yachts for under 50k

17 Popular Boats Under 50,000 (with Pictures & Prices)

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Thinking about getting a boat? There are plenty to choose from and one of the best ways to narrow down your choices is to go by price range.

We’ve done some of the research for you by compiling a list of great boats that will run you anywhere from $30,000 to about $50,000.

Table of Contents

3 Bowriders Under 50 Grand

A bowrider is a type of power or motorboat which has a seating area near the bow (or the forward portion of the boat).

They’re generally used for recreation but can vary in style and amenities other than in regard to their seating. Most of the boats in this category are strictly for relaxing with your friends and family (water skiing, inner-tubing, sunbathing, etc.).

1) Four Winns Horizon 190 ($40,000)

yachts for under 50k

Four Winns Horizon boats have been popular for a long time. But did you know you can own one for less than $40,000? A 19 foot Four Winns Horizon 190 fits just in our price range.

It can seat up to nine people comfortably but that doesn’t mean that it sacrifices power for comfort. It has a Stable V Hull which will allow you to make some mighty tight turns without losing stability. You can choose a range of engines with the fastest getting up to 270 horsepower.

Yup, we’re talking about a Volvo Pento engine.

The bucket seats with wrap-around back ensure that you’re as comfortable as your passengers as you park it right out in the middle of the lake so your guests can slide right off the swim platform and climb right back up again on the deep swim ladder.

You’ll also have plenty of storage for your cooler and gear. Just don’t forget the sunblock.

2) Yamaha SX210

yachts for under 50k

For decades, Yamaha has been known for making quality products. One example of this is the Yamaha SX210. It’s a great bowrider that has both premium amenities and power (which should come to no surprise to anyone who has ever owned a Yamaha vehicle (two wheels, four wheels, or propelled boat). The SX210 comes with two 110-horsepower engines.

It can definitely get up and go.

In addition to all of its power, it also has comfortable seating, a two-tiered swim platform, cupholders, backrest cushions, hinged storage compartments, and can accommodate up to ten people. It comes in a variety of different colors and includes and matching painted trailer with a swing-away tongue and disc brakes.

It’s got style, power, and comfort. What more can you ask for?

3) Bayliner 215 BR ($33,600)

yachts for under 50k

The Bayliner 215 BR bowrider is a spacious and powerful boat at 20 and a half feet. It is built for relaxation, fishing, or water skiing. The comfortable bucket seats and the large L-shaped settee is great for relaxing and soaking in some rays.

Not to mention, it has a large sunbed (in the aft) as well as the convertible sunbed in the bow.

You can lay back and wait for the fish to bite or just lay back with a book.

Meanwhile, the powerful engine can easily handle any sort of water sport you want to throw at it. The 215 BR is a jack of all trades.

4 Center Consoles Under 50 Grand

Center console boats are named after the central location of the steering column. These little boats are great for runabouts or relaxing. But if you want to use it at its full potential, center consoles make great fishing boats.

The deep V-hulls make for smooth rides, even if you’re far away from shore. The outboard motors are durable and can handle its fair share of choppy waves. These normally have some great seating as well.

Some of the styles come with a cover to help in the hot sun, which comes in handy no matter what you’re doing out in the water.

Center console boats are generally pricier than $50,000 but can fall in our price range when we look at used boats. We’ve scanned a few of the listings online to see which pre-owned center console boats are on the market for under $50k.

4) Boston Whaler 28/290 Outrage (~ $40,000 to $80,000)

yachts for under 50k

This is a great multipurpose fishing boat that was in production between 1999 and 2003. It has wide walkways that circle the cabin, which make it easy for passengers to get around without bumping into each other. Her forward seat is cushioned, as is the foldaway transom seat. There is a functional cabin below-deck which can sleep three.

Other features in the cabin include an electric toilet, microwave, storage locker, and a fridge. As for the rest of the boat, common amenities include a standard factory hardtop, rod holders, bow pulpit (molded), two insulated in-deck fish boxes, a 30-gallon live well (lighted), bait prep station with sink, transom rod holders, gunnel rod holders rod storage in the cockpit, tackle drawers, deluxe helm seats with flip-up bolsters, a transom door, and trim tabs.

5) Pursuit 3070 (~ $40,000 to almost $100,000)

yachts for under 50k

The Pursuit 3070 was in production between 2001 and 2007 and was one of the most popular 30-foot center consoles in that time frame. These boats are a great mix of performance and quality. Even for a 30-foot boat, she feels much roomier because of her oversized cockpit, a large and uncluttered deck layout, and her large console.

She’s a fishing boat at heart, however, with her 40-gallon baitwell in the transom, cockpit bolsters, fish/storage boxes under the seats and aft in the deck, lockable gunnel rod storage, and a transom rigging center that is complete with a cutting board and a sink.

Inside the console house, you’ll find an electric toilet, a hand-held shower (when you get to fish all over you), a sink, and a holly and teak sole.

6) Grady-White 263/273 Chase

yachts for under 50k

Both the Grady-White 263 and 273 Chase models were in production between 1994 and 2011. When you get a chance to look at one of them, you’ll see why they were in production for so long. These trailer-able center console boats had the quality that Grady-White was known for, as well as a versatile layout.

The Chase has a pretty conventional layout for her deck with the console head compartment with a Porta-Potti, a freshwater sink, and some forward seating.

It’s a fisherman’s dream with a 32-gallon lighted live well in the aft port portion of the cockpit, and a large 185-quart insulated fish box right in the transom. There are also two 104-quart fish/storage boxes forward, under the bow seats. The electronics console at the helm pops up, which is a pretty handy feature. The fiberglass insert fits in the middle of the forward seats. This helps form a casting deck.

Some of the other standards include a leaning post with backrest, rod holders, cockpit bolsters, lockable rod storage, foldaway stern seat, and transom door.

7) Juniper 27 Open (> $50,000)

yachts for under 50k

You’ll have to do some searching, but you can find a few Juniper 27 Open’s under our $50,000 limit.

It’s easy to see why it’s so desirable and why the asking prices are so high (even for boats which were in production between 1998 and 2006), when you see the amenities it comes with.

The 27 Open is a center console from Juniper, which is one of the most well-known brands in the business.  are known for their well-built boats and the Juniper 27 is no exception. The console is oversized and houses a head with sleeping berth — which is pretty unique, especially in a small boat like this one.

It also boasts of a unique construction which uses no wood in the hull. Not to mention, the bottom incorporates a lifting pad which stretches from the stern forward. This helps with high-speed efficiency.

The Jupiter 27 has a few different amenities which you can rarely find on smaller boats including two big electronics boxes at the helm, an in-deck insulated fish box just forward of the transom, forward seating, a 40-gallon transom live well, Lenco trim tabs, transom sink, electric head with holding tank, three in-deck storage lockers, bait rigging station, pop-up cleats, and transom door.

She is powered by a Yamaha 225s which top out at over 45 knots.

Deck boats are somewhat similar to bowriders because they’re both fairly sleek.

However, deck boats have even more seating . The other difference is the rounded V-shaped bow, which allows it to have more space.

This makes it perfect for fishing, entertaining, or just plain relaxing.

8) Hurricane SunDeck 2200 DC OB (used ~ $32,900)

yachts for under 50k

We found the 2017 Hurricane SunDeck 2200 DC OB for just under $33,000 in Florida. The SunDeck 2200 DC OB has a great helm dash with an instrument panel that has fog-resistant gauges to help keep you safe while you’re out on the water.

It also comes with an exterior anchor locker ladder, stern telescoping lighting, bow telescoping ladder, stainless steel protective boots, a half canopy to keep the sun off of you while you’re cruising along, and an entertainment center with Infinity Bluetooth color screen, and four speakers.

We’re going to talk about two different types of fishing boats: ‘

  • The bass boat
  • and aluminum fishing boats.

You can easily find these boats for sale between our price range of $30,000 and $50,000.

Bass boats and aluminum fishing boats can be fairly similar. However, the difference between a regular fishing boat and a bass boat is that these high horse-powered boats have strong trolling motors to help them catch largemouth bass . You can also cast in the back or the front in order to get just the right angle for the fish.

The low profile designed bottoms allow bass boats to move swiftly in shallow water.

Usually, there is some sort of built-in storage for tackle and rods as well. Not to mention extra floor space for fishing chairs.

Aluminum Fishing Boats Under $50,000

Aluminum fishing boats are great for avid (hobbyist) fishermen who just want to get out on the water. These boats are sleek and streamlined . They generally have outboard motors that are easy to steer. In turn, the boat moves swiftly and easily through the water.

There generally isn’t a lot to these boats. By that, I mean that there aren’t a not of bells and whistles.

It gets you from the shore, out to your favorite fishing spot, and back.

They’re durable and strong, which means that you don’t have to worry about the boat.  You can just worry about the fish.

Aluminum fishing boats are at the cheaper end of the fishing boat category. They can be anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. This, of course, depends on what sorts of amenities and extra fishing gear you want to put in the water with you.

9) Lowe 22 Bay (> $50,000)

yachts for under 50k

Lowe is a company known for making some great aluminum fishing boats. The Lowe 22 Bay is just under $50,000, once it’s fully rigged (complete with a dual-axel trailer).

Included in this are:

  • Twin live wells (a 30 gallon in the aft and a 16 gallon in the bow),
  • a built-in tackle stowage,
  • a Motorguide VariMax V55SW (which is a type of electric trolling motor),
  • a seven and a half foot locking rod box, fore and aft casting decks,
  • and a Lowrance Hook2 fishfinder.

You’ll definitely be able to catch a couple of fish in this baby.

10) Smoker Craft 162 Pro Angler (< $30,000)

yachts for under 50k

Just like the Lowe 22 Bay, the Smoker Craft 162 Pro Angler is right in our price range after it is kitted out. This beautiful aluminum fishing boat is just as gorgeous as the fiberglass boats out on the market right now. If you opt for the motor with the higher horsepower from the dealer and get the Helix Graph 5 GPS, Fisherman’s Top, Integrated Gunnel Track System with accessories, you’ll be right in the middle of our price range.

It also comes with two seats with movable seat pedestals. It can seat 5 total and has a swim platform with a 3-step ladder and two live wells. A stern aerated 25 gallons and a 15-gallon bow live well.

11) Nitro Z19 Pro ($41,895)

yachts for under 50k

The Nitro Z19 Pro is a great, high-performance bass boat. It is one of the most popular upgraded versions of the Z-series line which Nitro offers. The Z19 Pro comes stock with a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor in order to get you out on the water in no-time, while not causing a lot of waves.

Another thing which comes stock on a Z19 Pro is the Humminbird HELIX fishfinder, to help you catch the fish that’s been eluding you all morning.

The NITRO Vortex Technology (NVT) hull is shaped perfectly to make the boat faster, gives it better life while on a plane, and helps aid in turning on the fly.

It also has six drink holders, four stainless steel pull-up cleats, four grab handles (one at each seat), fold-down stainless steel reboarding ladder, and comes with a horn and paddle.

Pontoon Boats Under 50 Grand

Pontoon boats are flatboats which rely on pontoons to float . There are many versions of pontoon boats, from personal inflatable pontoons to catamaran type boats that can accommodate many people and can even accommodate fishermen. Pontoons are often made of some sort of abrasion resistant PVC and/or nylon that has steel, plastic, or aluminum frame.

12) Bennington SX 24 Swingback ($40,000)

yachts for under 50k

The Bennington SX 24 Swingback costs around the same price as the Four Winns (up above) but has a few different features for you. First of all, it’s a pontoon boat which means that it’s great for sightseeing and for water sports. You can either lounge and take in the scenery or you can bust out the water skis and inner-tubes and go for a ride.

The seats boast of blue two-tone vinyl with stitching that’s incredibly detailed. The vinyl flooring looks posh while also being easy to clean. It has a mercury 150- horsepower outboard motor to help this beast move along the water. To help it along is a 24-gallon fuel tank. With 24 gallons, it can take you about 100 miles at a cruising speed of 15 mph. It also handles well and is a great versatile boat for any family.

2 Sailboats Under $50,000

Sailboats are just that: boats with sails. They use the wind to maintain speed while out on the water. Some sailboats have an inboard or an outboard motor to help them power through rough waters.

Some have mono-hulls, others have two hulls (these are called catamarans) and yet others have three hulls (these are called trimarans). In addition to these differences, there are also categories of daysailers, racing sailboats, and cruisers.

They’re often used for cruising around overnight (they always have cabins or sleeping quarters unless it is a small pocket sailboat. They are also used for day-sailing, and competitions.

13) Bristol 40 ($29,000 – $49,000)

yachts for under 50k

The Bristol 40 might be a little older compared to a few other boats out on the market now, but if they are taken care of, these sailboats are as strong as they are beautiful.

The early Bristol 40s came with an Atomic 4 gas engine. But the Westerbeke diesel was also an option. Other versions were re-powered with a Yanmar diesel.

They generally have matted and woven roving and have a ballast of 6,5000 lbs.

14) Island Packet ($35,000 – $50,000)

yachts for under 50k

Island Packets are wonderful sailing yachts. They are strong and well-constructed. The deck is made of polyester resin and micro-balloons (PolyCore) instead of a balsa core. This means that it won’t rot and there is no fear of delamination. It is unique and beautiful. The sail area is roughly 531 square feet and it has a beam of 11 and a half feet.

Floating House/Cabin Under $50,000

At the time of this article, we were ecstatic to find a couple of great floating houses on the market, which fit just under the $50,000 cap.

15) A 432 square foot Floating Home in Lake Cumberland, Kentucky ($49,900)

Yes, okay, this one just made the cut-off at $49,900. But this beautiful college (with a queen bedroom and fold down bunk and loft beds) is a great home for someone who wants to live a simple life on a floating home.

There is also a full bath, microwave, a two-burner stove, electric fireplace, a 28-gallon water heater, 160-gallon waste holding tank, composite decking, beautiful cedar siding, and is wired for cable and satellite TV.

16) A 450 square foot Floating Cottage in Norris Lake, Tennessee ($34,900)

This compact little floating home is complete with a full bath (with an incinerator toilet) and electric refrigerator, a double stainless since, a four-burner oven (electric), a queen bet, a window air conditioning unit, a 20-gallon hot water heater, and Styrofoam floatation. It is quite the steal at under $35,000. If you’re looking for your first floating home, this is a great place to start.

