Buying a fishing boat

What’s the best fishing boat to buy?

If you’re thinking of buying a fishing boat for recreational angling, there are a number of factors to consider. First of all, consider where you are going to fish, and what sort of fish you want to catch. You might be wanting to fish inland lakes or waterways, or out at sea. Consider your experience to decide if you will be fishing inshore within the shelter of the harbour, heading out to local fishing grounds, or even offshore. You’ll also want to decide whether you will be fishing mostly on your own, with family or a group of friends. Think about where you want to keep the boat. All of these factors will influence your decision in finding the best boat to meet your needs. Speak to someone knowledgeable if you’re not sure, who can help point you in the right direction. As boat sales specialists and keen fishermen here at RBS Marine, we are always happy to offer advice with no obligation. It may be that we have a boat for sale that might suit your needs, or with our extensive network of broker colleagues across the UK, we can also offer you a boat finding service, at no extra cost to you.

What should you look for in a fishing boat?

There are a number of qualities you’ll want to look for in a boat you intend to use specifically for fishing. These include:


Is the boat stable and capable at sea in reasonable conditions? Whilst it would be unwise to choose to go out to sea in poor weather conditions, weather can change quickly while you’re already out and you want to be sure your boat is capable of getting you back home safely. Things like weight, hull shape and strength of build all affect a vessel’s seakeeping abilities. Boats that were manufactured in Europe after June 1998 will all be CE Certified under the Recreational Craft Directive and this will state the design category in which the boat is suitable for use. If you are going to be fishing in inshore or sheltered waters, a boat with a category ‘C’ rating should be sufficient, indicating it could be used in conditions up to a force 6 in wave heights of up to 2m. For more coastal or offshore fishing, you’ll want a category ‘B’ boat for use in conditions up to a force 8 and wave heights of up to 4m.

How does the boat sit at anchor?

When you get to your ideal fishing spot, you’ll probably want to drop anchor, sort out your tackle, cast your line and sit back and wait for that bite. You won’t be relaxed if the boat is throwing you about all over the place, and even worse, you might spill your drink! A heavier boat with more of a keel will sit well at anchor.

Cover from the elements

You might have decided you’re a fair weather fisherman, but even in the UK the sun can get very hot on a summer’s day, so shelter from the sun can be just as important as shelter from the wind or rain. Canvas covers or hard tops can provide much needed relief. If you’re going to want to head out all year round, at least consider a boat with an enclosed wheelhouse and even heating if you like to be cosy.

Stable platform when drift fishing

Just as it is important to be stable at anchor, you also want to be stable whilst drift fishing. Again, having more of a keel, as is seen on the Rodman Boats, will stop too much roll for a much more comfortable drift.

Ample deck space/walk-around

It’s no good getting a bite from a fish and then having no room to work with it, or getting your lines tangled up with your fishing buddies. Being able to walk all the way around the boat means you have a complete range of movement, and it’s even better if that walk around is wide and safe enough that you can concentrate more on what’s at the end of your line rather than holding on for dear life! A large cockpit space is also important to have space to land the fish at the end of the fight.

Easy to drop and retrieve an anchor

Being able to anchor easily will make for a much more pleasant fishing trip, and ensure you’re not wasting time with anchoring and getting more time fishing. You want to make sure there is easy access to the front of the boat (again, this is where a good walk-around deck comes in) and the boat being fitted with a good manual, or even better, an electric windlass, will take the hard work out of anchoring.

Fitted with navigation equipment

There is some serious equipment out there on the market for finding that shoal of fish you want to get into, but there are plenty of simple and cost effective fish finders on the market which will do the job well enough. A fish finder integrated with a chart plotter is even better to ensure you can safely navigate to your perfect fishing spot, and return right back to that secret spot you’ve found…

How much is a fishing boat?

Boats for recreational fishing can range from a few hundred pounds for a pre-owned open boat with a small outboard that you might find on Gumtree or Ebay, or into the millions for a luxury sports fishing mega yacht like the Vikings or Jarrett Bay boats. A ‘cheap’ fishing boat to buy, may not provide you the best economy long term, boats and their engines require a fair bit of maintenance, and buying a cheap boat that has been poorly maintained may see you needing to replace costly parts and spend out on repairs during your ownership. Prices do vary, however there is a boat for every budget.

What is the best starter boat? 

Again, this can depend on what sort of fishing you want to do. You might want to start with a smaller boat for inland or sheltered coastal fishing. If you keep the boat on a trailer and have room at home, then you can avoid mooring costs, but will need to have a suitable place to launch the boat and leave the car/trailer while you are out. This isn’t always an easy thing to do if you are on your own though. For many people having a mooring for the boat in the summer works well, and then they can bring the boat home on the trailer to save on winter mooring/storage costs.

However, if you want to get straight out to coastal marks with your first boat, and want to have the creature comforts of a covered wheelhouse, toilet, cooking facilities etc, something like the Rodman 810Rodman 870 or Rodman 890 Ventura is a great place to start. These boats have a class-leading strength of build making them ideal for sea fishing, but this does mean they are too large for towing behind a vehicle in the UK, so you’d need a mooring or marina berth to keep the boat on. These models are available as used fishing boats and we also have new Rodman boats available. Why not drop us a line to see what we currently have on the market?

