Owning a boat doesn’t have to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You can just as easily find a boat under $10,000. If you know where to look and what to look for.
Here are some great options!
A number of boats on this list will be used boats which you can commonly find on online or local listings. They are popular models made from companies who are well known for their integrity, strong boats, and customer service.
2 Bass Boats Under 10 Grand
1) Crestliner 1546 Retriever Jon ($6,510)
The Crestliner 1546 is a 15-foot Mid V with space for four people to get comfortable with plenty of room for their fishing or hunting gear. There is a platform for casting or to help with visibility if you’re hunting.
The wide, flat hull provides a stable base for this boat since Crestliner knew that they’re customers do a lot of fast and hard movements, whether they’re shooting at ducks or casting a fly-fishing line.
It is constructed from high-grade aluminum which makes it both low-maintenance and also incredibly durable. Crestliner is known for it’s strength and the 1546 Retriever is no exception. The 1546 Retriever is built to get to those tricky fishing spots.
The Lock Track Gunnel System lets you mount the accessories you want, to make your expedition relaxing, fun, and successful. It is a solid boat with not a lot of fancy bells or whistles. But the low price point gives your budget the wiggle room it needs to buy the accessories that you’ve been dying for.
It sits at just over 15’ and has a dry weight of 290 lbs (without the engine).
2) Tracker Pro Team 170 TX
This aluminum bass boat is abundant out in the market because they are plentiful. It’s not just that they’ve been on the market for a long time.
They were released from 1995 to 2015 and there’s a reason why it was in such high demand for 20 years.
The low price point and the sturdy build, with the custom-matched trailers, stock basic fishing gadgets, live wells, marine-grade carpet and trolling motors made it a steal!
The Pro 170 stats put it at over 16 and a half feet with a beam of 6’ 5”. The maximum capacity is 4 so you can bring a few of your fishing buddies or take the family out on the lake for a leisurely fishing trip.
3) Sabre 28 ($7,000)
You might have seen this sailboat listed in our 20 Boats Under $30,000 article. It’s listed here because, at the bare minimum, you can get one for $7,000.
The Sabre might seem a bit small as it sits at 28 feet, but don’t let it’s little stature thwart you. It’s a hearty thing with a moderate displacement/length ration of 278. This means decent stowage and an average sail area ratio (SA/D) of 16.6. This is a pretty decent performance under sail.
It handles easily, even if the mainsail is a bit smaller than the foretriangle.
10 Fishing Boats Under 10 Grand
4) Carolina Skiff JV 13 (> $10,000)
The Carolina Skiff JV 13 comes complete with an outboard motor and comes with a custom trailer. There are only a few fiberglass boats on this list because they are normally much more expensive than their aluminum cousins.
At the base price, it’s also bare in amenities but it does come with a pedestal seat, an eight gallon live well, and a foredeck.
5) Gillgetter 7515 (> $10,000)
The Gillgetter 7515 is made by a company called Angler Quest, which should say it all. This fishing boat is a wonderful little pontoon/fishing boat combo.
It has all the markings of a fishing boat with the space of a small pontoon boat.
The 7515 Fishing Pontoon boat comes in at $10,000 but if you want something even cheaper, they have a smaller model (which is about two feet shorter).
6) Hobie Mirage Pro Angler
It’s a fishing kayak. A fishing kayak! The Mirage Pro Angler is a great, single (or double, if you opt for the bigger version) fishing kayak.
There are three boats in this line:
- The Mirage Pro Angler 12
- Mirage Pro Angler 14
- The (bigger, two-person) Mirage Pro Angler 17T
It has a pedal drive and a comfortable seat, with just enough room for your fishing gear as well. While you’ll have to go to a local dealer for the exact prices, they hover around the $5000 price, which means you can buy two.
7) Lowe Roughneck 1660 ($8,750)
The Roughneck 1660 comes with an $82.66 monthly payment (if you buy it stock with a 9.9 horsepower outboard and a trailer) if you buy one from a certified dealer.
