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Top 15 Trawlers for 2023

  • By Patrick Sciacca
  • October 13, 2023

For every shoe, there’s a foot, and for every boating enthusiast, there’s a yacht. For those individuals who like to cruise their yachts across blue water, spend months on board or voyage to remote beaches and quiet coves, a trawler yacht is the go-to vessel choice. But even within this yacht genre, there are many options. For example, there are some mighty midsize trawlers that are easily capable of transatlantic crossings for an adventurous couple, and then there are megayacht-size craft with next-level amenities that require extra crew. Some trawler-yacht builders offer significant customization and others work from a fixed options list. There are single-engine trawlers and twin-engine trawlers. One thing that is common is that these trawler yachts are designed from the ground up for yachtsmen with wanderlust in their hearts.

Top Trawlers 

The following 15 trawlers are all vessels we’ve written about. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Nordhavn 96 : Built for an owner who desired to self-sufficiently while cruising the world, literally.
  • Beneteau Grand Trawler 62 : This trawler can travel nonstop for 1,000 nautical miles.
  • Kadey-Krogen 52 : This twin-engine-capable, all-oceans trawler is a solid fit for voyaging cruising couples.
  • Bering Yachts B76 : The B76 is the builder’s first fully custom trawler in this size range.
  • Ranger Tugs R-43 Command Bridge : This vessel is equally comfortable at a 7-knot stroll or an 18-knot jog.
  • Beneteau 48 Swift Trawler : Based on the builder’s Swift Trawler 47, this yacht has a resin-infused fiberglass hull.
  • Kadey-Krogen 50 Open : The 50 Open can cruise at 6 knots nonstop for 5,000 nautical miles.
  • Outer Reef 620 Trident : It has a three-stateroom layout and optional 600 hp Cummins diesels.
  • Grand Banks 60 Skylounge : This yacht is efficient across a variety of cruising speeds.
  • Krogen Express 52 : Headroom to spare, two staterooms, a chef-ready galley and long range define this trawler yacht.
  • Grand Banks 85 Skylounge : Grand Banks’ V-warp hull form makes for a level running attitude, seakindliness and long range.
  • Vicem Yachts 82 Classic : Construction is in cold-molded, strip-planked mahogany with epoxy.
  • Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht : Power on this Outer Reef is a pair of 500 hp John Deere 6090 diesels.
  • Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot : Did someone say this is a 20-knot Nordhavn?
  • Marlow 58E : A high level of customization and admirable performance are at the heart of the Marlow 58E.

Nordhavn 96

The Nordhavn 96 is the yacht builder’s second-largest yacht its 17-model fleet, which ranges from 41 to 120 feet length overall. (There is a new 112 on the drawing table.) The builder says the N96 is based on its earlier 86-footer with a 10-foot cockpit extension, which increases both main-deck, skylounge and below-deck volume. The N96 we reviewed was built by an owner who previously had an 86-foot Nordhavn, but with his plans for extended cruises to remote destinations, the 96 was the right size for his voyaging plans. In fact, since the owner took delivery of the boat, it has been on a continuous circumnavigation.

Nordhavn 96

Quick Specifications

7,000 Gal.
900 Gal.
400,000 lb.

Beneteau Grand Trawler 62

Beneteau’s Grand Trawler 62 has 1,000-plus-mile range and 20-knot speed with twin 730 hp i6 MAN diesels . The Grand Trawler 62 is the builder’s flagship in its Trawler series, which also includes the Swift Trawler 35 , Swift Trawler 41 Sedan ,  Swift Trawler 41 Fly and Swift Trawler 48 . Small touches set the Beneteau Grand Trawler 62 apart. They include sea rails on all lockers to keep stowed food and gear in place, leather-wrapped interior handrails for security in a seaway, and leather drawer pulls like those found on larger yachts. Long-range cruising accommodations include a full-beam master stateroom aft, a forepeak VIP and twin-berth guest stateroom. A Quick X3 gyrostabilizer helps mitigate any potential rocking and rolling on rough days.

Beneteau Grand Trawler 62

1,022 Gal.
222 Gal.
61,729 lb.

Kadey-Krogen 52

The Kadey-Krogen 52 is the trawler-yacht builder’s smallest offering in its raised-pilothouse series, complete with a Portuguese Bridge. Owners can choose from either a two- or three-stateroom layout, and between a single-diesel engine or twin-diesel engines, for owners seeking redundancy. The standard engine is a 231 hp John Deere diesel. With the single-engine setup, draft is 5’5” and with twins it’s a shallower 4’6”. At 6 knots, range is an ocean-crossing 4,850 nautical miles. At 7 knots, it’s 3,300 nm. At 9 knots, it 1,700 nm. The builder states, “The entire Krogen 52 is built from only three molded pieces for maximized structural integrity. There are no additional secondary bonds or caulk joints that can inevitably cause issues. All deck and superstructures are cored and vacuum-bagged to maximize strength while minimizing weight.” Additionally, six longitudinal stringers enhance overall strength.

Kadey Krogen 52

1,400 Gal.
400 Gal.
5’5” (single) 4’6” (twins)
70,000 lb.

Bering Yachts B76

Lemanja  is the first custom boat that Bering has built in this size range. The yacht is notable for its steel hull and aluminum superstructure, and for its 4,000-nautical-mile-plus range with its twin 404 hp Cummins QSL9 diesel engines. As rugged as the Bering 76 is built on the outside, it also offers homelike comforts in its skylounge inside, offering panoramic views out large windows surrounding the space. Sole-to-ceiling glass offers similar views in the open-plan salon. Accommodations are fox six guests in three staterooms with a master stateroom and two guest staterooms, plus crew accommodations. In addition to its traditional diesel engines, the B76 has a solar-rechargeable battery bank for hybrid propulsion.

Bering Yachts B76

6,750 Gal.
946 Gal.
287,000 lb.

Ranger Tugs R-43 Command Bridge

The Ranger Tugs R-43 Command Bridge is a long-distance cruiser with creature comforts. Our expert found the R-43 Command Bridge to be a solid candidate to cruise The Great Loop . We agree. Twin Volvo Penta IPS450 pod drives give the boat efficient low and high cruise speeds at 7 and 18 knots, respectively. For those that have work during their cruise, the R-43 Command bridge’s master stateroom is set up with an office with a desk. Long trips require extra stowage and a way to clean salty clothes, so on the R-43 Command Bridge there is a washer, dryer, auxiliary refrigerator/freezer and stowage under the dinette, which rises on electric rams. Voyagers who buy a R-43 Commander Bridge can opt for a Factory Delivery Experience, which is three days of instruction on Puget Sound, and includes in boat systems, handling and maintenance.

Ranger Tugs R-43 Command Bridge

300 Gal.
120 Gal.
2/Volvo Penta IPS450s

Beneteau Swift Trawler 48

The Beneteau Swift Trawler 48 has a 1,300-nautical-mile range at 8 knots, but can also speed away at 26 knots if the weather goes south in a hurry. Based on the builder’s 47-footer , the three-stateroom, two-head Swift Trawler 48 has a resin-infused fiberglass hull. Power is a pair of 425 hp Cummins diesels. The main-deck layout includes a galley aft setup, which is accessible to the cockpit. There, the seating and dining area can be fully enclosed, with tracks in place for side curtains. The helmsman is kept comfortable on long passages with a bolstered, pedestal bucket-style seat with a flip-up footrest. The Swift Trawler 48 we reviewed had upgraded 12-inch Raymarine HybridTouch displays (9-inch screens are standard).

Beneteau Swift Trawler 48

510 Gal.
169 Gal.
:27,896 lb.

Kadey-Krogen 50 Open

Designed for serious extended cruising,  Kadey-Krogen Yachts 50 Open provides owners with amenities that will enhance those longer passages. The galley is fitted with a Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, a four-burner Wolf range, a microwave and an optional dishwasher. Unlike in many trawlers and their traditional pilothouse design, the galley is located on the same level as the helm and salon. Belowdecks is the master stateroom amidships with two hanging lockers, 12 cabinets, additional drawers for stowage and an en suite head, shower and two sinks. Forward of the master is an office. The 50 Open’s hull has soft chines and a curved after end, much like the characteristics of a sailboat built for cruising. The result is an efficient hull form that provides a gentle landing into troughs when the sea gets a temper. This trawler can cruise at 6 knots for 5,000 nautical miles; 7 knots for 3,000 nautical miles; 8 knots for 2,100 nautical miles; and 9 knots for 1,200 nautical miles.

Kadey-Krogen 50 Open

1,240 Gal.
400 Gal.
68,000 lb.

