Whether you're swimming at the beach or jet-skiing in the water, Florida has an excellent water culture. When it comes to boating, some brands have bigger reputations and higher quality than others.
This guide will dive into the best brands in terms of performance, prestige, and other factors.
1. Boston Whaler
When people make a list of the best boat brands, Boston Whaler often makes its way to the top,
Whether you want to go fishing, cruising, or partying, Boston Whaler vessels let you enter the water with ease and comfort. Its 60-year legacy has crowned it as one of the leading boat manufacturers in the entire world, creating boats often considered unsinkable.
Boston Whalers come in 38 models, which means you pick and choose the length of your boat, anywhere from 11’ to 42’. Vintage models such as the Boston Whaler Temptation 2500 are revered by boaters everywhere.
If you plan on someday reselling your boat, it would be a good idea to invest in a BW. Boston Whaler boats tend to hold their resale value better than other boat brands.
Bertram is a leading boat brand for good reason. Bertram touts exceptional range and excellent build quality, making them a solid, world-class boat brand. If you want a boat with impressive longevity and build, one of the three Bertram models might be for you.
The Bertram 35, 50, and 61 are continuously upgraded to provide improved performance with each refined iteration.
Bertram boats have good retention of resale value, so if you enter the market to sell your model, you usually won’t lose much.
Viking Yachts are amazing luxury vessels. If you can afford the high price tag on a Viking, you can get excellent build quality and performance. Everyone at the marina will turn their heads to appreciate your yacht.
The Viking motor yachts and fishing boats go from 37’ to 93’ in length. Since they’re an expensive brand that is harder to come by, they tend to have good retail value on the secondary market.
If you operate a Viking, it’s a good idea to get insurance to ensure you are financially protected.
Chris-Craft was founded in 1874, making it one of the most established brands in the market today. Its longstanding reputation for producing high-quality watercraft is thanks to its elegant boat designs and reliable boat quality.
The Chris-Craft Launch 36 is one of the brand’s best-selling models and won Boat of the Year in 2014. It retains a respectable resale value, though not as well as a BW, Bertram, or Viking.
If you’re looking for a specific type of watercraft, Lund could be the best brand for your money.
Founded in 1948, Lund provides a great blend of affordability and high-quality designs. It essentially gets the job done.
From Jon boats, sports-specific vessels, fishing boats, and all the way to pontoon models, Lund offers a plethora of model options. The brand has a reputation for exceptional customer service and satisfaction, so it’s hard to go wrong with a Lund boat.
In the boating world, Yamaha is famous for its unparalleled range of jet-powered watercraft. This trusted Japanese brand continues to innovate and improve upon its existing build quality and designs.
Whether you want a specific sports model or a personal watercraft, Yamaha has you covered, since it offers models for every situation, piquing the interest of essentially every boat buyer.
If this is your first boat, you might want to consider a Bayliner, which is a popular and affordable entry-level boating brand. It is also a favorite of many boaters. If you’re visiting a marina, chances are you’ll see more than a few of these bowriders.
The Bayliner VR5 Bowrider, which is the brand’s sleek and high-performance flagship model, sets the industry standard for all bowriders.
Fishing is a favorite pastime of many boaters in Florida. Whether you’re an expert or just getting started at fishing, if it is a fishing boat you desire, a Tracker could be the best for you.
Tracker is an award-winning brand that produces excellent fishing vessels, dive boats, and party boats. Since it’s dedicated to fishing and utility vessels, it has amassed a loyal following of fishing enthusiasts.
Tracker gives a 5-year warranty on all of its boat models, which is impressively transferable into the secondary market.
If you are looking for an offshore fishing boat, look no further. Yellowfin is devoted to getting fishermen the best boats for their money. Yellowfin has 11 boats in their lineup and give fishermen a good variety of boat sizes in their lineup from a 17-foot up to a 42-foot.
10. Sea Hunt
Sea Hunt is an American boat brand started in 1995 by a father and son team, Vic and Bubba Roof. Sea Hunt boats are often built to accommodate a family on board. Sea Hunt was started with the goal of making a great boat for a great price. Sea Hunt had been the #1 Saltwater boat company over the past twelve years.
