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8 Best Boats for Both Lakes and Oceans

8 Best Boats for Both Lakes and Oceans

Embarking on a search for a Boat that can be good for both Lakes and Oceans might seem like a daunting task, given the contrasting nature of these water bodies. However, it’s by no means an impossible mission. Whether you’re planning a serene lake expedition or a thrilling ocean adventure, the boat you choose should offer a harmonious blend of resilience, stability, comfort, and safety. In this ultimate guide, we’ll narrow down the top contenders that seamlessly address the unique demands of both environments, kickstarting your journey towards finding the perfect vessel for dual aquatic experiences.”

1. Catamarans

Catamarans, with their distinctive twin-hull structure, provide unmatched stability, making them a great choice for both peaceful lake waters and the variable conditions of the ocean. Whether you’re traversing a serene lake or tackling ocean waves, catamarans’ broad decks offer ample space for families and friends, enhancing the boating experience.

Ideal Catamaran models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Lagoon 450
  • Bali Catspace
  • Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40
  • Leopard Catamarans 45
  • Gemini Legacy 35
Catamaran yacht in the ocean at sunset

2. Cabin Cruisers

Cabin Cruisers aptly blend comfort, style, and power, making them an excellent vessel for navigating both lakes and oceans. They are particularly handy for extended trips, offering home-like amenities while being robust enough to handle a wide range of water conditions.

Ideal Cabin Cruiser models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Sea Ray Sundancer 320
  • Regal 33 Express
  • Chaparral 310 Signature
  • Four Winns Vista 355 Coupe
  • Jeanneau NC 1095
Abandoned boat moored to shore

3. Sailboats

Sailboats offer you the serene pleasure of harnessing the wind’s power, a feature that suits both lake waters and open oceans. They require expertise to sail but provide a unique, environmentally-friendly navigation experience. Sailboats excel in large lakes with consistent winds and are adventurous voyagers of the sea when equipped with a sturdy hull design.

Ideal Sailboat models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410
  • Beneteau Oceanis 46.1
  • Hanse 418
  • Bavaria Cruiser 41S
  • Dufour Grand Large 390
Sailboat in sea on background of mountains

4. Yachts

Yachts are synonymous with luxury and sophistication, thus making every voyage an extraordinary experience. Known for their spacious design and high-end features, yachts are as suited to cruising along a tranquil lake as they are for exploring the vast expanses of the ocean.

Ideal Yacht models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Princess Y78
  • Sunseeker Manhattan 68
  • Azimut 78
  • Galeon 680 Fly
  • Ferretti Yachts 780
Motor yacht

5. Center Consoles

Truly versatile, Center Consoles are designed with an open hull and plenty of deck space, perfect for a wide range of activities on both lakes and oceans. Equipped with robust engines, these boats perform just as well angling for lake trout as they do wrestling with ocean waves.

Ideal Center Console models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Scout 355 LXF
  • Boston Whaler 350 Outrage
  • Grady-White Canyon 456
  • Sea Hunt Ultra 255 SE
  • Vexus AVX1980cc
8 Best Boats for Both Lakes and Oceans- 1

6. Pontoons

Pontoons, with their unique flat deck and buoyant tubes, provide a stable and spacious platform that’s adaptable to a variety of settings. Their flexible design offers smooth operation on placid lake waters and can also be outfitted for more rugged ocean usage.

Ideal Pontoon models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Harris Crowne DL 250
  • Avalon Catalina Platinum Quad Lounge
  • Starcraft SX 25 C DC
  • Bennington R Series 25 RSD
  • Regency 230 DL3

7. Canoes

Canoes offer simple, quiet, and close-to-nature adventures. Their straightforward design allows for easy steering and steady movement. This makes them fantastic for exploring lake shores and also suitable for coastal ocean journeys when the sea is calm.

Ideal Canoe models for both lakes and oceans:

  • Old Town Discovery 169
  • Mad River Explorer 16
  • Wenonah Spirit II
  • Sun Dolphin Scout SS
  • Nova Craft Prospector 16′

8. Kayaks

A kayak is one of the most popular boats for both lake and ocean. Kayaks are small, lightweight boats that work well in either environment. They are very portable, making them an ideal boat for a day trip or traveling to a different location. They are also very affordable, which is why they are so popular. Although kayaks may seem like the perfect boat for your needs, it is still important to consider what kayak you want to buy.

A sea kayak is a boat that is designed for use on the ocean. These boats are typically longer than they are wide and have a rounded hull. These boats usually have a rudder on them, allowing the user to steer the ship in whichever direction they want. The primary difference between sea kayaks and other types of kayaks is that sea kayaks are designed to be used on the ocean, while other kayaks are intended for use in lakes or ponds.


Guide to Choosing a Boat Suitable for Both Lakes and Oceans

Navigating diverse water bodies like calm lakes and unpredictable oceans requires a just as versatile boat. Here’s a handy guide to aid you in selecting the perfect boat that you can cruise confidently on both lakes and oceans.