Outer Reef 620 Trident

Outer Reef Yachts 620 Trident delivers a three-stateroom layout and optional 600 hp Cummins diesels that allow this vessel to approach a top hop of 21 knots. Cruising speed is a little over 16 knots, burning about 34 gallons of fuel per hour at 2,750 rpm. The amidships master stateroom has 6-foot-8-inch headroom, a walk-in closet and a shower enclosed in smoked glass. In the forepeak VIP stateroom, there are seven drawers, a hanging locker, a 31-inch Samsung TV and 7-foot headroom. The portside guest stateroom can convert to an office, too. The aft galley has a U-shape countertop, a three-burner electric cooktop, a Bosch microwave and a Vitrifrigo refrigerator and freezer. Cherry, walnut and oak are the available wood options.

outer reef 620 trident

800 Gal.
185 Gal.
:51,000 lb.

Grand Banks 60 Skylounge

It’s obvious after a quick peek inside the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge that the  Grand Banks Yachts  trademark external DNA is retained. The deck, cabin house and skylounge are all composed of infused carbon fiber, reducing weight aloft and creating a lower center of gravity. With twin 900 hp Volvo Penta D13 diesels , the 60 Skylounge can accelerate to 31 knots and cruise at about 25 knots. The 60 Skylounge can also travel up to 2,000 nautical miles at 10 knots on a 1,530-gallon fuel tank. Twin 1,000 hp Volvo Penta IPS1200s are also available.

Grand Banks 60 Skylounge

1,532 Gal.
291 Gal.
62,832 lb.

Krogen Express 52

The Krogen Express 52 runs on twin 440 hp Yanmar diesels and can cruise at 8 knots for 1,680 nautical miles or at 16 knots for 500 nautical miles. Top hop:  22 knots. In the interior,  Krogen Express  has outfitted the 52 with a master stateroom and a guest stateroom. The former has a queen island berth, more than 7-foot headroom, hanging lockers and smaller cubbies to port and to starboard, and an en suite head with a molded fiberglass shower stall with a seat, a VacuFlush toilet and a granite countertop. A power lift elevates the berth and grants access to more stowage underneath. The Krogen Express 52’s salon has a 26-inch HD LED TV and a home-theater system, leather Stressless chairs to port and a built-in, L-shape settee to starboard. The galley boasts granite countertops, a three-burner Force 10 propane range with an oven, a refrigerator, a GE microwave oven, a deep Elkay sink and a pullout sprayer faucet. There is a Buff Ultraleather Stidd helm seat for extra comfort during long runs.

Krogen Express 52

700 Gal.
370 Gal.
43,000 lb.

Grand Banks 85 Skylounge

The Grand Banks 85 Skylounge comes in at more than 87 feet length overall and displaces 108,000 pounds, with a 22-plus-foot beam and an air draft of just under 26 feet. Owners can choose either a three- or four-stateroom layout. The standard motors are twin 1,000 hp Volvo Penta IPS diesels, twin 1,300 hp MAN straight-shaft diesels are optional. With the larger engines, owners can also choose an optional stern thruster, in addition to the standard bow thruster. With the IPS diesels, top speed is 26.5 knots and fuel burn is 100 gallons per hour, resulting in a range of 699 nautical miles. At a 21-knot cruise speed, fuel consumption drops to 57 gph, and range climbs to 972 nm. At a 9-knot jog, fuel burn falls to 9 gph, and the Grand Banks 85 Skylounge can cruise nonstop for about 2,500 nautical miles.

Grand Banks 85 Skylounge

2,640 Gal.
370 Gal.
108,025 lb.

Vicem 82 Classic Flybridge

The Vicem 82 Classic is a flybridge model built in cold-molded mahogany, which creates a stout hull form with reduced weight. The yacht is notable for its timeless Downeast lines and strong joiner work. For cruising enthusiasts, the Classic 82 Flybridge is powered with twin 900 hp Volvo Penta D13 diesels . The yacht has a top-end speed of 17.8 knots, and the cruising speed is 15 knots. At 9 knots, and considering a 10-percent fuel reserve, range is reportedly 1,100 nautical miles.  Accommodations three en-suite-equipped staterooms. The master stateroom is full-beam and amidships with a king-size berth is on centerline. The starboard-side guest stateroom and a forepeak VIP each have queen-size berths.

Vicem Classic 82 Flybridge

1,585 Gal.
500 Gal.
10 Knots

Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht

Built for an enthusiastic cruising couple after a three-year boat search, the Outer Reef Yachts 610 Motoryacht (part of the builder’s Classic series ), was customized with a fore-and-aft berth in the owners’ stateroom (as in, not athwartships), and berths rather than bunks in the smaller of two guest staterooms. This Outer Reef 610 was designed to be used as a liveaboard vessel, so the salon is not set up for dining (there are tables in the pilothouse, on the aft deck and on the bridge). A pair of swivel chairs in the salon face the built-in couch and the pop-up TV to port. The 610 is built with hand-laid fiberglass, PVC coring above the waterline, resin infusion and a vinylester barrier coat against osmosis. Power is twin 500 hp John Deere 6090 diesels turning ZF transmissions . The 610 tops out at about 13.5 knots with full tanks and 21 people aboard. The engines burn 20 gph at 1,800 rpm for 11 knots at 45 percent engine load. Those numbers should allow it to cross oceans without shortening engine life.

trawler yachts brands

1,000 Gal.
300 Gal.
93,000 lb.

Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot

Nordhavn has long been known for its stout circumnavigation -capable craft, and the Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot carries on the the tradition of a beefy build with addition of…speed. Twenty-knots-plus, actually. Twin 715 hp Cummins diesel inboards and a new semidisplacement hull form  are said to be key to the performance equation. The Nordhavn 59CP has a 777-nautical-mile range at a 9.3-knot cruise, and a 255-nm range at its 20.3-knot top-end. Construction is a solid fiberglass hull bottom supported by full-length longitudinal stringers and a series of transversal supports for added backbone. High freeboard should keep the decks dry in a seaway, while rails keep the crew secure during transits. Nordhavn says the 59CP has a “CE category A unlimited offshore rating, ensuring the vessel has the seakeeping and strength capabilities to take on most serious coastal cruises up to 1,000 miles.”

Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot, Nordhavn

1,100 Gal.
444 Gal.
88,000 lb.

Marlow Yachts 58E

Following on the successful Marlow 57 , the Marlow 58E was started from scratch on a blank sheet of paper. The essence of the 58E is that it has better performance and more internal and external volume than her predecessor. The centerline length grew 10 inches over the 57, but the waterline length increased 16 inches and the beam widened 4 inches. If you were to examine the two boats out of the water, you would see more bell-shaped forward sections making for a soft impact with the vee’d portion. Power options start with twin 575 hp Caterpillar C9 diesels, but the 58E we got aboard had beefier twin 1,015 hp Caterpillar C18 diesels. Top speed: 27.9 knots. At 8 knots, the Marlow 58E can cruise nonstop for 1,400 nautical miles.

trawler yachts brands

1,500 Gal.
300 Gal.
69,000 lb.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a trawler yacht?

A true trawler typically has a full-displacement hull form and robust construction to handle open-water operation, and it’s designed to operate self-sufficiently for long periods of time. They are slow-cruising vessels, but over the years, hybrid yachts called fast trawlers have emerged to offer displacement-speed operation as well as the ability to run at planing speeds when desired.

What is a full-displacement hull form?

A displacement-hull form is known is for its rounded nature and deep draft. Full-displacement vessels do not plane on the water, but rather push through the water. This hull design makes displacement-hull vessels incredibly seakindly, but it also makes them relatively slow (think 5, 6, 7, 8 knots) when compared to semidisplacement- and planning-hull designs.

Is a long-range cruiser the same as a trawler?

While all trawlers are certainly long-range cruisers, not all long-range cruisers are trawlers. True trawlers will have full-displacement hull designs and not all long-range cruisers have them.

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Welcome to Nordhavn Trawler Yachts

Nordhavn is the world’s most celebrated expedition trawler yachts for adventure boaters of all levels. With models ranging from 41 to 120 feet, there is a Nordhavn perfectly suited to you, no matter what your experience or ambition. Nordhavn trawler yachts provide the safety and comfort necessary for expeditions to the highest latitudes of the globe and coastal day-cruises down the eastern seaboard. Known for robust construction, forward-thinking engineering, luxurious interiors, clever space planning, millions of successful ocean miles traveled and hundreds of happy, dream-fulfilled owners, Nordhavn is the number one name in trawler yachts.

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  • – KROGEN 44 AE
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Ready to Cruise

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 From the fine entry to the wineglass transom, Kadey-Krogen’s Pure Full Displacement hull design uses full end-to-end symmetry to provide a softer ride with less pounding, better tracking in a following sea, and a safer and more comfortable ride.

A low displacement-to-length ratio allows us to drive the hull through the water easily, making the most of the power on board, with lighter, lower-horsepower engines further reducing weight and improving efficiency.

Having a yacht that can cross oceans means more than just efficiency. The hull and components must hold up in those conditions, and contribute to the experience. Every aspect of Kadey-Krogen trawlers is carefully considered to meet expectations.

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Krogen 44 AE

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When cruisers really dig into our boats, when they come and see us in person at a boat show or soon after and we take them through all the onboard systems, we discover they’ve really done their research and know what they want. They understand many of the features, the construction, the hull design, they know what sets us apart. When you speak to someone who knows your product this well, you know you’ve found someone who can see the difference. That’s just another reason why we love our jobs here.

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2017 Krogen 58 EB

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2014 Krogen 55 Expedition

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2022 Summit 54 Motoryacht

Find these and more Kadey-Krogen Brokerage listings here

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Why Buy Factory Direct?

