10 Truly Affordable Boats: Budget-Friendly Picks for 2023

We’ve all been a little envious at one time or another of a stranger’s yacht cruising by us in the summer sun. And if you happen to be stuck on the shore boat-less, left with nothing but the rippling waves of their wake as you gaze longingly out to sea, it can be even worse. But truth be told, you don’t need to be a millionaire to own a boat. In fact, far from it. With the latest advancements in marine technology and an unprecedented interest in boating, there are many incredible affordable boat options out there covering a plethora of interests at surprisingly accessible price points. Here’s a quick list of 10 of the best affordable boats in 2023 which can easily get you, your family, and your friends out on the water and well on your way to having many unforgettable boat adventures.

  1. 2023 Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC
  2. 2023 Boston Whaler Super Sport 160 and 130
  3. 2023 Starcraft CX 21 R Pontoon Boat
  4. 2023 Sun Tracker Party Barge 20 DLX
  5. 2023 Walker Bay Generation 450 DLX
  6. 2023 Bayliner Trophy T18 Bay
  7. 2023 Bayliner Element M15
  8. 2023 Lund 1650 Angler
  9. 2023 Tahoe T16
  10. 2023 Sea Ray SPX 190

1) 2023 Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC

Featured in a recent episode of Boat Trader’s Stomping Grounds video series, the Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC is a top-selling boat simply because she is hands down one of the best affordable fishing boats on the market today. And the 2023 model looks to carry on that record. She’s ideal for those on a budget who still need a capable fishing machine that’s ideal in multiple angling venues. Plus, in typical Tracker fashion, she comes rigged up and ready to go with a 60 hp Mercury Marine FourStroke outboard and a matching galvanized trailer.

Tracker Aluminum Boat Super Guide V-16 SC. Photo: Boat Trader.
Above: A Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC aluminum fishing boat as seen in Stomping Grounds Episode 001: The Tin Boat Mafia. Photo: Boat Trader.

This boat offers an economical package designed to get you out on the water safely and in style, with great fishing features including two move-able fishing chairs that can be anchored to any of five pedestal bases strategically placed throughout the vessel’s deck. Tracker’s 2023 “No Haggle No Hassle Inflation Buster” price for this boat is $22,995.

View Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

2) 2023 Boston Whaler Super Sport 160 and 130

If you know boats, you know Boston Whaler. The builder is carrying their storied heritage into 2023 by continuing to build what many still regard as the absolute best boats under 20 feet on the market with their Super Sport 160 and its little sister, the Super Sport 130. The 160 is a small runabout up to nearly any task you throw at her plus she’s easy to drive, easy to trailer and easy to store. The company’s keel-up redesign of this series a few years ago has resulted in two side-console-driven boats that deliver affordable durability, effortless operation and low maintenance in a clever layout.

The 130 can handle up to 40 hp on her transom making her a compact yet speedy vessel for the bay, estuary fishing or just as a family bang-around fun boat! Despite their modest size, these boats can truly take a beating and keep on ticking.

2021 Boston Whaler Super Sport 130
Above: The Boston Whaler Super Sport 130 is a sturdy, sport and compact affordable boat that makes a great starter boat for the family and kids. Photo by Boston Whaler.

The bigger 160 can handle up to 90 HP and makes for a nearly perfect small fishing skiff, popular for fishing bays, harbors and flats as well as tooling around with family and friends. Both come in a variety of seating configurations and options to suit fishing, water sports, cruising, lounging, and more. As most experienced boaters know, not all vessels are created equal and these two Super Sport series boats set the bar for durability, safety and seaworthiness in their class. Plus, they aren’t too bad on the wallet either. With either model, buyers can rest assured they’re getting a great bang for their buck. Check out the listings on Boat Trader, and you’ll see the 130 in the mid to upper $20,000s, and 160 models ranging from around $30,000 to $40,000.

View Boston Whaler Super Sport boats for sale on Boat Trader.