Buying a new fishing boat

Here at RBS Marine, we are the agents for Rodman Boats. In our opinion, a fishing boat that has good deck space, is reliable, sea worthy and of course looks pretty cool, is the best fishing boat you can buy! Rodman boats offer new Fisher & Cruiser style boats, with the new ‘Evolution’ range offering the latest in new boat features and technology, along with the outboard powered Rodman 890 Ventura in a pilot house style, and the fast and open Rodman 33 Offshore.

Buying a used Fishing boat

As well as considering the type of boat you want, when buying a used boat you also want to consider the boat’s condition. If you’re spending a fair amount of money on the boat, you’ll want to have the boat surveyed to check for any potential defects or issues. You’ll also want to be sure that the boat has the relevant and suitable paperwork, as you may need this whilst the boat is in your ownership, and you’ll certainly need it when you come to sell it.

As boat brokers, we will check paperwork and ask the owner for a full and honest description when we list the boat for sale, but of course there is the potential for issues that are unknown to the broker or owner to arise, and that is why a survey can be very important. A broker can support you through the buying process. If you find a boat that you like that is for sale with a private owner, we offer a boat buying consultancy service, where, if the vendor of the boat is in agreement and prepared to work with us, we will check all the paperwork, prepare the sales paperwork, and handle funds through our trust account for a fixed fee. This can really take the stress out of buying a boat privately, helping ensure that the purchase is concluded correctly, especially if you are relatively new to buying boats. Contact us for more info on this service if you think it would be of interest to you.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in the UK?

Will you need a license to drive a your fishing boat in the UK? Well as long as you are using the boat for recreational and pleasure purposes at sea in the UK, there is little required in the way of licensing and there is no mandatory competency test, like there is for driving. However, anyone taking a boat out on the water, in whatever capacity would be strongly encouraged to undertake training in order to ensure their own safety, and the safety of others on the water. If you’ve never done any boating at all before, you might be surprised to discover that the water is not like the road, you will need to learn to read navigation markers, and understand boating rules and etiquette to avoid an accident on the water.

By law, the only license you will need on a boat of up to 26m in length, is a radio license for using a handheld or fixed VHF. This is only in the UK and laws overseas may differ.

Examples of new fishing boats offered by RBS Marine

Rodman 33 Offshore

The Rodman 33 Offshore is a boat for the thrill seeking fisherman! Built on a hull refined by Rodman for their 33 Fast Patrol Vessel, and fitted with twin outboard engines up to 350hp each, this boat is capable of reaching speeds of nearly 50 knots, and will get you to your offshore fishing marks in no time. Ideal for fishing groups of up to 8, but certified Category B for 10 people, there is plenty of outside space and comfortable padded gunnels for support when you’ve got a bite! For more details on pricing and specification, click the picture below:

Rodman 1290 Evolution

Rodman’s best known boat in the UK is probably the Rodman 1250. This hugely popular model has been around for over 20 years, and with her flared hull that makes for excellent sea keeping, and her practical and comfortable layout, she’s long been considered the boat of choice for those who want to do some serious fishing coupled with longer range cruising. In 2020 Rodman announced the new Rodman 1290 Evolution, based on the proven 1250 hull but achieving a new level of luxury and usability with a new super structure, new layout and new interior design. Perfect for the fishing/cruising couple or family, who appreciate style and design coupled with strength and quality.  For more details on pricing and specification, click the picture below:

Rodman 890 Ventura

One of Rodman’s smaller models, the Rodman 890 Ventura was also the first leisure model to be launched from the Rodman Shipyard with outboard engines. Although this boat is a little lighter and with more of a planing hull than her inboard counterparts, she offers many advantages for fishing; you can spec the boat with a dedicated ‘fishing unit’ in the cockpit which features live bait well, sink, tackle storage and integrated rod holders. You can also have rod holders in the gunnels and a deck wash pump. The pilot house style allows for 360 degree visibility from the helm, and the side decks have equal width all round. This boat was first launched in 2016, but has a number of new features in the new 2022 model, including hull windows, separation between the two cabins and new layout in the heads. For more details on pricing and specification, click the picture below:

Rodman 1090 Evolution

The Rodman 1090 Evolution is just over 34′ and a great size for fishing and cruising with family and friends, or even heading out single handed. The side door ensures quick and easy access from the helm to the side deck, and the large cockpit and walk around side decks are as great for playing a fish as they are for young family and pets. Plenty of interior space for longer trips away, there are two cabins with four berths and a separate heads/shower compartment. The Rodman 1090 Evolution can be specified with a hard top or flybridge according to your preference. The hard top version features a large electric sliding sunroof as standard. For more details on pricing and specification, click the picture below:

Rodman 1250 Fisher Pro

Considered the ultimate sport fishing boat by many, the Rodman 1250 Fisher Pro is geared up to offer the serious fisherman, some serious fishing. Used all around the world, the 1250 Fisher Pro offers excellent deck space, bait wells, cockpit sink, flybridge hard top, extensive rod holders and spacious accommodation as standard. Additional specialist equipment that can be fitted includes outriggers, fighting chairs or a tuna tower. For more details on pricing and specification, click the picture below: