When it comes to water sports, most enthusiasts know that there are a wide variety of different boats currently on the market, and while many non-enthusiasts may think a boat is a boat, that simply isn’t a case. Depending on the activity shoppers want to look for the best of different types, such as the best sporting boats or maybe even the best saltwater fishing boats.

When it comes down to the best saltwater fishing boats, there are a number of different factors that shoppers need to consider, such as the overall design of the boat, the performance, and even the fishability.

So how does a shopper begin their search for the best saltwater fishing boat? Before we dive on into the world of saltwater boats, let’s first take a few minutes to talk about the difference between a freshwater boat and a saltwater boat.

What Is the Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing Boats?

a sailing small cabin cruiser, a saltwater fishing boat

Image Source: Pexels

When it comes to boating, may ask if there is a big difference between fresh and saltwater. The answer is somewhat dependent on the specifics… as in are we talking about fish? Alternatively, are we talking about the boats themselves?

If we are talking about the equipment for fishing in the two different bodies of water, then yes, there is a significant difference. However, since we are talking about boats, is there really a difference between the two?

Better yet, can a boat used mainly for freshwater finishing be used for saltwater fishing and vice versa? While the simple answer is yes, boats can traditionally enter either water; there are a few key differences between the two that boaters should keep in mind.

First of all, the overall construction of most freshwater boats includes a h​​ull strength that is designed to be closer to shore. This means that it can be easily swept away if it has to deal with the larger waves that appear in the oceans.

Overall maintenance of the boat is another key difference. Depending on the materials that the boat is made of, the boat may require different types of maintenance. Saltwater is known to corrode metals much quicker than freshwater, and untreated wood tends to rot quicker in both types of water.

So, is there a significant difference between freshwater and saltwater fishing boats? Not much, but if you are planning to switch your boat from one or the other, you’ll want to make sure that it is properly water-ready, so you don’t end up making some costly repairs later on.

Buyer’s Guide to the Best Saltwater Fishing Boats

a woman steering the wheel of a saltwater fishing boat while drinking

Image Source: Pexels

So, you are looking to purchase your very own saltwater fishing boat, and you aren’t quite sure where to start.

In order to help ease the stress of finding the best saltwater fishing boats that would suit your fishing need, we’ve compiled a short list of factors that buyers should consider before taking the final plunge.

The Boat’s Material

This is one of the most vital pieces of information you’ll want to find out when looking at saltwater boats. Obviously, if you are planning a fishing trip out on the ocean, you won’t be paddling in your little homemade, all-wood dingy.

Chances are, you are going to be in a boat that is built of fiberglass, specially treated wood and metal. When it comes down to the metal materials, you’ll want to make sure it is sea-ready. Many professionals state that 316-grade stainless steel or better is ideal because anything lower will begin to rust and corrode rather quickly.

Fuel Capacity

Fuel capacity is a big one for those that like to travel further out to sea when saltwater fishing. You always want to make sure that you not only have enough fuel to get where you’re going, but to get back as well, plus a little bit extra.

For many boats, the standard goes like this: 1/3 fuel capacity to get where you’re going, 1/3 to get home, and 1/3 in reserve.

Hull Design

fast sailing fishing boat

Image source: Pixabay.com

We touched on the hull design earlier, but it is still something saltwater fishermen, all fishermen really, want to consider before spending money on their new boat. You want a boat that is designed properly for the type of fishing that you do.

There are a wide variety of different hull designs, so you’ll want to narrow down your choices depending on what type of activity you are doing. For Fishing, if you are going after big game, then a deep-V hall, which resembles a wedge-shape from bow to stern may better suit your needs. These are known to travel through waves more easily because the deep-v shape cuts through the water rather than bounding on top of it.

Fish boxes

For those that like to spend much time on the water, you’ll want to make sure your ideal boat comes with plenty of fish boxes for storing your catches. These boxes need to be well insulated, and while some use pumps to drain water from them, it’s better to go with ones that drain on their own. Pumps tend to clog up easier due to scales and other slime build up.

