If you are thinking about going boat shopping, you might be surprised when you see the wide range of prices you could pay for a new or even a used boat.
If you do not want to break the bank, you will likely be looking for an affordable boat.
When considering the purchase of a boat, make sure to budget for maintenance and storage fees as well.
Below, I have listed some great affordable boat options that are under $20,000.00.
Pontoon boats are great boats that are primarily used for entertaining large groups of passengers. They are very common for a day of boating.
These boats are also very affordable and you can find some great options that will fit your budget while still offering luxuries for a day of boating.
1. Bennington 208SF-8 Ft. Narrow Beam
The Bennington 208SF is a great option if you are looking for a pontoon boat.
Bennington is a very popular pontoon boat brand that combines luxury and affordability together to create a great daily boating experience.
The Bennington 208SF is 20’ 4.5” and can seat up to 8 passengers comfortably.
This boat offers a maximum horsepower of 70 if you choose 23” tubes or 80 horsepower if you have 25” tubes.
This boat should be easy to tow with a dry weight of 1,761 pounds, however, this does not include the weight of the motor or anything else.
You can choose from an array of different seating plans and other additional options including dock lights, portable bathroom, stainless steel rail, fishing options, or even a ski tow bar.
Without the additional options, this boat offers vinyl upholstery, comfortable seating options, and some other convenience features such as locking side access doors, a deep step boating ladder, stainless steel features a variety of other things.
This boat is highly affordable with a starting price of $19,449.
2. Lowe Ultra 180 Cruise
The Ultra Cruise 180 is a great pontoon for family trips out on the water. Lowe takes pride in creating affordable boats without sacrificing performance and comfort.
This boat features great storage options and lots of seating.
You can always count on a dependable and enjoyable ride with your Lowe pontoon.
This boat is 19’6” and can seat up to 9 people.
Enjoy speed with a motor of up to 75 horsepower.
The boat features bow and stern mooring cleats, a fiberglass console with raised footwell, stern entry, a bimini top, fold-down driver and passenger seats, lights, and radio featured throughout the hull.
This boat is a great affordable option with a starting price of $17,329 that could go up depending on the chosen motor type.
3. Harris FloteBote Cruiser 200 CS-L
This boat made by Harris is 22.08 feet in length and can seat up to 10 passengers comfortably. This would be great for taking a whole set of family and friends out for a day on the water.
This boat comes with the standard console features that let you know fuel levels, speed, and other informational options.
This boat has aluminum pontoons as well as an aluminum hull. There is also a standard swim platform and boarding ladder.
This boat features a lot of different seating sofas for maximum comfort, a carpeted floor, and a bimini top.
There is also a satellite radio that features speakers throughout the boat.
This boat is affordable with a starting price of $17,777.00.
4. Premier Pontoons Horizon 200
This boat is highly stylish as well as capable and offers an appealing option that has a great value.
This boat is 20’ 5” and can comfortably seat up to 9 passengers.
This boat has a great speed potential with a maximum horsepower of 90.
This boat comes with the standard console but also features a fish finder as well.
This hull is a fiberglass hull complete with swim platform and boarding ladder.
The seating on this boat features a chair for the helm, 3 cockpit sofas, 4 open bow seats, and even a cockpit table. You can also have a bimini top and a cockpit table for comfort and entertainment options.
This boat also comes with fishing features such as standard rod holders, fishing pedestal chairs, and even a fish box pump.
This boat is very affordable with a starting price of $18,570.00.
Fishing boats are also a highly affordable boating option. Because they are often smaller in size, these boats generally start with a lower price point.
As the name suggests, fishing boats are mainly used for fishing. They normally have many fishing features built-in like storage options for your tackle and fishing rods.
They can also feature live wells to keep the fish alive before weigh-in and release.
Fishing boats are the most common type of boat that you will find for under 20,000 dollars. Just because you buy a fishing boat, you will not only be able to use it for fishing but if you do plan to spend a majority of time on your vessel fishing, a fishing boat could be exactly what you are looking for.
5. Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC
The Grizzly 1860 CC is made by Tracker boats that specialize in fishing boats as well as Jon boats.
They also manufacture custom made trailers for their boats which can reduce your need to research trailers to purchase separately.
This boat has a length of 19’ 2” and can seat up to 7 passengers.
This boat can be even easier to tow with a dry weight of 1,020 pounds and the average package weight comes in at 2,049 pounds.
If you choose this boat, you can also get a factory warranty that can offer peace of mind when it comes to protecting your investment from unexpected damage.
This boat is 100% aluminum and features a wood-free construction.
You can get many high-quality fishing options on this vessel to enhance your fishing experience and bettering your performance.
This boat is highly affordable with a starting price of $16,895.00.
6. Ranger MPV 1760
The Ranger MPV 1760 is a bass boat that also highli8ghts its fishing options.
The length of this boat is 17’ 6” and can seat up to 5 passengers.
Because this boat is mainly designed for fishing, it comes equipped with rod holders and a pedestal chair.
This boat is equipped with an outboard motor and is designed for high speed over the water.
