When it comes to enjoying the peaceful beauty of lakes, having the right boat can make a big difference. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to go out on the water. In this article, we’ll talk about some great boats for lakes that cost less than $10,000. These boats are affordable, so you can have fun on the water without worrying about your wallet. Whether you like fishing, water sports, or just going for a ride, there’s a boat for you that won’t cost too much. These boats make it easy for everyone to enjoy the beauty of lakes without breaking the bank.
1. Bayliner 185
The Bayliner 185 is a great lake boat for a variety of reasons. It starts with the roomy interior and comfortable seating, seating up to six people with back-to-back seating along the stern. It has a whole windshield to protect you from the elements and reliable performance in any water condition. The 60-horsepower ELPT Mercury Four-Stroke Outboard provides plenty of power to get you where you need to go, while the optional ski tow pylon and the stereo system make it easy to enjoy the lake with family and friends. The Element E16’s unique M-Hull design gives it a smooth ride and quick planning, plus it has a single axle trailer, cupholders, accessory power outlet, and swim platform with ladder. With its low price point, the Bayliner 185 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable, feature-packed lake boat.
On Average Cost: $9,500-$10,000
2. Sea Ray 180 Sport
The Sea Ray 180 Sport is a great lake boat for anyone looking for an enjoyable day out on the water. It is an entry-level bowrider with plenty of features to make your day on the lake safe and enjoyable. It is equipped with a 115 HP ELPT Mercury Four-Stroke Outboard that provides reliable performance in any water condition and can handle up to five people comfortably. It also features an onboard stereo that is MP3 compatible and a full windshield for added visibility. Additionally, storage is plentiful, and optional Bimini canvas and other covers are available. The Sea Ray 180 Sport is an affordable boat with great features and the perfect size to make your lake day enjoyable.
On Average Cost: $9,000
3. Alumacraft 1442 Jon boat
The Alumacraft 1442 Jon boat is an excellent choice for lake use due to its flat bottom design, which makes for an incredibly stable ride, even in choppy waters. Its lightweight construction of only 275 pounds makes it easy to power with either an electric or gas motor, and its roomy 15’9″ length gives it plenty of space for two bench seats, making it great for fishing or socializing. Additionally, its affordable $3,611 MSRP, along with the cost of a trailer and 20-horse outboard, can all stay within the $10K mark, making it an economical choice. Ultimately, the Alumacraft 1442 Jon boat is an ideal lake boat due to its stability, size, affordability, and lightweight construction.
On Average Cost: $3,000
4. Sun Dolphin Pro 120
The Sun Dolphin Pro 120 is an excellent option for a reliable and affordable lake boat. Not only is it incredibly reasonably priced, costing approximately $2,000 for the boat alone and up to $6,000 with a trailer and outboard motor. It is also well-equipped with features that make it perfect for an angling couple. It has a tri-hull design, ensuring the boat is incredibly stable on the lake, and an indestructible polyethylene hull material resistant to hard objects like rocks and pilings.
The Pro 120 comes with two swivel seats, a fore and aft deck, an aerated livewell, built-in rod holders, a fused control panel, navigation lights, and pre-wiring for an electric trolling motor. These features come at an unbeatable price and make the Pro 120 an excellent boat for those looking for a reliable and affordable lake boat.
On Average Cost: $1,500-$2,200
5. Lowe Roughneck 1660
The Lowe Roughneck 1660 is an excellent lake boat for those on a budget, offering superb value for money. Firstly, its stock form with a 9.9 hp outboard and trailer comes with a monthly payment of just $82.66, making it one of the most affordable fishing boats on the market. Secondly, its camo finish makes it suitable for fishing and hunting, meaning you’ll never have to buy a separate boat for the two activities. Its maximum capacity for five persons also means you can quickly bring friends along for the ride. Plus, it’s easy to upgrade the engine to 20 horsepower and still stay under the $10,000 budget. These features make the Lowe Roughneck 1660 an excellent choice for an affordable lake boat.
On Average Cost: $10,000
6. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is an ideal lake boat because it provides so many features, making it perfect for all types of fishing. It has a comfortable seat and enough room for all your fishing gear, and the pedal drive makes it easy to maneuver. The price point is also great, as it can be bought for around $5,000, so you can even buy two for less than $10,000. Furthermore, the seat is incredibly comfortable and makes spending an entire day fishing in the small boat possible. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is versatile and great for fishing on lakes and other still waters.
On Average Cost: $4,799
7. Bayliner Capri 1950
The Bayliner Capri 1950 is a great lake boat for various reasons. The 160 Bowrider is an entry-level bowrider, making it easy to learn and handle in any water condition. Moreover, it has plenty of storage space, a full windshield, and can handle up to five people thanks to its comfortable aft bench seat. Furthermore, it has an onboard stereo that can be MP3-compatible and optional covers and pylons for increased fun. In addition, the base price (plus motor options) makes it a desirable and affordable option for lake boating.
On Average Cost: $8,900
8. Lund WC 16
The Lund WC16 is a great lake boat due to its simple design, affordability, durability, and capacity. Starting at a mere $7,890 with a trailer available for just over $1,100 and a 15 or 20-horse outboard, this boat is perfect for those with a tight budget. With its aluminum hull, tiller steering, and bench seating, the Lund WC 16 is a no-frills design that is affordable and reliable. Additionally, the WC 16 has a maximum capacity of five people, which is perfect for large fishing parties. Furthermore, the Lund WC 16 is highly durable and can handle whatever a lake can throw.