At Kadey-Krogen, when we say people matter, it’s not just marketing hyperbole and lip service. It’s deeply rooted in our ethos. We are a team of passionate boaters who love making the dreams of other passionate boaters come true. We feel we may have the best jobs in the world, and our direct-to-customer model allows our team to work directly with you. The customer benefits throughout the sales and build processes as well as after delivery when the real fun begins!

  • Every customer deals directly with Kadey-Krogen dedicated sales and production professionals
  • Nobody knows a Kadey-Krogen better than the folks that build and design them
  • 44-year legacy of building high-quality cruising yachts
  • Trusted by nearly 700 customers worldwide


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Sedan, pocket, pilothouse & walk around trawler yachts.

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Innovative lowrise pilothouse trawler design with excellent visibility from the helm, an expansive full beam salon, two staterooms, two heads, a full engine room and sizable flybridge/boat deck

Helmsman Trawlers 43 Sedan


The 43 Sedan builds upon the tough and proven hull design of our 43E Pilothouse, and offers a contemporary and stylish trawler design with full covered walk-around side decks and sizeable flybridge/boat deck

Helmsman Trawlers 38E Pilothouse


Innovative lowrise pilothouse trawler design with excellent visibility from the helm, an expansive full beam salon, separate day head for guests, a full engine room

Helmsman Trawlers 38 Sedan


A sedan-style trawler with classic lines and walk-around side decks, all-round visibility from the lower helm, spacious flybridge/boat deck, single or two-stateroom versions

Helmsman Trawlers 31 Sedan


A salty pocket trawler built on the renowned Camano 31 hull that features a full bed, separate head and shower compartments, and a comfortable flybridge

HELMSMAN TRAWLERS®  are solidly built and finely-crafted motor yachts. Models range from the pocket trawler class Helmsman 31 sedan to our new Expedition 46 Pilothouse.  Helmsman Trawlers’ pilothouse and sedan trawler yacht designs provide roomy and comfortable interiors, rich in fine woodwork and evocative of classic yachts while modern in every way -- and suited for both cruisers and liveaboards.

Helmsman Trawlers® are crafted to please the most discerning owners, though are surprisingly affordable. With modern wide-beam hull designs, top name equipment, and fit-and-finish achievable only with labor-intensive craftsmanship, they are a prize choice for those who won’t compromise quality but have no desire to pay too much. The Helmsman Trawlers® factory has considerable experience in the construction of these fine yachts, offers many options, and can expertly accommodate custom modifications.

The hulls of Helmsman Trawlers are robustly constructed of solid fiberglass using modern fiberglass hull construction techniques. Other FRP elements are manufactured using vacuum infusion. Full keels provide capable sea-keeping ability and modern diesel engines provide dependable long-range performance and trouble-free maintenance. Multi-layered construction of interior decks with sound attenuating elements reduce engine noise, and new insulation in our 38E and 43 models helps control temperature and deadens exterior sounds.  

Helmsman Trawlers® most popular yacht is the 38E Pilothouse Trawler. This boat offers the spaciousness of a much larger boat while fitting into a 40-foot slip. The low-rise pilothouse has excellent visibility and open communication with the salon and is a social area too while underway or in port. The full-beam salon is expansive and comfortable, with exceptional light and ventilation. A day head is a rare and practical feature, and the convertible settee and day head can be enclosed to provide a private suite for guests when needed. The flybridge is set back to maintain a low profile – which benefits windage and center-of-gravity. A high, flush bow, sturdy railings, full covered cockpit, deep pilothouse side deck footwells and secure flybridge stairs on both sides increase practicality and safety in adverse conditions.

The Helmsman Trawlers 43 Pilothouse is in steady production. This yacht design is derived from our 38 Pilothouse Trawler and expanded in every dimension. With the additional volume achieved from a longer and wider hull and additional freeboard we’ve added a second stateroom, expanded the salon, added more interior seating, and increased the cockpit area. 

We are pleased to offer the Helmsman Trawlers® 31 Sedan – an update to the original Camano 31. The Camano, with over 270 built, is well-known for many reasons including its outstanding hull design with great sea-keeping characteristics and economy through a wide range of cruising speeds. Helmsman Trawlers® has updated the lines on this boat, completely redesigned the interior, and has created a true pocket trawler yacht offered at an affordable price.

The Helmsman Trawlers® 37 is built on the same hull as the 38E and is available in one or two stateroom versions for cruisers who prefer the classic Europa-style lines and walkaround decks.

We are also excited to introduce the Helmsman Trawlers®46 Expedition Pilothouse – an expedition trawler yacht for the long-range cruiser and explorer.  

We appreciate your interest in Helmsman Trawlers®. Please feel free to contact us – we wish to be helpful in any way and welcome the opportunity to talk about these fine trawler yachts.

Helmsman – take the wheel!

trawler yachts brands

  • Paddle Board

Boating Beast

A Complete Guide to Trawler Boats: All You Need to Know!

John Sampson

If you’re looking for a dedicated fishing vessel for use at sea, the trawler is your best option. This vessel suits ocean-going fishing experiences thanks to its longer length, powerful motors, and deep hull. The trawler is similar to the motor yacht, with a shorter length and a design catering to anglers.

These models are ideal for spending days or weeks out on the water, giving you everything you need for the longest fishing trips. These models come with plenty of storage space for all your gear and room for plenty of fish.

Traditionally, the trawler is a working vessel used by fisheries. However, in recent years, boat manufacturers started producing designs suitable for the private market. Many models come with luxury fittings and living areas aboard the vessel, allowing you to live the life aquatic with all your creature comforts.

Many modern trawlers feature a full-displacement hull with a weighted keel, while others utilize a semi-displacement hull variation. The full-displacement model is ideal for moving through the water rather than on top of the surface. They make seaworthy vessels, but they are slower than the semi-displacement models.

The semi-displacement hull design also provides a low riding position on the water compared to other fishing boats . However, they rely on planning through the water rather than pushing through it. One design element that links both full and semi-displacement models is the distinctive look of the boat.

What Is a Trawler?

A Trawler is an ocean-going fishing boat provides a full or semi-displacement hull ideal with a ballasted design offering you excellent economy as the boat planes through the water.

As a result, they are suitable for long trips, spending days or weeks out on the water between refueling.

The trawler is ideal for slow cursing along the coastline, and it has the capability to reach deepwater offshore. As a result, it’s a great choice for deep-sea fishing, with all the accessories, including fighting chairs, to land large game fish.

The trawler provides the passengers with accommodations in the lower deck, with v-berths extending through the vessel’s bow. The quality of the berth depends on the price tag of the boat. Some trawler models come with fittings and accommodations that are similar to high-end motor yachts, offering a luxurious time out on the water.

Other models may have fewer luxury finishes, but they offer generous spaces for sleeping. The type of finishes and fittings in these boats determine the price tag. Models can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $1-million, depending on the size of the vessel and the quality of the customizations made to the boat.

Since these boats are large, they don’t suit trailering, and if you need to remove them from the water, you’re going to have to hire a professional transportation service to take the boat to the shipyard for repairs or to other launch areas on the coastline.

Some models may also have the capability to launch a small dinghy to reach the shore, allowing you to leave the boat on the water, anchored in place. There are cranes on board the boat to launch the tender into the water.

The trawler comes in a range of sizes, with 50-foot models being the most common choice. Boats smaller than 50-feet in length won’t offer you the same level of stability as the larger models, and the semi-displacement hull may cause smaller models to bounce up and down on the water –  not ideal if you’re sensitive to seas sickness.

Benefits of Trawlers

The trawler has several benefits as a fishing boat. Here are the top reasons for investing in one of these fishing vessels.

The longer models with full-displacement hulls offer you exceptional stability in the water, even in rough swell conditions. The hull displaces the water, allowing the boat to plane through the water at lower speeds.

Extended Range

The trawler boat is the ideal choice for reaching remote fishing locations and for extended fishing trips where you want to stay out on the ocean for days or weeks at a time. They have a fantastic range, with large fuel tanks and diesel engines providing excellent economy for longer trips at sea.

Live Aboard Accommodations

Trawlers are large boats, and they offer you plenty of room. All models come with liveaboard accommodations for fishing crews. These boats have enough space for up to 12-people or more, depending on the size of the vessel.

The type of accommodations can vary widely depending on the size of the boat, the manufacturing brand, and the price tag of the boat. Some models are like floating hotels, offering you the same luxury accommodations you would expect to find on a high-end motor yacht .

Full Amenities

Most models come with complete kitchens, full bathrooms, and several sleeping quarters. You get luxuries like microwaves and refrigerators for storing your food and perishables. Most models will have four-burner stoves featuring gas-powered operation and onboard gas tanks for power or trickle battery chargers to ensure you never run out of power at sea.

The trawler is second only to the motor yacht in terms of its luxury liveaboard accommodations. Cabin cruisers and some pontoon boats are close competitors, but you don’t get the extended range and offshore capabilities that you get with a trawler.

Nordhavn Trawler Cabin

Plenty of Customizations

The customizations and accessories are huge for trawlers, and you could end up spending as much as 40% of the sticker price on the customizations and fittings you make to your boat. Make sure you enquire about the costs of the customizations with your sales agent. Look for boats offering you the best range of standard customizations to avoid breaking your budget.

