21 Best Affordable Bay Boats for the Money

If you’re looking for a boat to cruise through shallower waters, a bay boat is the answer. They’re great for near-shore or inshore fishing. And they can also cross larger, deeper bodies of water when necessary.

But if you’re in the market for one of these flexible vessels, how do you choose the right one? That’s where we can help!

We’re going to take a look at the 21 best bay boats for the money. We’ll set out their top features and customizable options. And by the time we’ve finished, you’ll be one step closer to making the perfect choice.

So if you’re ready, let’s get started!

Best Cheap Bay Boats

1. Contender 25 Bay

Contender 25 Bay

The Contender 25 Bay has all the versatility of the perfect bay boat. It’s great whether you’re fishing or cruising inshore, or heading offshore on a calm day.

It comes with forward seating in the bow as standard, plus pop-up jump seats in the aft. Anglers will love the Livewell plumbing, electric reel outlets, rod holders, forward casting platforms and trolling motors.

And there’s plenty of scope to customize your build too. Choose from a range of different consoles, electronics, leaning posts and tops.


2. Ranger 2360 Bay

Ranger 2360 Bay

The 2360 Bay from Ranger is designed for comfort offshore and easy handling in the flats.

It’s 23’ 5” long and offers 300 horsepower, with a flared bow to cut through choppier waters. Choose from eight different motors from Mercury and Mercury Verado.

Inside, everything is designed for maximum convenience. There’s plenty of storage, and space to stand and deal with trolling lines. The central console houses a portable WC, and there’s a huge integrated cooler and fold-down jump seats in the aft.


3. Tidewater 2210 Carolina Bay

Tidewater 2210 Carolina Bay

The 2210 Caroline Bay from Tidewater is a bay boat that’s capable of handling big water. It’s 22’ 10” along the centerline, and has a maximum of 250 horsepower. There’s a large casting deck and a big bow flair to cut through the waves.

There are fold-up jump seats and eight rod holders. Extra rod holders, a tackle box and a large cooler can be added if you wish. And it can be customized with a range of additional seating features.

It comes with a Yamaha F 150 XB motor as standard. Optional upgrades to a 200, 250 or VF 250 are available. And there’s a huge range of other optional extras for everything from the console to the sound system.


4. Bayliner T18Bay

Bayliner T18Bay

The T18Bay from Bayliner’s Trophy series is 18’2” long and has a maximum horsepower of 115. It’s a great option for those wanting excellent fishing features at a keen price.

It will carry up to six people and features spacious casting decks fore and aft. There’s plenty of storage space, a self-bailing cockpit, and an M-hull design to keep things steady.

It comes with a Mercury outboard motor for reliable handling. And there’s a range of optional fishing accessories, including a forward Livewell, bow fishing seat and Lowrance fish finder.


5. Crestliner 1800 Bay

Crestliner 1800 Bay

The 1800 Bay from Crestliner offers plenty of space and storage. This all-welded aluminum boat is 18’6” long, with a range of 90 to 150 horsepower.

Features include port and starboard rod holders, each holding two rods up to 10’ long. A vertical rack on the console will hold another six rods. And there’s a 21-gallon aerated Livewell with a timer and recirculating system.

A 48-quart cooler doubles as a seat, and there are two more jump seats in the stern.


6. Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer

Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer

The 251 CE, or Coastal Explorer, from Grady-White is a great option for shallow water. It will cope with depths down to just 14 inches. And the 20-inch-deep aft cockpit is a lot deeper than most other bay boats out there.

It’s 24’7” long along the centerline. It will carry up to 10 people, making it well suited to family outings and fishing parties.

Casting decks at the fore and aft can be used as seating if needed. Integrated rod storage comes as standard. And you’ll also get a Livewell with a capacity of 15 gallons.


7. Mako 18 LTS

Mako 18 LTS

Mako’s 18 LTS is a bay boat that can also handle the flats. The decked bow offers lots of space for casting. And there’s a pocket in the transom, allowing planing in very shallow water.

