It's said that we all buy the gifts we really want to receive. In that case, boats make a fine addition to your holiday shopping list, especially since they will add another option for family time when the boating season starts up again. Here are five options that will get you out on the water with family and friends, for less than you might think.


The Carolina Skiff J16 is a simple center console perfect for just about any water activity.

  1. Carolina Skiff J 16 Here's a center console that is perfect for just about any flat water activity: wakeboarding, oyster tonging, or just playing around. Best of all, it's as "easy to maintain as a concrete block" and can be purchased, new, for less than $10,000. Read Lenny Rudow's full review,
    Carolina Skiff J 16: Simplicity is Beauty.

  2. Bayliner Element Another  new low-cost model that  is "simple and well thought out, appropriate for watersports and day-cruises." It's a little more expensive, starting at $12,599, but it covers all the bases. Read on: Bayliner Element: Need an Inexpensive Runabout? Deckboat? Bowrider?

  3. Sea-Doo Spark This new personal watercraft from Sea-Doo has a base price of $4,999. The goal, according to PWC expert Charles Plueddeman, is to entice a new generation of PWC users who may have been deterred by the cost of a new waterbike. Read the full review: Sea-Doo Spark: Affordable Fun

  4. Tattoo 26 Here's a sailboat you can trailer, which reduces operating costs as long as you have a yard big enough to store it yourself. When considering the base price of $35,000 remember that this boat can also be your weekend vacation getaway. Read more: Tattoo 26: A Sailboat You Can Trailer

  5. Princecraft Vectra 23 This all-new pontoon boat from Princecraft ($16,518) doesn't come with all the bells and whistles that have driven up the price of modern pontoon boats, but it does have everything you need for a great day on the water. Princecraft Vectra 23: A Big Pontoon Boat With a Small Price

Some of these boats are also available used. Here are the links to relevant listings:

And for more ideas, read

Happy holiday shopping, and let us know what's on your boat wish list this year.

Written by: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin has published several novels about the Olympics, sailing, hurricanes, time travel, and old schooners. She spends as much time on the water as possible, in a variety of boats, though most have sails.