All boats are different, so average boat prices can be hard to define. I’ll do my best to demonstrate all of your options and the prices associated with them!
The number of different boat categories seems to be never-ending, and the differences between different categories can often be very subtle.
Here are some of the larger categories that you’re likely to encounter when searching for a boat:
Average Price Ranges On Common Boat Types
Before we dive into how much each type of boat typically cost, we want you to have a good overview.
Here is the price range for the most common boat types:
|Boat Type||Price Range|
|Airboats||$30,000 – $100,000|
|Bow Rider Boats||$15,000 to $50,000|
|Cabin Cruisers||$100,000 to $500,000|
|Canal Boats||$100,000 and up|
|Catamarans||$10,000 and up|
|Cuddy Cabin||$50,000 and up|
|Deck Boats||$20,000 to $50,000|
|Fishing Boats||$25,000 to $100,000|
|House Boats||$50,000 and up|
|Jon Boats||$500 to $5,000|
|Pontoon Boats||$15,0000 to $50,000|
|Sail Boats||$12,000 and up|
|Speed Boats||$75,000 and up|
|Trawlers||$90,000 and up|
|Yachts||$300,000 and up|
Airboats have been around for almost 100 years now, but there is a good chance you’ve never actually seen one in person. This is because these boats are most popular in the deep southern parts of the country.
These boats are perfect for navigating the shallow swampy waters that you’ll find in places like Florida and Louisiana. The reason for this is that they do not have a submerged motor.
These boats propel themselves by using a large fan that is built into the back of the boat.
The bottom of the boat is flat, and the lack of a motor in conjunction with this flat bottom makes it easy for boaters to navigate in extremely shallow depths.
Airboats range in size, and you can even buy them with enclosed center consoles and comfortable captain’s chairs.
Size, comfort, and build quality will dictate prices but expect to pay anywhere from $30,000.00 to $100,000.00 for a brand new one.
This might seem expensive, but there is a reason for this.
These boats aren’t generally mass-produced, so if you decide to buy a new airboat, you’ll probably end up getting a custom-made boat.
Also, these boats’ hulls have to be able to withstand the impact of hitting rocks and logs, so they need to be strong, which can drive the costs up. If you are interested in an airboat, try some out first. They are often very loud.
Bow Rider Boats
Bowrider boats are versatile crafts that can be used for day cruising, fishing, crabbing, and even watersports.
These boats have driving areas set up like a motor vehicle with a driver’s seat on one side and a passenger seat.
There is a pathway to the front of the boat in between these seats, where there is usually an empty platform or a recessed seating area. This area is a great passenger area when cruising and makes a great area for casting a fishing line.
My parents owned a few different boats when I was growing up, and I can say without a doubt that the bowrider they owned was the most comfortable of them all. Everyone had their own seating area, and it was easy to get around the boat without tripping over each other.
The back of the boat may also have a couple of seats or a bench seat as well. This makes even small bowrider boats great for taking passengers out. You may even find a small deck at the back, which makes water sports easier to do.
Bowrider boats will vary in size, engine size, and luxury.
A person looking for a smaller bowrider can buy one for less than $15,000.00. Larger bowrider boats can easily sell for more than $40,000.00, so a safe price range to consider when buying a bowrider is about $15,000.00 to $50,000.00.
Cabin Cruiser Boats
Cabin cruiser boats are a half boat, half RV.
I say this because the front half of the boat is an enclosed cabin that usually features a bathroom, a kitchenette, a dining area, and a place to sleep.
These boats are large enough that a couple or family can easily spend a long weekend in one. However, many of these boats are also small enough to be put on a trailer and stored at home. This makes them versatile boats for vacationers who don’t necessarily live on the water year-round.
People looking for a live-aboard boat can go a little larger and get one with all of the home’s amenities. Hookup to shore power, and they’ll even have air conditioning.
A cabin cruiser also has an area behind the cockpit that is open to the outdoors. This makes a great area for lounging in the sun or for fishing and crabbing.