You can move in, use it as a vacation home, or even just use it as your office (a unique touch to help aid you in wanting to go to work).

17) A 400 square foot Floating Cabin in Norris Lake, Tennessee

Tennessee seems to be home to a lot of great floating houses for sale. This one comes with a bunk bed, a full bath, fridge, oven, microwave, a double sink a 32’ HDTV, Blu-ray player, surround sound, a patio set (table and chairs), and a covered patio (with some shades for privacy).

This is a great home away from home. If you want to drop all of your material possessions and move into this houseboat, we wouldn’t look down on that. Living minimally on a houseboat sounds like the perfect dream.

How much do boats normally cost?

When it comes to the price range for most boats, it can vary by design, style, size, manufacturer, and features (just to name a few).

It can be difficult to calculate but—as a jumping-off point—here are a few numbers to get us started:

  • Bowriders: $15,000 to $50,000
  • Cabin Cruisers: $100,000 to $500,000
  • Cuddy Cabins: $100,000 and up
  • Deck Boats: $20,000 to $50,000
  • Fishing Boats: $9,000 to $100,000
  • House Boats: $100,000 and up
  • Pontoon Boats: $15,000 to $100,000
  • Sailboats: $4,000 and up
  • Speedboats: $75,000 and up
  • “Yachts”: $300,000 and up

By definition, yachts are medium-sized sail, powered (or otherwise small ship or) boat which is equipped for private cruising, racing, or for official use.

This can encompass a lot of boats. The boats covered in this article are colloquially considered too small to be a yacht but not in its technical sense. However, they are not considered yachts in the public eye because they are not luxurious enough.

Here’s an extensive guide we’ve made with prices for each boat type . It covers each boat type in more depth.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve covered the different types of common boats and the models that come in this price range, it’s time for you to decide which type of boat is right for you. If you’re having trouble deciding, consider some of these questions:

  • How much are you willing to spend on a boat?
  • What are you going to use a boat for?
  • What sorts of amenities are you going to need for yourself? Will your guests need anything specific as well?

Buying a boat is a big investment. It isn’t just about splurging and buying the first boat you see. It’s about finding out what boat works for you.

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10 Best Boats Under $50,000

Ranger Z175

Ranger Z175

Scouts 231 XS

Scouts 231 XS

Roughneck 1760

Roughneck 1760

Chris Riley

If you’re new to the world of boating, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make from the get-go is – which boat to get. Granted, you want one that’s adorned with all the bells and whistles that add to its appeal. But the one limiting factor you’ll have to contend with is the price.

Boats don’t come cheap. It also doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality either. Otherwise, you might just end up with a lemon you can get rid of.

What most people may not be aware of is the fact that you can become a boat owner with $50,000 or less. That’s right. You don’t have to break the bank to join this exclusive club of water lovers.

This guide explores the 10 best boats under $50,000, as well as some helpful tips you can use to choose the best one.

Winns Horizon 190 (Best Bowrider Boat)

Winns Horizon 190

Four Winns is no stranger to the boating world. If you’re looking for an entry-level bowrider boat that fits within the under-50k price range, you can’t go wrong with the Winns Horizon 190 .

The H190 model retails at around $36,000 while the H190 RS goes for around $38,000, which is pretty affordable for a boat with its specs. It can comfortably sit up to nine individuals without feeling too cramped and is pretty stable on the water thanks in large part to its large V-hull. So, you can make some sharp turns at moderately high speeds without losing balance.

Overall, the Winns Horizon offers great value for money and is perfect for a day out on the open water.

● Can comfortably seat a large number of people ● It is pretty stable on the water even when making sharp turns at high speeds ● It is backed by a lifetime structural-hull warranty

● Doesn’t offer sun protection

Boston Whaler 280 Outrage (Best Center Console Boat)

Boston Whaler 280 Outrage

Center Console boats, or CCs for short, are excellent multi-purpose crafts. They have wide walkways that surround the cabin, which makes it easy for passengers to get around without obstructing each other.

The Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is an excellent option if you’re looking for a functional CC that delivers on both performance and utility. Although the new 2020 model retails for over $200,000 depending on the custom features you want to be installed, it is possible to find older used models that retail for $50,000 or slightly less.

The cabin can comfortably sleep three adults and comes with standard features like a fridge, lockable storage, toilet, and microwave. The Outrage also has standard amenities that include a 30-gallon Livewell, insulated fish boxes, deck rod holders, transom rod holders, and a bait prep station that comes equipped with a sink.

● Fully customizable ● Designed for anglers ● Ideal for overnight trips

● Prices go up the more custom features it has

2021 SunDeck 2200 DC OB (Best Deck Boat)

2021 SunDeck 2200 DC OB

A great deck boat you can get for under $50,000 is the 2017 Hurricane SunDeck 2200 DC OB that costs between $35,000 and $45,000 depending on the features it has. The price of a brand new 2021 SunDeck 2200 DC OB could range anywhere from $61,000 to $80,000 and is fully customizable according to your tastes and preferences.Deck boats look a lot like bowriders except for the seating capacity and the shape of the hull. They can accommodate more people and have a rounded V-hull, which makes them more spacious than bowriders. This makes them perfect for good old-fashioned fishing or entertaining.

Standard features include a half canopy, cup holder, cell phone holder, charging port, keeper netting, helm storage, center-deck bi-fold door, and lots more.

● Large 10-passenger seating capacity ● Features are fully customizable ● The price point of a brand new boat isn’t too bad, either

● Not built for overnight trips

Fishing boats generally come in two flavors – bass boats and aluminum fishing boats. Both of these are fairly similar, although bass boats have uber-powerful trolling motors that allow them to catch largemouth bass. Another difference is the fact that anglers can cast at the front or back to get just the right angle.

A great bass boat to consider is the Ranger Z175 that retails for around $30,000, although the price can go up depending on the add-on features you want to be installed. While it may not be as powerful as some of the premium bass boat models around, this fiberglass craft still delivers outstanding performance at every turn.

It can comfortably accommodate two to four anglers at a go and comes with pretty swanky onboard Lowrance electronics, in addition to fuel, speed, trim, and tach gauges at the helm. It uses a Minn Kota Edge 70 24V trolling motor and has a high-performance anti-feedback steering wheel.

● Great value for money ● Easy to tow and fits in standard garages ● Has an offset full-featured console for ample legroom

● Tends to use up more gas than average

Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk (Best Aluminum Fishing Boat)

Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk

Aluminum fishing boats are generally favored by most anglers because of the stability they offer. If you like the idea of a budget fishing boat, then you’ll like what the Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk brings to the table in terms of performance and functionality. It boasts a roomy casting deck and can comfortably accommodate up to five anglers at any given time.

It has a total of 13 storage compartments and even has a central rod locker that can hold up to 15 rods measuring up to 8 inches in length. You might also like the 28-gallon Livewell to store your catch. The 1750 Bass Hawk retails for around $30,000, although the price can go up depending on the custom features you want to be installed.

The price is inclusive of the boat, the Mercury 115 HP EFI 4-stroke engine, and a Shoreland’r Trailer. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask us.

● Price includes boat, engine, and trailer ● Fully customizable ● Uses less gas than fiberglass models

● Tends to blow around in the wind when not anchored since the aluminum hull makes it quite light

Bennington SX24 Swingback (Best Pontoon Boat)

Bennington SX24 Swingback

Pontoons are essentially flatboats mounted on top of hollow tubes or “pontoons” to remain afloat. They come in several different versions ranging from catamaran-type crafts to the inflatable kind – although these tend to be less durable in the long term and don’t come with exciting features worth mentioning. They are, however, pretty cheap and are a great option if you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on a boat.

If you’re looking for a decent pontoon craft with a host of comfort and convenience features, the Bennington SX24 Swingback is a great choice and retails for around $46,000. It has a well-thought-out floor plan that supports dual seating capability. So, passengers can sit facing forward or backward depending on the furniture position.

Standard features include mood lighting, a weatherproof audio system, $50 HP 4-stroke high thrust 20-inch engine, base furniture with Simtex (SX) upholstery, co-captain seat exchange, rod holders, and lots more.

● Fully customizable ● Ideal for fishing, waterskiing, or cruising ● Designed for comfort

● Wide turning radius

Catalina 22 Sport (Best Sailboat)

Catalina 22 Sport

Sailboats are exactly what they sound like – boats that use sails to harness the power of the wind to propel them and maintain their cruising speed. Some often come equipped with motor engines to help them navigate rough waters, or on days when the wind is not sufficient.

These vessels come in several different flavors, each of which brings a little something different to the table. There are cruisers, racing sailboats, and daysailers, each of which may have a mono-hull, dual-hull (catamarans), or a tri-hull (trimarans). The prices for each vary depending on the comfort, convenience, and performance features it offers.

The Catalina 22 Sport is an excellent option for individuals looking for sailboats in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. It not only looks great but also comes fully-loaded with the latest accessories and gear you would expect to find in a cruising sailboat.

It has an open cabin that can comfortably sleep a small family of four, making it ideal for overnight stays. It handles well and is quite stable even in rough waters, making it ideal for racing too. Overall, the Catalina delivers a ton of value for its price.

● Perfect for day cruising, overnight stay, and racing ● Great value for money ● Comfortably accommodates a small family of four

● Interior upholstery looks slightly dated

Gekko Revo 6.7 (Best Ski Boat)

Gekko Revo 6.7

If you’re crazy about water skiing and are looking for a budget ski boat that’s built for speed and handles well, the Gekko Revo 6.7 might interest you. It looks great on the water and has a solid fiberglass hull that’s designed for surfing and riding.

The best part about it is its price tag, with the 2017 model retailing for between $40,000 and $45,000 depending on the specs. Standard features include an infinity sound system, digital dashboard for speed settings, CIPA 360 vision mirror, fast-fold tower, and a Boatmate trailer.

It also comes with Sirius Satellite Radio and an iPad/iPhone control. The Revo 6.7 also delivers a ton of fun in marine sports.

● Great value for money ● Multiple speed settings available ● Fully customizable

● May not be ideal for fishing

Bay boats essentially bridge the gap between small flats boats with shallow drafts and large vessels with deep hulls built for open waters. So, what you end up with is a hybrid boat that can navigate inshore water bodies but stable enough to handle deeper offshore waters.

When looking for the best bay boat, the keyword to remember is versatility . You want a craft that can do just about anything, whether you’re using it inshore or offshore. The Scouts 231 XS bay boat fits the bill perfectly. A brand new one retails for around $78,000, although it is possible to find a used model that costs between $50,000 and $65,000.

Keep in mind that because of the hybrid nature of bay boats, most of them come with a hefty price tag attached. So, finding a new one that costs under $50,000 is nearly impossible. If you can find a used one that’s in great shape and save tens of thousands of bucks in the process, go right ahead!

Standard features of the 231 XS include a self-bailing cockpit, bow storage, flush mount cup, and rod holders, an aerated baitwell, console rod racks, lockable storage boxes, and lots more. The hull is made from 100% hand-laid fiberglass, which makes it one of the most durable bay boats we’ve come across.

● Comes with tons of features ● Fully customizable ● Can be used for fishing, skiing, and a variety of other water sports

● A brand new 231 XS costs more than $50,000

As far as basic utilitarian boats go, the most recognizable ones of the bunch are Jon boats. They are typically made of aluminum, although there are few you’ll come across that are made of fiberglass or polyethylene.

They are simple, with most having nothing more than a few built-in bench seats and a motor at the back. Of all the different types of boats that exist, these are the least expensive. This, however, comes at the expense of comfort and convenience.

If you’re not looking to spend more than $10,000 on a boat, the Roughneck 1760 might be just the thing for you. It has a passenger capacity of five people and an outboard HP range of between 15 and 50. It has a tough all-aluminum construction with a Mercury 4-Stroke engine that comes with a factory-installed steering console.

It also comes equipped with a pedestal fishing seat assembly, a Livewell for your catch, and is available in a host of colors ranging from dead grass green to Mossy Oak camouflage. Standard Roughneck 1760 Jon boats retail for $9,800.

● Easy to transport ● Virtually maintenance-free ● Affordable

● Doesn’t have any comfort/convenience features

Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Boats

With so many different types of boats out there, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. If you are a first-time buyer, you’ll need to figure out all the different types of vessels that exist, what they are used for, and where you’ll use them.

The type of boat you’ll need to zoom through the open ocean is vastly different from the one you would need to cruise along leisurely on a tranquil lake or harbor. The same applies if you intend to go wakeboarding , or if you plan to find a nice quiet spot to hunt for tuna.

Whatever boating activity you intend to engage in, you’ll need the right vessel for the job. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the popular boat styles you may want to consider.

1. Bowriders

Bowriders are designed to have a comfortable seating area in front of the cockpit or the “bow” as it is commonly called. It’s exciting to sit up there, particularly when the boat is cruising at high speeds. It almost feels as though you’re flying through the water.

The great thing about them is how versatile they are. So, you can use them for a relaxing afternoon spent catching up with friends over drinks and light snacks, or for water sports.

2. Center Console Boats

Center consoles or “CCs” are designed with the control station at the center of the boat to provide easier access to the sides of the boat, as well as the bow and stern. If you’ve ever hooked a big catch that’s given you quite a bit of trouble when trying to reel it in, then you know –  fish don’t care about which side of the boat you prefer to work on.

A boat with a side console will likely get in your way at some point in the process. Center console boats, on the other hand, allow you to move around freely without any hindrance. They also come with plenty of storage for your catch and fishing equipment.

3. Deck Boats

Deck boats look and work a lot like bowriders, except that they have a lot more room in their general layout, thanks in large part to their wide bow design. While you can use them for water sports like water skiing, they likely won’t perform as well as the vessels specifically designed for these activities.

Deck boats are mainly for leisure and entertainment.

4. Bass Boats

Contrary to what you might believe, bass boats have nothing to do with music – if that’s what you were thinking. They are used specifically for bass fishing due to their sleek shape and low profile. This allows them to move through the water with minimal disturbance.

Most models can only hold between two and four people at a time and are built for recreational fishing, high performance, professional/competitive angling, or multi-purpose fishing expeditions.

5. Aluminum Fishing Boats

These are fishing boats that have an all-aluminum hull. They are favored by a wide range of anglers because of how rugged, lightweight, and easy to transport they are.