This boat is made for a day of fishing, but there are no features that would make it ideal for long trips or overnight boating.
This boat is very affordable with a starting price of $13.695.00.
7. Stratos VLO 176
This VLO is a bass boat that is 17 feet in length and can seat up to 3 passengers.
This boat is not made to entertain a large group of people but can be ideal for a fishing trip with a select few.
This boat was made with fishing in mind and features standard fishing rod holders, fishing pedestal chairs, a fish box pump, and even a trolling motor.
This boat also features a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, trim indicator, depth indicator, water temperature gauge, and of course a fish finder. These features combined make fishing much easier and more productive.
You can purchase this boat for the very affordable price of $16,895.00.
Speed boats are also a great affordable option for a day out on the water. Speed boats are ideal for taking the family out and participating in high-speed water sports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing, or other water activities.
Like pontoon boats, this boat is smaller to medium in size which can make them more affordable than large speed boats and definitely more affordable than a yacht or other vessel similar to this yacht.
8. Bayliner Element E16
The entire Bayliner brand emphasizes a great look with sporty performance. This boat line also offers plenty of seating for families, especially for a speed boat.
Any model of the Element line by Bayliner would be a great and affordable speed boat option.
In addition to sporty performance, this boat also offers great power and comfort features.
This boat is 16’ 2” in length and can comfortably seat up to 6 people.
This boat features a fiberglass hull, swim platform, and boarding ladder.
This boat also offers an electric bilge pump system that takes the stress and maintenance down when it comes to dealing with bilge water.
This boat also offers ski and other watersport equipment storage that will help keep the clutter out of the way while boating.
This boat is affordable with a starting price of $13,799.00.
9. Boston Whaler Super Sport 130
This boat is a great sport and utility boat. This boat is 13.25 feet in length and can seat up to 4 passengers on board.
This boat comes with a fiberglass hull that is built for durability as well as an appealing design.
This boat does not feature a swim platform but does come with a standard boarding ladder.
This boat has 3 open bow seats, a cockpit chair at the helm and bench seating. This boat is open top and does not have any cabin space.
This boat is ideal for trips that do not last longer than a day. This boat is mainly for utility and is not a boat that you would generally entertain on for long periods of time.
This boat is very affordable with a starting price of $13,963.00.
10. Glastron GT 160
This bowrider features a small runabout vessel for a very affordable price.
This boat can seat up to 7 passengers and a maximum of 75 horsepower to give you a high-speed performance for your day out on the water.
This means that your boat can be used for watersports despite its smaller size which is only 16’ 6” in length.
This boat features a classic runabout layout with swim steps on either side of the motor well.
The cockpit features quality gauges and a windshield for when you decide to turn the motor to high speeds.
The Glastron GT160 is less than 20,000 dollars with a starting price of $19,201.00.
Personal watercraft vessels, more commonly referred to as “jet-skis” are also a great choice for having fun while out on the water for an affordable price.
These boats are small and easy to take with you no matter what type of vehicle you drive.
These are also easier to store because they can fit in more storage places and can even fit in a large enough garage.
Because of their smaller size and less complicated parts, they can be cheaper to maintain and fuel.
11. Sea-Doo RXP-X 300
The Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 is a highly fast and affordable personal watercraft.
This jet ski can seat 2 passengers and features a top speed of up to 60 miles per hour.
This vessel also features a narrow racing seat as well as angled footwell wedges for maximum comfort while riding.
This boat also features racing handlebars with an adjustable riser and intelligent throttle control.
Other features for this vessel include a closed-loop cooling system, an anti-theft security system, and an iControl Learning Key.
This is also an affordable watercraft with a starting price of $15.399.00.
Other Watercraft Types:
These boat types listed above are not the only choices of watercraft vessels that you can choose from.
There are plenty of other boats you could look at for lower and more affordable prices.
One boat type that does not have a lot of options for under 20,000 dollars is sailboats. Sailboats often come with live-in spaces and plenty of necessary equipment that makes the cost come out to more than 20,000 dollars.
There are some great small sailboats that are sold for less money, but they are not meant for more than a quick day out on the water.
12. Sunfish Sailboat
A Sunfish sailboat is small and only ideal for short trips and up to 2 passengers. This boat is easy to sail and can be a great boat for beginners.
This boat will cost you under $5,000.00 and can be towed by any vehicle or even mounted in your car.
Other great vessels that are under $20,000.00 are likely going to be non-motorized. These can include kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and other options.
These are also ideal for day trips and even river travel.
These types of vessels might even fall under $1,000.00.
If you are planning to look into purchasing a boat, and you want something affordable, you have a ton of options.
The boats listed above are all boats that fall under the 20,000.00 dollar threshold when they are new.
There are also some great used options when it comes to purchasing a boat.
A great way to look into getting a used boat for an incredible price is through a dealership, boat broker, or even online.
Most used boats, even at a dealership, can come with a motor and trailer already. Dealerships also often offer bundles for boats, trailers, and motors.
Buying a boat used can be a great way to save some money and get something with more space or features.
Fiberglass hulls are highly durable and often outlast the other aspects of the boat, such as motor, gears, steering, and electrical.