=If you are an angler and want a boat to accommodate you, look no further. Pathfinder builds their boats centered around anglers. Pathfinders are built to do one thing, and that is to help anglers find fish.
Pathfinder’s primary design is the bay boat. Pathfinder scrupulously designs their boat to accommodate inshore anglers and nearshore anglers.
Many anglers know that they will get a durable and great fishing boat out of a Mako. Shortly after Mako was launched, they quickly became known for their premium fishing boats. Mako continues to build boats that make your inshore and offshore boating experiences amazing.
12. Key West
Key West boats have a great reputation for durability, value, and safety. Key West offers great prices for any boat one might want. They are known for their value-focused mid-sized boats. Key West boats maintain their durability and value, especially if well maintained.
Hurricane Boats are the leading boat industry in deck boats. They are known to give people good quality and comfortable rides, all for a reasonable price. Hurricanes are used for many things, including water sports, day cruising, and both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
14. Grady White
Grady White makes superb boats. They are a top boat manufacturer and are very respected for their excellent boats. Grady White presents unusually smooth rides through rough waters. If you're looking for a comfortable boat that provides great safety, look no further than a Grady White.
15. Sea Ray
Why we love Sea Ray: They have an excellent reputation and make reliable boats across all of their lines!
What is not so great: Some Sea Ray owners find the engines to be underpowered.
Flagships: Sundancer yachts, L-Class yachts
In 1959, Zach Ray founded Ray Industries in Michigan and began selling fiberglass boats. The company was bought by Brunswick Corporation in 1986 and became Sea Ray Boats, which currently has factories in Tennessee and Florida.
Sea Ray Boats is an upper mid-tier boat brand that really encompasses the saying that consistency is king, queen, and all the aces. Sea Ray has a sterling reputation for building reliable, durable boats compared to other mid-tier boats.
There was a hiccup in the Sea Ray boat quality around 2017 when Brunswick considered selling the brand, but ultimately Brunswick decided to keep Sea Ray and re-focus on improving their designs. Unfortunately, that led to Sea Ray phasing out their luxury yachts, but their regular boat models are generally quite reliable and dependable.
Why we love Pursuit: Its luxury sport yachts and offshore powerboats are high-quality and practical. Offers some of the best creature comforts!
What is not so great: Its models can be quite expensive.
Flagships: Sport Series S 428
Pursuit was established by Leon Slikkers and began making its first fishing boats in 1977. The company was acquired by Malibu Boats in 2021.
Pursuit experienced the ups and downs of the sailboat market over the years, and has won numerous accolades in innovation and customer service, including the Miami International Boat Show Innovation Award and NMMA CSI award. Today, it sells luxury center and dual console boats.
Pursuit designs great boats for offshore recreation. These boats offer plenty of comfortable options if you want an upper-tier offshore powerboat. The brand is known for its spacious seating and technological upgrades, and arising from its Yamaha partnership, the engines of Pursuit boats are of excellent quality.
Why we love Sportsman: Sportsman uses latest technology to manufacture some impressive boats that last a long time.
What is not so great: Sportsman boats don’t compare to a high-quality Boston Whaler. They’re solid and good, but not excellent.
Flagships: Open 352 Center Console
Sportsman Boats is a relatively new brand. 6 employees worked together in 2011 to create a company that values innovation and forward thinking. The company has released numerous fishing boats that double as durable and reliable cruising boats.
The models are all designed with anglers’ needs and challenges in mind. The Open series starts at 21 feet and has family-friendly open cockpit layouts. One of the coolest technologies Sportsman uses is the SportTech Advanced Fabrication System, which uses resin infusion to ensure a flawless fit and finish.
Like most boats, experienced boaters realize what is lacking quickly. The main customer complaints are about fiberglass problems. These are all cosmetic issues, but they are not pretty – Sportsman fiberglass seems to sustain sun damage, blistering, chalking, and gelcoat crazing fairly easily.
On the other hand, the company strives for continuous improvement. Technological innovations are expected to make the lives of fishermen more comfortable and their adventures more pleasant. You can always look forward to what new things Sportsman has to offer.