Many models come with split-level designs featuring triple stories with captain’s decks on the top, lounge areas in the mezzanine deck, and sleeping accommodations at the bottom of the vessel. The hull will typically also cater to large fish storage areas with ice machines and cold rooms.

Good Fuel Economy

The trawler operates on diesel motors, allowing for better economy and longer trips at sea. The range on these boats is excellent, allowing you to take long seafaring journeys to remote fishing spots.

Sealed Cockpits and Air-Conditioning

You get a captain’s deck positioned high on the boat for a better view of the water and the horizon. Some models come with sealed cockpits, including air conditioning to keep you cool on hot, humid days. All the sleeping quarters will usually include air conditioning units for a comfortable night’s rest out at sea.

Walk-Around Decks

The trawler allows you to reach all sides of the boat, and they come with a walk-around design that’s easy for the angler to navigate as they fight fish swimming under the boat .

Fishing Capabilities

Trawlers come with all the bells and whistles you need for your fishing trips. You get full electronics setups, including GPS and fish finders , as well as communications for reaching the coast guard and other vessels on the water.

These vessels also include fighting chairs, rod holders, rod racks, and plenty of storage for your gear all over the boat.

Disadvantages of Trawlers

The trawler is a fantastic boat for offshore fishing, but it comes with a few limitations some people may see as drawbacks.

No Watersports Capability

The trawler is a purpose-built design for fishing, and you don’t have any options for watersports with this model. Some boats may come with jet skis for reaching land and enjoying water sports or spearfishing out on the open ocean or at reef atolls.

Limited Speed and Handling

The trawler is a slow-moving boat designed for economy and cruising, not performance. The handling is good and smooth in the water. However, don’t expect to make any high-performance turns or reach high speeds with this model.

Not Trailerable

The sheer size of these vessels makes them unsuitable for trailering. You’ll have to organize a slip at your local marina for storing your boat when not in use, which adds to the vessel’s running costs. The motors are also expensive to repair since they have an internally mounted design.

Expensive to Maintain

The maintenance costs for your trawler can get expensive, especially in the luxury models with larger motors. As mentioned, you’ll have extra costs to consider, such as slip fees, when purchasing one of these boats.

Top Trawler Brands and Models

There are dozens of boat manufacturing brands and trawler models to choose from when selecting your boat. Here are our top picks for the best trawlers available.

Grand Banks

Grand Banks is one of the most established brands in the world for fishing trawlers. This company started building boats back in 1956, and they have a huge following in the commercial and private markets. The company was the first to introduce the cruising trawler back in the early 60s, with two of the most popular models of all time, the Chantyman and GB42 coming from its shipyard.

Grand Banks 42

Grand Banks builds its boats in Singapore, and its trawlers offer you semi-displacement hulls, with excellent finishes and quality with the fittings for the vessel. We love the use of teak wood throughout the boat, giving it a premium, classy look.

Grand Banks offers you a range of models with classic styling and excellent performance out on the water when deep-sea fishing. This company has over 70-years of building some of the best trawler boats in the world.

Beneteau Swift

The Beneteau Swift is a top-rated model from one of the world’s best trawler, sailboat, and powerboat brands.

Beneteau Swift

This trawler model includes a semi-displacement hull for better stability and smoother operation at sea, and you get plenty of spacious accommodations on the lower deck and mezzanine level of the boat . Beneteau takes incredible attention to detail with their vessels, giving you a model that’s luxurious and versatile.

Kadey Krogen

This Florida manufacturer has a reputation for building some of the best trawler models in the United States. You get a classic trawler style with modern upgrades to the vessel for a professional fishing experience out on the open ocean.

Kadey Krogen

Kadey Krogen is well-known for its Pure Displacement Hulls (PHD) technology, incorporating it in their designs for the last 40-years. You get a boat offering you superior stability at sea, no rocking, and clean, smooth planning through all water conditions.


This manufacturing brand has its headquarter in Dana Point, California. They are the premier shipbuilder on the west coast when it comes to making top-quality fishing trawlers that offer you everything you need for deep-sea fishing trips. The company builds its yachts in Taiwan, and they have a reputation for endurance on the open ocean.

Nordhavn builds its boats to cross entire oceans, allowing for the longest fishing trips. Hop in the boat in California and take it to Hawaii or Tahiti on a single trip. Nordhavn has a reputation for building technically perfect vessels, focusing on excellent engineering and design.

The Selene is another fantastic choice for your trawler. The company has its headquarters in China, but don’t let that fool you – these boats are functional, with high-quality design and materials. The Selene is available in a range of lengths from 42′ to 92′, with nine models available.


You get excellent standard features with this boat, including stern and bow thrusters, a lightweight fiberglass design, and easy maintenance.

Wrapping Up

The trawler is a great choice for dedicated anglers looking for an offshore model. Due to the price of these boats, many private owners choose to opt for smaller models like cabin cruisers . You get the same functionality as the trawler with better handling and a much lower price tag.

The trawler is a good choice if you’re thinking about starting an offshore deep seas fishing company where you take people out onto the water for fishing trips. The trawler is the ideal model for these excursions, allowing tour operators to accommodate as many people as possible for a profitable fishing trip.

However, if you’re a private owner, you can use the trawler for a range of activities, from deep-sea fishing to cruising between islands in the Caribbean or the Keys.

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John is an experienced journalist and veteran boater. He heads up the content team at BoatingBeast and aims to share his many years experience of the marine world with our readers.

A Complete Guide to Micro Skiffs: All You Need to Know!

A complete guide to narrow boats: all you need to know, a guide to aluminum fishing boats.

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The Ultimate Trawler Boat Buying Guide

ultimate guide to buying a trawler yacht

I have been writing about trawlers and powerboat cruising for many years. It is both an obsession and a fascination for me, as I witness hundreds of people, mostly couples, embrace the trawler lifestyle as a healthy alternative to routine living on land. While the last several years certainly got a lot of people and families to escape from a confined existence, choosing a freer life on the water away from so many imposed restrictions, the trawler lifestyle was already alive and well in North America.

(Below: "Growler", a Custom Zimmerman 36 Trawler once owned by Bill Parlatore, founder of Passagemaker Magazine.)

trawler boat owned by bill parlatore

What is the appeal of this lifestyle? For me, living aboard and operating trawler yachts represents a quality of life that embraces the values of self-sufficiency and independence, and adventure without sacrificing comfort. One is free to move as the mood dictates, finding a balance of nature while engaging as much—or as little—in society, careers, and other activities that compensate with convenience, glittery things, nice cars and houses, and other material things. Many come to realize at some point they are but distractions from a more grounded existence.

Operating a trawler does not demand the skills and experience required from a similar size sailboat . And it is relatively easy to learn the nuances of engine and vessel maintenance, navigation, and proper seamanship. Depending on what kind of powerboat one chooses, they can be economical to own and operate, and offer a pleasant home experience that often rivals luxury living ashore. And a point often missed when discussing this lifestyle, the skills needed to competently run a trawler offer stimulating physical and mental challenges that are immensely valuable at the stage of life when most of us pursue this life direction.

It is rewarding to gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment with every new port, every new challenge. Dealing with the vagaries of life on the water makes one stronger, more resilient, and better able to deal with just about anything life throws at us. A t-shirt captured that sentiment: “Calm seas never made a skilled sailor.”

And a final note before I begin. While we’ll look at the cost of admission into this life, most of us are at a point in life where we have more financial worth than time, so the cost of getting into this lifestyle is more than made up by a quality of life that most agree is hard to beat.

This guide to buying a trawler yacht  serves several functions, and I hope to satisfy them in the following pages. We will discuss the choices one has in the trawler market, and hopefully explain the value of each type as it relates to selecting the right boat. At the same time, I hope to underscore this discussion with a greater appreciation for what I believe is often missed. Choosing the right boat is only the beginning. There is much more to the selection process than simply choosing a layout that seems comfortable or a boat that comes with all the bells and whistles. Walking through a boat during a boat show is only the first taste of what a boat has to offer. I trust my guide will help people avoid falling in love with the wrong boat. If I am successful, we will keep such misplaced passion to a minimum.


  • What Is A Trawler?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Trawler Boats?
  • What's The Difference Between Trawlers & Cruising Boats?
  • What About Catamarans?
  • Hybrid & EV Powerboats
  • How Many People To Take On Your Trawler?
  • Where Should You Take Your Trawler?
  • How Long Should You Cruise On Your Trawler?
  • What Does A Trawler Boat Cost?
  • Completing The Process Of Buying A Trawler

I. What is a Trawler Anyway?

I looked back at some of the references and definitions I offered over the years, as well as those presented by our editors. I keep coming back to the one that still resonates best with me, even as I look over the current field of trawlers and cruising yachts out there. Some are very similar to what was sold years ago, but not all, and each supports a lifestyle that is capable, comfortable, and relatively easy.

