Let’s get this out of the way first. Yes, size matters (haha). Now that we’ve got all of the immature thoughts and obvious jokes out of our head, let’s dive into todays topic. Choosing the right size boat for your crew isn’t always as straight forward as it seems. Unfortunately, we speak with people all too often that had previously bought the wrong size boat and are looking to make a change because of it. While your first instinct may be to simply buy the biggest, nicest boat you can afford, a lot more goes into actually getting it right. Let’s check out the factors that we feel are the most important to consider when choosing the right size for you.
Don’t Look at the Capacity Sticker
It’s only logical that you would look at the “seating capacity” sticker (which can be found on just about every boat) and think that should be the benchmark for your decision. If the sticker says 12 people, then your crew of 12 should fit just fine right? Wrong, and here’s why: the capacity sticker is there to tell you the amount of people you are legally allowed to have in your boat, and not the amount of people that will comfortably fit. It’s based partially on space, but also things like the amount of grab handles, overall buoyancy of the boat, and more. In order to fit the amount of people that the sticker allows in any boat, the passengers are going to have to be sitting elbow to elbow. A good rule of thumb when trying to determine how many you could fit comfortably is to look at the capacity sticker and cut the number in half. This isn’t an exact science, as some crews travel light and others might cram their boat with everything but the kitchen sink, but it’s a good starting point. Bottom line, the amount of people and gear that you’d like to fit in your boat and still have enough space to breathe is more important than the capacity sticker. With that said, comfort and space aren’t always the only things to consider.
Finally, there’s the obvious limiting factor of price. If your sights are set on getting a new model of one specific brand, then your budget may dictate just one or two models you can choose from. However, if your mind is a bit more open to possibility, you don’t necessarily need to choose price over the right size. For example, you could choose a lightly used 23’ boat that costs roughly the same as a brand new 21’ foot boat. You could also consider a more value-oriented brand like Moomba that could stretch your dollar a lot further than a luxury brand. This begs the question, is it worth it sometimes to take a step down in “features” in order to get a bigger boat? In most situations, we’d say yes. Depending on the size of your regular crew, enough space for everyone and their gear will probably feel like a bigger luxury than any electronic gadget ever could..