Why we love Tidewater: Provide great boating experiences for its price.
What is not so great: Has several minor problems that can be easily addressed, but do exist.
Flagships: 320 CC Adventure, 380 CC Adventure Custom
Tidewater Boats was founded in 2006 by Chris Martin and Jimmy Metts in South Carolina. Tidewater has designed some of the most popular saltwater boats.
If you’re looking for a budget boat, consider Tidewater. Tidewater offers plush performance features like foam filled hulls, composite construction, and water tight electrical connections. Like other boat brands, Tidewater Boats use Yamaha engines for dependability.
Common Tidewater boat problems include malfunctioning hardtops and fiberglass cracks. Still, Tidewater boats are considered good quality for its pricing, and the dealer network usually makes it easy to purchase Tidewater boats.
Why we love Barker: Versatile boats for great fishing experiences nearshore and offshore.
What is not so great: Allegedly, the brand has had problems with creating original designs and finances.
Flagships: Barker 26 Calibogue Bay, 40 HPFC, 26 Open
Barker Boatworks was founded in 2014 by Kevin Barker with one goal in mind: building the ultimate bay boat. Naturally, if you want a bay boat, Barker boats offer plenty of options. The cool thing is, all Barker boats are built-to-order, so you can get your custom Barker.
Barker boats help improve the fishing experience depending on which model you get. The 26 Open, which is notable for its bluewater capabilities, includes numerous livewells with high capacity, a high-stealth motor, and five flush-mount rod holders.
Anglers may find Barker boats to be a good choice for their fishing adventures.
Why we love Invincible: Excellent performance and boat builds.
What is not so great: Customers have reported hull delaminating and deck cracking issues.
Flagships: Invincible 33 Catamaran
Invincible Boats was founded in 2006 and is a leading center console fishing boat and catamaran manufacturer. Based in Florida, Invincible has designed numerous high-performance catamarans in the 33'-46' size range.
Invincible currently sells eight semi-custom models of monohull and catamaran designs. Its saltwater fishing boats are some of the best in the market, providing outstanding stability as fishing platforms. The 33 Catamaran enjoys a 65 gallon livewell and has around 50 rod holders! As an added boonus, the walkways are fairly spacious for anglers and their families.
If you want a high quality offshore fishing experience, Invincible Boats may give you the best overall quality.
Why we love Freeman: Premium choice for conquering the ocean and the bay. Highly durable!
What is not so great: Not ideal for new boat owners. Has a steep learning curve and is pricy.
Flagships: Freeman 42LR, Freeman 47
Freeman Boatworks was founded by Billy Freeman in 2007 in South Carolina. The Freeman catamarans are known for their high quality and custom builds. If you enjoy travelling at high speeds (without paying a hefty amount for fuel), Freeman boats are a great choice.
Many boat enthusiasts declare Freeman boats to be the best offshore center console fishing boats. These luxury models also provide anglers with amazing offshore fishing amenities. However, new boaters might want to steer clear of Freeman catamarans because new boats start at $649,000 and can go up to two million dollars – and also have a difficult learning curve.
Why we love Conch: Offers numerous models that specialize in meeting different needs. Great midsize center console fishing boats.
Flagships: Conch 27, Conch 41
Conch Boats was founded by Edey & Duff and a former naval architect in the 1990s. It is headquartered in Florida and it has a portfolio of boats for fishing. Conch engines are very light and fast, and the high fuel efficiency means you won’t burn as much fuel as other center consoles.
If you visit a marina along the U.S. coast, it’s likely that you will see quite a few Conch 27 boats because of how durable and refreshingly simple their designs are. If you prefer a boat that is less flashy but still something resilient and to be appreciated, Conch is a good brand to consider.
Does boat insurance cover all types of boats?
Buying a boat can be both a financial and a sentimental investment. Adequate insurance coverage can go a long way in protecting you and your family, especially since some vessels boast incredibly high price tags.
Depending on the make and model of your watercraft, a typical boat insurance policy might not cover your needs.
Our team of experts at Worth Insurance can help you find affordable quotes that match the type of boat you own.