Identify Your Needs

Start by clearly determining what you anticipate to get out of your boat. Will you use it for relaxed cruising, fishing, high-speed water sports, or long-distance traveling? The type and size of the boat will greatly depend on your specific needs.

Consider the Boat Size

Smaller boats like canoes, kayaks, and small pontoons might be perfect for leisurely lake trips, while mid-sized cabin cruisers or large yachts might be more suited for trips involving ocean travel and overnight stays.

Examine the Boat Design

Different boat designs serve different purposes. An open wide deck is ideal for fishing and activities needing more space, a feature found in center consoles and pontoons. For stability in both calm and rough waters, go for catamarans with their dual-hull design.

Check for Comfort and Accommodation

If you plan to spend extended time aboard, ensure comfortable seating and suitable accommodations. Cabin cruisers and yachts provide home-like amenities, making them a great choice for long ocean trips.

Assess the Boat’s Material

Boats meant for both lakes and oceans need to be strong and durable. Fiberglass and aluminum are typical materials known for their robustness and ability to withstand varying water conditions.

Think About Stability and Handling

A stable ride is crucial, regardless of the water body. Boats with a deep V-hull design help ensure stability in tranquil lake waters and choppy ocean waves.

Evaluate the Boat’s Power

Boats intended for ocean use tend to have more powerful engines to tackle waves and currents. Ensure the engine is strong enough for ocean use and adaptable enough for leisurely lake sailing.

Inspect Safety Features

Safety is paramount, especially when ocean sailing. Look for boats equipped with lifejackets, fire extinguishers, navigational lights, and a reliable communication system. Other safety features, like a self-bailing cockpit, can be advantageous in rough weather conditions.

Choosing the right boat requires careful consideration. Visit boat shows, take demo rides, and discuss your needs with experienced dealers. Make an informed choice and tackle both the lake and ocean with confidence.

boat in ocean

 safety tips for using a lake boat on the ocean

  1. Always check the marine forecast before setting out.
  2. Equip your boat with navigation charts of the ocean area.
  3. Ensure your boat’s engine has adequate horsepower to handle ocean waves.
  4. Secure all objects on the boat to prevent shifting in choppy waters.
  5. Have the boat’s hull inspected for seaworthiness.
  6. Equip your boat with a marine VHF radio for offshore communication.
  7. Test the bilge pumps and make sure they’re functioning well to handle any flooding.
  8. Have more lifejackets on board than the number of passengers.
  9. Equip your boat with visual and sound signaling devices.
  10. Keep a throwable life-saving device on the boat.
  11. Carry enough provisions, including water and food, as ocean voyages can take longer than expected.
  12. Always inform someone on shore about your expected return time and the approximate area you’ll be sailing.
  13. Keep a first-aid kit and other emergency equipment handy.
  14. Consider installing a self-bailing device to handle heavy water inflow in rough weather.
  15. Make sure everyone on board follows a safety briefing before heading out to the ocean.


In conclusion, navigating the diverse waters of lakes and oceans opens up a world of aquatic adventures. However, it requires careful consideration when choosing the right boat and understanding how to safely handle the unique conditions each environment presents. This guide walks you through the essentials, from determining your boating needs to evaluating boat design, comfort, and safety features. It emphasizes foresight, preparation, and vigilance as critical factors for a successful journey, whether you’re exploring placid lakes or braving ocean waves. Embark on your nautical journey confidently, and make the most of your time on the water, regardless of where your adventures take you.


How big of a boat is needed to cross the ocean?

When crossing an ocean, a boat must have a specific size to fit in the water and move. A ship that is 20 feet in length is generally the minimum size required to cross an ocean. The size of the engine on the boat also affects the size of the boat. If the engine is large, the ship will be more significant.

Can you put a regular boat in the ocean?

You can put a boat in the ocean, but it is not recommended. Boats that are meant for ocean use are much more sturdy and can take more punishment than a regular boat. If you are going to be on the ocean for more than an hour or so, then it would be safer to have a boat that is made for ocean use.

Can you use a pontoon boat in the ocean?

Yes, you can use a pontoon boat in the ocean, but it’s best suited for calm, near-shore waters and not for high sea or rough weather.

What safety equipment should I have on my boat for ocean sailing?

Essential safety equipment for ocean sailing includes lifejackets, navigational lights, marine VHF radio, fire extinguishers, a first-aid kit, visual and sound signaling devices, and a throwable lifesaving device.

Are sailboats suitable for both lakes and oceans?

Yes, sailboats can be suitable for both lakes and oceans, but the choice will depend on the size of the lake and ocean conditions. Most importantly, they require sailing skills to navigate.

What should I consider when choosing a boat for both lakes and oceans?

Consider factors like your specific needs, boat size, design, material, comfort & accommodation, stability & handling, power, and safety features when choosing a boat for both lakes and oceans.