Best Deck Boats – Top Picks for 2021
2020 SVX 231 OB
Hurricane SunDeck OB
Lowe Sport SD224
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If you’re looking for the perfect family boat or a watercraft you can take out on the water and enjoy a fun day out in the sun with friends; a deck boat might be just the thing you need to do it. They look a lot like bowriders except for their characteristic V-hull and the fact that they have a bigger deck that can easily fit more people.
They offer the comfort of pontoon boats and the speed of runabouts. Some even come with steel rails on the side that you can use to attach your fishing poles if you’re up for a bit of angling. It also helps that they look pretty darn good.
They are one of the most versatile multi-purpose boats you’ll come across. We’ve reviewed the top 7 options for the best deck boats if you happen to be in the market for one.
How to Choose the Best Deck Boats – Buyer’s Guide
Buying a boat isn’t the sort of thing you do every other day. You don’t buy a boat to sell it after a year. It’s an investment you’re going to have for a long time, maybe even a lifetime.
So, you need to take your time and choose the best one for your budget and needs. Below are some important factors to consider when choosing the best deck boats to buy.
Research Boat Dealers
When buying a deck boat, you want to make sure that you’re getting one from a reputable manufacturer. Any of the brands detailed in this review would be a great place to start.
Take the time to visit the official website of each of the deck boat manufacturers, explore the different models they have on offer, as well as the standard features of each of the boats. Also, check to see if they have any customization options available if you want to add any comfort and convenience features.
When you have a pretty good idea of the boat you want to buy, check if the manufacturer has any dealers in your area. Get in touch with them via a phone call or email and have them answer all the questions you might have about a particular vessel.
You want to discuss things like availability, models, customization, pricing, and even financing if that’s an option. Once you’re satisfied with everything you’ve heard, set up an appointment to go view the boat in person.
Ask All the Right Questions
Once you visit the dealership to view the boat, ensure you ask the following questions before signing the sale contract.
- Can I get my deck boat serviced here?
- Do you offer any winterization services for the cold season?
- How do I get the boat once I’ve bought it? Do I have to pick it up, or will you have it delivered?
- Is it backed by a warranty? If so, what does it cover?
- Can you arrange for a test drive before I buy it?
- What’s the standard procedure if my boat needs repairs or service? Should I drop it off here, or will you have someone come pick it up?
- How often does the boat require servicing, and how long does the process take?
- Do I have to take care of storage myself, or is that covered under the sale?
Once they’ve answered the questions above to your satisfaction, you also want to visit a few other dealers to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money. You might find one dealer offering something extra that the others don’t. As a rule of thumb, never settle for the first boat you like without exploring a couple more options.
Pick a Deck Boat With the Right Features
With so many shiny new boats to choose from, narrowing down your choices can be a herculean task in itself. Boats nowadays come with so many bells and whistles attached to them to entice you into purchasing them.
The best way to make a decision is by identifying the features that matter the most to you based on the activities you’ll be using the boat for, 90 percent of the time.
Deck Boats for Fishing
If you enjoy fishing, and that’s predominantly what you envision yourself doing most of the time, then it makes sense to get a deck boat that’s fully-loaded with fishing-friendly features.
It doesn’t matter how great the boat looks. If it doesn’t come with rod-holders, a live well, or ample storage to stow your fishing gear and accessories, then it’s pretty much useless to you.
Deck Boats for Entertaining
If you love hanging out with your buddies on a sunny Saturday afternoon and catching a couple of beers while jamming to your favorite tunes out on the water, then you want a boat with a sizeable deck.
It needs to have a big enough seating capacity to comfortably accommodate your posse. Features like cup holders, foldable table mount, and marine audio system are what you should be looking for in a boat.
Deck Boats for Family
If, on the other hand, you’re more of a family man or woman and are looking to buy a deck boat to spend more quality time with your spouse and kids, then you want a watercraft that can pull skis or an inner tube.
Maybe even have a sun deck with enough room to stretch out and sunbathe, and a swim platform with a step ladder you can use when swimming out in the lake or ocean. You might also want something that comes with a Bimini top to shield you from the sun on those hot days.
You could also get a deck boat that has a bit of everything. That’s okay too. Just be clear on what you intend to use the boat for and pick one with the features that support your specific activities.
Speaking of features, in an ideal world, the price wouldn’t be a factor when choosing a boat with all the bells and whistles you want it to have. The reality is – price will always be a pain-point for most people. Unless, of course, you have a ton of money to spend, in which case you can get any darn boat you like.
The one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a deck boat is – The more features and customization options it has, the higher the price point will be. That’s a fact of life.
So, while it is possible to get a deck boat with custom leather interiors, wooden finishes, state-of-the-art music system, expansive deck, customizable seating layout, fishing-friendly fittings, and anything else your heart desires, all these features come with a hefty price tag attached to them.
You also need to consider the expenses associated with running a deck boat, aside from the cost of buying it. You need to budget for:
- Boat cover
- Maintenance and repairs
Once you put all these costs into consideration, then, and only then, will you have a realistic picture of what the true cost of ownership is.
New vs. Used
Finally, once you have an idea of the kind of deck boat you want to get in terms of its size and features, and know how much its associated running costs will be, you now have to decide between getting a brand new fresh-off-the-factory boat or a used one.
Now, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “used” is likely an old rusty run-down boat. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Used simply means “pre-owned.” There are plenty of people selling deck boats they purchased in 2017 and 2018. Heck, you might even come across people selling 2019 vessels, although you may not get much of a price-cut since they are still pretty new.
If you’re looking to save loads of cash and get a vessel that’s good as new, you just need to go back a few years and find boats whose year of manufacture is in the 2012-2015 range. If you do get a boat that’s older than that, you may save on the initial cost of purchase, only to end up spending more money on maintenance and repairs in the long run.
If you can afford it, it’s always better to get a brand new boat. But, if you find a used one in great shape with all the swanky features you like, it beats getting a new boat at the same price. Just make sure you don’t end up buying a lemon.
Make Your Decision Count
Buying a deck boat is, no doubt, an exciting endeavor and probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your life. So, make it count.
Use the tips discussed in this guide to help you pick the best deck boats for your needs. The seven options reviewed are your best bet.
In the meantime, check out our detailed review for the best bowriders.