6. Pontoon Boat

If wide-open deck space and stability matter a great deal to you, then a pontoon boat might be just what you’re looking for. The boat is essentially a deck that sits on top of two cylindrical hollow tubes (pontoons) that give it buoyancy.

They tend to be cheaper than other boats, provide excellent stability, and are great for entertaining. They don’t do well in rough waters, though.

7. Sailboat

Sailboats have a sail to harness the power of the wind for propulsion. These require a certain level of skill to know which way to point the sail to move the boat in the direction you want. Most of them also have a built-in motor for better handling in rough waters and on low-wind days.

8. Ski and Wakeboard Boats

If water sports are your thing, then ski, and wakeboard boats are what you need. They are purposefully designed to create wakes for the skier and wakeboarder, as they displace water along their path.

Ski boats provide flatter wakes while wakeboard crafts provide larger surfing wakes. These types of boats are generally difficult to use for anything else other than water sports.

9. Bay Boat

Bay boats are hybrids that can be used both inshore and offshore. So, you can use them in the shallow waters of lakes and harbors, as well as in deeper ocean waters. They are suitable for a wide range of waterborne activities like fishing, skiing, and a wide range of water sports.

10. Jon Boat

Legend has it that these boats were once called Jack boats. But, as time went on, people started calling them Jon boats since the name “John” is a common variant to “Jack.”

A Jon boat is the general name for all flat-bottomed boats with a square-cut bow. These boats aren’t stable in choppy waters, so they may not be ideal for use in the ocean. They are designed for calm and shallow waters.

They are usually quite cheap and therefore don’t have all the comfort features you would expect to find in other more luxurious boats. Most people use them for fishing.

Function Trumps Price – Always

There you have it – the best boats under $50,000. While it may sound like a lot of money – it’s not. Not in the boating world anyway.

As much as price plays an important role in your decision, it shouldn’t be the primary reason for buying a particular boat. What you intend to use it for should be the main determinant. Any of the boats discussed in this guide would be a great starting point. Happy boating!

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a new wakeboard boat, check out our comprehensive review on the best wakeboard boats for 2020 .

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About Chris

Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.

Categories : Boats

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DAWN FAIR on May 6, 2022

I’m going to be a new boat owner and Im considering a 21 ft, 2021 Hurricane SD 217 … Outboard motor Suzuki 175. Its nice, but I am worried that I’ll be in the open ocean alot, not too far from shore tho, with all day trips (5 hrs or so) up and down the coast. Is this boat acceptable for that? Ive heard different opinions that deck boats should not be in the open ocean.

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yachts for under 50k

15 Best Boats for Under $50k (Photos, Length & Pricing Information!)

Explore the top 15 boats under $50k with detailed photos, lengths, & prices. Perfect for travelers seeking value & adventure on the water.

yachts for under 50k

You may be in the market for a new boat to replace one that is getting a little tired, a little small, or doesn’t meet your needs. You may be shopping for your first boat and need a little direction about styles, features, and performance that fit into your budget. We are here to help.

Boats come in many different styles from an array of different manufacturers. Navigating the literature, search results, facts, and figures can be intimidating. We have taken our knowledge of the boating world to give you what we believe to be the 15 best boats in several different styles.

Of course, our reviews are not exhaustive. You must do a little work on your own. We can provide an overview of what we consider to be outstanding features and values. From there, you can continue shopping to find the boat that best fits your needs and budget.

Bowriders are undeniably the most popular boat style on the market today. With their open-forward cockpit design, powerful engines, and sleek designs, these boats appeal to families who want performance for various waterborne activities.

Yamaha 195S

yachts for under 50k

Yamaha Boats

Yamaha has packed a lot into a 19-foot boat with the 195S. Considering that the base boat comes standard with two captain chairs, a ski locker, tilt steering and teak-style marine mats, you can already see why Yamaha is a market leader. You also get a Bimini top, tow hooks, and stainless-steel hardware throughout the boat.

The standard Yamaha engine is a four-cylinder super vortex high output engine coupled to a saltwater-rated corrosion-resistant driveline. This package drives a three-blade stainless steel impeller through the 160MM impellor assembly.

Forty gallons of onboard fuel storage means you can boat all day without returning to the marina for fuel. Speaking of convenience, the touchscreen display gives you all the information you need to operate your boat safely and efficiently.

For those who want the best wakeboarding and water-skiing experiences, a folding wakeboard tower is standard equipment, as are windshield mirrors. You can add the optional wakeboard racks to the wakeboard tower for even more convenience. The stern-mounted swim platform gives swimmers and skiers easy access to the water and back to the boat.

Base Price:  $47,499

Length:  19 feet 5 inches

Bayliner VR6

Bayliner Boats / YouTube

The VR6 is the largest bowrider model offered by Bayliner, and it still comes in under $50,000. These boats are designed to run efficiently with the 200 HP Mercury engine. Bayliner’s BeamForward design brings high gunnels to provide a drier ride in heavy seas and more under-seat storage. This design makes a more pleasant and safer ride when conditions become a little rough.

The U-shaped rear lounge area allows the cockpit to become an entertainment area for great days on the lake. You also enjoy an enclosed changing room in this design.

Most boats in the class and size can’t provide this kind of convenience. An integrated swim platform on the stern finishes the classic touches to make the VR6 a true family-friendly boat.

A long list of standard features makes the Bayliner VR6 an outstanding value in bowrider-style boats. Touches like a choice of interior and exterior colors, bucket seats, and the waterproof AM/FM stereo system complete with Bluetooth connectivity give these boats an air of elegance that belies the price.

Base Price:  $45,850

Length:  22 feet 7 inches

Glastron GTD 180

yachts for under 50k

SkipperBud's / YouTube

Glastron is one of the most recognizable names in recreational boating. This company’s long history of building economical and reliable boats makes it an easy choice for this list. The GTD 180 is a great entry-level boat for families who want to “get their feet wet” with their first boat. These boats offer great value, have a tradition of long life, and provide a wide range of options and upgrades if you want to customize your boat.

You won’t find many boats in the eighteen-foot category with a capacity rating of ten people. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an entry-level boat must be bare-boned. Glastron includes numerous features you might not expect to find on comparable boats costing thousands of dollars more.

Such items as a swim platform, all stainless steel through-hull fittings, u-shaped cockpit seating, in-floor storage lockers, and a horsepower rating of up to 150 HP. Each Glastron GTD 180 features a built-in fuel capacity of 32 gallons, letting you spend hours on the water without worrying about finding a marina with gas. You can add a tow sports package with a removable tow pylon, wakeboard racks, and a wakeboard tower and still be under the $50.000 mark.

Base Price:  $35,687

Length:  18 feet

Bay boats feature relatively shallow drafts that make operating in coastal bay areas feasible. These designs also provide the hull formation to venture offshore for reasonable distances easily, bay boats are very popular along the coastal regions with fishermen and families. Bay boats are typically considered niche designs but have rapidly gained popularity.

Bayliner T20CX

yachts for under 50k

Ken's Sports

The design of the Bayliner T20CX offers one of the most spacious bow configurations available on any bay boat on the market. This design delivers safety and a dry ride despite the roughest conditions on the water. The large bow area is easily convertible from a spacious casting area to a comfortable lounge area in minutes.

Both captains and crew alike will benefit from the self-bailing cockpit and the enclosed head compartment built into the center console. Rod storage is built into the gunwales to keep your precious tackle safe and out of the way. Every Bayliner T20X comes standard with a Mercury outboard motor rated for 175 HP to get you where you want to go economically and quickly.

Optional accessories include towing packages, fishing packages and upgrades to almost every system component on the boat. However, the base configuration is more than enough to get you on the water whether you are interested in coastal fishing or family recreation. With a 55-gallon fuel capacity, you can find those distant fishing spots without worry.

Base Price:  $43,000

Length:  20 feet 6 inches

Crestliner 2000 Bay

yachts for under 50k

Crestliner Boats

If you prefer a metal boat to a fiberglass model, the Crestliner 2000 Bay is an excellent alternative. The Crestliner Multi Mod-V hull is designed as a modular construction with extruded hull sections, including fore and aft rakes, for extra strength and rigidity. The huge fore and aft casting decks conceal massive amounts of storage space.

These boats are built primarily for fishing but can easily be converted to a family boat for a day on the lake or bay. Two folding jump seats on either side of the rear bench seat provide ample and comfortable space for up to 6 people.

The wide decks provide plenty of room if everyone wants to fish. The flared transom lines make water access easy if your day includes water sports.

Each Crestliner 2000 Bay includes a 115-horsepower Mercury EFI 4-stroke engine and a Karavan trailer. The fuel-efficient Mercury 4-stroke engine will get you where you want to go in the shortest possible time. It can also keep your family happy playing on the water with skis, wakeboards, or innertubes.

However, fishing is where the Crestliner 2000 Bay excels, allowing you to safely access Shallowater or venture through the breakers to enjoy deep water fishing close to shore.

Base Price:  $36,168

Length:  20 feet 5 inches

Sportsman Masters 207 Bay Boat

yachts for under 50k

Sportsman Boats / YouTube

By all accounts, the Sportsman Masters 207 Bay Boat handles and drives like a much bigger boat. This bay boat design incorporates a deep v-hull with generous curves that provide a stable and comfortable ride through waves most boats just can’t handle. The construction of these boats means never having to worry about the hull’s integrity, no matter the seas you encounter. These boats are rated for up to 150 horsepower to provide all the get-up-and-go you need.

The Masters 207 also performs like a much bigger boat with plenty of storage space throughout the boat, under gunwale rod racks, 3 separate live wells, and above-average electronics as standard equipment. You also get dual batteries, a swim platform and an LED interior lighting package that makes your batteries last much longer.

The bow casting deck is complete with cushions to make additional seating. Under the bow deck, you will find ample storage, including a convenient bow anchor locker and a molded anchor catch that holds the anchor securely. Each boat is pre-wired for your trolling motor with connections inside the anchor storage hatch. You won’t run out of room, even carrying a maximum of 7 passengers.

Base Price:  $48.670

Length:  20 feet 4 inches

Think bowrider with more deck space. That would be a good description of a deck boat. These water generally have longer interior dimensions and are built to maximize deck space. These are recreational boats, without a doubt. But don’t make the mistake of thinking they are sporting or exciting. These designs can also provide the performance you want for all your on-the-water activities.

Bayliner DX2200

yachts for under 50k

Boat Trader

If your motive for buying a deck boat is to have an on-the-water entertainment location, you won’t do better than the Bayliner DX2200. Bayliner set out to build a family-friendly line of recreational deck boats, and they have accomplished their goals. The sculpted lines of these boats will appeal to your aesthetics, while the wide V-hull and high freeboard provides a safe, comfortable, and dry ride for anyone on board.

Bayliner puts comfort at the top of the list. Each DX2000 includes a wet bar with a sink, prep area, and grocery locker. An enclosed storage area can be outfitted with a portable head to round out the complete day-long entertainment package. This boat has ample lounging room with companion seating and sun pads for enjoying the summer weather on the water.

With the standard 150-horsepower Mercury EFI outboard, these deck boats provide plenty of excitement for any water-related activity. The convenience of the swim platform, boarding ladder and extension make this the perfect way to spend a day in or on the water. The 55-gallon fuel tank will keep you running up and down the lake all day, entertaining your family and friends.

Base Price:  $46,700

Length:  21 feet 7 inches

yachts for under 50k

Boating World

If you want to buy a lake-ready deck boat package, you need to find a Tahoe dealer. First, Tahoe has a No Haggle, No Hassle national pricing policy. You won’t find markups, dealer deals, or hidden charges.

The price you see advertised for these boats is the price you pay. Second, when you pick up your Tahoe deck boat, you only need to put fuel in the tank and back into the water. Tahoe has so many features that other boat builders consider options that the price seems almost incredible.

Consider the refreshment center that includes a wet sink, a five-gallon freshwater tank and a pull-out sprayer. Or the stowable table can be placed either forward or aft, depending on your preference. Massive storage compartments, a dedicated anchor well, a ski pylon, rod holders, and in-hull ski storage make these boats a dream for anyone who wants to entertain on the lake.

The No Hassle No Haggle price includes a custom-fit trailer and a 150-horsepower Mercury Pro X Four Stroke outboard motor. A swim platform at the bow with a boarding ladder pre-installed also serves as a convenient fishing platform. Drawing only 17 inches of water, the Tahoe 2150 lets you fish many spots other deck boats can’t approach.

Price:  $45,995

Length:  21 feet 1 inch

Glastron GTD 200

yachts for under 50k

Glastron is a premier brand for deck boats. You can easily customize a deck boat from Glastron with three different deck configurations to fill your family’s needs and desires.

You can choose from a single console layout, a dual console setup, or configure dual consoles with a full windshield for the best comfort and protection while on the water. Comfort and safety are always a mainstay factor with Glastron boats.

These Glastron boats are meant for a lifetime of enjoyment and recreation. All deck fittings are stainless steel. The lighting is low maintenance and has low-draw LEDs. Each deck boat has a swim platform at the bow and the stern. The helm features digital readout gauges that include a GPS. You will also find a stereo entertainment system that is Bluetooth-compatible.

Glastron rates the GTD 200 for engines up to 200 HP. The 40-gallon onboard fuel capacity can feed the largest motor you select easily. The basic configuration from the factory gives you a 115 Horsepower Mercury EXLPT Four stroke engine. Every Glastron GTD 200 also comes with a custom-fit trailer to make getting your boat to and from the lake an easy haul.

Base Price:  $44,047

Length:  20 feet 3 inches

Pontoon Boats

Did you ever wish you could take your patio to the lake? Pontoon boats offer you much the same sort of atmosphere and opportunities. Imagine a large flat deck space that requires only inches of water to float even when fully loaded, with the comforts of your patio onboard for everyone to enjoy. Plus, you don’t have to invest much money to get these features and functionality.

Harris Sunliner 250

yachts for under 50k

Harris builds its Sunliner pontoon boats with one goal in mind. Your family’s safety, enjoyment, and experiences on the lake should be directly related to the quality of the pontoon boat you own. To this end, Harris puts exceptional quality and style into its boats, ensuring that wherever you put your Harris Sunliner 250 into the water, heads will turn, and memories will be made.

If there is ever a pontoon boat that seems like an extension to your home, it is the Harris Sunliner 250. From the pillow-top upholstery on the wraparound seating to the generous amounts of storage throughout the boat, luxury is the takeaway.