3) 2023 Starcraft CX 21 R Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats continue to be the staple boat for many families to enjoy long days on lakes, rivers, and inland waterways in comfort and luxury. Stable and roomy, best of all these boats can often be had for less many than you might expect. Starcraft’s CX pontoon boats are everything you’d hope for from one of the best pontoon boat builders out there, including countless layouts and numerous options to choose from. Plus, they offer great value in affordable packages tailored to the desires of various boat owners and boating styles. From the stylish fencing and rail accents to premium consoles, the CX 21 R delivers incredible comfort, style and value. Depending on your options, you can likely get into a CX 21 R pontoon just north of $30,000 and have enough money left over to fill her coolers with some beverages and snacks for the crew.

starcraft pontoon boats
Starcraft’s CX pontoon boats are an attractive option for budget-concious pontooners. Photo of CX 23 DL Bar, via Dynamic Marine and Motorsports.

Along with the CX 21 R, Starcraft’s lineup includes 15 different layout and size options ranging up to 25 feet in length. Rear loungers, bars, quad-couches – you have your pick.

View Starcraft pontoon boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

4) 2023 Sun Tracker Party Barge 20 DLX

The 2023 Party Barge 20 DLX from Sun Tracker is perfect for those who want a spacious recreational pontoon boat that’s big enough to handle a crew of up to nine, but isn’t so big it can’t be towed and launched by just two. Regardless of your crew’s size, this pontoon boat packs the right amount of features for a full day of fun. To start, check out the dual bow couches and midship L-lounge, all with storage in all the seats to provide plenty of space for gear (the seat-back compartments can even be accessed safely while cruising). Or, crank up the Bluetooth stereo and take a cooling dive off the swim platform — there’s even an extra-large ladder for easy reboarding. So, load it up with gear, load up the family and head to your favorite lake for some quality time. With a 60 hp ELPT FourStroke Command Thrust outboard, you should be able to get a boat-motor-trailer package for under $30,000 depending on your local dealer and inventory.

sun tracker party barge 20 dlx
Sun Tracker’s Party Barge series is loved by many, and the affordable 20 DLX is a top choice for pontoon boat buyers on a budget. Photo via Stokley’s Marine.

View Sun Tracker pontoon boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

5) 2023 Walker Bay Generation 450 DLX

Built as a yacht tender for larger vessels, the 2023 Walker Bay 450 DLX is an extremely capable, deep V-hull rigid inflatable boat. She has elegant European styling and a sporty wide-body frame that provides ample space for people and gear. Rated to handle up to 75 horsepower she can carry 8 passengers in the 15-foot hull. Featuring a smart layout, ample storage, and an integrated ski pole and boarding ladder she is equipped for maximum fun on and in the water. Plus at a mere 633 pounds, this boat is easy to trailer and maneuver on the water. You’ll find these boats starting in the $30,000 to $40,000 range depending on your location and package.

walker bay generation 450 dlx
RIB boats like the Walker Bay are an interesting option that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Photo via Walker Bay Boats.

View Walker Bay Generation Series RIB boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

6) 2023 Bayliner Trophy T18 Bay

Bayliner revived an older name with their recent Trophy series and their 2023 T18 Bay is the center console fishing boat in this lineup that offers a perfect balance of fishability and comfort at a very nice price. Highlights include Bayliner’s stable M-hull, a broad bow for casting or lounging, a livewell, flip-up aft jump seats that convert into an aft casting deck, and plenty of rod holders. Families enjoy its user-friendly design and conveniences like a self-bailing cockpit for easy cleanup and an available ski-tow bar. Depending on how the boat is outfitted pricing ranges from the low $30,000 to low $40,000 range.

bayliner trophy t18 bay
The Bayliner Trophy T18 Bay will be a fantastic choice for anglers. Photo via Pacific Marine Center.