Bulk Stowage

When we say bulk stowage, we are talking about places to store the big stuff such as rods, reels, and tackle boxes.

Better yet, find yourself a boat that not only has bulk stowage but locking bulk stowage! This way you won’t have to worry about carting all your materials back and forth between trips. Instead, you can simply lock up your stuff and know it will be safe.

Rod Holders

Rod holders are a great option to look for as well. Much like the variety of hull’s on boats, there are a variety of different rod holders that suit the needs of different fishermen.

Sun Protection

Sun protection is a must for those who like to spend hours on the water. Fishing doesn’t have to mean sunburn people!

So look for a boat that offers enough sun protection for everyone, whether it be a hardtop, T-top or Bimini.  

How We Chose Our Ranking

a man standing near the railing of a yacht while holding a black bag

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When it comes to researching and putting together any of our top lists on a product, our main focus is the consumers.

That being said, we take some different factors into consideration while we do our research. First of all, we tally up rankings of the brands we are considering, followed by consumer ranking of the specific products. We also take into consideration the reliability of the product and the overall cost.

This helps to ensure that we are keeping to our goal of putting our consumers first. Once we have these different aspects tallied up, we do an overall tally to get our final overall rating. In many cases, when we have a tie in the overall ranking, the price becomes the tie tiebreaking factor.

Our Top 5 Picks for Best Saltwater Fishing Boats

Picking a top choice when it comes to the best saltwater fishing boats is no easy task…

So after doing some research and looking at what other fishermen have had to say, we have compiled a list of what we believe are the top five best boats to choose from currently on the market.

1. Boston Whaler 350 Realm

4.8/5 stars

The Boston Whaler 350 Realm combines impressive capability with purposeful features and unsurpassed comfort. This boat is perfectly suited for just about any adventure and the cutting-edge design ensures mastery of the water.


  • L.O.A.: 35’ 6“ (10.82 M)
  • Beam: 10’ 10” (3.30 M)
  • Draft: 24.5” (0.62 m)
  • Weight (dry, no engine): 13,600 lbs (6,169 kg)
  • Weight (with engines, fuel, and water): 18,830 lbs (8,559 kg)
  • Swamped Capacity: 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg)
  • Maximum person capacity: 14
  • Maximum horsepower: 1,050 hp (783 kW)
  • Minimum Horsepower: 750 hp (559 kW)
  • Maximum engine weight: 2,100 lbs (953 kg)
  • Transom height: 30” (0.8 m)
  • Transom angle: 15º
  • Deadrise at Transom: 23º
  • Fuel capacity: 385 gallons (1,457 l)
  • Waste capacity: 10 gallons (38 l)
  • Water capacity: 45 gallons (170.34 l)
  • Bridge clearance with top: 8’ 10” (2.70 m)
  • Bridge clearance with top and radar: 9’ 11” (3.02 m)

2. Cobia 301 Center Console

4.6/5 stars

This unit has a little bit of everything, and then a little bit more! Easy entering, exiting and dockside boarding along with added space in the cockpit and a tackle station are only some of the features this boat supplies. Other popular features include the electric bow table and the hull’s silky-smooth ride.


  • Beam: 10 ft 00 in
  • Cockpit square footage: 82 sq. ft
  • Deadrise: 21.5 deg
  • Draft*: 21 in
  • Fuel capacity: 230 gal
  • LOA: 29 ft 07 in
  • Maximum HP: 600 hp
  • Transom height: 25 in twins
  • Weight (approx. w/o engine): v5,915 lbs
  • Hydraulic tilt steering: Standard
  • Power assist steering: Standard
  • Prop: Standard
  • Trim tabs: Standard
  • Yamaha 6YC Information Station: Standard

3. Everglade 435 Center Console

4.5/5 stars

One of the largest Everglade vessels today, the 435 Center Console includes a luxurious cabin with plush seating. It has a custom etched-glass partition and a fully equipped head with standing shower. It also features a full bait-prep workstation with ten tackle drawers. It also includes a generous amount of gunwale storage, and more than 300 gallons of fish boxes, freezers, and lighted livewell space.