These pontoon boats from Harris have a capacity of 15 – 15 persons and are rated for up to 300 horsepower engines. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your pontoon boat can’t be sporty, exciting, and elegant.

Onboard fuel capacity is a generous 37 gallons, allowing you to cruise all day to your favorite spots with plenty of range left over. You can easily beach these pontoons boats as well. Harris pontoon boats typically need only 12 inches of water to float, and the tough aluminum tubes are perfect for easy beaching.

Base Price:  $45,446

Length:  25 feet 10 inches

Sun Tracker Sportfish 20 DLX

yachts for under 50k

Pro's Choice Marine / YouTube

If fishing is part of your on-the-water experience, Sun Trackers Sport Fish 20 DLX could be just what you need. A pontoon boat set up for fishing can give you more opportunities and a more comprehensive range of fishing options than a specialized bass boat or a bay boat. You can access shallow water in comfort and style that most other styles of boat can’t deliver.

Each Sun Tracker Sport Fish 20 DLX has under-seat stowage for all your fishing and recreational equipment. In addition, vertical rod holders at the rear sit next to a special tackle storage area that keeps your fishing gear neatly organized and easily accessible.

Two fishing seats round out the package to make your fishing trips comfortable. A 16-gallon aerated live well provides ample space for your bait.

When the family is along for the day, the 10-foot powered Bimini top provides shade and protection, and the Bluetooth stereo system keeps them entertained all day. The aft-mounted L-lounger provides plenty of seating. These pontoon boats are rated for a 10-person capacity and can handle engines up to 90 HP.

Base Price:  $33,995.00

Length:  21 feet 11 inches

Seadoo Switch Cruise

yachts for under 50k

Boating Magazine

Seadoo has an amazing reputation for personal watercraft. Few people realize that this company also offers some of the most innovative pontoon boats on the market.

Seadoo provides a rich package of standard features to make these pontoon boats some of the best values on the market. Unlike the other pontoon boats on our list, the Seadoo Cruise is an inboard engine model with a jet drive.

The standard setup on the Seadoo Switch Cruise is a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that powers a Seadoo jet. The rated top speed of the Switch is 34.3 miles per hour which are quite lively for a pontoon boat.

You can invite up to 9 of your best friends and family to enjoy a day on the lake, and with 29 gallons of onboard fuel storage, you won’t be making constant trips back to the gas pump.

Perhaps the most innovative feature of the Seadoo Switch Cruiser is the endless possibilities you can enjoy in arranging the furniture and fittings. The seating can be easily arranged with the quick detach and attach options to customize the layout of your deck to fit your needs. Add the massive amounts of under-deck storage, and you have a versatile and functional boat.

Base Price:  $39,599

Length:  21 feet

Bass boats are more of a niche product than any others we have covered in our list. Serious fishermen have a long list of preferences that make bass boats more geared for fishing than recreational boating. However, it is not unknown for a fisherman to occasionally tie on a tow rope and take the family for a spin around the lake for fun.

Skeeter ZX150

yachts for under 50k

Skeeter Boats

Professional bass fishermen want a boat that is smaller, faster, and more maneuverable than their competition. Serious weekend fishermen also want the same features. Skeeter delivers on these wants with the ZX150. Log a choice for professional bass fishermen, anyone can enjoy the benefits and features of these bass boats on their favorite lake.

The Skeeter ZX150 is loaded to make your fishing trip successful and pleasurable. A 28-gallon live well with independent fill, recirculating/drain modes and a pump-out feature keeps bait fresher longer.

A 30 qt cooler mounted forward in the deck keeps you and your fishing buddy well-supplied. Each Skeeter bass boat comes complete with a Minn Kota 70 trolling motor and a Hummingbird 70 helix 5 mounted on the dash.

The ZX150 has two lower pedestal seats mounted fore and aft for fishing. You won’t need to worry about anyone beating you to your favorite fishing hole when you crank up the Yamaha V Max VF 150 engine. The onboard 32-gallon fuel tank will keep you fishing all day long without worrying about a trip back to the marina. You can take yourself and 3 of your best fishing buddies without a problem.

Ranger Z185

yachts for under 50k

It's Brad / YouTube

Ranger has a long history with bass boats and an enviable record among bass fishermen for producing championship boats. The Ranger Z185 is an almost perfect blend of performance, features, and price available to every bass fisherman. The solid construction, attention to detail, and unmatched performance make Ranger bass boats some of the most competitive craft on the water.

The Ranger Z185 boasts a 96-inch beam making it one of the widest bass boats on the market, giving you more room to fish. Dual rod boxes have gas-assisted lids with triple seals to protect your valuable tackle when it is safely stored.

Ranger features Minn Kota trolling motors on their boats and fits each boat with a recessed trolling motor pedal. The aerated live wells are timed and divided to make tournament fishing hassle-free.

You won’t be late to your fishing hole. The Mercury 150L Pro XS FourStroke engine will have you gliding across the water in seconds. With 33 gallons of fuel on board, fishing all day without a break is a possibility. The four-person capacity of the Ranger Z185 means that you and your buddies can fish to your heart’s content.

Base Price:  $42,995

Length:  18 feet 8 inches

Triton 179 TRX

yachts for under 50k

Triton bass boats look like they mean business just sitting on the trailer. Once they are in the water, there is no mistaking that you are at the helm of a thoroughbred. These watercraft are fast and agile without sacrificing stability or safety. If you are worried about a lack of features, put your fears to rest. Triton seems to have thought of everything to support a day of outstanding fishing.

You can expect your Triton 179 TRX to include bucket seats for you and your fishing partner. The aerated live well can circulate up to 800 gallons of water per hour to keep your catch and bait in the best possible condition.

The gunwale and under-deck storage are convenient and ample to protect your valuable fishing gear. Fishing from the Centric II pedestal seats allows you to enjoy hours of rod time comfortably.

The standard engine from the factory is a Mercury 90 horsepower four-stroke outboard. As an option, you can choose the 115-horsepower Mercury ELPT Pro XS four-stroke engine. A Minn Kota 70 trolling motor rounds out the propulsion systems. The included trailer has a spare tire, waterproof lighting, and ratchet trailer tie-downs.

Base Price:  $36,995

Length:  18 feet 6 inches

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10 Sailboats Under 50 Grand

  • By Dan Spurr
  • Updated: April 4, 2018

My wife used to subscribe to a magazine titled Budget Traveler, which features low-cost vacations and tips like turning your sport coat inside out to prevent wrinkles in the suitcase. I didn’t care for the name because it implied its readers were cheapskates. I know what I can afford and will be the judge of that. Would you subscribe to a magazine called Budget Sailor?I didn’t think so. You also know what you can afford. Not all of us earn six figures and can purchase boats that cost as much. As an interesting exercise, we decided to see what cruising boats one can buy for less than $50,000. Turns out, quite a few. I ought to know; I’ve never bought one costing more. Just a few years ago I set out to buy an older sailboat with just that budget — I mean max price.For this survey, the hundreds of choices were narrowed to a mere 10 affordable sailboats — no easy task. Our criteria: cruising priorities such as tankage, stowage, manageable rig, tracking, etc.; at least average or above-average quality of construction; enduring design; and resale value. Many good boats ended up on the cutting-room floor. And I will admit to my prejudices. For what it’s worth, here’s my list.

Bristol 40 sailboat

Boats built in the 1960s are getting long in the tooth, but if they’ve been maintained well, they are still serviceable. And many Bristol 40s date to later years.

Designed by Ted Hood and built by Clint Pearson after he and cousin Everett sold Pearson Yachts, early Bristols have many similarities in design and construction to early Pearsons. The dominant design rule then was the CCA (Cruising Club of America), which favored short waterlines (long overhangs) and modest beam. The rule-beating idea was that when heeled, the waterline lengthened, increasing speed. A narrow boat has less form stability than a beamier hull, but is less likely to remain upside down in a capsize. A long keel with attached rudder was the accepted underwater configuration for stability and tracking.

Construction is standard for the time: mat-and-woven roving. Over time, leaky portlights and hull/deck joints became commonplace, but they can be fixed by a handy owner.A Bristol 40 won the 1983 Marion-Bermuda Race that featured close-reaching in moderate winds, which shows it’s capable of a decent day’s run. Performance also depends on rig — sloop, cutter or yawl — and keel or keel/centerboard configuration.

Early Bristol 40s were fitted with the venerable Atomic 4 gas engine for which parts may still be obtained from Moyer Marine . A Westerbeke diesel was optional; others have been re-powered with a Yanmar diesel.

Narrow beam and short waterline translate to a comparatively small interior, albeit retaining the essential separate cabins, sea berths, closed head and divided galley aft.

DESIGNER Ted Hood
LOA 39’8” (12.1 m)
LWL 27’6” (8.4 m)
BEAM 10’9” (3.3 m)
DRAFT 4’/7’10” cb or 5’5” (1.2 m/2.4 m or 1.6 m)
DISPLACEMENT 17,580 lb. (7,974 kg)
BALLAST 6,500 lb. (2,948 kg)
SAIL AREA 709 sq. ft. (65.7 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 377
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 16.8
YEARS BUILT 1966-1986
PRICE $29,000-$49,000

Sabre 28

Roger Hewson founded Sabre Yachts in South Casco, Maine, and launched his first model, the Sabre 28, in 1970. Whatever his qualifications as a yacht designer, he did a respectable job with the 28. The proportions are correct (beam versus waterline length, cabin height versus topsides, etc.), the deck-stepped rig conservative, the layout standard and construction quality above average. Periodic refinements were made during its 16-year production run, notably in 1976 (Mark II) and 1983 (Mark III), but the basic structure remained the same. Later models gained a few hundred pounds, which might mean the company finally got around to actually weighing a boat off the line. More than 500 were built.

At 28 feet, it’s on the small side for cruising, but of course that depends on one’s ambitions. A good indication of hull volume is the displacement/length ratio (D/L), which for this Sabre is a moderate 278, meaning decent stowage and, combined with an average sail area/displacement ratio (SA/D) of 16.6, decent performance under sail. Not exciting, but no surprises either. This is an easily handled boat despite the foretriangle being somewhat larger than the mainsail.

Some potential buyers might be skeptical of the swept-back externally ballasted keel, which at the time was thought to be more efficient than a vertical appendage. I’m sure there are Sabre 28 owners who can tell how it takes the ground and if it’ll sit upright on its keel (it depends on the center of gravity, which is not shown in the drawings).

Construction is standard hand-layup mat and woven rovings. Glass finish work is very good, and there’s a lot of teak below. Through-hulls have bronze seacocks. Early boats had Atomic 4 gas auxiliaries, and later models small Volvo or Westerbeke diesel engines.

DESIGNER Roger Hewson
LOA 28’ (8.5 m)
LWL 22’10” (6.9 m)
BEAM 9’2” (2.8 m)
DRAFT 3’10”/4’8” (1.2 m/1.4 m)
DISPLACEMENT 7,400 lb. (3,357 kg)
BALLAST 2,900 lb. (1,316 kg)
SAIL AREA 393 sq. ft. (36.5 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 278
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 16.6
HEADROOM 5’11”
YEARS BUILT 1970-1986
PRICE $7,000-$27,000

Cape Dory 30

Cape Dory 30

Andy Vavolotis founded Cape Dory Yachts in 1962 with a couple of dinghies. He commissioned Carl Alberg, a Swedish-born U.S. Coast Guard naval architect, to design most of his subsequent larger yachts, including the Cape Dory 30, introduced in 1976.

This is a small 30-footer, owing to its relatively narrow beam and short waterline; the lovely, long overhangs take space from below. Vavolotis once told me that with every new model he begged Alberg to add a few inches of beam. Alberg would give him an inch or two and then say, “If you want more, find another designer. I don’t think it’s right.” That went for fin keels and spade rudders too.

Yes, it’s the full keel with attached rudder and attendant advantages (stable tracking, safety in grounding and collisions with underwater objects) that recommend the design for cruising. The downside? Increased wetted surface area translates to slower speeds, and the fat keel won’t point as high as a foil. But it’s about the journey, not speed, right? The original 30 was designed as a ketch; later renditions offered cutter and sloop rigs.

The other reason folks love Cape Dorys is robust construction. Nothing fancy: solid single-skin hull, balsa-cored deck (Aren’t they all? Well, no.), heavy bronze hardware from Vavolotis’ Spartan Marine foundry and generous exterior teak that once upon a time signified a classy yacht. Hard to believe, but true.

The Cape Dory 30 is not without a few shortcomings. The hull/deck joint is not continuously through-bolted, and some deck hardware does not have backing plates. If you’re set on a Cape Dory, I’d look for the Cape Dory MK11 updated by Clive Dent, or the 33 or 36. The latter generally sells for more than $50,000, but not by much, and it’s a roomier, more powerful design.

DESIGNER Carl Alberg
LOA 30’3” (9.2 m)
LWL 22’10” (6.9 m)
BEAM 9’ (2.7 m)
DRAFT 4’2” (1.3 m)
DISPLACEMENT 10,000 lb. (4,530 kg)
BALLAST 4,000 lb. (1,814 kg)
SAIL AREA 437 sq. ft. (40.6 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 375
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 15.11
HEADROOM 6’ (1.8 m)
YEARS BUILT 1976-1987
PRICE $12,000-$32,000

Island Packet 31

Island Packet 31

Boatbuilder and naval architect Bob Johnson shares a distinction with Cape Dory’s Andy Vavolotis as being two of the only company bosses to have offered traditional full-keel cruising boats in small sizes.

Island Packet is located in Florida, and the designs are geared for those waters, meaning shallow. To compensate for shoal draft (a 4-foot keel and 3-foot keel/centerboard were offered), the 31 has a wide beam of 11 feet 6 inches, which gives it good form stability (but not if it capsizes). Boats with wide beam and shallow draft are more likely to achieve inverse stability than narrow boats with deep keels. Ballast of iron ingots set in concrete doesn’t help. This hull form isn’t great upwind. That said, the 31 does not heel quickly and is ideally suited to Florida and Bahamas cruising grounds.