A Livewell with an 18-gallon capacity comes as standard, as does rod storage for six rods. There’s also a 72-quart cooler which doubles as a helm seat.

It comes with a Mercury outboard and a custom-matched aluminum trailer too.


8. Robalo 226 Cayman

Robalo 226 Cayman

The 2022 version of Robalo’s 226 Cayman is a bay boat with the feel of a big boat. It comes equipped with a 200 horsepower Yamaha motor and will handle all kinds of conditions. You can upgrade to a 250 horsepower motor if you wish.

It measures 22’6” long down the centerline and will carry up to 8 people. Unusually for a boat of this size, there’s a fully closed off compartment for the head. A porta-potty can be provided as an optional extra.

There’s bags of storage and a range of smart upholstery options too.


9. Ranger RB200

Ranger RB200

The RB200 from Ranger features a dry shallow-drafting hull. You’ll be able to plane quickly, even in shallow water. It comes with a 150 horsepower Mercury motor. And there’s enviable throttle control and precision steering.

There’s a wide casting deck at the fore, with enough space for multiple anglers. You’ll also get a Livewell at both the fore and aft, plus rod boxes and bags of storage. And it comes with a Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum 70 pound bowguard trolling motor as standard.

Customizable features include a range of other trolling motors and bow electronics. And there’s a fishing package to provide everything an angler could ask for.


10. Pathfinder 2500 TRS

Pathfinder 2500 TRS

The 25-foot long Pathfinder 2500 TRS is a big bay boat with performance to match. There’s a spacious cockpit, 16 degrees of deadrise and high exterior freeboard.

And loads of fishing-related features come as standard. Raised casting platforms offer plenty of storage underneath. Rod boxes sit beneath the gunwale. And you’ll be able to comfortably fit 5-gallon buckets in the deck boxes.

You’ll also get 120 quarts of cooler capacity at fore and aft, plus tackle storage and built-in jump seats.


11. Sportsman Masters 207

Sportsman Masters 207

The versatile Masters 207 from Sportsman can get you to the sandbar just as easily as to secluded fishing spots. It measures 20’4” down the centerline – but its modest size packs in plenty of features.

It comes with electronics, good storage, under gunwale rod racks and a swim platform. There’s even an LED lighting package and no fewer than three Livewells as standard.

The shallow draft will handle skinny water. And there’s an optional canvas T-top for shade.


12. Sea Hunt BX 25 FS

Sea Hunt BX 25 FS

The BX25S from Sea Hunt will handle the flats or intercoastal waterways with ease.

The standard features here are truly impressive. They include a bait tank leaning post complete with captain’s chairs, underwater LED lights, and an integrated fiberglass T-top with tempered glass enclosure. Also included is a Yamaha touchscreen display and integrated electric steering.

There are plenty of optional extras too, including a recirculating Livewell, porta-potty and Kingfish rod holders.


13. Scout 251 XSS

Scout 251 XSS

Scout’s 251 XSS is one of the most expensive options on our list. But you get a lot of bang for your buck.

It’s 24’10” down the centerline and has a 68-gallon fuel capacity and maximum 400 horsepower. Its 13” draft allows backwater fishing, while the bow, hull and freeboard design slice cleanly through big water.

Standard features include lockable rod storage boxes at port and starboard, a leaning post with integrated rod holders, trim tabs and a transom ladder. Choose from optional extras including an aerated bait well, porta-potty and rear jump-seat cushions.


14. Yellowfin 24 Bay

Yellowfin 24 Bay

The 24’10” long 24 Bay from Yellowfin will suit both tournament anglers and families.

It has a 14-inch draft, 72-gallon fuel capacity and is powered by a 400 horsepower Max-Verado motor. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient bay boats out there.

The forward casting deck has plenty of storage underneath, and two Livewells at the aft offer a total 80-gallon capacity. The bow step includes a fish box, and there’s recess to hold a 5-gallon bucket too.


