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How to choose a boat

The 7 Most Important Things to Know When Choosing a Boat

Knowing how to choose a boat is a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing. Once you own a boat, you’ll quickly discover all the things you wish you’d known before buying it.

The most important thing to know is this:

There’s no such thing as a bad lake, bad weather, or a bad time of year. Any open body of water is an opportunity for the right boat.

That’s why we make so many boats. Each has its purpose. We design every one of our boats with a particular boater or situation in mind. Here’s 7 things you need to consider when picking a boat.

#7) Freshwater or Saltwater?

At Legend Boats, we make the world’s best freshwater boats. Our boats still float in saltwater, of course. Any body of water will do.

Yet, saltwater corrodes much faster. When you choose an aluminum boat, it can last a lifetime (or even a few generations) in freshwater. Place that same boat in saltwater and you might be springing leaks have motor problems in a few years.

Pro tip: Taking your freshwater boat into saltwater? Be sure to hose it down and flush out the engine with freshwater afterwards.

#6) Size of the Body of Water

When you’re out on a giant body of water, like one of the Great Lakes or an Ocean, the biggest danger is the water itself. A big enough wave can capsize any boat. Boats designed for big water tend to have deep hulls that disappear far below the surface. These deep hulls do most of the heavy lifting to provide stability on rough waters.

But take those same boats and place them into a small body of water and you risk running aground. Those deep hulls, which bring safety and comfort on big water, are a danger in shallow lakes and rivers.

At the opposite end are boats that not only operate in shallow water, but can even be ran aground on purpose. This includes canoes and kayaks, of course, but also many fishing and pontoon boats.

Your choice in a boat will greatly impact which bodies of water you can enjoy.

  • A tiller model, like our 12 Ultralite, is incredibly versatile in small bodies of water. It’s great for winding your way up small rivers. Or for exploring every available nook and cranny to find where the fish are hiding. But you’ll want to stay close to shore when taking it out on a Great Lake or other big body of water.
  • A pontoon boat, like the Q-Series LE, on the other hand, needs as little as a foot of water to operate. The double or triple pontoons provide great stability in moderately rough waters. Yet they can also glide above the reeds in shallower water. What’s more, you can drive a pontoon boat right onto sandy shores to go exploring or camping.

Likewise, our Vibe deck boats have a hull shape that provides great stability in rough water. At the same time, they operate well in shallow waters too.

#5) Available Boat Launches

The following advice doesn’t apply if your boat is small enough to carry to the water, such as a Kayak or Canoe.

For any other boat choice, you’re going to need to find boat launches.

As manoeuvrable as our boats are, some are easier to launch than others. You can often unhitch a utility boat and tow it by hand a small distance to the water. For anything bigger, you’re going to need a proper boat launch to get your boat in and out of the water.

So, before you buy, research which boat launches are available on the lakes you want to explore. Few things are worse than towing your brand new boat 100km into the bush, only to discover you can’t launch it.

#4) Boating Activities

Whether fishing, cruising, or enjoying water sports, our boats do it all. You can choose any of our boats for any one of those activities. But some are better suited than others.

  • If you’re going to mainly use your boat for fishing, check out our fishing boats. The R-Series is especially designed for the practical no-nonsense fisherman. For the pro fisherman, check out the F-Series
  • If you mostly want to get out there and relax, our pontoon boats will rock your world. Tons of lounging space. Some models even have built-in dinettes and bars.
  • Water sports enthusiast? There’s nothing faster, more powerful, and more manoeuvrable than a deck boat.

That’s the easy stuff, though. If you mainly have one activity in mind, it’s not difficult to figure out which boat is best for you. The real challenge is when you need a multi-purpose boat:

  • Looking for equal parts fishing and water sports? Check out our X-Series, XTR-Series, and XTE-Series. These boats are incredible for fishing, and have the power for water skiing and tubing.
  • Need something that can do it all? Look at our pontoon boats and deck boats. They’re great for lounging, cruising, fishing, and water sports.
  • For the flexibility to choose the layout of your dreams, go with a pontoon boat. Our pontoons have the flexibility of half a dozen different layouts. Each layout emphasizes a different priority. (For example, you might be surprised to learn that our Lounge models prioritize (drum roll please)… lounging.)

#3) How Many People?

If it’s mainly going to be you and a buddy out on the water, you may find a pontoon boat to be overkill. But if you plan on having the whole gang out there, choosing a more spacious boat would be the wiser choice.

For example, the V-Series Aqua Tower supports up to 14 people in comfort and safety. At the opposite end, the 14 Ultralite is ideal for 2-3 people at most.

Unsure how many people the boat you’re looking at can support? Where available, we list the max capacity of each boat under “Specifications”.

#2) Your Budget

Of course, we all have different budgets. The V-Series Aqua Tower, for example, will run you $144 per week, which is prohibitive for most. But the 17 Splash Cottage is only $41 per week, and the R-Series starts at just $16 per week.

#1) Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity

On our boat listing pages, we list the Towing Weight listed under the Specifications.

This is one of the most important specs to pay attention to. You need to know how much weight you vehicle can tow.

Pro tip: Unsure how much you can tow? Replace the keyword “CR-V” in this search with your own make and model, and Google will often tell you.

And that’s how you choose a boat.

With those 6 major boat considerations, you’re armed to walk into any show room and find the right boat for you.

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