Fishing and crabbing aren’t just restricted to the back either. There will be a side deck that can be used to walk around to the boat’s bow. The bow will be flat, and it will have a railing around it to protect passengers from falling off.
Because the size and amenities of this boat vary so wildly, the prices can vary wildly as well.
A cabin cruiser will generally range anywhere from $100,000.00 to $500,000.00. Below $100,000, and you’re probably looking at a cuddy cabin and above $500,000.00, and you’re probably looking at a yacht or trawler.
Canal boats can also be known as narrowboats. You’ll find them in the old canal towns of the United States, but they’re much more popular in Europe than they are in the states.
These boats are only around seven feet wide, but they are usually quite long and big enough to live in easily.
According to Wikipedia, you can access every canal within the British canal network with a canal boat that is as long as 57 feet long.
A canal boat is often made of steel, which gives it excellent durability and longevity. The downside to this is that it can be expensive to make a canal boat. Not only do you have to create a strong steel hull, but you also have to create living quarters inside the boat.
Additionally, a canal boat has a powerful diesel engine that can also drive canal boat prices up.
Prices generally start over $100,000.00, but you can buy them as basic shells for around $50,000.00.
The shell will give you a hull ready to be painted, outfitted with an engine, and custom-built inside.
People looking for a DIY approach to their canal boat might want to go this route as they’ll get a safe hull built by professionals but will still be able to design the interior layout themselves.
They’ll also cut the price in half, which is a substantial saving in a boat this expensive.
A catamaran distinguishes itself from other boats by having two hulls. These hulls sit parallel to each other and work to provide a lot of stability to the boat.
Between the hulls, you’ll find a cabin.
In fact, if you’re on a larger catamaran, you’ll find a cabin between the hulls as well as cabins within the hulls themselves.
This makes larger catamarans a spacious option for seagoing boat owners.
Catamarans can be sailing catamarans, or they can be powered catamarans. While the sailing versions aren’t as nimble as a traditional sailboat, they provide more stability while cruising and while at anchor. For this reason, people who suffer from seasickness and people who are just looking for a more pleasant experience out on the water might opt for a catamaran over a more traditional monohull sailboat.
With two hulls and a deck, the average catamaran will be much wider than the average sailboat. It can also be quite long as well.
Some catamarans on the market today have lengths of well over 150 feet.
Because of their large sizes and multi-hulled designs, you can expect to pay a lot for the average catamaran. Used models from the 1980s can sell for over six figures, and newer models will usually start at over half a million dollars.
In fact, the average price of a catamaran at a dealer is $600,000.00.
If you’re seeing newer catamarans selling for less than this, then you’re probably looking at the smaller sailing versions that do not have cabins in the middle.
These boats are great for recreational purposes but are not viable for living aboard. Small sailing catamarans typically found at a beach or lake will often sell for less than $10,000.00.
Cuddy Cabin Boats
Cuddy cabin boats offer day cruisers an interior space to sleep at night.
These boats are often built like bowrider boats in the center and rear of the boat, but the front holds a cabin rather than a sitting area.
Smaller cuddy cabins will consist of a bed only inside the cabin, and larger ones will hold a sleeping area, a dining area, and even a bathroom. A major upside to this type of boat is that it is small enough and light enough to be trailered.
In fact, the average size of a cuddy cabin is between 18 and 28 feet long. Anything larger, and you’re probably dealing with a cabin cruiser rather than a cuddy cabin.
The prices on cuddy cabins can still be quite higher than the prices on bowrider boats. This is especially true, considering some cuddy cabins only differentiate themselves from bowriders by providing a small space to crawl into to sleep at night.
I’ve seen small cuddy cabins sell for $50,000.00 while a bowrider of similar size was selling for $25,000.00.
At the top end, I’ve seen cuddy cabins selling for several hundred thousand dollars. These cuddy cabins had multiple outboard motors, and they were large enough and deep enough that you could take them into coastal areas for the night.
Deck boats are small and versatile crafts that are perfect for calm waters.
You can find people on lakes, rivers, and bays using their deck boats for watersports, fishing, crabbing, and cruising.