View Trophy T18 Bay boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

7) 2023 Bayliner Element M15

Bayliner appears twice on this list for a reason: the company focuses on constructing quality boats at reasonable price points that many families can afford. So, they have a long list of models that can qualify as affordable, starting with the Element models. These boats are a great way to get out on the water and they’re very easy to handle too, making them ideal for first-time boaters. The Element M15 bowrider boat is the smallest and least expensive in the lineup, featuring Bayliner’s M-hull, familiar automotive-style handling, numerous modern safety features, and the power and comfort to get families and friends to the fun spots while enjoying every moment along the way.

bayliner element m15
The Bayliner Element M15 is a small, simple boat, but it’s also built with quality – and affordability. Photo via Aqua Tech Marine.

This is a solid boat, with seating for five, a stock 40 hp Mercury Marine FourStroke outboard, a single-axel trailer, and molded-in cupholders and storage compartments. She’s not only affordable but also fun and unlike the most expensive yachts in the world, you really don’t have to be a millionaire to afford one. In fact, the price cannot be beat with a starting point under the $20,000 mark.

View Bayliner Element boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

8) 2023 Lund 1650 Angler

The 1650 Angler remains one of Lund’s best 16-foot fishing boats in 2023, and is ideal for hardcore anglers. Versatile enough to fish small lakes, yet large enough for safety in rough water, this aluminum Lund fishing boat is loaded with features including a spacious cockpit, front and rear fishing platforms, lockable rod storage for rigs up to 8’9″ long, a livewell, and ample storage compartments for fishing gear. It also offers anglers a number of layout options to match the way you fish, including tiller steer, side console, and wraparound windshield models.

lund 1650 angler
The Lund 1650 Angler is available in multiple layouts; shown here is the 1650 SS, a side console version. Photo via Lund Boats.

The 1650 Angler starts at around $18,000 – which translates into a payment of under $200 a month for those with the right credit.

View Lund fishing boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

9) 2023 Tahoe T16

The Tahoe T16 gives fans of bowrider boats an easy-to-afford entry into ownership with a complete boat-motor-trailer package. Just gas it up, and the boat’s ready for fun – with advertised “No Haggle No Hassle” pricing reduced to $19,995 in 2023. For a boat this small the Tahoe has some impressive features, starting with a seven-inch touchscreen display at the helm displaying GPS speed, water depth, engine data, and more. There are also reversable backrests for the seating, integrated drink holders, a Kicker KMC1 stereo with two speakers, and a USB and 12-v port at the helm. The stock trailer has a fold-away tongue so the package is garage-ready, and a 60 hp Mercury FourStroke (which can be upgraded to a 70 hp model for around $1,600) is sitting on the transom.

tahoe t16 runabout
Tahoe offers a complete package with their T16. Photo via Palmetto Boat Center.

View Tahoe T16 boats for sale on Boat Trader.

10) 2023 Sea Ray SPX 190

The Sea Ray SPX 190 is a bit more expensive than most of these other picks and can get pricier with options, but it’s also an entry-level family boat that’s a cut above the norm. A comfortable, roomy interior with classic Sea Ray styling, the SPX 190 is an athletically-gifted performer (stock power is a 200 hp MerCruiser on the sterndrive version and a 115 hp Mercury Pro XS on the outboard model) that helps ensure you make the most of your time on the water.

2021 Sea Ray SPX 190 OB
The Sea Ray SPX 190 OB costs more than most of these affordable options, but it delivers more, too. Photo by Sea Ray via Lynnhaven Marine.

With a dash of luxury (like a flip-up bolster bucket helm seat, an aft sunpad, and a gas-assist strut on the ski locker hatch) plus a dose of tech (VesselView Mobile is standard, as is a Fusion Bluetooth/WiFi/Apple AirPlay stereo system), the SPX 190 makes the good life more attainable than ever before, brining that quality Sea Ray standard of boating at a family-friendly, affordable price. Starting cost is generally around $50,000 depending on options, location, and dealer inventory.

View Sea Ray SPX 190 boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

Are there other affordable boats out there which might be a better pick for you and your family? Of course! Everyone’s wants and needs are different, and there are a million and one varieties of boats out there to fit each different niche. But you can’t go wrong with these 10 top picks, so check them all out as you do your boat buying research.

Editor’s note: this article was last updated in August of 2023.