15. Everglades 243cc

Everglades 243cc

The 243cc from Everglades is one of the most popular bay boats out there. It’s just as comfortable in the backwaters as it is miles offshore.

It features two seats at the stern, either side of a Livewell. They can be folded down when not in use to create a huge casting deck. And the low-profile bow rails and pop-up cleats make simple work of cast-netting live bait.

Optional extras include a GPS-enabled trolling motor, jackplate, lifting platform and upper station.


16. Cape Horn 23 Cape Bay

Cape Horn 23 Cape Bay

The 23 Cape Bay from Cape Horn features a 15-degree deadrise, 80-gallon fuel capacity and maximum 300 horsepower.

It’s quiet, smooth, and easy to handle. And there’s no bow-rise on the take-off, enabling you to launch in the shallowest water without trimming the engine up.

It combines rugged construction with comfort features like contoured cushions and ergonomically positioned hardware. Tilt tackle trays, two Livewells and lockable storage for six 8’ rods are included as standard.


17. Regulator 26XO

Regulator 26XO

The Regulator 26 XO provides the flexibility to fish or cruise in- or offshore. It offers over 122 square feet of deck, generous storage and comfortable seating. All that makes it both a family- and angler-friendly option.

Included as standard are built-in coolers, a stand-up head compartment and flush-folding rear cockpit seats.

You can choose from a range of Yamaha motors with the option of a hydraulic jackplate. Other optional extras include the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra trolling motor, for weighing anchor in shallow waters.


18. Sea Born FX25 Bay

Sea Born FX25 Bay

The FX25 Bay from Sea Born measures 24’11” along the centerline. Its performance is enhanced by a single-step hull, and there’s a large forward casting platform and sportfish-style transom.

Standard features include power-assist and tilt steering, a 58-quart rear insulated Livewell, and main and lower storage boxes. You’ll also get a choice of upholstery and powder coat colors.

Customizable options include Simrad HALO 20+ broadband radar, power pole, freshwater system and slide-out cooler.


19. Sea Pro 248 Bay

Sea Pro 248 Bay

The 248 Bay Series from Sea Pro is a 24’8” bay boat with a maximum 350 horsepower. It has a 70-gallon fuel capacity, and comes with a load of fishing-friendly accessories as standard. These include two 30-gallon Livewells, a 150-quart fish box and lockable rod storage.

There are plenty of optional extras too, including a trolling motor, additional rod holders and 12” hydraulic jackplate. You can even get a freshwater shower.


20. SeaVee 270z

SeaVee 270z

If you’re looking for a bay boat for exposed coastal areas and occasional forays offshore, Seavee’s 270z could be it. Its 15” hull draft allows it to glide into skinny waters. And you can install up to two 10’ power poles for easy anchoring.

The twin stepped hull can be powered by single or dual motors, offering excellent performance in all conditions.

Anglers will love the oversized casting platforms at fore and aft. Front and rear fish boxes and two bait wells are included as standard. And the leaning post offers plenty of rod storage, plus the option of a cooler below.


21. Boston Whaler 250 Dauntless

Boston Whaler 250 Dauntless

If you like your bay boats sleek, comfortable and elegant, check out the 250 Dauntless from Boston Whaler. It offers a smart bow lounge, roomy center console, and plenty of accessories for angling, watersports and cruising.

Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the 35-gallon stern Livewell, bow fish box and abundance of rod holders. Cruisers will love the comfortable seating options, including fold-up stern deck seating and forward port and starboard bow seats with folding backrests.

There’s also a swim platform with an angled ladder to make it easier to reboard. And there’s a convenient head compartment with generous door for easy access.


Ready to choose?

That brings us to the end of our round-up of 21 of the best bay boats for the money. All the models here give you great performance, whatever your budget. And with tonnes of customizable options, you can get the perfect boat for your needs.

We hope you’re soon taking your new bay boat out on the water!

Leave a Comment