The Captain’s step-by-step guide to finding your perfect boat, one you can just slide on like an old Sea boot and it feels like you’ve worn it forever.
Buying a boat is like buying a new pair of shoes. There are thousands of brands, shapes, sizes and colours to choose from – old and new. But every shoe has its purpose. In this feature, The Captain (with help from some well-informed salties) lists which boat suits your style best. Is it the thong of the boating world – the open and exposed centre console? Maybe you’re a gumboot sort of boatie and would prefer a commercial-grade rig?
No shoes? No worries. Why bother wearing them, anyway? They’re just going to get wet after all. In some ways, the humble tinny is the smartest boat-ownership move you’ll make. They have few ongoing costs, are easy to manage and don’t have you losing sleep if you run aground. Ideally suited for: first boat-owners and skinny water stalkers.
Thongs, pluggers or jandals – it doesn’t matter what you call them, they scream summer days and Corona-infused cruising. However, wear them in the wrong weather and you’re going to get wet. Yep, there’s no doubt, centre consoles are the thongs of the boating world. Ideally suited for: the angler that demands maximum fishability, even at the cost of potential hypothermia.
Converse All Star
They look good, they’re fuss-free and they feel natural. The side console is no doubt the Converse All Star of the boating world. Ideally suited for: the boater who wishes they could simply fish out of their car. With a familiar seating layout and usually plenty of open space, the side console is a great option for sportfishing in inshore waters.
Crocs are a serious fashion statement – some people love ’em, some hate ’em. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s no denying they’re damn comfy – just like a bow rider in the bay. Ideally suited for: family fun in the sun. Bow riders dominate the inshore family boat market. There’s plenty of seating for the girls and more than enough horsepower for the guys.
SUB-6M CABIN BOAT
The trusty Blundstone boot. They’re safe, versatile and if you keep ’em shiny they can be damn sexy. Just like the Blundstone boot, the sub-6m cabin boat is all of these things and more. Ideally suited for: the weekend warrior or the family fisher with ankle biters in tow. If you like taking your mates to the shelf one day, then the family for an island picnic the next, then the Blundstone boot might be for you.
6M- PLUS CABIN BOAT
Colossal and classy with a 10/10 on the head-turning spectrometer, the cowboy boot demands your attention. Don’t stare for too long at the ramp, though, or you might just be challenged to a gunfight. Ideally suited for: the trophy hunter who wants a fridge-freezer, three downriggers, a davit lift and every other optional extra in the catalogue.
They excel in the slop and live forever. The tough old gumboot never went away, but somehow they’re back in fashion. Ideally suited for: fishermen who treat seats as optional extras. Owners can catch live-bait just by staring at them and are just as happy with a handline as a gold-plated Saltiga. Commercial-grade boats are growing in popularity with boaties who keep breaking their boats – and their backs.