The camo finish makes it both a fishing boat as well as a hunting boat. If you’re planning on taking a couple of friends with you (with all of your gear), you might want to nab a bigger engine.
A 20 horsepower outboard can still get you out the door under $10,000 but you won’t be leaving with that low monthly payment.
8) Lund WC 16 ($4,966)
The Lund WC 16 Aluminum skiff starts off so cheap because it comes bare when it’s stock. That also means no trailer, but you can easily get one at around $1,500. Even with buying a 20 horsepower outboard, you’ll be able to still make it off the dealer’s lot without going over $10,000. The extra bonus is that this little aluminum boat can hold 5 people.
It is a basic boat, however, so don’t get your hopes up that you’ll be getting anything more than a great hull and some seating.
9) Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16 ($3,600)
This one is an inflatable boat. It can seat two people and has a small outboard with about six horsepower. The best part? Once you pull it out of the water, clean it, and dry it properly, you can deflate it, fold it up, and store it in your closet. Put it in a plastic tote and tuck it in the garage.
No need to rent space in a rack storage unit.
The sticker price listed above is with the stock engine (five horsepower Honda)
10) Skimmer 14’6” ($8,750)
The Skimmer Skiffs 14’6” flats boat is a great little summer fiberglass boat for shallow water. You can fish with just a four-inch draft. Talk about shallow. The sticker price above comes with a 20 horsepower Tohatsu outboard motor.
You can use the rest of the $10,000 on some fancy amenities including some rod holders, fish-boxes, or some sunscreen.
Unfortunately, you might want to spend some of those extra funds on stainless-steel cleats and a bilge pump, but both of those should cost you less than $500.
This customizable boat is great for any fisherman who just wants the basics: a man and his boat (and maybe a fishing buddy). What more do you want on a Sunday morning?
11) Alumacraft Crappie Jon ($8,900)
This lightweight boat is designed for ease. It’s easy to haul with a comfortable design. Even stock, it comes with a bow trolling motor bracket, an aluminum transom, keel breaks, a single-stage metallic paint, and a five-gallon non-aerated live well.
It also comes with a 20-horsepower engine and two seats for you and your favorite fishing buddy.
12) Tracker Guide V-16 Laker DLX T (> $10,000)
The Tracker Guide V-16 Laker DLX T Aluminum Fishing Boat comes stock with a 20 horsepower Mercury FourStroke outboard and a custom trailer.
It might not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it is both seaworthy and sturdy, especially for the price point.
13) Sun Dolphin Pro 102
The Sun Dolphin Pro 102 Mini-Fishboat is the type of boat you take out on the lake with a friend and a cooler full of drinks. It has a 55-pound thrust 12-volt electric outboard, which will get you where you need to go. There is a live well built-in as well.
The twin swivel seats will guarantee that you’ll be able to find the fish, no matter where they are around the boat.
It’s a small enough boat that it can even fit in the back of some pick-up trucks, which negates the need for a trailer and most expensive options for storage.
Do a great job winterizing it, and get a decent boat cover, and you can leave it in your garage until the warm weather comes around again.
4 Inboard Boats Under $10,000
14) Sport Nautique (listed under $10,000)
These boats from the mid-’90s were known for being luxurious and comfortable. The company itself is what sets this boat apart from any others. The customer service has kept their boat owners happy for over two decades. The Nautique itself has a 5.8 PCM engine, which has plenty of torque and is easy to maintain.
They don’t often stay on the market long, so if you see one, don’t hesitate to snap it up.
15) Mastercraft Pro Star 190 (listed under $10,000)
These Mastercraft boats were built from 1994 to 1998.
They are dependable, comfortable, and have a surprising amount of power for such a small boat and such a small price. These were incredibly popular and built to amazing quality standards. Not once, in the four years that they were being built, did anyone ever hear any warnings about them.
They are hearty and strong with a price that won’t break the bank.
