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Boating Guides: What Boat To Buy For Families

 

Boat styles are as varied and versatile as their owners. Which is ‘best’ is largely dictated by your preferences and budget. Having said that, taking the time to become familiar with the choices available to you may help you buy a boat you use and enjoy more.

 

Let’s look at a few of the boat styles that are popular around Brisbane.

 

Bowriders

Bowriders are perfect for cruising local dams, rivers and waterways such as the Southport Broadwater, and are distinguished by an open seating arrangement at the bow (front) of the boat.

 

Becoming ever more popular, the bowrider offers something for everyone. As one person stretches out on the lounge-like bench on the bow, another can be fishing at the other end – making it a great option for families with squabbling teenagers. Many bowriders can also be kitted out with ski poles for waterskiing or tubing.

 

Although not traditionally chosen for offshore fishing, the Revival range of bowriders share the same formidable hull as their offshore-ready cousins, making what we consider to be the best bowrider on the market.

 

Two examples of bowrider boats

 

Cuddy Cabins

If, instead of lounging on the bow you’d prefer some privacy and protection from the unpredictability of the weather, you may prefer a cuddy cabin.

 

‘Cuddy’ describes the cabin at the bow of the boat. It may be enclosed or open (we’ve installed curtains in some models for privacy), and although not tall enough to stand up in, there is usually a lounge or bed for resting or sleeping.

 

The addition of the front cabin provides the option to stay overnight. Or, tired children (or adults, for that matter) can take a time-out nap if all the excitement exhausts them. This makes a cuddy cabin great for short trips, for example, Tangalooma, Stradbroke Island or Peel Island, where a sunny summer afternoon full of swimming or snorkelling dictates an afternoon nap.

 

Clark make an excellent aluminium hull in their Challenger series boats – Australian made, and an affordable yet high-quality way to own a new cuddy cabin boat. Another option in a fibreglass design is the Revival range of boats. Newer to the market, they represent incredible value, especially the Revival R640.

 

Examples of cudy cabin boats

 

Fishing boats

Growing up, I remember luxury cruisers passing by, kitted out with expensive upholstery and minimal deck space, and thinking – but where do you fish from?

 

Pure fishing boats come in many shapes and sizes. From a lightweight and nimble aluminium estuary hunting vessel to a fully-equipped offshore gaming fishing boat, what they have in common is a focus on fishing efficiency over leisure features.

 

Gone are the ski ropes and bowrider. Instead, you’ll find additional rod holders and storage. Deck space is maximised: a tinnie would have a full floor with possibly a centre console you can walk around; and a fibreglass fishing boat would have standing space at the helm. And most models today come fitted with plumbed live well for your catch and bait.

 

 

Dinghy

Often used as a tender or lifeboat on larger boats, a dinghy is often used to describe any small boat. They are commonly a small aluminium boat (lovingly called a ‘tinnie’) or an inflatable (which you may hear referred to as a ‘rubber ducky’).

 

Although less suitable to many family situations, they are popular with campers who take them to campsites with calm waters. They’re easy to transport and require only a small outboard motor. They’re also easy to handle and a lot of fun for teenagers to learn on (however check and comply with your local boat licence requirements).

 

The other benefit is smaller boats cost less to purchase. A second-hand ex-tender may be a low-cost way to buy your first boat. A small tinnie can run on something as small as a 2.5 or 5hp outboard. Of course, a slightly larger tinnie may be happier being pushed along by a 15hp outboard.

 

Examples of dinghys boats

 

Cabin cruiser

Owning a full cabin boat provides you with full living quarters on your boat. With more comfortable overnight lodgings, you can wake up to the gentle bobbing of the ocean, the smell of sea breeze, and explore the less travelled shorelines of Australia – or at least that’s the dream!

 

The addition of a fully enclosed cabin space offers you a home away from home. You’ll likely have a proper toilet, shower, and kitchen -basically a small floating apartment. It’s the perfect option for an extended getaway with the family or taking day trips in style.

 

This luxury does come at a cost though. In addition to the outright cost of the boat, running costs might jump from $50-$100 per expedition to $50-$100 per hour. Also, most boats this size and weight are not suitable for towing, so be sure to factor in mooring costs, as well as mechanical maintenance and slippings costs.

 

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Canoes and kayaks

We’ve mostly talked about larger powerboats, but have you considered a kayak or canoe? Ranging from $500 to $3000, a quality kayak can get you on the water with your family. This option is much easier to store and can be strapped to roof racks on a suitable car or 4WD.

 

Kayaks can be bought at many local boat-selling businesses, but before you do, it’s relatively inexpensive to rent one for a few hours to see how you like it. The Boat Shed at Currumbin offers kayaks for rent in a calm, protected part of Currumbin Creek, or take an adventure in our own Brisbane River with Riverlife.

 

 

 

Other options

Of course, there are plenty of other boats you could look into, including:

 

  • Ski boats
  • Sailing boats
  • Pontoon boats
  • Houseboats
  • Yachts & Catamarans

 

These are rather more specialised vessels, but still worth checking out.

 

Happy boating!

 

Coorparoo Marine specialises in affordable quality Clark Boats, Revival Boats, Mercury outboard motors, and servicing all types of outboard motors. With over 40 years serving a loyal customer base from Noosa to Coolangatta, you can be sure of sound advice and attentive service. Show new Clark Aluminium boatsnew Revival boats, and used boats now, or visit our boat dealership in Coorparoo.