I am confident that, as we get ready to start 2024, the word “trawler” is best considered a metaphor for the cruising lifestyle it so well represents. Yacht brokers may disagree with me, but I stand firm. Back in the 1960s, power cruising pioneer Robert Beebe suggested that boats aren’t good for “voyaging” under power if they do not strongly resemble “true” trawlers. He referred, of course, to those husky fishing vessels that remain at sea for long periods, surviving anything the weather and sea throws at them, and safely bringing the catch and crew home when the job is done.

Today that analogy is not even remotely fitting for many powerboats that can capably make passages at sea, complete extended coastal and inland cruises, and serve as comfortable and safe homes for their owners. There has been a continuous evolution of the cruising powerboat genre for years now, and they now come in an assortment of styles, hull shapes, and sizes. And there is no better time than now to look at the field of available trawler choices.

In addition to traditional yacht designs that continue to be refined, we now also have new choices that really push the envelope beyond traditional shapes and concepts. And the introduction of powerful and reliable outboard propulsion has brought along a new category of cruising boats that simply did not exist before.

It is all very exciting. I once observed that comparing the cruising characteristics of a full displacement steel trawler to a displacement power catamaran or a larger Downeast cruiser is pure folly. Each can make a superb cruising boat for owners. Which is the better athlete: a football player, a hockey goalie, or a ballet dancer?

Once you understand the many kinds of boats on the market today, and the choices you have, given your budget and other considerations, it is important to match whatever boat you choose to your style of cruising. This is at the heart of this buyer’s guide. Yes, it is vital to know what is out there to choose from, but it is even more critical to understand your needs and what kind of boat will best fit those needs. While this may be a challenge for some, hasty mistakes can lead to broken plans, create unnecessary anxiety, and put an unfortunate end to one’s dream cruising plans. All of which is totally avoidable.

Let’s begin with a practical look at the main types of hull shapes to understand the positive and negative aspects of each as they relate to cruising. Then we’ll look into how they may fit your needs.

(Below: Trawler owners meet up during the Pacific Northwest Nordic Tug Owners Rendezvous. Also called PANNTOA .) 

friends enjoying their trawler boats

II. Choices Come in All Shapes

Full Displacement

What was once the only real choice for those intending to cruise under power is the full displacement hull shape. It is the earliest form of powerboat and most commercial and fishing vessels are of this type. It is the most seaworthy and efficient hull shape. Many popular cruising boats are full displacement, such as:

  • Northern Marine
  • Hatteras LRC
  • And dozens of custom steel and fiberglass trawlers.

These vessels travel efficiently through the water, with no unnecessary energy spent trying to lift the hull up onto the wave in front. They are well matched to lower horsepower engines, as they offer minimal resistance going through the water.

These boats are very forgiving at sea, which makes them very seaworthy. Rather than resist wave action, they give way, and roll to let the wave energy pass by rather than resist it, which keeps them safe at sea.

The full hull shape has the most volume for a given length, which translates into superior inside dimensions for accommodations, large tankage, and exceptional storage. They make fantastic liveaboard boats and for long distance cruising these small ships can carry all your stuff. Onboard weight is not an issue compared to any other type of hull shape.

(Below: A Northern Marine 57 is a good example of a full-displacement trawler yacht.)

northern marine 57 full displacement trawler

Again, the low energy requirements to travel through the water, rather than try to get on top of it, means they are best powered by relatively small diesel engines to run at the displacement speeds within the maximum hull speed of 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length. This is Froude’s Law and is the limit of their speed potential. Combine this lower horsepower engine with huge fuel tankage and owners have the range to travel long distance. In some of these full displacement trawlers, one can make across-and-back ocean crossings, or enjoy a full year of cruising, without stopping to buy fuel.

For efficient and economical cruising, a full displacement trawler is the way to go, for many reasons. Rather than bother with the generally tedious sailboat mentality of electrical and battery load management, owners of full displacement trawlers just don’t worry about it. The boat is fitted with one, two, or even three generators that supply all the electrical power needed to run even a full suite of domestic galley appliances, HVAC, and pilothouse electronics.

Not only do these gensets make for relatively unlimited self-sufficiency whenever the trawlers remain at anchor, but the better builders take advantage of the hull volume to thoughtfully plan accommodations during construction. Generators are then strategically located to minimize noise and vibration throughout the boat. Just like being on a small ship, one is vaguely aware that a generator is running somewhere. The boat is designed and built around that concept, so there is always plenty of quiet, available electrical power. Whatever sense that one has of distant humming from running machinery, it is nothing more than evidence of shipboard activity. I have always loved the sense of independence and freedom it provides. On the right boat, it is so muted that it does not detract from the feeling of being one with nature, as when alone in a quiet anchorage tucked inside a rugged Alaskan island coastline.

Some high-end expedition trawlers go one step further. Northern Marine, for example, often designs the boat around a pair of identical 20kW generators to share generating duty. There might also be a small third unit for nighttime use when loads are much reduced. And much like the commercial and working vessels that are the heritage behind the company, nothing is hidden or tucked away. Serious business demands serious access.

(Below: The Northern Marine 57 has two 20kW generators for long-distance adventures.)

generators on the northern marine yacht

There is always a downside, of course. Full displacement boats are limited in speed, and cruising at 7-10 knots is about all one can expect no matter how much horsepower one theoretically adds. It is simply a full shape traveling in its sweet spot in the water. But in conditions where lesser yachts need to slow down to handle the rough seas, these boats just continue on at their normal cruising speed, no big deal and perfectly safe.

The other issue is that such seaworthiness comes at the expense of rolling in a seaway. Yes, it is why these boats are so safe. But it can be uncomfortable for crew, and over time can wear down even the hardiest crew.

That is why most full displacement boats have some form of stabilization. They lack sails to remain steady. These trawlers instead rely on some form of stabilizing technology, either active or passive, and they are quite effective reducing rolling at sea. Active fin stabilizers, flopperstoppers, gyrostabilizers, even flume tanks, have been used with varying degrees of success to manage the roll of a full displacement yacht. And active systems keep getting better, with more sensitive electronic controls and sensors to reduce movement. The current generation of gyro systems, such as the SeaKeeper, are proving popular in the trawler community and for good reason.

Full displacement boats are not the best for close quarter maneuvering, especially as many have a single diesel engine. Learning to drive a big displacement trawler is a worthy skill to develop as it builds confidence. One must understand the ship’s main rudder is designed and sized for optimum performance at sea, not close quarter maneuvering. That is why these boats have bow and stern thrusters. Just like every commercial ship out there. The right tools for the job.

Another potential downside of this hull shape has to do with where one cruises. These boats typically have deeper draft and so would not be ideal for shallow water cruising as one is finds in the Florida Keys, the ICW, and the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Having gone many thousands of miles on full displacement trawlers, I have great respect and appreciation of the beauty of this hull shape. Once out of sight of land, speed becomes the speed du jour, no big deal without reference on land. And a stabilized full displacement trawler is a great ride at sea, easy running and comfortable. Even in heavy weather there is generally little cause for concern…if at all.

One more comment on the speed of travel. I always found the underway travel and motion quickly settles crew into a normal routine, with everyone going about their day as if they were in a marina or back on land. Laundry gets done, writing takes place, leisurely cooking in the galley, maybe a brisket in the crockpot. There is always the need for some maintenance, catching up with cruising guides, email with family and friends, and other activities. This is in sharp contrast to traveling at speed, where the motion forces one to hold on, firmly seated at the saloon table, or wedged into a corner cushion. Baking cookies was a favorite memory and one the rest of that crew surely remembers. The boat smelled fantastic, even if I could barely keep up with the disappearing cookies off the cooling rack.

For many reasons, life on a small ship has much to recommend it.


The other hull shape that defines the trawler style cruising boat is the semi-displacement hull. It is perfect for those who don’t need the fuel and storage capabilities of the full displacement trawler, and do not intend to spend a great deal of time making passages, cruising remote areas, or going all season without buying fuel. The semi-displacement trawler is a fabulous compromise. Designers have come up with ways to get more performance, reduce draft, and still serve as a comfortable home while traveling or living aboard.

One way to improve performance is to lose weight in the form of fuel and water tankage, reducing both the size and number of tanks in the boat. They may also cut back on some of the backup redundant equipment and tighten up accommodations. Going on a diet is definitely a path to higher performance. While those granite counters and flooring seem right at home in a full displacement trawler yacht, substituting lighter weight materials will result in a higher speed potential in a semi-displacement yacht. With less weight there is less boat in the water, less draft, wetted surface, and resistance, especially without a deep keel.

Changes to the hull shape come from modifying the typically rounded stern into a flatter hull form aft with hard chines. The flatter hull form will reach higher speeds when adding more horsepower to drive the boat up onto the leading wave. And the flatter stern adds stability, taking out some of the inherent roll associated with a full displacement trawler.

While these boats are quite happy to run along at displacement speeds, the semi-displacement cruiser can also really get up and go, if there is enough horsepower. With bigger engines pushing the boat, it can break free of the water, traveling at 12-15 knots or higher, depending on how much horsepower is in the boat.

This is by far the most popular trawler hull shape primarily for this reason. It can be powered by a variety of engines, still has good load carrying and accommodations, has reduced draft, and provides many—if not all—of the benefits of the full displacement trawler yacht.