16) Centurion LaPoint
The Centurion LaPoint was made between 1996 and 1998. Centurion is known as one of the best boat companies in the industry and is often known for overbuilding their boats.
The engines were powerful. The fiberglass was thick. The seats were incredibly padded.
These boats were built to last, which is why you can still find a few on the market.
17) Tige Pre 2100
The Tige Pre 2100 boats were in production between 1996 and 1999. The design was simple, yet elegant with a timeless quality to them.
But the Tige isn’t just a pretty face. It also had a powerhouse engine which could get upwards of 260 horsepower. The fiberglass hull made it lightweight with a weight of 2825 lbs.
Run-Around Boats Under 10 Grand
18) Carver Montego ($9,995)
The Carver Montego line are cruisers designed like the classic cruisers from the mid-’80s. It’s a bite-sized run-around that is 27’ at the longest.
But with a price at under $10,000, you can’t beat the deal.
It’s surprisingly roomy with the 23-footer able to comfortably sleep, four people. It has a swim platform and a convertible top, all of which are standard on all of the Montego boats.
Look into the Carver Montego boats if you’re looking for a boat big enough for four without having to take up too much room otherwise. They are stern drive boats and (depending on the model you get) can have either a single-engine, twin-engine, Mercruisers, or Volvo Pentas.
4 Small Pocket Cruiser Sailboats
Pocket cruisers are sailboats that are built for club racing and cruising. They’re generally under 30’ feet. It is lightweight and small and can be launched from any boat ramp.
You can feel comfortable going out on a pocket cruiser sailboat and stay in a comfortable interior with $V-style sleeping arrangements and with the comfort of knowing that you’re both safe and stable on the water.
They can also be tailored, which is why most of them are on this list. You can give yours as many bells and whistles as you want.
But if you’re just looking for a small pocket cruiser sailboat with a budget that’s equally as small, you can feel safe with any of the basic models on this list.
19) Ranger 26
These beautiful and small sailboats have proven to be a good way to bridge the gap between being a competitive racer and having a comfortable and safe family cruiser. They are built to be fast but has the range of being a great family sailboat.
One of these boats even won the 1970 IOR North American Half-Ton Cup.
20) Etap 28s
These are the most unusual sailboats on today’s list. They have a uniquely shaped profile, which allows for plenty of room below. It has a double hull construction, but it is also basically unsinkable because of the shapes of it.
The name refers to how it is built as a “ship-in-ship construct”. It has twin hulls, solid fiberglass laminate decks, and space that’s filled with closed-cell polyurethane foam. This means that if the hull is compromised (pieced, slashed, cut, gashed, etc.), it will still stay up because of the foam in between the slats.
It is kept drier and quieter than other boats since it has a high level of thermal and acoustic insulation. In other words, the hull in hull sandwich makes it robust, rigid, quiet, and warm.
The only stateroom that it has is located aft with the entire interior finished in light-colored wood, cranberry counters, and with the same cranberry color on the upholstery.
21) Newport 27
The Newport first showed up on the scene in 1971 and is still kicking strong. At 27-feet, it small on the outside but is surprisingly spacious inside.
It also has all of the amenities you would normally find on a bigger boat, including a table, van station, 4 berths, galley, and head. The tiller steering wheel comes in handy when the breeze and weather help lead you to shorten the sail early.
22) Islander Bahama 28
The Islander Bahama pocket sailboat is a beautiful boat with a five-and-a-half-foot draft and 3,300 pounds of ballast. The sails track well and respond smoothly to the helm. The unusually tall beam (10 feet) are broad for a small boat like the Islander Bahama 28 but make for a fast boat which is also stable in the breeze and light air.
The interior is modular with teak components (which were fabricated in a mill and assembled off the boat). It was then installed just before the deck was fitted.
The interior is made of stained-oak countertops with a saloon table and whicker-fronted teak doors for the cabinets.
The Bahama models are known for their U-shaped galleys with the icebox located aft, a stovetop in the middle, and a sink facing the folding saloon.
