If you love the idea of long-range cruising on the open ocean in a seaworthy vessel that offers the creature comforts you need to live in your watercraft for extended periods, a trawler is precisely what you need in your life.

It’s the closest thing you can get to a yacht without the hefty price tag that comes with it. If you squint hard enough, trawlers look like mini-yachts.

They are stout vessels fitted with powerful engines, a skeg, and a displacement hull designed to plane on the water. Below deck, you’ll find a pilothouse forward, an engine room, a freezer hold, a galley, and accommodations that can host a small crew.

But, perhaps the most important feature of trawlers is that they are designed for fishing. Most come with heavy fishing machinery such as net rollers and trawl winches, which incidentally, is how these vessels get their name. They tow a net through the water to herd and capture fish – a technique known as “trawling.”

So, what are the best trawlers, and how do you choose the best one? We’ve reviewed the top 5 options and put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you pick the best one.

Swift Trawler 50

Swift Trawler 50

Beneteau is best known for its range of powerboat and sailboat watercraft. Now, if you thought those boats were amazing, you haven’t seen their range of Swift Trawlers.

The Swift Trawler 50, in particular, is an absolute beauty. It has an expansive interior with lots of natural lighting and exquisite intelligently-designed fittings that make it perfect for both fishing expeditions, as well as romantic or family getaways if you ever need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The boat has a spacious deck plan with wide walkways and high bulwarks for added safety onboard. Standard features include a flybridge lounge that comes with a foldable sliding table, an external galley with a sink and worktop, as well as an optional electric grill.

The U-shaped galley comes with two refrigerators, an extractor hood, a double sink, and a service hatch. All in all, the Swift Trawler 50 adds a whole new dimension to luxury cruising.


● Fully-customizable
● Spacious and luxurious interior
● Comes with lots of convenience amenities


● Slightly pricey

Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler

Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler

If you love the finer things in life and don’t mind spending a little extra moolah on a boat, you need to check out the Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler. Its meticulous craftsmanship, stunning exterior design, and plush interior finishes make this vessel feel like an ultra-luxurious home on the water.

This American-built trawler has plenty of room inside and comfortably sleeps up to six people. We particularly love its custom wooden fittings that blend luxury and sophistication to give you a true masterpiece.

The beauty of this Nordic tug isn’t skin deep either. This trawler is powered by a 670hp diesel Volvo Penta engine to give you a cruising range of approximately 2,600 NM at 8 knots. So, if you want a vessel that oozes opulence and has loads of comfort and convenience features to boot, the 54 Trawler is precisely what you need.


● Excellent craftsmanship
● Exquisite interior finishes
● Large cruising range


● It’s a bit of a fuel guzzler

Ranger Tugs R-23

Ranger Tugs R-23

Trawlers don’t exactly come cheap. Most of them retail for $500,000+. The Ranger Tugs R-23, however, was designed with the price-conscious boater in mind. At a base price of only $115,000, this trawler boat delivers outstanding value for money.

It is powered by a 200hp Yamaha outboard engine and has a very open and airy feeling about it. The galley is equipped with a microwave, cooktop, and refrigerator with a freezer. This ensures that you have everything you need for those long extended stays out on the water.

It has plenty of storage and is highly versatile – a feature that ensures every space on the boat has multiple uses. For instance, the dinette converts to a sleeper, while the mid-berth can be used as storage or converted to a sleeper for the kids. It also has separate sleeping accommodation for two, or you can add the filler cushion to combine them.

What sets the R-23 apart from other trawlers in its class is the fact that it has many of the same amenities you would expect in a larger cruising yacht. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar vessel at that price point.


● Great value for money
● Packed with loads of convenience amenities
● Suitable for long-range cruising


● The engine is slightly noisy

Krogen 50

Krogen 50

If you’re up for a cruising adventure on the open ocean, then you’ll love what the Kadey-Krogen range of trawlers brings to the table. The boat manufacturer has been around for more than four decades and has maintained its classic patented full-displacement hull design, making these trawlers one of the most stable vessels you’ll come across.