What makes these boats so versatile is that they have much more deck space than the average cruising boat.
These boats usually have a raised front deck at the bow, making them great for standing on and casting from. It also makes it easy to pull up a crab net as the boater doesn’t have to worry about pulling the basket up, over, and down like they would have to if the deck were not flat.
The back of a deck boat also benefits from a flat area that can be used for launching people with water skis, kneeboards, and floats. I’ve been pulled by these boats in the past and always found them easy to get in and out of.
The only drawback for me was that I didn’t feel safe climbing in and out near those who had outboard motors on them.
Of course, the driver turned off the motor, but even still, I think deck boats with inboard motors are a bit safer for people doing water sports.
Deck boats are more economical than many of the other types of boats we’ve discussed so far. Two reasons for this are their small size and their hull designs. Since these boats weren’t meant for seafaring, they do not have very deep hulls and are thus less expensive to build.
If you’re in the market for a deck boat, expect to pay somewhere between $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 on average.
The term fishing boat can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
For instance, a bass fisherman might consider their flat decked bass boat to be their fishing boat, while a commercial fisherman might consider their large trawler to be their fishing boat.
For this example, we’ll be talking about small and mid-size center-console boats used in rivers, lakes, channels, and the coast.
These boats are what the average weekend fisherman might buy to use in a wide variety of locations during different fishing seasons throughout the year.
A center console boat has the steering column built into the center of the boat. This leaves the rest of the boat open for walking.
The design is great for fishing because multiple poles can be set up all around the boat, so one or two fishermen can easily get to any pole that they see has movement on it.
Typically, at the back of the boat, you’ll find a few built-in seats.
These seats are designed unobtrusively so that they do not get in the way of fishing. The hull designs of these boats will vary based on their size and their intended use.
Center console boats built for rougher waters will have deeper V hulls, while boats meant mainly for use in still waters will have a flatter bottom.
The downside to a center console boat is that you don’t have much protection from the elements like a cuddy cabin or cabin cruiser. Also, these boats really aren’t meant for watersports. If that is your intended use, you’d be better off buying a deck boat or bowrider boat.
Smaller center console fishing boats can sell for less than $25,000.00, while larger ones will sell closer to $100,000.00.
Go even larger, and you could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, but in this case, you’ll probably have a cabin inside, which moves outside of the definition of a fishing boat that we outlined here.
A houseboat is exactly what it sounds like.
These boats are built for people to live in for extended periods of time. The boat itself often has much more interior space than exterior space, and some boats will sit in docks for years without ever leaving the harbor.
In fact, I’ve seen many used houseboats for sale that are sitting in docks without running engines on them.
According to the owners, they’ve been using the boat as if it were a floating condo that they enjoy each weekend.
These boats will often offer much more square footage than a condo, and you can easily find them in lengths well above 50 feet.
However, you won’t find too many smaller houseboats, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find ones that can be moved on a trailer.
This isn’t to say that houseboats aren’t seaworthy.
Houseboats can be built to withstand choppier waters, and some people even use them to go cruising on the coast.
These boats will often have interiors that look similar to what you’d find in a home. They’ll have residential fridges and full-size ovens, and they won’t lack for anything.
Of course, all of this luxury comes at a cost, and you won’t find too many people that can buy a houseboat on a whim.
A tiny houseboat incapable of going into rough waters will still cost over $100,000.00, and a large houseboat can be a multi-million dollar expenditure.
Luckily, these boats are usually around for a while, and you can buy them at attainable prices on the used market. Some older models may sell for less than $20,000.00.
Jon boats are on the opposite spectrum of the boating world. A Jon boat is a small rectangular boat that is easy to launch in and out of lakes, streams, and channels.
People use these boats for fishing and waterfowl hunting. In fact, the name Jon boat is often interchangeable with a duck boat.
Jon boats are usually made of aluminum, but some enthusiasts will make them out of wood instead. These boats can have gas-powered engines, but oftentimes they’ll take advantage of small electric motors instead.
A Jon boat can be as tiny as 8 feet long and as long as 18 feet long. Longer ones may have consoles built into them, but for the most part, the driver will steer the motor from the back.