The standard models of Islanders normally have an L-shaped galley with the sink in the aft.
Most new pontoon boats will be in between $10,000 to $30,000.
However, you can find a few great used pontoon boats in your local paper or online listings.
23) 16’ to 24’ Sweetwater Pontoon Boats
One example of a great pontoon boat that you can find in your local listings is the 16’ to 24’ Sweetwater Pontoon Boats. You won’t just find older versions of these boats on the market either.
Listings can range between boats from the late ’90s to only two or three years ago.
Since there are so many listings on the market, it can be difficult to pin down any specific amenities they often come with.
While some have Bimini tops, others will be bare. Some with have 9.9 horsepower while others will come with horsepower in the hundreds.
Colloquially known as “jet skis” (which are actually a name brand of personal watercraft by Kawasaki), personal watercrafts can be a lot of fun.
While some people might not consider them as “boats”, they are still vehicles that can ferry you from one part of a lake to the other.
24) Sea-Doo Spark 900 H.O. 2-Up ($5,399)
Sea-Doo is a name synonymous with personal watercrafts. Depending on what extras you want with the base model, the $5,399 price can easily jump $1,000 or so.
The Spark 2-Up can seat 2 people with a weight capacity of 352 lbs. It comes stock with a ROtaxa 900 ACE engine with a hull made of Polytec (which is a lightweight and scratch-resistant surface).
The dry weight is 405 lbs.
25) Yamaha Ex Sport ($7,799)
Yamaha Waverunners is another name that most people know of. The since the days of the Waverunner, Yamaha has engineered the Ex Sport Rec-Lite. It can seat 1 – 3 people and comes in “Carbon Metallic” (a shade of silver) with accents of either lime yellow, or “pure white with azure.”
It comes with mechanical reverse, a glove box, dual mirrors, two-tone deck mats, a tow hook, a re-boarding step, and an automatic bilge.
The re-boarding step makes it easier to hop on after you take a quick swim. It also conveniently tucks away when it is no longer needed.
Located under the seat, the two hook makes water skiing and inner-tubing a breeze. Meanwhile, the dual mirror makes it easier for you to see how your passengers are doing behind you: whether they’re on the PWC or if they’re being towed.
Typical Small Boat Problems
Owning a small boat can be great. There are plenty of advantages of owning a medium to small-sized boat:
- Cheaper rack fees for storage
- The option of storing it on your property
- Smaller boat = smaller trailer = smaller vehicle needed for transport
- Much more affordable than a larger boat
- Easier to clean
However, there are also specific problems that come with owning a smaller boat, including:
- Small craft warnings – when you’re in a smaller boat out on the rough water, you’ll end up running into much more trouble than larger boats.
- Small deck space – when you need or want some crewman with you on a small boat, there’s more of a chance that there will be an accident because there isn’t much room to work with.
- On a bigger boat, you’ll have more room for emergency equipment. On a small boat, there should be plenty of room for the necessities when it comes to emergency gear. The chances that you’ll need power anchor windlasses, dinghy lifts, bow thrusters, and stabilizers aren’t as big when you’re in your small vessel (in calm waters). However, it’s convenient to have the bigger emergency equipment if something does happen.
When you decide to buy a new boat, it can be like buying a car. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and it can also be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.
New vs. Used Boats
New boats might look shiny and new, but remember that boats depreciate faster than cars do, as soon as you drive the trailer off the lot.
So instead of only focusing on new boats, why not take a look at some used boats as well.
Make a list of the amenities you want, as well as a list of prices:
- What are you going to use your boat for? Which amenities do you need for those activities?
- What is the highest price you will go (including all of the extra fees and taxes)?
- How much do you have for annual fees? Insurance, slip or rack rental, etc.
- What is your ideal (realistic) price for the boat itself (including engine and trailer)?
If you want to look into used boats, make sure you set aside a little money for a marine specialist. This person can look at the boat to make sure it is sound and seaworthy.
Often, just the peace of mind is worth the price.
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.