This makes them perfect for ocean cruising, even in rough waters and sloppy weather conditions. It has ample room to store all the fuel and supplies required for long passages across the ocean.

The Krogen 50, in particular, is a work of art. Its beauty takes your breath away the moment you lay your eyes on it. The interior has a rich, cozy home-like feel that makes you forget you’re on the water. Every aspect of this trawler is designed meticulously to combine high-performance capabilities with livability.


● Built for long ocean cruises
● Provides exceptional stability even in the rough waters of the high seas
● Beautiful interior design


● Slower than other trawlers in its class

Nordhavn 41

Nordhavn 41

No list of top trawlers would be deemed complete if it didn’t feature Nordhavn. The boat manufacturer has been around for several decades and is renowned for its well-engineered crafts built to last a lifetime.

Now, if you’re in the market for a liveaboard trawler that you can use to cross oceans on your cruise around the world, the Nordhavn 41 is designed to do just that. The folks there weren’t playing around when they built this boat.

They employed the world’s most advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics alongside the latest design technology to produce the safest and most efficient watercraft you’ll ever come across. It has ample liveaboard space, with an expansive galley that comes with loads of amenities like a stovetop, refrigerator, cabinetry, and a countertop.

It also has an exquisite master cabin and a guest stateroom that sleeps two. All in all, if you plan to live onboard your trawler, this is the boat you want to do it in.


● Roomy interior
● Has several convenience features
● Built to last a lifetime


● Fuel efficiency not as you would expect

How to Choose the Best Trawlers – Mistakes to Avoid

There’s an old saying that trawler owners have some of the most impressive cruising résumés in the boating world. That experience has come, in large part, from trial and error.

And, make no mistake about it – the opportunity to make a big blunder is always lurking around the corner. In this buyer’s guide, we explore some of the mistakes to avoid when you go trawler shopping, as well as some useful tips that will come in handy when looking for the best trawlers.

1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

This is the easiest of mistakes to make, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But, as long as you do your homework and research on the boat you want to buy, it’s easy to minimize the chances of making this classic rookie mistake.

The first step involves a serious introspection about what you want to use the boat for – for the first five years, at least. Five years is the sweet spot.

Do you plan to use it for some heavy-duty fishing, or do you intend to use it more for recreational purposes like cruising the open ocean waters with your family? Once that’s clear in your mind, then and only then can you start the search for your perfect boat.

There are three main things you need to think about when looking for the best trawlers to buy.

Hull Design

First is the hull design. This is important since it will affect the way your boat handles in rough waters. Ideally, you want a boat with a full-displacement hull that’s ballasted.

It should be able to give you the range you need to make long ocean passages and economic enough to get you to your destination and back without having to spend a small fortune in the process.

If, on the other hand, you want to get to your destination faster and don’t plan on venturing into exceptionally choppy waters, a trawler with a semi-displacement hull will suffice since it runs faster compared to its full-displacement counterparts.


The next thing you need to consider is the overall safety of the trawler you want to get. Some of the features you should be looking out for include its ability to navigate extreme weather conditions, remain stable in the rough open seas, and carry heavy equipment on board. The vessel you buy should also be unsinkable.


Finally, you should think about the comfort and convenience features that come with the boat. You are, after all, going to be out at sea for long periods.

Now, if the purpose of the boat you’re getting is exclusively for fishing, then you can get away with buying a basic boat with Spartan accommodations. Such a boat would be more focused on the fishing features built into the boat’s design and less on luxury.

On the other hand, if you intend to use it for recreational purposes, the majority of the time, get a boat whose interior setup makes it ideal for the whole family. It should have plenty of comfort and convenience amenities that make it feel like a home away from home.

Once you know the type of trawler you want to get based on what you plan to use it for, you can now start narrowing down the specific models that embody your vision for the perfect boat. Sea trials should soon follow to give you a feel of the trawler’s handling characteristics.

We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. This is why you should take the sea trial bit very seriously. So, while the boat is still at the dealer’s dock, schedule a long sea trial, preferably in iffy weather, to put the trawler through her paces.