These boats are easy to gain ownership over as you can buy many different models for less than $1,000.00. Also, if you have a pickup truck or a sturdy roof rack, you may not even need to buy a trailer to tow your Jon boat.
Even on the upper end, you’ll probably pay less than $3,000.00 on the boat and about the same for the engine and trailer.
Pontoon boats consist of a deck that sits atop a set of pontoons. In most cases, the larger and heavier the boat, the more pontoons you’ll have underneath the deck.
These boats are fantastic for day cruising in calm water.
People living near large lakes and rivers will often turn to pontoon boats.
The deck of these boats makes them perfect for jumping in and out of, so they make perfect swimming platforms. In fact, every time I’ve been on a pontoon boat, I’ve ended up in the water at some point. Jumping in the water becomes too hard to resist when you’re on a pontoon boat for any length of time.
These boats also make great little party boats as their flat deck makes them spacious, and many of the boats actually have grills built right into them.
When buying a boat like this, expect to pay between $15,000.00 to $50,000.00 depending on the size you buy and the number of amenities the boat has to offer.
Sailboats have been around for thousands of years, and we’re all at least a little familiar with how they work. These boats can range in size and can have large cabins or none at all.
BoatUs.com does a nice job categorizing the different types of sailboats that you can buy. They break them up into:
- Cruising boats
- Motor sailers
- Racing boats
You could probably break these categories out even further, but this is a good place to start.
Daysailers are smaller sailboats than bowriders and cuddy cabins, while cruising sailboats can range from less than 20 feet long to very big.
Motor sailers can be compared to cabin cruisers, yachts, and trawlers while racing sailboats can be compared to speed boats.
Prices for each of these boats come in a wide variety, and you could expect to pay as little as $12,000.00 to well over a million depending on the type of boat you decide to go with.
Speed boats are designed for racing along the water.
They usually have long and narrow hulls with large outboard engines on the back. In many cases, you’ll see multiple outboard motors strapped to the stern of the boat.
In other cases, the motor is a built-in inboard motor.
A speed boat has many expenses associated with it. The boat itself is expensive, the engines used to power the boat is expensive, and the cost of insurance on a speed boat is expensive.
Also, these boats can’t just be used anywhere.
You’ll need to find a place without no-wake zones and a lot of open water to operate a speed boat safely.
A smaller speed boat can be had for around $75,000.00, while high-performance speed boats can go over the million-dollar mark. If you’re looking into getting a speed boat for some fun out on the water, you can get a small used speed boat for much less money.
This is because speed boats tend to depreciate even quicker than other types of boats.
Trawlers are large powerboats that share many similarities with cabin cruisers.
These vessels have powerful and efficient engines that make them great for long-distance travel.
In fact, trawlers are the go-to ships for people looking to travel the Great Loop.
A trawler is small enough to be used for day cruising but large enough that you could easily live in it for extended periods of time. In fact, many full-time RVers eventually make the transition from RVing to boating by purchasing a large trawler.
They get about the same length that they would get from a class A or class C motorhome but gain a lot more width.
Smaller trawlers can be purchased at around the $90,000.00 range, while larger trawlers will cost several hundred thousand dollars.
The difference usually comes in size and amenities.
At first glance, a fancy trawler might seem very similar to a yacht. The differences come in the sizes, hull designs, and engine designs.
A yacht has multiple engines and a faster (but less fuel-efficient) hull.
This makes the cost of ownership more expensive for a yacht than a trawler.
At the low end, a yacht might cost as little like a high-end trawler, while a yacht might cost several million dollars on the high end.
Also, an enormous yacht might require a huge crew.
If you’re in the market for a yacht, you’ll probably want to take a look at the ongoing cost and inconvenience of hiring a crew.
The above discussion is a summary of different boat types, as well as their associated prices.
As you can see, the wide variety of boat styles, sizes, and types makes it difficult to give a blanket price on boats, but hopefully, this will give you an idea of what you might need to spend to get the type of boat you want.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.