From the size of your family to the shape of your shoreline, every cottage presents unique needs for boaters. But with everything from passive pontoons to kitted-out watersports boats available, there’s a type of boat that suits how you spend your time on the water. If you’re in the market for a new boat (which you’ll definitely want to insure with boat-specific insurance), here are seven cottage-friendly types that should be on your radar.
All-purpose fishing boats
We’re lucky to live in a country with access to 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, so if you’re an avid angler, there’s no reason to specialize in one type of fish. From bass and walleye to northern pike and yellow perch, you’ll find plenty to catch in the Great Lakes and beyond—and you’ll be in the best position to mix it up with an all-purpose fishing boat.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking these boats are just for fishing. Their deeper hulls and higher sides make them great for kids compared to shallower watercraft, and there’s usually enough seating for full-family weekend adventures, even if you’re just transporting luggage to and from the marina.
If you’ve got a big family, a bowrider might be the boat for you. These boats typically have room for eight or more passengers divided into two seating areas: the standard “cockpit” where the driver sits, and the “bow cockpit,” which is in front of the driver. These versatile boats have become a mainstay of cottage country because they’re great for everything from watersports to family outings and sunset joyrides.
If you grew up spending summers at a Canadian cottage, forget everything you knew about pontoons. These boats have evolved drastically from their roots as your grandparents’ “comfy cruisers” and your parents’ “party barges.” These days, do-it-all pontoons combine comfort and cabin space with a surprising amount of performance. Which is why you’re seeing more of them than ever on cottage-country lakes.
A lot of cottagers buy boats to get more enjoyment out of their cottage. Others need a boat just to get there. And then there’s the luxurious cabin cruiser, which is essentially a full-fledged cottage on the water. If you’re not in the mood to spare any expenses, a cabin cruiser offers the ultimate boating experience, complete with a kitchen, a bathroom, and space for you to snooze in style. Higher-end models even feature showers, dishwashers, and air conditioning.
If your day trips and evening joyrides call for more space, the deck boat may be calling your name. Larger than a bowrider, it extends the concept of the “bow cabin”—literally—with extra seating up front. It offers all the same versatility and fun of the bowrider, just with more seating, stability, and storage. You can also find deck boats with extended swim platforms for sunny days when you and your family anchor at your favourite sandbar.
Some cottagers favour quiet mornings paddling around a foggy inlet. Others aren’t happy unless they’re making—or riding—a wake. If you fall into the latter camp, a watersports boat—also known as a ski/wake/surf boat—may be for you. All-purpose fishing boats, jack-of-all-trades bowriders, and even powerful pontoons can all tow whatever you throw at them, but watersports boats have special features that take wake-riding to the next level. Different hull angles and engine placements create different wakes for your watersport of choice, while propellers tucked beneath the boat keep everyone safe.
Fish and ski boats
You can pack only so much fun into a cottage weekend, but that’s not going to stop us from trying. For the families who want the best of both worlds, fish and ski boats cater to early-morning anglers and afternoon wakeriders alike. They’re essentially bowriders at heart, which means they’re also great for simple family cruises. But added features like ski storage, rope attachments, rod lockers, and swivel-chair mounts make them amazing all-rounders for whichever cottage activity calls your name.
Looking to buy a boat for your cottage? Aviva makes it easy to protect your investment with NauticLife, specialized insurance for boaters.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.