If you’re happy with the results, you can now address your expectations of the boat one at a time. Keep in mind that you may need to compromise on certain aspects of it. Nonetheless, based on how much customization the manufacturer allows for, you may be able to get a good number of the features you might want it to have.

2. Underestimating the True Cost of Owning a Trawler

This is yet another common mistake most first-time boat buyers make. You may become so fixated on buying a trawler that you end up overlooking the operational costs that come with owning one.

Now, owning a boat is nothing like owning a car. While both pieces of machinery need regular maintenance and occasional repairs to keep them in good running form, the costs associated with each are worlds apart.

A seemingly simple task like cleaning your trawler is nowhere near the price of taking your car to the drive-through carwash to get it spick and span. The process may involve getting experienced scuba divers to clean the underside of the trawler for you. That aside, other costs you have to factor in include:

  • Boat insurance
  • Fuel and oil changes
  • Monthly slip fees at the marina
  • Servicing and repair
  • Spare parts
  • Taxes
  • Waxing it every 6 months
  • … and several other expenses

Once you add all these up and break the figure into a monthly rate, you’ll be able to get what the true cost of ownership is. Buy a boat that’s within your budget while factoring-in what it will cost to run it.

3. Buying the Wrong Type of Boat

Again, this all comes down to your intended use of the vessel. If you’re looking to buy a liveaboard trawler, you might want to get something with a little more room. Boats can start to feel a little claustrophobic after a while. So, if that’s going to be you and your family’s full time living space, you might want to consider how much livable space the boat in question comes with.

The other thing you need to think about is the overall speed of the boat. A trawler with a full-displacement hull may offer the stability it needs to combat the high seas’ rough waters, but the tradeoff here will be speed. Boats with this type of hull move painfully slow through the water.

Think – A snail riding on a turtle’s back going, “Weeee…” as the wind blows across the snail’s head. In this case, you would be the snail, and the full-displacement-hull trawler would be the turtle. You may even experience the occasional sailboat zooming past you as you trudge along the water.

So, if speed matters a great deal to you, you’ll need to buy the right type of trawler. Perhaps one with a semi-displacement hull instead?

4. Not Involving Your Partner in the Purchase Process

The secret to the successful purchase of a trawler is a lot like relationships themselves: compromise.

To avoid putting your trawler up for sale less than a year after purchasing it, ensure your partner is involved in the decision-making process. You need to find a boat that you’re both happy with; otherwise, that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

Since you’re both going to be spending considerable amounts of time out at sea, it’s important that boating is an equal passion for both partners. The boat in question needs to have the features and amenities you both want in a great trawler.

Granted, you may not get a vessel that addresses all the individual needs of each party, but it’s about compromise once again. Find a middle ground that makes you both happy.

5. Impulse Buying

Trawling is a lifestyle, not a hobby. If it’s a day cruising boat you’re after, this isn’t it. Trawlers are designed for people who intend to spend most of their time on the water, fishing in the high seas.

So, if you recently attended a boat show and fell in love with that swanky-looking trawler you came across, you might want to pause before you go ahead and purchase it. As a rule of thumb, never sign a contract when you’re at a boat show – tempting as it may be.

Don’t get sucked-in by the artificial pricing of boats, only to end up entangled in a long-term financial commitment simply because you made an impulse decision in the heat of the moment. Understand what trawlers are intended for and take the time to figure out if that’s the lifestyle you envision for yourself for the next five years.

If it is, avoid making the mistakes outlined in the previous sections when choosing the best trawler to buy.

The Ultimate Adventure-Filled Lifestyle

If you’re passionate about the trawling, we recommend getting any of the 5 boats we’ve reviewed in this guide. Ensure that you avoid making the common mistakes made by first-time boat buyers when shopping for the best trawlers.

One thing is for sure, though. You’re about to embark on the most thrilling adventure of your entire life.

In the meantime, if a yacht is more your speed, we’ve reviewed the best yachts. They’re worth checking out.