Most trawlers in our cruising community are of the semi-displacement type, and brands like:

  • Grand Banks
  • Nordic Tugs
  • Ocean Alexander
  • American Tug
  • And dozens more prove it is a wonderful all-around platform for cruising

(Interestingly, almost all the trawlers built in Asia during the 1970s and ‘80s were semi-displacement trawlers. But they were powered by low horsepower diesels, often the venerable Lehman Ford 120hp and 135hp engines, so they were priced to sell and provide the economical trawler experience to a wide range of buyers. The fact that these boats could only run at displacement speeds gave many the impression that they were full displacement trawlers, a confusion that continues to exist today.)

(Below: The Nordic Tug 40 is a good example of a semi-displacement trawler.)

40-foot nordic tug trawler boat

The top speed of a semi-displacement trawler is limited by how much horsepower the builder reasons is sellable in the new boats. In my opinion, it was downright shameful when the management of the high-quality Grand Banks brand, the hands down bullseye of the trawler market for many years, decided at one point that all its models had to be capable of cruising speeds above 18 knots. The phenomenally successful and classic beauty of the original GB hull did not lend itself to a pair of high horsepower engines. It was painful to watch the amount of water pushed by a Grand Banks making 22 knots, made worse by the fuel burn to achieve that performance.

To some extent, larger semi-displacement trawlers also take advantage of generators to supply onboard electrical power, as there is not enough room for dozens of dedicated house batteries for the boat’s electrical needs. In most cases a running generator is not as quiet or unobtrusive as one comes to expect on a full displacement trawler, but a modern installation with underwater exhaust does much to reduce the impact of a running generator.

The benefits of the semi-displacement trawler clearly explain why it remains the most popular choice for most people. It has reasonable storage and fuel capacity, comfortable accommodations, and can run at higher speeds. All things considered, for most people it is the best package of features one looks for.

But it is not perfect. One of the disadvantages of the hull form is its less-than-ideal handling in rough seas. Some of these boats have small rudders to allow better control at higher speeds. The boat’s motion tends to lose its normal composure in rough water, when the boat must slow down, and the rudders are less effective.

(On modern boats, this is somewhat negated by stabilizers and gyrostabilizer systems. They do a remarkable job of reducing the rolling motion in these boats, and owners are more than satisfied to have motion under control on their semi-displacement trawlers.)

Owners of semi-displacement boats really appreciate being able to run faster to their next destination. The difference between eight knots and 11 knots is readily apparent when one can see the destination ahead and the crew is anxious to get there.

One of the tradeoffs of the semi-displacement trawler is that when they achieve high speed, they burn obscene amounts of fuel, and quickly. To own a large, semi-displacement trawler capable of 20+ knots is an exercise in balancing economy with distance and time. Those who don’t have the time will spend more at the fuel dock. It is just that simple.

Everything considered, the semi-displacement trawler is justifiably very popular for most cruising, even when that includes long distance travel. Flexibility is its best feature.

Big and small, fast or slow, the full displacement and semi-displacement hull shapes are what we talk about when we talk about trawlers and the trawler lifestyle. Motoryachts most often fit into the semi-displacement category, and one will find them cruising along with the trawler crowd. But the motoryacht is much better staying at a luxury marina will full shorepower and other hookups. One rarely finds motoryachts anchored out for days on end, where trawlers often spend their time. It isn’t what motoryachts are designed to do.

For many years, the cruising scene consisted of sailboats and trawlers, and that was it. Visit any popular cruising destination, from Marsh Harbour to Roche Harbor, and the anchorage and marinas were full of sailboats and trawlers. Both excel at life on the hook, and the constant scurrying of crew, dogs, provisions, and gear by speedy dinghies are as much a part of the cruising life as sundowners on the beach watching for the Green Flash.

III. Not All Cruising Powerboats Today Are Trawlers

There are two other kinds of powerboats that we find cruising in North America today. And they have really grown in popularity in recent years.

One has taken the world by storm, in my opinion. Almost every sailing couple I know who came to the Dark Side has gone in this direction, but they are certainly not the only ones who choose these boats. For many people, the lure of being on the water, even if it is only for weekends, must be satisfied in short order. People with limited time have a need for speed that full-time cruisers do not. These people want efficient, high-speed running, and it is more desirable than load-carrying ability or accommodations. Without a planing hull, they can’t go.

The planing hull quickly moves from hull speed up on top of the water. A burst of horsepower drives the boat up, and it doesn’t take as much power to stay there. It is an efficient speed machine. Some boats in our niche can really blast along in calm water, cruising efficiently at 25 knots…or higher. Some examples are:

  • Nimbus Boats

A planing hull has a shallow draft, with a sharp entry and a flat, minimal underbody. This allows a planing boat to reach its destination quickly and then slow down if owners choose to gunkhole in skinny water. But watch that running gear, as there is nothing to protect the props and rudders designed for minimal drag.

This boat is best suited for those in a hurry. But they are still cruising boats, and they open up possibilities for those with only so much available time. The Great Loop becomes possible for those who can’t spare a year or more. Boaters headed to Florida for the winter and don’t have months to do the ICW. Puget Sound owners with weeks instead of months to explore the Inside Passage, or East Coast boaters who want to experience the Abacos but don’t have all winter to do so.

Get there quickly, then slow down and smell the flowers. Sounds like a plan to me.

(Below: Sidonia & Fred kept their 62-foot trawler, but purchased this Nimbus 405 to complete the Great Loop. Read their story .)

couple cruising the great loop on their nimbus boat

One potential disadvantage of the planing boat is that high-speed efficiency is directly tied to weight. Given that many of these boats are built with the latest infused fiberglass construction, often using high-tech cored material, the goal is to save weight where possible. Keeping weight down is important. And limited bilge and accommodations spaces don’t offer much general storage anyway.

But this is not a problem for owners not planning to live aboard. They are not spending weeks on the hook, nor are they expecting guests to accompany them on their Great Loop. They are bringing along just what they need to enjoy the boat as is, and no more. (Our recent series following a couple doing the Loop on their Nimbus 405 Coupe showed this lifestyle perfectly. A great trip on the Great Loop.)

Unfortunately, when the weather turns sour, any boat designed for efficient, high-speed running will be at a decided disadvantage when it is time to slow down, where they experience less control. Some handle this transition better than others, but generally small rudders do not have enough surface area to be effective at slow speed. But these boats are still all-around great cruising boats which explains they popularity and growing numbers out cruising. If the weather is bad, they don’t go anywhere. Their speed potential allows them to pick their travel when the weather window improves.

A relatively recent move is to power these boats with outboard engines. Using one or two large outboards (or up to four engines on some of the more extreme machines) makes a statement about using technology to advance boat design. The area in the hull usually dedicated for machinery and propulsion is now open for tanks, storage, and a more relaxed interior for accommodations.

The move to outboards eliminates the need for rudders and traditional steering systems, which removes complexity from the boats. Modern outboards are quiet and smooth, and this translates into a better running experience under way. Many find it a worthy tradeoff to the longer engine life offered by diesels. The access on outboard engines makes maintenance easier, and systems integration simplifies the boats at the same time.

Some builders tell me how easy life becomes when one can lift the engines out of the water when they are tied up in a marina. No more worries about underwater growth on running gear, eliminating corrosion issues, and fouled surfaces that require frequent cleaning.

During those times where one is living on a planing boat at anchor or without shorepower, the smaller house battery bank means one must run a generator more frequently, often several times a day. That assumes there is a genset on the boat, which is usually required if the boat has air conditioning.

The degree of self-sufficiency on a planing boat is directly tied to the need to keep things light and only having the essential systems, tankage, and accommodations. If your cruising involves staying at nice marinas with great facilities, who needs all that storage and extra staterooms? For Loopers, it offers flexibility and travel at a different level than chugging along, mile after mile, seeing the same landscape all day long.

The motion on a boat doing 20+ knots does not allow much activity on the boat and crew is restricted in what they can do while making miles to the next destination. That is not to say it isn’t thrilling to blast along, threading the needle among the San Juan Islands. Heading down Chesapeake Bay at speed is satisfying in ways that eight knots just doesn’t cut it. The same is true along Hawk Channel, Biscayne Bay, or Lake Ontario.

IV. Catamarans

The second type of cruising powerboat that does not fit the description of a trawler is the power catamaran. A somewhat fringe boat within the cruising powerboat category, power cats are nevertheless a great platform for anyone looking for a cruiser that offers space, outstanding maneuverability from widely spaced engines, and excellent shallow water cruise ability.

Power cat builders have evolved mostly from builders of sailing cats, so it is not surprising that the early boats were nothing more than sailing cats without masts. But more companies came out with boats design as powerboats. (The compromises of creating a power cat from a boat designed for sailing went away for the most part.)

Companies that offer (or did offer) power cats included:

  • Fountaine Pajot

Some of these companies are no longer in business but made enough boats that they are usually available on the used market.

There is a lot to be said for a cruising catamaran. Economical cruising at 15-18 knots is the domain of the displacement catamaran, while planing cats, which are not suited for liveaboard cruising, can run quite well at 30+ knots.

