Do you like the thought of standing behind the steering wheel on a boat?
Here are five great options that won’t cost you more than a regular boat at a low price range.
There are plenty of boats to choose from if you’re looking for great small boats which use steering wheels instead of outboard steering arms (or sails).
1. Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC (Small Fishing Boat)
This is a great fishing boat for someone who wants a large casting deck, and a spacious cockpit.
Not to mention, all that deck space will allow for every fishing type to be able to do their thing. The hull is aluminum which makes it extremely durable but also lightweight.
Since it is lightweight, that means it won’t do so well if you’re looking to go out into choppy and rough waters.
This fishing boat cost around $16,000.
2. Ranger MPV 1760 (Bass Boat)
This bass boat also has an aluminum hull. It’s also light enough to be towed with a mid-sized vehicle. At 17 feet and 6 inches, it can seat five people at maximum.
This is a solid fishing boat, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from Ranger, who is well-known for their bass boats.
This bass boat cost around $13,995.
3. Stratos VLO 176 (Fishing Boat)
Stratos is known for their well-made fiberglass bass boats and the VLO 176 is no exception.
It is a fully-featured boat which comes with a Lowrance Hook 3 fisher finder and a great trolling motor and a four-stroke outboard.
It seats two, so you can bring your best fishing partner out for an early morning catch.
This boat cost around $19,295
4. Bayliner Element E16 (Deck Boat)
If you told me ten years ago, that I’d be adding a Bayliner to a list of affordable boats, I would have to call your bluff.
But here we are with one of the most well-known yacht brands (Bayliner).
The trademark sporty Bayliner Element E16 can seat 6 while giving you enough power to get the family out to the most fun, secluded vacation spots with a stock 80 hp motor.
The price of this beauty is $13,799.
5. Harris FloteBote Cruiser 200 CS-L (Pontoon Boat)
From the Bayliner to a full-size pontoon boat, both for under $20,000!
This model will cost you $17,777.
The CS-L can seat ten and has a stern swim-deck, a classic looking L-shaped lounge (complete with a sun pad) in the aft, and two bow lounges.
A Cheaper Option
Of course, if you’re looking for a great deal on an inexpensive boat, why not try looking at some second-hand boats.
New boats depreciate quickly, so buying a used boat could save you some money.
But in order to buy a second-hand boat that won’t cost you more money in maintenance and repair bills, make sure you do your research.
We have made a must-read checklist of exactly what you need to check when buying a used boat.
Ask friends who are boaters to join you when you look at it. Take it out for a test spin. If your gut says that the deal is “too good to be true”, listen to your gut!
A Summary of Your Options
Steering wheels can help you control your boat easily if you are a new boat owner. Not only that, but a small boat is easier to control than a large one. Think of it as a car; it is easier to drive a small sedan than an 18-wheeler.
There are some great small boat options to choose from.
Buying a small boat is a great investment for your family, friends, and free time.
Take your time and do your research before you buy your boat. There is plenty to think of:
- New or pre-owned
- Size (of your boat, of your vehicle which will tow the boat and trailer)
- To moor or store
- Sail or motor
- What will you be using your boat for? Trolling? Fishing? Relaxation? Workspace? Weekend getaways?
- Financing options
- How many passengers will you need to seat?
- How long will you be on your boat at one time? A couple of hours? Overnight? A week?
- Boat shows, online auctions, or boat dealership?
- What is your boating experience? Do you need a boating license or do you need to take a safety course?
5 Of The Best Boat Steering Wheels Out There
If you already have a boat and want to spruce up the steering wheel, here are five, fresh 2019 options for you:
1) The Pactrade Marine Destroyer Steering Wheel
The Pactrade stainless steel boat steering wheel is a beautiful and clean option which even comes with a turning knob to help you steer in the correct direction.
Since it is stainless steel, it is resistant to rust (or “boat cancer” as F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ character Rachel’s dad referred to it). This also makes it incredibly durable in the harsh environment on board a boat.
It has a smooth finish, a shiny feel, and is a classic, minimalistic addition to your boat. The Pactrade has five spokes and fits the standard ¾ inch tapered shafts. It has a 15 and ½ inch diameter and is 3 and ½ inches deep, with about 8 inches between each spoke.
In the center of this clean steering wheel, you’ll find a black plastic center cap.
It is also the most inexpensive steering wheel on our list at $70 on Amazon.
2) The Amarine Destroyer Steering Wheel
This five-spoke wheel has a permanent foam grip which will keep it cool in the hot sun, as well as helping you keep a good grip when it inevitably gets wet. The stainless steel well is welded and polished. It also has a stainless steel knob and has a black plastic center cap.
Not to mention, this steering wheel also has a turning knob to help with accurate turns.
It fits standard 3/4 inch tapered shafts.
3) The Attwood Marine 8315-4 Soft Grip Steering Wheel
The Attwood 8315-4 is a weatherproof 13-inch wheel that fits standard 3/4 inch shafts. It is a classic black to help hide dirt and stains from regular wear and tear.
The reviews state that it is easy to install and that it both looks and steers great when installed on their boats, from pontoons to bass boats.
4) The SeaLux Stainless Steel Boat Steering Wheel
This sleek beauty is made of Vision Cast Marine Grade 316 stainless steel. With its polished finish, it looks like someone took a mirror and shaped it into a steering wheel. The crimped and rounded edges are molded to the curves of your fingers, in order to give you a comfortable steering experience.
The SeaLux Stainless Steel Steering Wheel fits all standard ¾ inch tapered shaft helms and it comes with a 5/8 inch – 18 Center retaining nut.
5) The HA Motorsports Wooden Boat Steering Wheel
This beauty is made of polished wood with three chrome spokes. It comes with a billet adapter for boats with a ¾ inch tapered key-way shaft.
It will be a classic and classy finishing touch for your boat.
Why are boat steering wheels on the right?
There is a little bit of resistance for the prop when it turns in the water. Because of that, the left side of the boat has a tendency of getting pushed in the water for about 3 inches.
Since the steering wheel is placed on the right-hand side (starboard) of the boat to help transfer the weight in order to make it even.
Since the driver sits on the right side, it should help keep the boat balanced.
Size matters for your steering wheel
If you want to choose a new steering wheel for your boat, try choosing one the same size as the one that came with the boat. This is because the wheel was designed to fit the other gears, throttles, radio controls, and everything else in the steering area.
You want to make sure the new wheel doesn’t rub against any of the other mechanisms.
If you have to choose a different size than the original steering wheel, keep it to 1 or 2 inches smaller than the original. Try not to deviate too much, however.
Material matters too
A stainless-steel steering wheel won’t rust and will give you a great grip when it’s dry. However, it can get a little slick when it’s wet. So will hard plastic. Try finding a wheel with a textured grip or you can attach a grip to it, to help you when it gets wet.
Wooden wheels look great but will wear a little faster than other types if it isn’t taken care of.
You can steer a boat in a number of different ways: by sail, with an outboard steering arm, or with a boat steering wheel.
Boats with steering wheels are easy to drive since you already know how to use a steering wheel when you drive a car, right? While familiarity with steering wheels is certainly helpful, there are a number of different factors when it comes to steering a boat.
Before you swap your steering wheel out for one that is a bit flashier, make sure you are comfortable driving your boat.
When buying a new steering wheel, finding one that fits the dashboard area of your boat is the key factor. As long as it is installed correctly and the wheel is in good shape, you and your boat will be in good shape as well. If you’re uneasy about installation, don’t feel like you have to do it yourself. You can just as easily hire someone else to install it for you.
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.