Construction is generally good. The hull is solid glass (no core), and the deck is an exception to the usual end-grain balsa core; a mixture of polyester resin and microballoons called PolyCore forms a chemical bond between the two skins of the “sandwich,” eliminating the possibility of rot and delamination. Like many builders of series-produced boats, Island Packet incorporated a large molded liner or pan that forms the cabin sole, berth flats, galley and other “furniture” features. It saves labor costs but can cause condensation, increase noise and vibration compared to plywood, and make access to parts of the hull potentially difficult. What it does do is discourage radical customizing, which may be a good thing, given the weird stuff some guys cobble together (think a Barcalounger in place of a saloon settee).

DESIGNER Bob Johnson
LOA 30’7” (9.3 m)
LWL 27’9” (8.5 m)
BEAM 11’6” (3.5 m)
DRAFT 3’/4’ (0.9 m/1.2 m)
DISPLACEMENT 11,000 lb. (4,991 kg)
BALLAST 4,500 lb. (2,042 kg)
SAIL AREA 531 sq. ft. (49.4 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 230
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 17.2
YEARS BUILT 1983-1989
PRICE $35,000-$50,000

Gulf 32

It’s too bad more of these able cruisers haven’t migrated farther from their origin on the West Coast. While rather plainly finished, construction is solid and the pilothouse with inside steering is unusual. The sweeping sheer, flush cambered deck and low-profile pilothouse make what could be an ungainly profile actually quite handsome.

As with so many models produced over a decade and longer, changes were made to the Gulf 32 over its 400-unit run, in part because it was built by two different companies: Gulf Marine Products and Capital Yachts. For example, the drawings show an offset double berth forward, while others were delivered with the more conventional V-berth. While the interior features a lot of warm wood finishes, including bulkheads, the large interior liner is startlingly evident in places such as the forward cabin. Noteworthy is the sail area/displacement ratio of 11.6 and displacement/length ratio of 563. These are motorsailer numbers.

Prospective buyers should carefully check the cored side decks for delamination; this is a good time to state unequivocally that a boat with extensive deck delamination is probably not worth repairing. The cost to have a yard perform the repairs is very likely more than the boat is worth. A competent DIY repair is difficult; drilling numerous holes in the top skin and injecting epoxy over a large area is unlikely to do the job. The radical alternative is to remove the inner skin and core and then replace the core and skin, all while working upside down. I know of a person who tried this, using spring-loaded curtain rods to hold backing panels in place — they don’t call him “Resin-head” for nothing.

DESIGNER William Garden
LOA 32’ (9.8 m)
LWL 23’4” (7.1 m)
BEAM 10’ (3.1 m)
DRAFT 4’2” (1.6 m)
DISPLACEMENT 16,000 lb. (7,258 kg)
BALLAST 6,500 lb. (2,948 kg)
SAIL AREA 458 sq. ft. (42.6 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 563
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 11.6
YEARS BUILT 1965-1990
PRICE $24,000-$39,000

Islander 36

Islander 36

Once upon a time in Costa Mesa, California, the mecca of early fiberglass boatbuilding, Islander Yachts was a worthy competitor of Columbia and Cal. Australian designer Alan Gurney drew this fast, International Offshore Rule-influenced hull with pinched ends, fin keel and skeg-mounted rudder. A word about skegs: It’s widely believed that they protect the rudder, but the degree to which they succeed depends on the internal structure of the skeg. If it’s simply a piece of molded glass tabbed to the hull, it will likely tear away on impact. If, however, it has, say, a metal backbone well connected to the hull, that’s stronger. In either case, a skeg also is a simple means to provide a lower bearing for the rudder, add some lateral surface for tracking and reduce bending moment. The IOR hull type goes upwind well, but can be squirrelly off the wind, especially with a spinnaker. Rig dimensions varied over the years.

Construction is conventional: solid fiberglass hull but plywood in the deck, as opposed to the more common end-grain balsa wood. It’s heavier and more prone to rot. Different engines were offered. Tankage for fuel and water is on the small side, so consider adding a bladder tank for longer periods aboard.

With the Islander 36, naval architect Robert Perry credits interior designer Joe Artese with revolutionizing sailboat accommodations — no longer a “boy’s cabin in the woods.” Artese took advantage of the boat’s wide beam to increase sole area; drew a wide, low companionway; designed a foldaway table; and specified contemporary fabrics. Somewhere close to 1,000 were sold.

DESIGNER Alan Gurney
LOA 36’1” (11 m)
LWL 28’4” (8.6 m)
BEAM 11’2” (3.4 m)
DRAFT 4’8”/6’1” (1.4 m/1.9 m)
DISPLACEMENT 13,450 lb. (6,101 kg)
BALLAST 5,820 lb. (2,640 kg)
SAIL AREA 576 sq. ft. (553.6 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 266
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 16.4
YEARS BUILT 1971-1986
PRICE $22,000-$49,000

Endeavour 37

Endeavour 37

The design of this boat is a great example of the ingenuity and craftiness of the fiberglass boatbuilding industry. Endeavour founders Rob Valdez and John Brooks, both of whom had worked for Vince Lazzara at Gulfstar, got started when Ted Irwin gave them the molds for the Irwin 32. The Endeavour 32 sold well, so in looking for their next model, they found the derelict mold of the Creekmore 34 on the Miami River, cut it in half, added 3 feet and voilà! The Endeavour 37!

And there is a sort of Frankenstein look to the boat. Most were sold as sloops, though a ketch rig was offered. It’s a heavy, slow boat, but comfortable and solidly built, with single-skin hull and plywood interior components (no fiberglass pan). Workmanship is generally quite good. If a previous owner hasn’t switched the gate valves on through-hulls to seacocks, add it to your work list. Ballast is internal. The standard engine was the workhorse Perkins 4-108 diesel.

Two interior plans were offered: the A layout, with convertible dinette forward and two aft cabins, and the B layout, with V-berth forward and a single aft cabin. Having slept in one of them I can say that they are not easy to get in and out of. Better to consider them larger-than-usual quarter berths.

Upwind sailing performance is poor — it doesn’t point well — making you appreciate the strong diesel auxiliary. Motion is comfortable; like the Gulf 32, the D/L and SA/D are motorsailer numbers.

DESIGNER Endeavour Yachts
LOA 37’5” (11.4 m)
LWL 30’ (11.3 m)
BEAM 11’7” (3.5 m)
DRAFT 4’ 7” (1.4 m)
DISPLACEMENT 21,000 lb. (9,513 kg)
BALLAST 8,000 lb. (3,630 kg)
SAIL AREA 580 sq. ft. (54 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 341
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 12.2
YEARS BUILT 1977-1983
PRICE $20,000-$49,000

Tayana 37

Designer Robert Perry is proud to tell fans that during George Day’s circumnavigation in the 1990s, the former Cruising World editor said he saw more double-ended Tayana 37s “out there” than any other model. It’s no wonder: some 650 were built, and it is indeed a strong, well-designed cruiser.

The first boats produced in Taiwan were called the CT 37, changing to Tayana 37 around 1979; Perry says they are the same. Early Taiwan yards were never into racing yachts, but rather heavy, low-tech cruising boats. The Tayana 37 has a solid fiberglass hull and balsa-cored deck. The potentially leaky hull/deck joint is a hollow box section that forms the bulwark.

As with nearly every model produced over a long period of time, there were variations in accommodations, rig, deck and more (many were never officially documented in literature, so don’t be surprised if what you see in brochures is not what you behold in real life). Builder Ta Yang offered free or inexpensive customizations of the 37.

While Perry specified the 90-gallon (341-liter) fuel tank to be located amidships, early boats placed them under the V-berth, which, combined with heavy ground tackle, can trim the boat down by the bow.

The high-aspect-ratio rig, aided by a bowsprit to increase foretriangle area, gives the boat plenty of power. It was offered as a ketch or cutter, and most owners opted for the latter.

As with most boats from Taiwan, the interior is richly executed in teak, built up in plywood. Much of the hardware are knockoffs of U.S. and European products, and of varying quality. All in all, the Tayana 37 is a well-built world cruiser.

Designer Robert Perry
LOA 36’8” (11.2 m)
LWL 31’10” (9.7 m)
Beam 11’6” (3.5 m)
Draft 5’8” (1.7 m)
Displacement 24,000 lb. (18,889 kg)
Ballast 7,340 lb. (3,330 kg)
Sail area 864 sq. ft. (80.4 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 332
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 16.6
YEARS BUILT 1976-2016
PRICE $34,000-$49,000

Tartan 37

Tartan Marine has built three 37-footers over the years, the first in 1965 designed by Ted Hood; the 3700 designed by in-house designer and then general manager Tim Jackett; and the most numerous, the Tartan 37 designed by Sparkman & Stephens, of which nearly 500 units were sold. It’s a handsome boat with perfect proportions. Somewhat influenced by the IOR, the ends are narrow and the transom is small and V-shaped. That’s about all that hasn’t withstood the test of time.

Construction quality is excellent: balsa-cored hull and deck, teak trim and teak-veneer plywood, external lead ballast. The bulkheads are tabbed to the deck, which is worthy of comment. Boats with molded fiberglass headliners cannot have the bulkheads tabbed (several layers of fiberglass tape or strips that overlap the deck and bulkhead). Instead, there are usually grooves molded into the headliner into which the bulkheads fit and are then variously bolted or glued — or not. This is considered less desirable than tabbing, which locks in the entire structure and eliminates the possibility of slight movement or working of those with molded fiberglass liners.

Most 37s were delivered with the keel/centerboard option; the deep keel performs better but may limit where you can go. Performance Handicap Racing Fleets around the country rate it at 132 to 144; for comparison, a J/30 rates 144, as does the Islander 36 described above. So, the Tartan sails fast and handles well, leaning more toward a club racer/cruiser than all-out cruising.

DESIGNER Sparkman & Stephens
LOA 37’3” (11.4 m)
LWL 28’6” (8.7 m)
BEAM 11’9” (3.6 m)
DRAFT 4’2” cb/6’7” (1.3 m/2 m)
DISPLACEMENT 15,500 lb. (7,031 kg)
BALLAST 7,500 lb./7,200 lb. (3,405 kg/3,267 kg)
SAIL AREA 625 sq. ft. (58 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 294
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 16.1
YEARS BUILT 1976-1989
PRICE $23,000-$49,000

C&C Landfall 38

C&C Landfall 38

Hull design and construction for coastal cruising may certainly favor higher performance models, and few companies knew the recipe better than C&C Yachts. In many ways, C&Cs exemplify the racer/cruiser genre. The few Landfall models, including the 38 here, tipped the scales more toward cruising, while retaining excellent sailhandling and speed.

A few years into production, 1,700 pounds were added, but performance is still sparkling, and similar to the original 38. The fin keel has a flat bottom that can be considered a cruising fin for its moderate surface area and ability to sit on the bottom. As for the spade rudder and the criticism it takes for vulnerability, note that circumnavigator and boatbuilder Steve Dashew says it gives superior control hove-to in a gale. Something to think about.

C&C was a pioneer in composite construction, that is, end-grain balsa coring in the hull and deck to increase stiffness and reduce weight. Other notable features: through-bolted deck hardware with backing plates, bronze seacocks and, in the 38, a keel-stepped mast that doesn’t sit corroding in bilge water. Yanmar diesels were standard.

Albeit modified from the IOR-influenced C&C 38, the Landfall 38 still has a large foretriangle; a 150 percent genoa measures 580 square feet, which can be a handful for a couple. Big self-tailing winches will help when trimming the beast.

The interior, elegantly finished in teak, is somewhat unusual; like the Endeavour 37, it incorporates a double-berth aft cabin, but think of it more as a wide quarter berth.

Compared to heavy full-keel designs, the Landfall 38 will point higher, reducing the number of tacks between points A and B, which, combined with greater boat speed, means getting to port faster.

DESIGNER Cuthbertson and Cassian
LOA 37’7” (11.5 m)
LWL 30’2” (9.2 m)
BEAM 12’ (3.7 m)
DRAFT 4’11” (1.5 m)
DISPLACEMENT 16,700 lb. (7,577 kg)
BALLAST 6,500 lb. (2,949 kg)
SAIL AREA 649 sq. ft. (60.4 sq. m)
DISPLACEMENT/LENGTH 272
SAIL AREA/DISPLACEMENT 15.9
YEARS BUILT 1979-1987
PRICE $33,000
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10 Most Affordable Bay Boats

best bay boats under $30K

Center consoles are great platforms for all kinds of fishing, but the specialized versions called bay boats (or flats boats) are the hands-down best for shallow water, light tackle action—and if that’s the type of angling you enjoy most, you’ll be interested in these 10 most affordable bay boats. Not one of them breaks the $50,000 ceiling and some cost half that amount, yet each and every one of these models will prove perfect for chasing those tailing redfish, casting in the mangroves, tossing topwater to stripers, and probing the bay for black drum.

Which will be ideal for your fishing grounds? That’s debatable. But if a bay boat lays in your future, be sure to check out these 10 affordable models.

Explore All Bay Boat/Flats Boat Brands & Models

Bayliner T18 Bay Boat

1. Bayliner T18Bay

The Bayliner T18Bay has Bayliner’s “M-hull,” which rides atop an uber-stable M-shaped design. And it carries an uber-low price tag, with a $22,573 starting point that shakes out to a monthly payment barely north of $200. Affordable? You bet it is. What’s more, the base package includes a 90 HP Mercury FourStroke outboard and a single-axel galvanized trailer with a garage-storage length of 22’6” overall.

Serious anglers may want to spend another $1,000 or so to get some optional fishing features like the bow fishing seat, Lowrance Hook2 4X fishfinder, forward livewell, and trolling motor bracket, but stock goodies include a livewell in the aft casting deck, under-gunwale rodracks, aft jump seats, a swing-back cooler helm seat, and six vertical rodholders in the console.

Visit Bayliner to learn more.

Blue Wave 2000 Pure Bay

2. Blue Wave 2000 Pure Bay

Blue Wave is one of the original bay boat builders and has experience crafting shallow water fishing machines that dates back for decades. The 2000 Pure Bay is their smallest offering, and its $45,687 starting price (with a Suzuki DF140A) puts you into a finely honed shoal water fishing boat that’s rigged with high-end perks like digital gauges, tilt-steering, and a leaning post with super-comfy Llebroc seats. You’ll also find that fittings and hardware ranging from rodholders to the gas fill cap are stainless-steel, rather than the plastic pieces and parts found on some affordable bay boats.