The advantages of power cats include relatively shallow draft, great initial stability, and open interiors. The bridgedeck adds great living spaces, where one might find extra accommodations.

Many cats can be safely beached without a problem, which is a unique ability for any cruising boat.

(Below: Example of an Endeavor Power Catamaran.)

example of endeavor power catamaran

The economy of running a power catamaran is quite addicting. I owned a 41-foot power cat that would run along at 18 knots with hardly any wake, while getting exceptional fuel burn at that speed. The wide platform made for great living aboard, and the separation of the twin diesels, particularly when running at speed from the flybridge, seemed magical. It was quiet with lack of vibration, and quite relaxing as we reeled mile after mile on calm seas. It was a great cruising boat with outstanding maneuverability from widely spaced engines. I could literally walk the boat sideways using the two engines, while everyone on the dock assumed I used bow and stern thrusters to make it happen. (The boat had neither.)

The only issue I have with the power cat is the height of the bridgedeck between hulls. If it is too low, it can slap in head seas with an unnerving bang and motion that feels most unsettling, as if the boat is going to break. Multihull pioneer Malcom Tennant took me around several waterfront marinas in New Zealand to show me various interpretations of power catamaran bridgedeck design. When the bridgedeck nacelle stayed 36 inches or more above the water, the power cat would not slap under any conditions. The buoyancy of the hulls took over long before the bridgedeck met waves. And I reminded myself this was in New Zealand, where going to sea invariably involves rough seas and strong winds. (From my limited experience, the definition of pleasure boating in New Zealand has a decidedly different definition from anywhere else!)

While the displacement power catamaran has reasonable load carrying ability, it is generally prudent for a power cat owner to still keep an eye on weight and its distribution around the boat. While the larger power cats (one Tennant 20-meter cat comes to mind) can take 3,600 gallons of fuel for extremely long legs, cats under 48 feet are best kept light when possible.

I am quite smitten with the concept of the power cat for general cruising. I wish more builders would enter this market with well-engineered, lighter weight designs that showcase the benefits of the concept rather than simply building stable platforms that can hold a crowd. But unfortunately, heavy party barges are what one sees at the boat shows.

V. Hybrid and EV Powerboats

I suppose I would be negligent to not mention the push for electric and hybrid boats to mirror the somewhat political trend in the automotive world. To be honest, we own a Prius, but I much prefer driving my older Porsche. I also happen to like the smell of a diesel engine. In automobiles, I’m just not sold on a concept that requires such major (and overwhelmingly expensive) changes to our nation’s infrastructure.

As it relates to recreational boating, electric and hybrid power has come and gone in a variety of prototype cruisers, from Reuben Trane’s early solar catamaran to Greenline’s models of hybrid powerboats. I know the sailing community is generally united in their campaign to ditch the diesel engine, and YouTube influencers are falling all over each other trying to get the first serious system that offers a viable solution.

As well articulated by experienced broker, Seattle Yachts’ Dan Bacot, we won’t see much interest in this form of power cruising until someone builds a boat that can honestly make 100 miles in a day at six knots under electric power. That will make it feasible for the Great Loop and other cruising plans.

Until that milestone is reached (and I’m sure they will) such alternatives are just not worth serious consideration.

The Lifestyle

Now that we have looked at the various hull shapes and categories that define the trawler and other cruising boats, let’s see how to find a match from these different platforms to fit your plans.

It is important to think through this process with as much honesty as possible. It is so easy to slip into the unrealistic world of the ultimate boat. But most eventually agree these are more fantasy than anything remotely close to what any of us will do. Buying a boat that is capable of crossing oceans to reach exotic places like Tahiti is just not appropriate if you really intend to do the Great Loop in the next few years. That is also true if the idea of spending winters (or summers) in the tropics or the rugged Northwest Territories isn’t ever going to happen because you can only take a couple of weeks off at a time.

VI. How Many People Will be Aboard?

Is it just the two of you for most of the time? Will you have guests or family only occasionally, or do you expect to have others with you for most of the cruise? Families with growing children will have different needs than retired empty nesters who rarely have company.

The answer to this question will help determine the size of the boat, its layout and accommodations, and help define the boundaries of your search.

(Below: Obviously this image from the Mid-Atlantic Nordic Tug Owners Get-Together would be a little much!)

too many people on this trawler boat

A word of advice from the stories of many cruising couples: Don’t buy a boat bigger than you need and make the assumption you will always have company to share your adventure. As I’ve heard many, many times, couples go ahead and buy a boat with multiple staterooms with the above assumption. Once they leave home and begin cruising, however, they make lots of new friends, all on their own boats. After a couple of years, they realize they don’t use those extra staterooms very often. And they can accommodate occasional family members with other arrangements, such as setting up the saloon. They eventually downsize to a smaller boat because they don’t need that extra room and a smaller boat is easier to handle and less expensive to own.

Two people can comfortably cruise on a boat that is 36 feet or so. This is certainly true for people who are down in the islands for the winter on a Monk 36, or cruising north on a Nordic Tug 37. No problem. But they are not living full time on the boat, or cruising with friends enough to require separate cabins. Both will drive up the space needs considerably. And it is not just about space. A water and holding tank large enough for two people will seem much smaller after only so many days. And I’m not talking about rationing water or limiting showers. This is cruising, after all, not minimalist camping.

A boat’s layout is as important as size, at least until one reaches the greater flexibility afforded by larger boats. There is a classic separation of living spaces in some boats, such as the Grand Banks 42 and the Selene 40. They have two nice staterooms, with the master in the stern and guest stateroom in the bow. That works great, offers privacy, and people share common spaces in the saloon and galley. Other boats group all staterooms forward, with the master and one or more guest cabins located near the bow. This is what one finds on the Nordic and American Tugs, Fleming, Krogen, Northwest Yachts, and most others. And all have proven successful, especially when extra people are family.

VII. Where are You Going?

I am not going to spend time with trawlers best suited for crossing oceans, as so few people really intend to do that these days. The world is a different place, the changing climate has more severe weather, and the relative ease of shipping one’s boat worldwide makes this a lot less desirable than it was decades ago. And a boat designed to cross the Atlantic to explore Europe is not the best type of boat for exploring Europe once you arrive, particularly if you want to head into the extensive canal systems.

Not to get off the point, and before anyone questions why I am such a fan of full displacement boats like the Northern Marine when I admit having no plan to cross oceans, let me clarify that the joy of owning such a great yacht is much more than being able to cross an ocean. All the benefits that make these great boats are just as valid for living aboard and coastal cruising, and many other adventures. One does not need to spend two weeks at sea to enjoy them.

The majority of people have plans that include the Great Loop, British Columbia and Alaska, the ICW on the East Coast, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, Mexico, the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Canadian Maritimes, and New England. One can spend several lifetimes exploring right here in North America. Doable, affordable, and close enough to family, friends, and support.

The best boats for many coastal and inland adventures are more about ease of operation and maneuverability, and keeping the draft down and the height within whatever restrictions exist for the chosen cruise.

It is quite possible to travel from Alaska to Maine as one big extended coastal cruise, although that would be a long trip. And all of it is within sight of land with very few and short exceptions. If you consider the new SeaPiper 35, add a truck and suitable trailer and you are good to go!

(Below: The Triangle Loop is a great trip for trawler boat owners.)

map of triangle loop trip

VIII. For How Long?

Which brings up how long one expects to be on the boat. Obviously, a full-time liveaboard couple will have space requirements unlike those planning a month on the boat. And the need for creature comforts is also a sliding scale, as occasional cruisers can live without comforts that would be unacceptable if the same people were to spend several months on the boat.

For example, if you use a dishwasher at home, you might be fine with hand washing dishes after each meal on the boat…for a time. But after a while that might seem too much like camping and not what you had in mind when you dreamed of cruising. The same goes for a separate shower versus the wet head found on smaller boats. (Definitely consult your spouse on these points!)

Again, I feel that 36 feet is about the minimum for full-time living aboard and cruising. Some have gone smaller, or somewhat bigger on a planing boat, but it is accepted because the duration of the planned cruise is short. The couple who did the Great Loop on their Nimbus 405 Coupe had plenty of space because they had what they needed, and nothing more. It served their needs for this trip. They take their longer cruises aboard their other boat, a 62-foot custom trawler.

Some couples expect to have the same creature comforts on their trawler as they enjoy ashore. But that usually means a generator, air conditioning, and/or a diesel furnace. While they may not know it, they also require large water tanks as they are not thinking about water management, and they want space for all the provisions and personal possessions. If they are liveaboards, where do they plan to store holiday decorations?

For most people, the length of time they expect to be aboard dictates comfort levels and determines which compromises they are willing to make.

These points also point to their style of cruising.

The diversity of cruising is its chief attraction, and each day brings something new, something different. Anchor out or stay in a marina…or even reserve a slip at a luxury marina with lots of facilities? Eat aboard or enjoy local cuisine? Wait for a perfect weather window or go no matter what? Move from one location to the next or stay in one place for a long time and take lots of small side trips?

As should be obvious, your style of cruising will have a huge impact on selecting the right boat. If you tend to be the sort who has a plan and follows the plan no matter what, then you will be far happier with a more seaworthy boat that can take whatever conditions come up each day. That is quite different from the fair-weather cruiser who waits for ideal weather and is content to wait.