Make sure when you buy a used boat, you inspect is incredibly well and look for any cracks or other imperfections before you buy the boat.
You can even hire a marine inspector to look over your boat before you purchase it. This is a good idea because you will likely not be able to take out a warranty on a used boat, especially if you purchase from a private seller.
Other Costs to Consider With Your Boat Purchase:
You might think that you just want to get a basic boat and head out on the water. Most people do not plan for accessories or additional costs when they go boat shopping, because they think they will not need accessories or anything additional.
However, you cannot just head to the closest boat dealership and purchase a boat for under $20,000 as your only expense.
Most boats have additional purchases that are necessary before you can get out on the water.
These necessary purchases include a motor and a trailer.
Most times, motors and trailers are not sold with the boat unless the dealership is offering a bundle.
Trailers can vary in price from $600.00 to around $5,000.00 depending on the size and specifications that you need.
Make sure when you are shopping for a boat trailer, you take the proper weight, length, axle, and legal requirements into account.
Motors can also be expensive with a price range of a couple of hundred dollars used to almost $90,000.00 dollars new.
This depends on the size, manufacturer, and horsepower of the motor.
You will also want to make sure you know about how much you can afford when it comes to boating accessories.
Available accessories can include:
- GPS devices
- Fish Finders
- Life Jackets
- Fire Extinguishers
- Other safety equipment
- First Aid Kit
- Fishing Equipment
- Watersport Equipment
- Tow Ropes
- Portable Bathrooms
- Other necessary equipment
Maintenance Fees to Consider with Your Boat Purchase:
Another hidden cost of boat ownership is maintenance fees.
You should plan to spend approximately 10% of the cost of the boat in maintenance fees. This can vary depending on how much work you complete on your boat and how often you complete regular maintenance.
Maintenance can include cleaning, replacing things, painting the hull and other hull maintenance, and any other maintenance that you need to do.
This cost can be increased depending on what type of boat you have. Generally, sailboats require more maintenance than other types because there is more to manage.
Maintenance fees can also include expenses such as insurance costs and registration fees for your vessel.
You can reduce your insurance rate by taking a boater education course, especially in states that do not require boater education.
Storage Fees to Consider with Your Boat Purchase:
When considering your budget, make sure you also factor in storage fees.
You will need to store your boat somewhere all year long.
In the summer, unless you have a personal dock or storage area, you will likely have to spend money to put your boat somewhere.
This could include options both in and out of the water.
These options include:
- Getting a slip at a marina or other dock
- Storing your boat in a boatyard in between trips
- Storing your boat in a boat storage building between trips
You also need to plan to store your boat during the winter. If you do not have a building or area to store your boat in the winter, this will also be a fee that you can expect.
This expense can range wildly depending on what type of storage option you go with. Some more expensive options offer indoor storage with temperature control.
You will also need to factor in the cost of winterizing your boat, which can be as simple as cleaning it, properly taking care of the fluids and other parts, and covering it. This can also include applying a shrink wrap and other winterizing tricks.
Even though 20,000.00 dollars is a lower-end price for a boat and is considered affordable, you will likely not be expected to have $20,000.00 immediately for the purchase of your boat.
It is completely possible to finance your boat, motor, and trailer all in one loan.
Financing will often be your best option when it comes to purchasing your new vessel.
When you finance your boat you will have to keep in mind that you will be expected to fully insure your boat, and all of your documentation will need to have your lienholder listed.
You can find financing at your financial institution or often your dealership will finance your purchase or send it out to an institution they are affiliated with.
If you purchase your boat in the off-season you might even be able to find some deals at your bank or credit union, your dealership, or even both.
Make sure you shop around for the best interest rate and financing plan and do not just take the first option offered to you.
Even if you can afford to pay for the entire boat out of pocket, you might want to look into financing anyway.
]Financing can save you from having to deplete your savings account all at once and can be beneficial to saving money, which can be used for unexpected costs associated with your boat after purchase.
When buying a boat, you will want to make sure you have a budget in mind that you know you will have no problem affording.
This means that you should not spend your entire boat budget on the purchase price because you will need to pay for sales tax, trailers, motors, other accessories, registration, title fees, maintenance, storage, fuel, and other things that you will need.
If you are looking to spend under 20,000 dollars, you will probably be looking at a smaller boat option.
When you buy a boat, you need to know that similar to an automobile, a boat experiences depreciation as soon as it is purchased. This means that you should not look at your boat as a financial investment but instead an investment in experience and entertainment.
You should not let this deter you from buying a boat.
Boating is a great way to spend time with family and friends and can be a highly memorable experience. Even though your boat will depreciate, it will be worth if for the experience and the memories that you will have.
Make sure that when you do decide to purchase a boat, you take everything into account when planning a budget and deciding how big of a boat you can afford.,
Shelby Sullivan is a freelance journalist who specializes in boating and recreational watercraft. She captains her family pontoon boat in her spare time with her fiancee and dog on the freshwater lakes of the United States. Shelby prefers swimming to suntanning, and you can most likely find her reading in the shade of the pontoon awning.