One of the biggest enhancements, however, is the stock 10” jack plate which locates the motor aft of the transom and eliminates the splashwell. That means the aft casting deck has a lot more useable space than most boats of its size. The 2000 Pure Bay also has a pocket designed into the hull for running in super-skinny water and drafts (see What is Boat Draft? ) a mere eight inches.

Visit Blue Wave Boats to learn more.

2021 Carolina Skiff 162 JLS

3. Carolina Skiff 162 JLS

While one could technically argue that the Carolina Skiff 162 JLS is a skiff, it surely qualifies as a bay boat, too, thanks to fore and aft casting decks and a six-inch draft . And with a starting price of $18,972 there’s no argument about this boat’s affordability. Fishing features on the stock model include six console rodholders, an 18-gallon livewell, trolling motor pre-rigging, inwale rodracks, and pedestal-mount fishing seats.

Note that unlike older Carolina Skiff J-series boats this is a fully-linered model, which looks a lot sharper than the historic spackle-finish interior seen on un-linered boats.

Visit Carolina Skiff to learn more.

Crestliner 1800 Bay Boat

4. Crestliner 1800 Bay

The Crestliner 1800 Bay is an aluminum bay boat option which starts at $25,973 with a 115 HP Mercury FourStroke outboard and a galvanized trailer. One of the big advantages of owning an aluminum rig is its lighter weight, and with a displacement of just 1,216 pounds, the 1800 Bay will be easy to haul even with a midsized SUV or pickup.

It’s also well-outfitted for action, with a 21-gallon livewell, six vertical rodholders on the console plus inwale racks, a 48-quart cooler in the console seat, flip-up jump seats in the aft casting deck, and a leaning post with a fold-down footrest.

Visit Crestliner to learn more.

Mako 18 LTS

5. Mako 18 LTS

If you want a bay boat that can do double-duty as a flats boat, the Mako 18 LTS will be a top contender. It has 13 degrees of deadrise at the transom and a 1,752-pound displacement so it’s certainly able to take on some seas, yet it also has a bow that’s almost entirely decked to maximize casting space. A pocket in the transom allows for hopping up onto plane in extremely skinny (shallow) water .

Base model fishing features include six console rodholders, an 18-gallon console livewell, and a 72-quart flip-back cooler helm seat. Packaged at just under $30,000 including prep and freight with a 90-horse outboard or just over $30,000 with a 115 HP powerplant (which gets you top-end speeds in the 40 MPH range), the package also comes with a single-axel trailer with Sure Lube hubs and a swing-away tongue.

Visit MAKO to learn more.

nauticstar 215 XTS SB

6. NauticStar 215 XTS SB

With a sticker price of $46,227, the NauticStar 215 XTS SB is unique among its peers. The “SB” in the model name denotes that this boat has a tunnel in the hull for shallow-running abilities. Plus, with a standard 150 HP outboard on the transom it has plenty of power. The forward casting deck is unusually extensive with side wings stretching back to the front of the console, and from a fishability standpoint this boat is top-notch.

In fact, the list of standard fishing features is off-the-charts comprehensive: rodboxes for stowing up to 10 rods in organizers, an insulated bow fishbox, livewells both forward and aft, cast net/bucket stowage under one aft jump seat and tackle stowage under the other, two flush-mount gunwale rodholders, under-gunwale rodracks, six vertical console rodholders, and a leaning post with 94-quart Igloo cooler.

Visit NauticStar to learn more.

Pathfinder 2005 TRS

7. Pathfinder 2005 TRS

It may not be very big, but the Pathfinder 2005 TRS packs quite a punch considering its $48,193 starting cost (with a Yamaha F115). This is Pathfinder’s smallest offering, but it’s built just as well as their larger boats and its attitude definitely out-does its LOA.

Even though it’s under 21 feet long, the boat has over 120 quarts of onboard cooler space, can carry up to seven passengers, and includes standard features more commonly only on larger boats like hydraulic steering, separate battery switches for the starting and trolling motor batteries, a compass, a toe-kick at the base of the console, and an aluminum leaning post with five rocket launchers and a cooler underneath.

Visit Pathfinder Boats to learn more.

Ranger RB200

8. Ranger RB200

Another affordable aluminum bay boat option is the Ranger RB200 , which lists at $37,545 with a 150 HP Mercury FourStroke outboard. Constructed from 5052 H34 marine-grade aluminum, it tips the scales at 1,660 pounds and has all-welded construction. Unlike most of the boats in this category, it comes with the bow-mount electric trolling motor factory installed and a Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum 70-pound thrust model is included in the package. The tandem-axel trailer is another high point; most boats of this weight are sold with single-axel trailers, and this one also includes a swing-away tongue and hydraulic surge brakes.

What about the fishing highlights? The Ranger brings with it a Lowrance Hook2 4X fishfinder, livewells in both the forward and aft decks, a pedestal fishing seat with multiple bases throughout the boat, an aluminum leaning post, and six vertical rodholders on the console.

Visit Ranger Boats to learn more.

Robalo 226 Cayman

9. Robalo 226 Cayman

Robalo does make a smaller bay boat that costs less, but the 226 Cayman is the largest of all these competitors to ducks under our price bar (by a little less than $1,000), with a whopping 22’6” length and an 8’6” beam. This is also the most powerful standard-issue model in this round-up, with a Yamaha F200 four-stroke outboard on the transom. And at 3,400 pounds it’s the heaviest contender, too. Add that heft in with the 15-degree transom deadrise and it won’t be surprising to learn that it’s also one of the best for running through big waters. Yes, draft is a bit deeper than the others at one foot even, but the real ace up this boat’s sleeve is its family-friendly nature. The bow can transition between seating (with removable backrests) and casting space, and the console houses a fully enclosed head compartment.

As far as the fishy features go, the boat has twin livewells (30 gallons aft and 20 gallons forward), six rodholders in the console plus two in the gunwales, multiple insulated fishboxes, and trolling motor pre-wiring installed.

Visit Robalo Boats to learn more.

Skeeter SX210

10. Skeeter SX210

The Skeeter SX210 has a NAP price just under $40,000 for the boat with a Yamaha F150 outboard and an aluminum tandem axel trailer, and it comes with an added measure of confidence: a limited lifetime structural warranty, a 10-year transferrable structural warranty, and a three-year limited component warranty. That means less worry for you, while you enjoy high-end features like standard hydraulic steering, Yamaha 6Y5 multifunction gauges, and top-end speeds pushing into the upper-40-MPH range.

The SX210 also has some unmatched fishing features, like a whopping 14 vertical rodholders and the option to have a Humminbird Helix 12 CHIRP MEGA SI with side-imaging pre-wiring installed.

Visit Skeeter Boats to learn more.

Sportsman Masters 207

11. Sportsman Masters 207

Eleven? Wait a sec, weren’t we supposed to be talking about the 10 most affordable bay boats? Well sure, but we can’t stop there because they say the devil’s in the details, and the $35,610 Sportsman Masters 207 proves that the devil can be beat—without breaking the bank.

Take an up-close look at this model and you’ll discover high-end touches that aren’t commonly seen aboard “affordable” boats, like hatches that are fully finished on both sides, raise on gas-assist struts, have gaskets, and have locking latches that dog down tightly. You’ll discover recessed hinges, USB and 12-V plugs at the helm, flip-up helm bolsters and a flip-up transom bench seat upholstered in Sileather Marine silicon-coated fabrics, and livewells finished with a baby-blue interior that calms the fish you drop inside.

There’s no doubt that this builder sweats the details, while also delivering a hefty standard feature list including big-ticket items like a Garmin GPSMAP 942xs MFD, a 20-gallon aft livewell and a 10-gallon forward livewell, and a pair of flush gunwale holders in addition to the six vertical rodholders on the console.

Visit Sportsman to learn more.

Wellcraft 211 Bay

12. Wellcraft 211 Bay

Okay, we promise to stop adding boats to this Top 10 list—but not before we spend a moment talking about the Wellcraft 221 Bay . This boat lists at a hair over $46,000 (including a 150 HP powerplant and a trailer) and with 15-degrees of deadrise, has one of the sharper V-hulls in this bay boat mix. What really catches the eye, though, is this boat’s looks because the styling is unlike any other you’ll see.

This boat also has the largest bait-hauling capacity of any in this mix, with a pair of whopping-big integrated 34 gallon livewells.

Visit Wellcraft to learn more.

Yes, we went over the budget for our top 10 list by 20-percent. But the good news is that with each and every one of these options, you won’t have to go over your budget to tow one home. That proves without a doubt that these 10 most affordable bay boats (okay, these 12) put shallow water, light tackle fishing action within easy reach.

Read Next: 10 Most Affordable Center Console Boats

You May Also Like:

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Best boats under £50,000: Our top 10 picks from the secondhand market

Peter Poland

  • Peter Poland
  • October 13, 2022

Peter Poland shortlists the best boats under £50,000 in a growing stock of pre-loved sailing yachts, featuring varied design trends…

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Choosing the right second-hand yacht to suit your needs as the years fly by can become ever more challenging. Unlike cars that fail MOTs and finally cease to be worth repairing, well-maintained GRP yachts seem to go on forever.

There’s an ever-growing stock of elderly but basically sound yachts. However, the changes in each generation’s new designs can make the selection of a good used yacht more difficult.

Do you prefer the handling and motion of a moderate beam yacht with a long keel ? Or do the later, wider beam designs with flatter hull lines appeal, thanks to their greatly increased space below… even though their handling and motion can become more demanding as the wind and seas get up?

The yacht’s engine will eventually become clapped out and need replacing. So it makes sense to look out for a boat that has been re-engined.

But if you can’t find one, it’s relatively simple to get a new engine fitted . And much the same applies to the mast and standing rigging and the sails if they are in poor condition.

Article continues below…

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Best 30ft French boats: Our pick of the best options for cruising sailors

Sailors who look around 21st century boat shows won’t come across a single big volume British yacht builder. The occasional…

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Best cruising boats under 30 feet: Is this the ideal size for a yacht?

Cruising boats of around 30ft can often become a ‘boat for life’. Having graduated from dinghies to small cruisers, many…

Osmosis can also rear its ugly head, but this can be rectified. It’s just a matter of consulting your surveyor, doing the sums and negotiating a price that takes account of necessary replacements and work.

Second-hand yachts available in the £40,000 to £50,000 price bracket cover a wide variety of ages and therefore design trends. Up to the early years of the 21st century, a succession of yacht racing handicap rules also had a major influence.

The old RORC rule, late ‘70s International Offshore Rule (IOR), Channel Handicap System (CHS) and now the International Rating Certificate rule (IRC) all had major influences on yacht design.

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From any angle, the She 36 is a beautiful yacht. Photo: Peter Poland

Harking back to the late 1970s, the She 36 is worth considering. This Sparkman & Stephens design started life on the drawing board in 1974/5 in the US as the Three Quarter Ton cruiser-racer Northstar 1500 and was subsequently renamed the Northstar 50 then the Hughes 35.

In the UK, British builder South Hants Engineering introduced another take on this design, calling it the She 36.

The She 36’s dimensions are LOA 35ft 6in, LWL 29ft 6in, beam 10ft 6in, draught 6ft 4in and displacement 14,500lb. Her fin and skeg underwater lines are as sweet as they come and her profile is enhanced by a sleek, low coachroof, balanced fore and aft overhangs and typical S&S tumblehome on the topsides. From any angle, she’s a beautiful yacht.

What’s more her lead keel (so much better in so many ways than cast iron) gives a 37% ballast ratio, a DLR of 253 and a high comfort ratio of 31.41.

The owner of a She 36 that I test-sailed told me: “Back in 1987 I was looking for a Contessa 32 until a yacht broker told me that these attracted a big premium and – for not much more – I could get a She 36, which wasn’t as well known then as it is now.

“My teenage son voted we spend Dad’s dosh on a better boat rather than a bigger house, saying: ‘You don’t only get a good racing boat; you get a lifeboat!’”

He was referring to the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race when Alain Catherineau rescued Griffin’s seven crew members from a liferaft in his She 36 Lorelei . Catherineau said you could ask the impossible of the boat and he won the RCC Seamanship Medal that year.

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Alan Tabor’s painting of the rescue of Griffin captures the sheer chaos of the Fastnet disaster

The test She 36 owner added; “I also remember the Sadler advert with the headline ‘beat them racing during the day, and then entertain the other crew in the evening’. The She 36 met this requirement well. Even if by modern standards the accommodation is a bit cramped, it is comfortable.”

However it’s as a weatherly cruising yacht that the She 36 has really excelled. Her owner, Richard Burnett, told me: “Over the years we have cruised to Ireland, Brittany, the Channel Islands, the South Coast, the Scillies and recently northern Spain. One overnight passage from Santander to La Rochelle was memorable. It was clear with the moon racing the clouds in a Force 4-5 just forward of the beam.

“With one reef in the main and a few rolls in the genoa, she was very comfortable and noticeably quicker than with full sail, cracking on at a steady 7+ knots, steered by the Vicar the whole way”.

The Vicar being a moniker for the self-steering system, the owner added, “because it never drinks, smokes, swears, sleeps or eats while guiding us down the True Way”.

She might be all GRP on the outside, but this She 36’s interior has all the hallmarks and charm of a classic timber yacht. Come fair weather or foul, this makes a welcoming and cosy environment. The galley and chart table areas are extensive and designed to be used at sea.

Ample stowage and secure working space for both chef and navigator are typical of this generation of yacht, designed for serious offshore work.

And the same goes for the saloon. A snug pilot berth to starboard and the owner’s successful modification of the port side of the saloon to a dinette with U-shaped settees and lowerable dining table make this a spacious yet snug living area.

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She 36 saloon – with a pilot berth to starboard above and outboard of the settee berth. Photo: Peter Poland

The forecabin V-berths also work well, while the amidships heads compartment (offset to port) is surprisingly voluminous for a yacht of this era. All in all, the accommodation is excellent for a 36-footer, even if it doesn’t have a fat transom, aft stern cabin and aft heads compartment.

Under power, the new Beta engine gave plenty of push via a folding prop. And of course the reduction in drag that this affords adds appreciably to speed under sail.

I’m at a loss to understand why owners of sailboats (modern or classic) don’t consider one of the new generation folding or feathering props. They’re worth every penny.

If you have a yen for a good looking and well-built GRP ‘classic’, you could consider a She 36. I have little doubt that a trial sail will win you over.

