There’s nothing like spending quality time with the family on a boat. Whether it’s relaxing on the deck or adventuring to offshore islands, there’s no limit to what you can do on the waterways.
If you’re looking for the perfect watercraft for the whole family, check out the best family boats in Australia to accompany you on your summer adventure.
Best for: Water sports, relaxing
Recommended models: Sea Ray SLX 350, Yamaha SX210, Bayliner VR6, Formula 240
A bowrider is characterised by its V-shaped hull and spacious bow area, hence the name. It has a flat platform at the stern end that can serve as a diving board and sunbathing area. The platform provides easy access to water activities like skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.
Bowriders are a popular choice for families because they’re versatile and have plenty of seating. They also come in a range of sizes from 16 feet to 30 feet and over. These boats, however, are not ideal for long stays as they lack cabin room.
Best for: Fishing, overnight stays, entertaining
Recommended models: Marlin 300, Cruise Craft Outside 635, Arvor 625 Sportsfish
Walkaround boats are great fishing vessels because of their open cockpits and unobstructed passways from stern to bow. The whole family can have enough room to fish to their heart’s content. The great thing about walkaround boats is that they’re typically equipped with sleeping accommodations and weather protection.
Small walkaround boat models are around 18 to 22 feet long and typically come with limited cabin room and a portable toilet. For those looking for larger models, there are walkaround boats that are over 30 feet in size and come with additional amenities like a cooktop or grill, entertainment features, and the like.
Best for: Cruising, relaxing
Recommended models: Catalina 22 Trailer Sailboat, Catalina 30 Cruising Sailboat, Lagoon 470 Cruising Catamaran, Beneteau 49 Bluewater Monohull Sailboat
Sailing provides great bonding moments for siblings and teaching opportunities for parents. Operating a sailboat may not be as easy as other boats but the experience far outweighs the drawbacks. Unlike cruising on powered boats, sailboats provide a more leisurely but hands-on experience.
Sailboats come in all shapes and sizes. From classic monohulls to speedy catamarans, there’s something out there for everyone. Look at the different types of sailboats and find one that fits your family’s style.
Best for: Water sports
Recommended models: Yamaha 275SD, Vortex 2430 VRX, Yamaha SX190, Yamaha 210 FSH, Scarab 285 ID
These speedy personal watercraft are equipped with jet propulsions. This means no dangerous propellers or bulky hardware to worry about. When you speed up, the bow does not rise too much giving the captain more visibility. Jetboats also offer great acceleration and superb handling. Unlike other family boats on this list, jet boats don’t have a huge range of makes and models.
Best for: Cruising, fishing, entertaining, water sports
Recommended models: Bennington Australia has models ranging from the luxury QX Series to the ultimate value S series.
Pontoon boats are considered lifestyle boats ideal for luxury cruising and fishing. Because of their wide stable platforms and spacious decks, families have plenty of room to lounge comfortably and relax. Some pontoon boat models have optional Bimini tops, pop-up head compartments, and attachable water slides to enhance your family’s experience on the water.
There are plenty of pontoon boats to choose from. For entertaining, opt for a bar pontoon boat that offers plenty of amenities. If you want some fun on the water, you may want to give a double-decker pontoon boat a whirl.
Best for: Cruising, entertaining, overnight stays
Recommended models: Grand Banks Eastbay 44, Jeanneau NC1095 Fly, Rinker 270 Express Cruiser, Back Cove 34O, Azimut Magellano 43
Cabin cruisers, as the name suggests, are perfect for comfortable cruising through the pristine Australian waters. These boats are usually filled with great amenities such as heating and air conditioning, power generators, water heaters, and shore power systems.
When it comes to layout, a cabin cruiser also has more room with a head, galley, and at least one berth. This power boat’s built-in accommodation and small dining make the vessel ideal for families who enjoy long cruises. Cabin cruisers vary in size from 25 feet to 45 feet and offer different amenities depending on the model.
