Anglers on a budget may have found our Best New Fishing Boats Under 25K article and those searching for runabouts probably found Most Affordable Runabouts, but what if you wanted to push the pricing bar even lower? Though you may not have quite as many offerings to choose from, there are certainly some boats that cost less than even a $15,000 price ceiling on the market in 2022. Here are five picks that will have you out on the water enjoying the boating lifestyle with a minimal investment.

Crestliner 1600 Storm

Crestliner 1600 Storm Boat For Sale

Above: A 2022 Crestliner 1600 Storm Boat For Sale on Photo by Crestliner Boats.

Starting at a base of $13,614, the Crestliner 1600 Storm is a bargain if we’ve ever seen one. That price tag incudes a 20-horse outboard and a bunk trailer, so you’re ready to fill up the fuel tank and launch this boat the minute you sign on the dotted line. This rig has a pair of swiveling fishing seats, a locking rod stowage box, a 17-gallon aerated livewell in the bow, and a side console with a 12-V power outlet plus a Humminbird PiranhaMAX4 fishfinder. The inclusion of a Motorguide X3 bow-mount trolling motor is a real surprise, too, since the vast majority of bargain boats would only offer one as a cost-adding option.

The Storm is made with a .100” thick aluminum hull and hullsides, has a 6’3” beam, and tips the scales at 610 pounds. The hull design is a modified-V with eight degrees of transom deadrise. That means it’ll be a great choice for fishing in relatively protected waterways but will also be able to handle a chop when the breeze picks up. And at the base price, if you pay $1,500 down and take out a 12-year loan at a 6.25-percent APR, you’re looking at a minor-league payment of $119.79 a month.

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Lowe Roughneck 1660

Lowe Roughneck 1660 Pathfinder Boat For Sale

Above: A 2022 Lowe Roughneck 1660 Pathfinder boat for sale. Photo by Lowe Boats.

If you want a boat that can do double duty as a fishing machine and a waterfowl hunting platform, the $12,291 Lowe Roughneck 1660 will be a prime pick for bargain shoppers. This is a tiller-steer model which has a Mercury 20 ELH outboard as the stock powerplant. It’s available in both Mossy Oak Break-Up and Shadow Grass camo patterns, and optional camo seats are also in the mix. Plus, at this low price-point, you can up the ante and get a larger powerplant without breaking the bank.

The Roughneck 1660 is surprisingly roomy thanks to a 7’1” beam, which means you have plenty of space for gear like decoy bags and fishing rods. Yet it still weighs just 581-pounds so shoving it around in a marsh, launching and loading, and trailering the boat will all be a piece of cake. Plus, unlike some low-cost boats the Roughneck has .100” thick aluminum and is supported by a pressed-in cross rib stringer system, so it’s built to last.

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Tracker Grizzly 1654 T Sportsman

Tracker Grizzly 1654 T Sportsman boat

Above A 2022 Tracker Grizzly 1654 T Sportsman boat for sale on Photo by Bowers Marine Sales, Inc in Temple, PA.

The Tracker Grizzly 1654 T Sportsman comes in just under the wire at $14,995 with a Mercury 25 FourStroke outboard and a trailer. This one will please outdoorsmen of all stripes, with Grassland or Woodland camo patterns available, a removable starboard gun box, a portside rod box, and a locking bow stowage compartment. The Grizzley 1654 T Sportsman also comes with fore and aft seat pedestal bases (one movable chair comes stock).

Construction should be a high point for bargain boat shoppers, because the Grizzley is built tough. The .100” aluminum is backed up by welded-in and foam-filled sidewalls and a longitudinal stringer system, and the aluminum deck is .170” thick. Plus, bow chines and gunwales are extruded aluminum and strakes are pressed in. Cool feature alert: the sponsons have rubberized grip steps, to make it easier for your retriever to reboard after bringing back those ducks.

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Qwest Gillgetter 615 Family Cruise

Qwest Pontoon Boat for sale

A 2022 Qwest 816 Lanai pontoon boat for sale on Boat Trader right now (this is a slightly larger model than the 615 Family Cruise, but is similar and shown for illustrative purposes). Photo by Cope Marine in Fallon, IL.

Can you get a pontoon boat and stay within our $15,000 bargain boat limit? We’re saying yes thanks to the Qwest Gillgetter 615 Family Cruise, even though the MSRP is $54 over the line with a 10-hp outboard on the motor pod. Still, are you going to worry about $54 bucks when you could be getting a 15’9” pontoon boat with a pair of bow seats, an aft couch, and a steering console? We didn’t think so. Plus, the Gillgetter 615 Family Cruise has several features you probably won’t be expecting. There’s a Bimini top with boot, nonslip vinyl flooring, LED courtesy lighting, and a woodgrain dash.

The Gillgetter is also available in fishing models, which replace the forward lounge-style seats with swivel fishing seats and brings rodholders and a livewell into the mix. Tiller-steer versions are available as well and if you go for the fishing model with tiller steering, the MSRP does drop back under our $15,000 mark. Still, we have to highlight the Family Cruise because getting a little bit of luxury in this kind of price range seems like an outrageously good deal.

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Yamaha Waverunner VX-C Personal Watercraft

2022 Yamaha Waverunner VX-C

Above: A 2022 Yamaha Waverunner VX-C personal watercraft for sale on Photo by Yamaha.

Though a PWC may not be as versatile as more traditional boats they offer up gobs of fun and endless thrill rides, and you can get yourself into a Yamaha VX-C for well under our price point. In fact, the MSRP sits at $9.449. And while the VX-C may only seat three people, it carries a wallop with a 1049CC three-cylinder Yamaha TR-1 engine blasting water through a 155mm high-pressure waterjet — which means you could be cruising along at speeds of over 50 mph.

The VX-C has a few unexpected amenities, too, like a molded-in drink cooler, dual mirrors, a watertight glove box, and a tow hook for pulling watertoys. If you want even more goodies you can upgrade the model, still staying within the price cap, and get a PWC like the VX Limited with a Bluetooth stereo and Yamaha’s Connext 4.3” touchscreen, low RPM mode, and Cruise Assist/No Wake Mode.

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Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.