Albatross’ owner summed her up perfectly, saying; “I’m still in love with the Fibreglass Wife. I can sail single-handed, short-handed or with three or four friends; which is all very comfortable.

“But above all, she gives you that go-anywhere confidence.” Current brokerage prices are around £40,000, depending on condition.

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Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40. Photo: Lester McCarthy/Yachting Monthly

Sun Fizz 40

Jumping ahead a few years to the early 1980s, a past Editor of Yachting Monthly drew my attention to a splendid 40-footer rejoicing in the name of the Sun Fizz 40.

James Jermain posted on the YBW forum: ‘Jeanneau and Beneteau generally produce boats to a good average standard but among the general uniformity both companies have produced the odd absolute gem, and in my opinion, the Sun Fizz 40 is one of them.

‘It’s very solidly built and, based on an offshore racing design by Briand, fast and beautifully mannered. She has a huge, flexible interior.’

Praise indeed from a prominent yachting journalist who has seen it all. His post prompted other glowing reactions such as: ‘I sailed one back to Poole from Mallorca for a friend. Lovely sailing boat.

‘We got clobbered in winds of 55-65 knots and large seas for 48 hours and the boat was brilliant’, followed by ‘Recently buddied up with a Sun Fizz round Almerimar, Menorca and Mallorca. Only ever saw the stern as he disappeared over the horizon, leaving us in his wake!’

James Jermain concluded: ‘On the downside the spacious interior is a little dark and she was designed at a time when it was usual to fit in as many bunks as possible – up to 11.

‘But there are versions with fewer (eight is the least) and even then, the extras can be useful for stowage. There are no serious problems with the construction other than those normal for boats of this age and type.’

This elegant 1980 Briand design has a V-berth in the forepeak, an amidships heads compartment, a wide saloon with settee berths, two pilot berths outboard, a spacious galley and chart table, an aft heads compartment and two aft sleeping areas.

Its vital statistics are LOA 40ft 4in, LWL 33ft 6in, beam 12ft 8in, draught (deep fin version) 6ft 5in, displacement 16,100lbs, ballast ratio 41%, DLR 191 and comfort ratio 23.89. Prices vary between £38,000 and £43,000.

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Gin Fizz 37 was a success story for Jeanneau – this is Guppy that 16-year-old Laura Dekker sailed round the world. Photo: Uwe Moser

Gin Fizz 37

The smaller (so usually much cheaper) Gin Fizz 37 was another success story and over 350 were built between 1974-1980.

Designed by Michel Joubert, its unusual interior offered a forecabin and forward heads compartment, saloon with settees and pilot berths, aft chart table and galley, a quarter berth and a separate two-berth stern cabin accessible from the cockpit. And it all works a treat.

US sailor and writer, John Kretschmer wrote: ‘Next to the Contessa 32, the Gin Fizz was the boat that most influenced my development as a sailor.

‘It was in this boat, a beamy sloop called Epoch , that I made my first offshore passage. Epoch led me to my first tropical island landfall. I’ll never forget a storm-tossed ride to Bermuda and a magical passage south to Marigot.

‘When I moved on to other boats, my mother and her partner sailed Epoch around the world. Amazingly, two young brothers who later bought the boat sailed it around the world again.

‘The fin-keel, partial spade rudder hull shape and the 15,600lb displacement seemed radical back when we bought the boat in 1981, especially for an offshore boat. Times change. Gin Fizz’s shapes and numbers run right down the middle of the road compared to today’s boats.

‘The draught is 6ft 2in – a stumbling block, literally, for selling the boat on the shallow side of the pond. Early boats were almost all ketches, and later models were sloops.’

Kretschmer went on: ‘Jeanneau has always employed a curious mix of modern design thinking blended with traditional construction techniques.

‘This was especially true of the older models. The Gin Fizz hull is solid fibreglass laminate. I remember drilling a plug for a new transducer and being impressed with the thickness of the hull. The deck is balsa cored, a potential problem on all old boats.

‘Jeanneau did a good job of using end-grain balsa and isolating potential delamination with resin edges. The hull and deck are joined on a flange, and in addition to the normal bolts and chemical bonding agents, Jeanneau fibreglassed the joint. After 50,000 bluewater miles, Epoch showed no evidence of hull-and-deck joint leaks or wear.

‘There is no doubt that the Jeanneau Gin Fizz has been rediscovered, and this renaissance makes perfect sense. The boat is a capable cruiser with ideal accommodations for a couple or small family. It is well built, looks nice when you row out to her on the mooring and is extremely affordable.

‘If you have been searching for a modestly priced cruiser, and can live with 6ft draught and 6ft headroom, check out the Jeanneau Gin Fizz [also built by Gib’Sea].’

And if you need further proof of this Jeanneau‘s seaworthiness, Laura Dekker completed a solo circumnavigation in her extended Gin Fizz Guppy at the tender age of 16.

Sun Legende 41

Moving on to 1984, the Doug Peterson-designed Sun Legende 41 is an elegant performance yacht with more beam (12ft 11in) than the earlier Sun Fizz 40 and an updated interior layout featuring a larger heads compartment and aft double cabin.

By the time production ceased in 1994, 580 had been built. Current prices vary from around £40,000 to £54,000.

One happy owner wrote in an American thread: ‘I bought a used Sun Legende 41 six years ago. I have sailed it from Washington State to Mexico and back through Alaska.

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Jeanneau Sun Legende 41 Solus . Photo: sailingscenes.com

‘I have put more than 15,000 miles on mine and over 1,000 hours on the engine. I couldn’t be happier with this boat. It tracks well going down wind, points to 35° consistently and is good on all points of sail.

‘If money is no object, buy a Swan. But for an affordable boat that sails well, is comfortable to be on for months at a time and is safe, you won’t be disappointed.

‘The rig is very simple. I have roller furling and lazy jacks and can single-hand it easily even with the chute out. She cruises comfortably at 7 knots and stands up straight in a following sea with 25 knots of wind on her tail.

‘I’ve been in full gales a few times with 15ft seas with a short fetch and have always felt safe. This boat balances easily and tracks well. She sails easily in light winds too!

‘Sure, I wish it held 200 gallons of diesel and 500 gallons of fresh water, but I have never run out of either. I use an autopilot and run Garmin equipment. If I had to do it all over again, I would buy this boat again… and again!’

To get an assessment of more recent Jeanneau models that can sell for between £40,000 and £50,000, I contacted Jeanneau distributor Nigel Colley of Sea Ventures who said: “There are two stand out models with which we were hugely successful in terms of units sold… the Sun Odyssey 34.2 and Sun Odyssey 37.

“Both would fall within your budget criteria and they both sail nicely, and are proven to do what it says on the tin!

“The 34.2 was produced from 1997 to 2000 and the 37 in the early 2000s. My personal choice would be the 37, as it has a higher hull volume with a really nice three-cabin or two-cabin layout with traditional L-shaped galley. The 34.2 had a linear galley.”

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Moody 34 interior

Designer Bill Dixon came up with several successful Moody designs that now sell in the £40,000 to £50,000 price bracket.

Between 1983 and 1991 he designed a series of spacious and attractive centre cockpit cruisers with stern cabins ranging from the Moody 34 and Moody 346 up to the Moody 37 and Moody 376.

From the outset, the young Dixon established his own, distinctive Moody ‘look’ and the Moody 34 has a crisper and more contemporary profile than the equivalent centre cockpit Westerlys of the same era.

The bow overhang is elegant and nicely balanced by a relatively short (but broad) stern overhang. And the superstructure, especially the roof over the stern cabin, succeeds in looking sleek rather than bulky. Which is no mean feat for a centre cockpit boat of this size with generous freeboard.

The accommodation is very spacious. The Moody builder, Marine Projects, was by then producing an attractive internal finish with plenty of teak on view.

The 34’s layout incorporates a twin berth forecabin. The saloon is excellent and there are decent sized galley and navigation areas at its aft end.

The heads compartment (with shower) is amidships, just aft of the navigation area. The long galley extends into a passageway, which also includes plenty of stowage areas, that leads to the stern cabin with a double berth, settee and wardrobe.

For a 34-footer of its era, this Moody offers a lot. And it sails well. By now Moody was wisely offering a choice of fin and twin keels .

With a displacement of 11,200lb and a ballast ratio of around 40%, the fin keeler (drawing 5ft) in particular is capable of giving a good showing in club races. In just three years, 165 Moody 34s were produced.

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For a 34-footer of its era, the Moody 346 offers a lot of accommodation. Photo: Yachtsnet.co.uk

Hot on its heels came the upgraded and even more successful Moody 346. The one significant change is the extended stern that incorporates a vestigial bathing platform and boarding ladder.

But by now Marine Projects’ production methods had become more modern and elements of internal trim and finish had changed and improved.

In most respects, the 346 is an evolution of the 34. But it sold even better than its forebear, with an impressive 254 examples built between 1986 and 1990.

So these two Dixon-designed 34-footers achieved over 400 sales between them and it’s not surprising that they remain much sought after to this day.

A 34-footer is a great size for a couple to handle easily and cruise in comfort; yet it still has plenty of space to accommodate family and friends when they decide to join in the fun.

The Moody 34/346 models are among the best of the breed and I found 346s on offer for between £45,000 and £48,500.

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Moody 37. Photo: sailingscenes.com

Moody 37/376

If the Moody 34 and 346 ‘family’ was a success, the considerably bigger Moody 37 and its Moody 376 development did even better. Built between 1985 and 1991, 313 of these two models were built, which is a serious number of boats of this size and price at that time.

It seems that in its market sector, the Moody 37/376 was more than a match for the equivalent sized Westerly Corsair and Sealord when it came to numbers sold.

Much of this success could be attributable to the fact that Moody’s 37 footers had a twin keel option (whereas some bigger Westerlys often did not).

The combination of Dixon’s sharp and contemporary styling with the design’s capacious interior and perhaps an extra edge in the performance stakes also helped boost the 37’s appeal. I found examples priced from £49,500 to £50,300.

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The Westerly Corsair 36 makes an excellent, seaworthy family cruiser and long-distance passage maker. Photo: sailingscenes.com

Westerly Corsair 36

The Westerly Corsair 36 and Corsair 36 Mk2 designs by Ed Dubois were replacements for the ageing Conway and produced between 1983 and 1989.

Most had a fin keel but bilge keels were offered with the Mk2 versions, as was an alternative ketch rig . The heads compartment (with shower) is amidships and the stern cabin has an athwartships double berth. Later versions also have an en suite heads for the aft cabin.

Depending on age and condition, I found asking prices varying between £38,000 and £54,950. Just make sure that the Westerly weakness of dangling or un-glued vinyl inside older hulls and on headlining panels is not in evidence!

With a weight of 15,500lb, ballast ratio of 42.6%, DLR of 245.8 and comfort ratio of 25.9 the Corsair 36 makes an excellent and seaworthy family cruiser as well as a reliable long distance passage maker.

The owner of Corsair 36 Equinox sailed far and wide and wrote: “On the way from the Azores to Ireland in 2011 we experienced a period of gales that lasted for five days. We were sailing anywhere from a close reach to almost a beam reach.

“It was uncomfortable but not as wet. On the last day we came onto the continental shelf off Ireland and the waves increased in size from 15ft to 30ft with winds in the 35-40 knot range.

“It was uncomfortable and tiring. The boat rolled to the point that the spreaders went in the water three times on the last day. Once in the lee of Ireland the seas and the wind diminished and the sailing became great. The boat did fine and nothing broke.”

He added: “The Corsair sails well. We were called the rocket ship by a fellow on a 38ft Freedom in the Eastern Caribbean.

“That is a bit of an exaggeration but for an overloaded cruising boat we have no complaints. We stay with and pass many other cruising boats; both our size and larger.

“Our best sail for speed was the passage from Belize to the Dry Tortugas. We had about 18 knots of wind on a close reach and had four days in a row covering 168 miles. We have never sailed so fast for so long. There was no current to speak of. This was just boat speed.”

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Moody Eclipse 33. Photo: Ann Berry

Moody Eclipse 33

A cruiser with a deck saloon can extend your sailing season as well as transform a wet and windy summer passage from an ordeal into a pleasure.

The Moody Eclipse 33 is probably the most numerous of this type in the UK. The concept of inside and outside steering and a snug raised saloon with panoramic views on the outside world was a hit.

What’s more Bill Dixon created a clever new style that succeeded in making a deck saloon yacht look sleek. The Mk1 Eclipse 33 had inside and outside steering; but this was changed on the Mk2 version to an optional remote control autopilot replacing the inside steering wheel.

Which was a shame – although the removal of the inside helm did free up extra space in the saloon, especially at the navigation station. But the similar sized Hunter Horizon 32 wheelhouse cruiser that competed with the Eclipse always retained its inside wheel steering and outside tiller steering.

And many a happy hour was spent sailing, motoring or racing (with surprising success) the boat from the snug warmth of a dry inside steering position while rain or spray flew outside.

The Eclipse 33 offers two twin berth cabins, fore and aft. The capacious heads compartment (with shower cubicle) is just aft of the forecabin. The exceptionally light and airy main saloon has a table with wraparound settees to port and the galley situated to starboard. It all works very well.

From a performance point of view, the Eclipse 33 is no slouch. She’s certainly not a ‘50/50’. She sails well (with fin or twin keels). Eclipse 33s command high second-hand prices to this day.

This is because the deck saloon formula has great appeal (especially in our climate) and few similar boats are now built. Why? The simple reason is because they cost a lot more to build than conventional cruisers.

I found Eclipse 33s ranging in price between £39,000 and £57,000 depending on age and condition. Similar deck saloon yachts such as the Westerly Riviera 35 and Westerly Duo tend to cost less and are also worth looking at.

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Hunter Channel 31. Photo: Yachtsnet.co.uk

Hunter Channel 31

Last but not least, I should mention the David Thomas-designed twin keel Hunter Channel 31. Michael Schmidt & Partner brokerage said: ‘Which leads me on to what should be at or near the top of anyone’s list: the Hunter Channel 31 (if you can find one!).

‘It’s the perfect modern cruising yacht with an ergonomic, modern and attractive interior. It’s beautiful to look at and offers easy handling coupled with great all round performance.

‘It’s THE benchmark… we recently sold a late build model for north of £50k in immaculate condition.’