  • LOA w/o Engine 42' 8."
  • LOA w/Engine 45' 0."
  • Beam 12' 0"
  • Draft Hull Only 28"
  • Draft Engine Down 38"
  • Deadrise at Transom 25°
  • Deadrise Average 41°
  • Transom Height 25"/30"/30"/25"
  • Weight (no engine, approx) 16,880lbs
  • Max HP Capacity 1,700
  • Fuel Capacity 610 gal
  • Water Capacity 68 gal
  • Waste Capacity 30 gal
  • Bridge Clearance w/Hardtop 10'
  • Fishbox Capacity - Fwd 225 gal
  • Fishbox Capacity - Aft 45 gal freezer
  • Livewell Capacity Qty (2) 60 gal each
  • Cockpit Area 200 ft²
  • Water Heater 6 gal

4. Grady White Freedom 215

4.4/5 stars

This innovative and stylish Grady-White combines a roomy 8’6” beam with spirited, award-winning SeaV2 hull performance in a head-turning, versatile 21-foot dual console family and fishing boat. This unit is features rich with incomparable storage, port and starboard swim platforms, and a head compartment.


  • Beam Amidships: 8'6" (2.59 m)
  • Center Line Length w/o Engine: 21'3" (6.48 m) (swim platforms not included)
  • LOA w/Swim Platforms: 23'3" (7.09 m)
  • Bridge Clearance: 5'4" (1.63 m)
  • Cockpit Depth: 25" (0.64 m)
  • Hull Draft: 16" (0.41 m)
  • Transom Deadrise: 19 degrees (SeaV2® progression)
  • Maximum HP: 250 (187 kW)
  • Fuel Capacity – Standard 80 gal. (303 l)
  • Passenger Capacity: 8
  • Weight w/o Engine: 3150 lb. (1429 kg)

5. Invincible 36’ Open Fisherman

4.3/5 stars

The Invincible 36 Open Fisherman has top speeds more than 70MPH and a max fuel capacity of 275 gallons. The 36 was the brand’s original model that build the rock-solid foundation of Invincible Boats and still defines the reputation of the brand and its boats.


  • Length Overall: 36’8”
  • Beam: 10.’
  • Dead Rise at Transom: 22 degrees
  • Maximum Fuel Capacity: 475 Gallons
  • Maximum Horsepower: 1,200 HP
  • Single Level Deck
  • 360-Degree Walk Around Fishability
  • Above and below deck livewells
  • AGM Sealed Batteries
  • Built-In Anchor Locker
  • Deluxe Console with Fully Lined Interior-room for Full Sized Head
  • Exceptionally Generous Under-Deck Storage
  • Highly Finished Bilge
  • High-Speed Pickup for Livewell Seachest
  • Interior Console Light K Plane Style Trim Tabs
  • Saltwater Washdown
  • Three Automatic 2000 GPH Bilge Pumps
  • Uflex Power Assist Steering
  • Vacuum Bagged Cored Hull Construction
  • Waterproof Switches and Circuit Breaker Protected System
  • 100% Vinylester Resin Hull
  • 316 Stainless Steel Hardware
  • Under Gunnel Lighting

Saltwater Fishing Boats Are A Big Buy, So Take Your Time Choosing

When it comes to finding the best saltwater fishing boats for certain individuals, it takes more than just looking at their specifications and price. They need to know what specific features they need to have a boat that not only functions properly but provides them with space and extras they may need to have a successful day out on the water.

That being said, don’t rush the buying process!

Take your time and consider all the aspects mentioned in our buyer’s guide along with any other needs that you may have that we didn’t list.

Take your time choosing and you’ll find the saltwater fishing boat of your dreams!

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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