On Average Cost: $7,890
9. Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16
The Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16 is an excellent lake boat for various reasons. It’s incredibly light and portable, allowing you to store it virtually anywhere. It can also carry two anglers and an outboard of up to six horsepower, making it an excellent option for multiple passengers. Additionally, it planes out with a small outboard and is self-bailing, meaning you won’t have to worry about excess water in the boat. Finally, the Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16 is one of the least expensive lake boats on the market, with a sticker price of just over $2,199 with a five-horse Honda.
On Average Cost: $2,199
10. Skimmer 14’6″
The Skimmer Skiff 14’6″ is an ideal lake boat thanks to its shallow draft and affordability. It can easily navigate shallow waters with a mere four inches of draft, making it perfect for fishing and other water activities. The rolled-edge version comes with a 20-horsepower Tohatsu outboard motor and a trailer, while the additional $1,250 allows you to customize and add amenities such as rod holders, fish boxes, or sunscreen. The all-composite construction, full-height transom, and easy-to-handle 275-pound displacement make it a great choice. Lastly, you can add essential features like a bilge pump and stainless-steel cleats for less than $500.
On Average Cost: $10,000-$12,000
When Buying a Boat for a Lake, Here’s what to Keep in mind
1. Budget: Calculate all costs, including boat ownership, registration, gas, storage, insurance, maintenance, permits, and licenses. If buying new, pick a boat that fits your budget, considering optional add-ons. For used boats, ensure reliability and factor in insurance and maintenance costs.
2. Type of Boat: Motorboats are fast and versatile, suitable for activities like fishing and water sports. Sailboats are fuel-efficient, great for leisurely cruising, and require sailing skills. Choose based on your lake activities.
3. Size: Consider the lake’s depth and the number of passengers you’ll have onboard. Shallow lakes need boats with shallow hulls, while larger lakes may require cabins for overnight stays.
4. Engine: The engine affects speed and performance. A powerful engine enables activities like wakeboarding and skiing. Check warranties for both the boat and engine.
5. Storage: Decide on in-water or out-of-water storage options. Marina slips, boatyards, and self-storage vary in cost and convenience. Inflatable boats are compact and easy to store in garages, while larger boats demand more planning.
6. Safety Features: Prioritize safety with anti-collision alarms, fire suppression systems, navigation lights, life jackets, and other essential equipment. Ensure the boat is structurally sound and well-maintained for a safe experience on the water.
What type of lake boat is best if you’re on a budget?
If you’re on a budget, a pontoon boat is a great option for lake boating. It offers a wide range of water activities, from fishing and diving to cruising, wakeboarding, skiing, and tubing. Models such as the South Bay Super Sport 925 can reach speeds of up to 90mph, giving you the best bang for your buck. Additionally, if you’re looking for a boat for river use, a flatboat can also be used on lakes. However, caution should be taken when larger vessels are in the same environment.
What size of the boat should I buy for use on a lake?
When considering the right size of boat to buy for use on a lake, it is important to consider where you plan to use the boat, how many passengers you will have onboard if you plan to stay overnight on the vessel, the maximum budget you have set for the purchase, and where you will store the boat. Additionally, it is helpful to consider the type of activities you plan to engage in on the lake, such as fishing, wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, and dinner dates. While some riverboats can be used on lakes with caution, the best option may be to choose a multi-functional boat, such as a pontoon boat, that can accommodate multiple activities. Depending on how often you plan to use the boat, renting may be more cost-effective than buying.
How can I save money when buying a lake boat?
If you’re looking to save money when buying a boat for your lake, consider creating a budget based on your current monthly expenditures and annual salary. Factor in costs associated with boat ownership, such as online boat registration, gas, storage, boat insurance, moorage, cleaning, maintenance fees, permits, and licenses. Determine the type and size of boat you need based on your intended use, such as high-speed water activities, fly fishing excursions, overnight adventures, or living on the boat. Consider renting a boat if you only plan on using it once a year. Opt for second-hand items and features to reduce costs, and use a boat payment calculator to determine the total cost before purchase. Lastly, account for insurance and regular maintenance to understand your boat’s cost accurately.
How do I maintain my lake boat?
Maintaining your lake boat is essential for keeping it in optimal condition and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience when out on the water. To achieve this, there are a few things to consider:
You should choose a boat best suited to the activities you plan to do on the lake. For instance, a multi-functional boat like a pontoon boat may be the best choice if you’re looking to partake in various activities.
You should consider where you will store your boat when it isn’t in use. While owning waterfront property is ideal, boat storage options like marina slips, boatyards, high and dry stores, and self-storage are available.
If you have a smaller boat, winterize it properly and get a cover to protect it when it’s not in use.
By taking these steps, you will have a great time on the lake and be able to enjoy your boat for many years to come.
How do I store my boat when it’s not in use?
When storing your boat when it’s not in use, there are two main options: in-water and out-of-the-water. Depending on your location and budget, you can opt for a marina slip, boatyard, high and dry store, or self-storage. You should also consider the size of the boat and whether it needs a deep hull for larger waterways or a shallow hull for rivers and lakes. Additionally, you should be mindful of the maximum amount you’re willing to pay and where you plan to store it. If you have an inflatable boat, you can store it in a plastic tote and tuck it in the garage.
Do I need a boating license to operate a boat on a lake?
Yes, you need a boating license to operate a boat on a lake. Depending on the state, you may need to register your boat with the local maritime authority. You may also need to take a boating education and safety certification course before applying for a license.