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The Beneteau First 31.7 is one of Michael Schmidt’s recommendations for a boat under £50,000

Michael Schmidt and Partner suggested the more recent Beneteau First 31.7 (around £49,000), Oceanis Clipper 311 (around £42,000), Elan 333 (around £43,000), Bavaria 32 (£46,000 to £52,000) and Maxi 1000 (around £40,000).

These are more modern designs with space and performance to match. If you are in the market for slightly larger models from the same brands but within a similar budget, you may need to look at earlier build dates.

When looking at elderly yachts it’s important to employ the services of a surveyor when you’ve made your final selection. It can also help if you study the relevant owners’ association website.

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Subscribe, or make a gift for someone else, and you’ll always save at least 30% compared to newsstand prices.

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Used Yachts For Sale Under $50,000,000

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203' Sarp Yachts Nacre 62 2025

$ 47,925,000

Antalya, Turkey

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164' Heesen Yachts 5000 Aluminum 2022

$ 44,730,000

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208' Benetti 2016

$ 42,493,500

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164' Heesen Yachts 50m Aluminum 2021

$ 42,418,092

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164' Westport 2020

$ 39,995,000

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170' Baglietto T52 2024

$ 39,245,250

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154' Mengi Yay Yachts 2024

$ 38,127,000

United States

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170' Latitude Custom 2025

$ 37,701,000

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$ 34,612,500

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160' Christensen Custom 2017

$ 32,750,000

Palm Beach Gardens, United States

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144' Conrad C144S 2026

$ 31,417,500

Gdansk, Poland

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Finding a used yachts for sale under $50,000,000 that fits your needs when it comes to number of passengers, horsepower, inside accommodations, and other features on board can be a challenge with so many options available on the market today. There are many types of boats available under $50 million like luxury  motor yachts , with many good options across all length ranges. Still, there are plenty of opportunities with brands like  Princess ,  Benetti ,  Westport ,  Trinity Yachts , and others. Let the team at United Yacht Sales help you find the right vessel that fits your needs under $50 million.

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10 of The Best Motorboats For Under $50,000

sea-doo-180-challenger-2009

Motorboats were introduced in the late nineteenth century when the internal combustible engine was invented. During the early twentieth century, interest in motorboats grew. Motorboat races began as early as 1903.  As the average person's interest in boating increased, so did the demand for the motorboat.

Today, motorboats are widely popular for a variety of reasons. Some just want to enjoy boating on the water, weather coastal or inland. Some take the sport of fishing to new levels using well equipped motor boats. Others enjoy other water activities with their speedboats including rafting and water skiing.

Today, there are many models available for any type of water activity. Many of these boats powerfully perform and have many amenities including a well equipped cockpit and plenty of storage for gear and equipment. Seating is comfortable and spacious even on smaller sized boats. Many feature sun decks and swim platforms.

Here are our picks for 10 of the best motorboats for under $50,000.

Blue Wave 2000 Pure Bay - $39,900

blue-wave-2000-pure-bay

Blue Wave's 2000 Pure Bay motorboat is a part of their award winning series of high performance and comfortable sports fishing models. The 9 foot 7 inch boat comfortably seats 7 people with a maximum weight of 1625 pounds. The high performing engine is 150 horsepower. The boat has good shallow water ability and provides a stable smooth ride in coastal and inland waters. The boat is spacious and customizable.

The Pure Bay features a fold down fishing chair and 2 molded flip seats. There is plenty of storage space for fishing gear and insulated fish boxes. This motorboat has a large rear casting deck and a wide walk area with fold down grab rails. There is LED underwater lighting and an aluminum ladder. Other standard features include anchor storage, mounted brackets, a recessed drainage system, a radio, and a boat cover. Multiple color options are available. Other optional features include a breakaway T-Top.

Four Winns H190 - $34,480 - $37,600

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Four Winns' H190 is a powerful, stable and comfortable motorboat with many amenities. Four Winns delivers plenty of features at an affordable price. The H190 is 19 feet and comes with a wide range of customizable engines including 190, 220, 250, 260 horsepower. There is also an option to add a Volvo Pento engine with 200, 225, or 270 horsepower.

The H190 motorboat includes a comfortable captain's chair with multiple electronics options. Other seating includes comfort bucket seats with spring systems, flip up bolsters and swivel pedestals. Seats have wrap around backs for added comfort. This boat has a deep swim ladder and a swim platform, plenty of gear storage, custom gages, transom lounge suites, Aquafax and Silvertex vinyl, and a fiberglass cockpit floor. There is an option to add carpet to the cockpit and a canvas top.

Bayliner 215 BR - $33,600

bayliner-215-br

At 20 1/2 feet, Bayliner's 215 BR bowrider is as spacious as it is powerful. Built for enjoying the water whether fishing or water skiing, the 215 BR motorboat is a high performance, stable and comfortable boat. The MerCruiser V6 engine is 260 horsepower. The adaptable boat comes in 2 forms, the Standard or the Sport with room to seat up to 12 people.

The Sport model features 2 bucket seats and a large L-shaped settee. There is a large sunbed aft, and the bow section features a convertible sunbed. 2 Standard has an extra rear-facing seat behind the passenger bucket seat. The boat is easy to handle and perfect for a variety of watersports.

Yamaha SX210 - $32,999

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Yamaha is well known for delivering complete products and features in one package. The SX210 includes many amenities and is a powerful motorboat. The 21 foot boat has 2 110 horsepower engines and can reach 30 mph within 7 seconds. Cruising speed is 31.5 mph and the SX210 reaches 40 mph with easy handling.

Yamaha's SX210 features multiple amenities. These include comfortable cockpit wrap around seating with a sporty captain's chair with a flip up bolster. Other seating is comfortable, and the SX210 is the perfect boat for cruising, fishing and enjoying other water sports. One of the finest features of this motorboat is the 2-tiered swim platform. It features Hydro-Turf matting for the best traction. It is comfortable matting for sitting and kneeling. Backrests add to the comfort of the 2-tiered platform.

Bayliner 2015 195 BR - $31,888

bayliner-2015-195-br

Bayliner makes well built, safe and affordable motorboats. The 195 BR is perfect for everything from trawling to water sports. The boat is 18 1/2 feet and has a powerful engine with 220 horsepower. The fuel tank has a 32 gallon capacity. The boat is spacious, comfortable, and powerful. The Bayliner 195 is family friendly with plenty of amenities included.

The Bayliner 195 BR can comfortably accommodate 11 people with a weight capacity for 3497 pounds. Comfortable seating and stability offer a steady and safe ride. There is ample storage for gear for fishing and for watersports. This motorboat has several floor plans available and multiple colors to choose from. Optional features include stainless steel trim upgrades, a Bimini canvas top with boot and privacy curtain, a bow well and cockpit cover, cockpit carpet runners and Desert Sand interior.

Glastron GS 209 CC - $30,500

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Glastron's GS 209 is ideal for watersports, trailering and even overnight trips. The fiberglass motorboat is large at 20 feet. The270 Volvo Penta V8 engine has a maximum 270 horsepower. The motorboat comfortably has room for 8 people and sleeps 2.

The compact boat uses its space wisely by providing wide access and a folding door to create space. Molded steps provide safe access to the bow. The cockpit has 2 optional layouts. The chairs fold back for lounging. There is an option to include a Bimini top. Other optional features include an anchor locker, deck hatch screen, flip up captain's seat bolster, imitation teak cockpit flooring, tilt steering, and stainless steel hardware.

Crestliner 1850 Super Hawk - $29,995

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Crestliner is renowned for building top leisure and sporting motor boats. The 19 foot Super Hawk has a 200 horsepower engine and 37 gallon fuel capacity. The boat's weight capacity is 1800 pounds. The 1850 Super Hawk is powerful and adaptable. The all aluminum hull provides safe and steady boating. The motorboat is adaptable for fishing and skiing. There is ample storage room for fishing gear including room for 7 feet 6 inch rods. There is a removable accessory bracket and a 14 gallon live well for fish.

The Crestliner 1850 Super Hawk has many features available. There is a swim platform and ladder. Seating includes jump seats and a conversion stern bench. The bow has an anchor locker and can be converted for fishing or waterskiing. The 1850 Super Hawk comes in multiple colors.

Tahoe Q5i - $28,900

tahoe-q5i

The Tahoe Q5i bowrider motorboat is ideal for fishing and watersports. The 19 1/2 foot boat has a MerCruiser engine with 220 horsepower. The fuel capacity is 19 gallons. The boat is built for family fun. With a powerful performance and comfortable space, the Q5i is a luxurious and versatile sports boat available at an affordable price.

Tahoe's Q5i has many valuable features for enjoying the water. There is storage for fishing gear, and the boat can be used for other water sports. There is ample and comfortable seating including the captain's chair and a second chair, a back bench and front adaptable seating.

Larson LX 850 - $25,800

larson-lx-850

Larson's LX 850 bowrider is a high performance boat that provides a comfortable experience while enjoying the water. It is perfect for fishing and watersports and is family friendly. The 18 1/2 foot boat has a MerCruiser engine with 220 horsepower. The boat is sleek and stable.

There are many great features that come with the LX 850. The seating is high, giving the best visibility. The room onboard is spacious with plenty of leg room. Passengers can enjoy a stable and safe ride even at high speeds. The boat features comfortable seating and amenities such as ample storage space and added touches like cup holders. The cockpit is molded and provides equipment to fit well.

Sea-Doo 180 Challenger - $23,400

sea-doo-180-challenger

Sea-Doo's 180 Challenger is a powerful speed boat that reaches speeds up to 46 mph yet offers a stable and comfortable ride. The 255 horsepower motorboat has a throttle that offers enhanced slow speed control. The boat is highly maneuverable and is made for enjoying the water.

Seating is ample and spacious on this family friendly boat. There is a triple wide aft bench and swiveling helm seats. The transom walkway offers plenty of space to reach the swim platform. Other features of this motorboat include digital gauges and extra data such as water temperature. The bow lounge is spacious and has added features including clips to attach the Bimini top. The 180 Challenger comes with a trailer.

Garrett Parker

Written by  Garrett Parker

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Philippines Says Sailor Was Injured in China Ship Collision

The clash is the latest in a string of confrontations that have increased tensions in the South China Sea.

A rusty warship in calm seas.

By Eve Sampson

A Philippine Navy sailor was “severely injured” after ships from China and the Philippines collided Monday morning near a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, the Philippine military said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of maritime confrontations that have increased tensions in the vital waterway.

Each side blamed the other for the collision, which occurred between a Chinese vessel and a Philippine supply ship near the Spratly Islands.

Chinese state media said that the Philippine vessel had “ignored multiple stern warnings” and had behaved “dangerously and in an unprofessional manner,” causing the boats to collide. The Philippines said that Chinese naval, coast guard and naval militia vessels had engaged in “illegal and aggressive actions,” including what it called “ramming.”

The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, MaryKay Carlson, condemned what she called China’s “dangerous maneuvers,” saying that they had “caused bodily injury” and damage to the Philippine vessel.

The clash again demonstrated Beijing’s broadening military expansion in the South China Sea, which is rich in natural resources and crucial to international shipping.

China lays claim to the sea in nearly its entirety. But the Philippines, under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office two years ago, has been pushing back more forcefully against what it calls Chinese encroachment on its territorial waters.

The Philippine military did not disclose what the injury to the sailor was. But GMA Integrated News, a broadcast network in the country, said that his finger had been cut off and that six other people had also been injured. It also said that China had seized high-power firearms and inflatable boats.

An international court ruled in 2016 that the Second Thomas Shoal, which lies near the site of the collision on Monday, was within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. China refused to participate in the tribunal and rejected the ruling.

The shoal, which is less than 200 nautical miles from the Philippine coastline, is home to a crumbling warship, the Sierra Madre . The rusting, symbolic vessel carries a twofold mission: staking the Philippines’ claim to the land and trying to prevent further Chinese incursion.

Over the past decade, China has intensified its naval patrols in an effort to enforce its self-defined boundaries in the South China Sea. In recent months, Chinese militia vessels and coast guard ships have blasted Philippine resupply vessels with water cannons, damaged radars and antennas, and repeatedly struck boat hulls.

Manila’s quest to deter China has pushed the Philippines closer to the United States , Canada and Japan, and also to Vietnam, which is similarly locked in disputes with Beijing over waters off its coast.

Last year, the United States signed an agreement with the Philippines to increase its military presence in the country to the highest level in three decades, hoping to counter China’s growing aggression.

Sui-Lee Wee contributed reporting.

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    The VR6 is the largest bowrider model offered by Bayliner, and it still comes in under $50,000. These boats are designed to run efficiently with the 200 HP Mercury engine. Bayliner's BeamForward design brings high gunnels to provide a drier ride in heavy seas and more under-seat storage.

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    Islander 36. Once upon a time in Costa Mesa, California, the mecca of early fiberglass boatbuilding, Islander Yachts was a worthy competitor of Columbia and Cal. Australian designer Alan Gurney drew this fast, International Offshore Rule-influenced hull with pinched ends, fin keel and skeg-mounted rudder.

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    The Beneteau First 31.7 is one of Michael Schmidt's recommendations for a boat under £50,000. Michael Schmidt and Partner suggested the more recent Beneteau First 31.7 (around £49,000), Oceanis Clipper 311 (around £42,000), Elan 333 (around £43,000), Bavaria 32 (£46,000 to £52,000) and Maxi 1000 (around £40,000).

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    Bayliner 2015 195 BR - $31,888. Bayliner makes well built, safe and affordable motorboats. The 195 BR is perfect for everything from trawling to water sports. The boat is 18 1/2 feet and has a powerful engine with 220 horsepower. The fuel tank has a 32 gallon capacity. The boat is spacious, comfortable, and powerful.

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    See Lund 1875 Impact boats for sale on Boat Trader. Visit Lund Boats for more information. 3. Ranger Z518. Bass anglers will want to check out the Ranger Z518. Photo via Bradford Marine and RV. It's tough to find a high-quality fiberglass bass boat for under $50K, but the Ranger Z518 makes it under the bar at $47,295.

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    However, Mark 3 versions have a Rob Humphreys designed deeper swing keel and twin rudders and are much improved in this respect. The 115 enjoyed a 20 plus year production run, although most boats were built before the early 1990s. These often change hands within the £50,000 budget, although many of the later boats sell for significantly more.

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