Best for: Cruising, entertaining
Recommended models: Bayliner VR5, Yamarin 67-Day Cruiser, 409 Valor
Named for its closed deck over the bow, cuddy cabins are great for cruising on freshwater like dams, weirs, and lakes. The below-deck area typically includes a sleeping area, a sink, and a kitchen.
This type of boat is great for families especially those with small children as they can rest and take shelter in the cabin when the weather becomes a bit too rough. You don’t have to worry about finding shelter or docking too early if the waters are more difficult than expected.
Best for: Skiing, fishing
Recommended models: Boston Whaler 320 Vantage, Lund 1875 Crossover XS, Crestliner 1950 Super Hawk Fish & Sport
This boat lets you adjust the deck for better casting or towing a skier, whichever you may need at the time. The convertible features provide the ultimate convenience and versatility. Additional amenities may be included with a fish-and-ski boat depending on its size.
Factors to consider when choosing a boat
When choosing a boat for the family, here are some things to keep in mind:
Frequency of use. Are you going to take it out on the water every weekend or every other month? Figure out how often you’ll use the boat so you can find the right one.
Type of activity. What are you going to use the boat for? As you can see above, different boats have different capabilities. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle best.
Size. How many people are going to use the boat? Make sure everyone comfortably fits on the boat by choosing the right size.
Safety. What are the safety features of the boat? Check the features and amenities of the boat to make sure it’s safe for the whole family to use.
Budget. What is your price range? This is arguably the most important part to consider when you’re buying a boat. Get pre-approved for a boat loan and get a ballpark figure of how much you can afford.
Apply for loan pre-approval at Aussie Boat Loans
If you plan to buy a boat this summer, it’s best to get pre-approved boat finance first with Aussie Boat Loans. We offer competitive rates and a quick application process which will allow you to buy your dream boat in no time.
What should I consider when choosing a family-friendly boat?
When choosing a family-friendly boat, you should consider the type of boat and its safety features. Some boats may be unsafe for young children or may have some features that could be dangerous.
Are pontoon boats a good choice for family outings?
Yes, pontoon boats are ideal for family outings. Whether it’s just lounging in the boat enjoying the peace and quiet or doing all sorts of water sports, a pontoon boat can provide a great experience.
How do I determine the right boat size for my family?
The more passengers you have, the bigger the boat you need. If you have a large family, you may want to opt for boats that are 20 feet or larger for the best comfort.
What safety features should I look for in a family-friendly boat?
Boats that have high railings or sides may be beneficial to avoid passengers going overboard. Even though propeller injuries are uncommon, it may be worth looking at boats that don’t have them for additional safety too.
What types of accessories and gear do I need for a family boating experience?
It depends on the type of activity. For extra fun, you can bring inflatable tubes, tow rope, a water slide, and the like.
How can I ensure a safe boating trip with my family?
Always bring safety gear like life vests, throwable flotation devices, fire extinguishers, visual signalling devices, and sound signalling devices.
What maintenance is required for a family boat during the summer season?
Before setting sail, you need to check on your boat to make sure it’s fit for the water. Here’s what you need to look at during summer maintenance:
Belts, hoses, and cables
Can I finance the purchase of a family-friendly boat?
Yes! You can finance the purchase of a family-friendly boat with Aussie Boat Loans. Get a boat loan with competitive rates and customised loan features. Call 1300 889 669 today!
What are some family-friendly boating activities for the summer?
Family-friendly summer boating activities include fishing, cruising, sailing, and water sports.
How do I ensure I'm environmentally responsible while boating with my family?
Use eco-friendly equipment such as non-toxic cleaning products and non-toxic bottom paint on your boat. Avoid disturbing the aquatic life with your boat activities. Find a boat that’s fuel-efficient to lessen your carbon footprint.
Where can I find reputable dealerships or manufacturers of family boats?
With so many boat dealerships and manufacturers in Australia, finding the right one can be a challenge. The best thing to do is research your options or ask for recommendations from trusted friends or colleagues.