2017 Boat Buyers Guide | Salt Water Sportsman

2017 Boat Buyers Guide

Use our guide to the best fishing boats on the market to help you make your next purchase
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  • 2017 Fishing Boat Buyers Guide

Let Your Voices Be Heard!

The editors of our magazines (Sport Fishing, Salt Water Sportsman, Marlin and Boating) collectively examine, fish, ride and report on more than 200 boats per year. Even a non-tech, non-engineer type gains enough knowledge about what makes boats work well to offer some insightful advice, not only on how to choose, but also how to build a boat that will serve its owner well.

But until Bonnier Custom Insights began our readers survey four years ago and asked thousands of our readers what they liked about boats they'd fished or skippered, the collective editorial opinion of crafty boat design was only half complete.

In this guide, our editors factor in our readers' opinions at every step, weighing them against their own. You'll be happy to know: Our opinions were often aligned. But sometimes our editors modified their own opinion in the face of reader opinions, and sometimes we nodded to the readers' collective authority.

It is that synergy that makes this report important and why you should keep it bookmarked as you walk the aisles of boat shows all over America in 2017.

Our readers made this comprehensive report on what makes great fishing boats great.

Survey Says...

Each respondent compared and rated boats on Fishability, Performance, Design / Construction and Value. Each component had five attributes to assist in analysis.

Fishability: Cockpit Space, Fish Boxes, Baitwells, Tackle Storage and Rod Storage
Performance: Speed, Fuel Efficiency, Range, Ride and Stability
Design / Construction: Ergonomics, Comfort, Storage, Safety and Construction
Value: Brand Reputation, Customer Service, Resale Value, Available Equipment and Price

Inshore / Coastal Boats

Inshore / Coastal Boats are powered with a single engine and are usually under 25 feet long with shallow draft and include center consoles, bay, flats, some walkarounds and dual consoles.

Offshore Boats

Offshore Boats' primary distinguisher is multiple engines. They are usually over 25 feet long (always in this guide) and include center consoles, center cabins and express boats.