So you want to get into boating? Congratulations! From everyone here at Coorparoo Marine, we’re thrilled you’ve chosen a lifestyle and hobby that is so close to our hearts. But first, you’ll need a boat! To make your choice easier, we’ve put together a selection of boats we think are particularly well-suited as starter boats for beginners and first-time boat owners (or anyone looking for a fun and versatile boat).

There are many different styles of boats, each with different configuration options available to you. Without seeking advice from trusted sources, your boating experience could be less enjoyable than it should be. This article lists three styles of boat we think will be great for beginners – taking into consideration ease of use, budget, features and expectations. 

Of course, if you’re buying a boat in Brisbane you should contact us in person at Coorparoo Marine for expert assistance. Almost always we’ll be able to ask you the questions you haven’t even thought of yet, and then guide you towards the best boat for you.

Common mistakes when choosing a boat

Choosing the wrong boat could leave you wanting to upgrade or downgrade your boat sooner than planned, not using it as frequently, or discovering the activity you love most isn’t well suited to your boat.  For example:

  • you could end up with a ski boat that looks cool but is useless for anything other than skiing 
  • a barebones outfit that is not comfortable and no one wants to accompany you on, or perhaps 
  • a boat that is boat is too impractical or expensive to run.

Instead, what you want is a boat that perfectly matches your:

  • skill level
  • budget
  • family and lifestyle, and
  • the activities you enjoy.

What to consider when buying a boat

As with any purchase, making a decision is a compromise between cost, quality and features. Where you are on this scale is up to you. A few considerations worth focusing on include:

  • The various costs associated with owning a boat
  • A boat with an outboard motor will generally be more affordable to own and service.
  • Where you plan to go, and whether you’ll go offshore or stay in the estuaries?
  • What activities do you enjoy, such as cruising, fishing, watersports – or a bit of everything?
  • Your vehicle’s towing capacity?
  • Where will you launch it and how far do you plan to travel each outing?
  • Who will come with you, such as going solo, the whole family, or young children?

Once you have considered these factors it’ll be much quicker to narrow down your options.

And now, with all that in mind let’s take a look at three types of boats we think are perfect for beginners and new boat owners.

  • The side-console or centre-console with outboard
  • Bowriders
  • Sports Runabouts

Side or Centre-console Aluminium boats


BlueFin Scoundrel or Horizon EasyFisher

Key features:

  • Tough aluminium can take a few knocks
  • Can go many places in most conditions
  • A popular configuration that is easy to re-sell if upgrading
  • Start with a basic setup and add features as you go

We love this style of boat for beginners because they’re tough and easy to use.  An aluminium boat will tolerate some rough treatment, for example, if your boat bashes against the jetty in rough weather or gets caught in shallow water. Choosing an unpainted tinnie keeps your up-front costs down and you will worry less about scratches, but many boat manufacturers offer high-quality factory paint options that both look great and offer an extra layer of protection for your boat. Other features such as sounders, radios, gauges, storage, or rod holders can also be added with ease to most aluminium boats, and can be added at purchase or added later as you get to know what you want and need.

The Bluefin Scoundrel is a top choice of side-console boat that is well thought out and ready to hit the water. It comes with a host of features to make your day on the water easier and more comfortable such as multiple seating positions, transom step, bow rails, spray chines and much more, plus room to configure with any extra accessories you choose. The 50hp Mercury FourStroke is a great option for affordable and reliable boating, but the 450 Scoundrel can take up to a 60hp outboard and the 480 Scoundrel up to 70hp.  

Another great choice is the Horizon EasyFisher because it includes a full-floor with four seating positions, and is easy to move about in for people of all ages. Opting for the side-console does require a bigger investment than a tiller-steer, but it makes the boat easier to navigate, improves handing and visibility, and may be more enjoyable and easier to learn on than a tiller-steer configuration.



Bluefin Bowrider or  Horizon SeaBreeze

Key features:

  • Multi-purpose vessel to cruise, sunbathe, fish, swim or ski
  • Comfortable for one person or a whole family
  • Great first boat to try a bit of everything.

To live in Brisbane is to be spoilt for choice of dams, rivers, estuaries, coastlines and islands to explore. And if your preference is “a little bit of everything”, you’ll probably love a bowrider. With a bowrider you can go inland to one of the powerboat-friendly fresh-water dams for a thrilling ski and a swim, head to the coast to bask in the sun while cruising The Broadwater, or go on the hunt for fish in the estuaries, deeper bays or headlands. The bowrider really can do it all.

If all of the above sounds great, a bowrider is what we’d show you first. 



BBluefin Weekender, Horizon Stryker SR or Horizon EasyFisher SR

Key features:

  • Comfortable cruising in a forward driving position
  • Room for many people to comfortably travel together
  • More protected from spray when in transit
  • Great for shade with the addition of a canopy

A sports runabout with forward seating is another great choice as a multipurpose cruising and fishing boat, for one person or a whole crew. There is loads of space for everyone to travel together, with a familiar seating position up the front. When travelling as a family this can be handy for swimming and picnicking in the boat, or when cruising with friends there’s more space to hang out together (as opposed to a bowrider where you can send tired or unhappy kids to either end of the boat!)

The Horizon Stryker SR would make a great first boat which comes in 438, 454 and 474 models. They feature Horizon’s Hydrolift Hull technology, further improving its stability and water dispersion for a dry and confident ride. The Bluefin Weekender is another well-finished and feature-rich choice that gives you more space and can go further, with the 540 Weekender model rated for up to a 135hp outboard and 120L fuel tank, unlocking even greater adventure.

How to choose

Ultimately, there will be pros and cons, benefits and compromises, to any choice. Some are built for speed, others for fishing or cruising, and some a compromise between activities. Having a good understanding of what activities you will be doing will dictate what boat might best suit you.

Check with a local and trusted boat dealership, as well as talk to friends and family, online forums, or even strike up a conversation at the boat ramp.

You’ll also need to pair your new boat with a quality and reliable outboard motor. If you plan on heading towards the ocean, Mercury Marine have arguably the best outboards for salt water. You can see the range of Mercury outboards here.

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