for tow sports, not comfortable or practical for passengers, and their performance is mediocre at best. With their often poor hull designs and overall weight, getting up to 50 mph can be a challenge and burn a lot of gas in the process.
Often, purpose-built boats do things better because they’ve given thought to the design beyond what the latest trends are. Wake to Wake used seating as an example. These family watercraft makers try to fit as many people as possible into their products. They often include a lot of impractical corner seats or benches running along with the length of the boat.
Fishing boats, which are selling fairly well, realize that well-executed seating positions not only afford better comfort but passenger safety. Purpose-built watercraft manufacturers think about space, comfort, and keeping the passengers securely in the craft. The majority of them offer two forward-facing seats and a bench which takes into account comfort, ergonomics, and most importantly safety.
Hardware is another obvious sign that the builder thought out the design. Purpose-built models won’t have clips or protrusions that someone might catch themselves on should they fall. Performance models usually won’t have cosmetic or functional hardware loosely bolted or attached by screws. Eventually, the components will loosen or pull apart.
The ideology of good boat design, they explain, should apply to all models produced.
Purpose-built models are better investments than family models. You might spend more, but it’s worth it when it comes to construction quality, design, performance, and safety.
A well-designed model will usually be more comfortable for all passengers and safer. The majority of people who die in on-water accidents drown. Purpose-built designers know safe design starts with keeping people in the boat.
A boat that’s made well from the beginning will be more reliable and less likely to require frequent repairs or pose serious safety hazards. It will also be more fuel-efficient for a great value.
The best models feature a simple design based on real-life usage. Purpose-built boats do a few things very well as opposed to doing a lot of things halfway. Thoughtful design means a safer, more efficient marine vehicle with greater predicted reliability and better performance.