If you like the idea of keeping on the move rather than staying in one place, then you will likely be more interested in the underway characteristics of the boat than one that is most livable when tied up at a marina.

Boat speed figures into this question as well. I know successful cruisers who swear the best plan is to get under way as early as possible and run the boat at speed for four or five hours. On a faster boat this gets them miles down the road, but then they stop early in the afternoon. They refuel, wash everything down and then play tourist for the rest of the afternoon. It is far more leisurely than nonstop travel. And they also take days off. Three days running, then two days off, staying put wherever they stopped. It keeps the cruise from becoming a blur.

Those who lust to spend weeks on the hook in paradise are going to be very unhappy if they must run the generator twice a day to keep the refrigerator running, and which requires them to refill their water tanks frequently. As for the holding tank, that is obvious as well.

On the flip side, if you love the energy and varied activities of resort marinas, you will be thrilled with the conveniences of an all-electric boat that relies on shorepower facilities, using the generator only when away from the dock.

IX. What Does A Trawler Boat Cost?

This is where an experienced broker can make all the difference. One can expect to pay anywhere from between several hundred thousand dollars to a couple of million to find a suitable boat. It may not be close to home, and a good broker will use the available resources to identify the right boat and then find one that fits and is in the condition one is willing to pay for.

New boat prices are high, and I don’t see that changing. Working with a broker is vital to success here, even after you have done your homework and know (or think you know) what you want. The broker will help locate boats that may be close enough to what you are looking for, and he or she may even steer you in a slightly different direction if they think it may serve you better for what you describe as your ideal trawler.

I strongly recommend buying a new or newer boat whenever possible. It just makes sense, and I would go down in size rather than get an older boat. A newer boat will be less problematic than an older boat with vintage systems, engines, wiring, plumbing, and construction. Leaks are a pain to deal with, and you are not buying a boat as a project.

Honestly, spending your time looking for discontinued parts and then repairing a boat when you and your spouse are supposed to be out cruising is no fun. It sucks. And it quickly wears down the excitement of the adventure, even if you like to tinker on the boat. And your spouse will get tired of reading books on the settee while you make another repair. This is not what you both planned. I’ve seen it over and over, enough to be 100-percent convinced.

Buy a new or newer boat and just enjoy the adventure.

Keep in mind there are other costs beyond the purchase price, and your broker will be very helpful, flushing them out and identifying some you may have missed. There is annual maintenance, for example, insurance, dockage, and the need for occasional repairs. Parts wear out, which will happen most often on an older boat. The mindset of “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t make it go away. That hidden cutless bearing needs replacing on occasion, as do many other moving parts on a boat.

There is a ballpark figure that floats around the cruising community. Some suggest 10 percent of the cost of the boat is about right for these annual expenses. I have never verified that to be accurate with my own boats, but it is worth considering.

(Below: Currently a pre-owned Nordic Tug like this can range from $250,000 - $600,000 and more.)

pre-owned nordic tug trawler boat

X. Putting It All Together

From my experience, validated by many owners over the years, it is easy to spend too much time agonizing about what kind of boat to buy. If it allows you to enjoy your time on the water, it can be made to work. No boat is perfect. They all represent compromises in one way or another.

Besides your efforts to find the right boat for the kind of cruise you intend, there are two other key factors that contribute to a successful ownership experience. The first, and one that I have been making throughout this guide, is to buy a boat that is as new as possible, even if it means you might have to downsize a bit with your available budget. If it will work for you otherwise, but you must lose the hot tub on the flybridge, it is a worthy tradeoff. You will still have a genuine cruising boat.

The horror stories of old Asian trawlers built to low standards are now mostly irrelevant, as these examples of boats to avoid are now so old one should not even consider them. Besides, there is the reality of today’s marine insurance industry, hit by the large number of damage claims from named storms in recent years. One will find it difficult to get insurance for boats even at 20 years old, let alone 50+ years.

There is another factor that should figure into this buying equation, and it will make all the difference between wonderful and satisfying ownership and a money pit that needs continuous repair by outside services wherever one travels.

That is accessibility. If you can’t get to everything easily, things will be neglected, and system parts will wear out and break. Being able to see, touch, inspect, and take apart every major component on the boat is vital, no matter if it is a Nordic Tug, a lavish Hampton motoryacht, or an expedition trawler. It is even more important on a planing boat like the Nimbus or Back Cove, where available space is at a premium and the builder had to be creative during construction to fit it all in.

Owning a boat with a non-working stern thruster that can’t be inspected, serviced, or repaired without removing the genset shoehorned just above it would cause me great distress, to put it mildly.

If you study the differences, pros and cons, and other considerations, you will be much better equipped to step aboard boats at a boat show. All lined up with brokers standing by to answer your questions, it will feel good to examine each boat on your list to see how it feels, and whether it might fit the needs of what you hope to do. This process can take a couple of years, which is fine. In fact, I know folks now searching for their retirement trawler that is still five years away. There is nothing wrong with taking one’s time.

I would caution, however, not to take too long. Because life goes on, and things happen. Reality changes. Aging parents, volatile portfolios, world stability, and inevitable family medical issues are all things that command our attention at some point.

In addition to the above issues, it is good to remember that nothing in life remains static. When you find your plans or goals change, it is okay if that perfect boat is no longer the right choice. Edits may be needed to the original blueprint. It is very important to realize and accept this.

The notion that there is only one boat to satisfy every dream is totally wrong. But there is a boat for everyone looking to go cruising, that fits every plan, purpose, or budget.

My purpose for this guide is to help you find a boat that brings you the most fun and adventure, in comfort and safety and within your budget. Successful cruising can happen on most any boat.

The key to this adventure is to get started and go!

Enjoy these Trawler-related articles :

  • What Is The Best Liveaboard Trawler?
  • What Makes A Yacht A Trawler?
  • Trawler Yacht Frequently Asked Questions
  • Owning A Trawler Yacht
  • The Evolution Of The Trawler Yacht

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Trawlers are a very distinct type of powerboat, designed for long-distance cruising and in many cases, living aboard for significant stretches of time. The origin of trawlers can be traced back to commercial fishing trawler boats.

In this day and age, most trawlers have all the comforts of home—and there are plenty of trawler yachts that place you squarely in the lap of luxury.

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Activities with Trawlers

GREAT FOR Overnight Cruising  • Day Cruising

Trawlers are intended for cruising, and many people spend extended vacations taking a trawler boat from port to port. There are also a lot of people who search high and low for the best trawler to live on, and then move aboard. 

Long-distance cruising at a leisurely pace

Because trawlers are designed with private staterooms, full kitchens (though we call them the “galley,” aboard a boat), and spacious living rooms (the nautical name for them is “saloon”), trawlers are ideal for people who believe that when it comes to long-distance cruising, half the fun is getting there. Most are designed to cruise in a slow and economical way, so you can enjoy the ride from start to finish.

Cruising the intercoastal waterway

The trawler design is very popular among “snow-birds” who take their boats south down the intercoastal waterway in the winter, then cruise back up it for the summer months. Many people (often retirees) make this trip season after season.

Consuming less fuel—providing exception range

Since the best trawlers for slow and steady voyages need to be fuel-efficient, many builders design them with relatively small powerplants and displacement hulls (boat bottoms which merely slice through the water, rather than using lots of power to break free of the water and skim across the surface at high speed). This gives them exceptional range and if you want a real super trawler, it’s even possible to find some with ocean-crossing abilities. However, if you want the ability to get where you’re going in short order there’s also more than one fast trawler manufacturer out there. Though there’s always a trade-off between speed and efficiency, even a fast trawler often has better fuel economy than many other types of powerboats.

Spacious interior layouts for a great weekend escape

Since trawlers are designed for spending lots of time aboard, even a small trawler usually has the maximum amount of cabin space possible for its size. Some have “aft cabins” built under the rear of the boat, and larger models often have multiple deck levels.

Ownership Costs of Trawlers

The size of the trawler you buy will be the biggest determining factor, when it comes to ownership cost. Remember that the larger the boat is, the more it will cost to rent or lease a slip, too. Finding the best trawler for the money really depends on your personal budget, and how much room you feel you need to live comfortably. Visit our Boat Loan Calculator to learn more about the costs of ownership fitting with into your budget.

Since trawlers tend to get used extensively and sometimes continually, they may have slightly higher maintenance costs than some other types of boats. They also have many of the same systems a house would (like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC). However, these systems are smaller and more contained than those of a house. So, in the long run, maintenance costs likely to be far less than they would with an abode you live in on dry land.

Thanks to their efficiency, unlike many types of powerboats fuel costs associated with a trawler are usually minimal. Instead, the main operation cost is general living expenses – things like food and drink supplies – since so many people spend extended periods of time aboard. In addition, you should also plan in insurance costs (see Insuring Your Boat for more info).

Trawler Boat Technology/Materials/Features

You might guess that their traditional design and heritage means that trawlers haven’t changed much over the years, but that would be a mistake. New hull designs developed an entire genre of trawler dubbed the “slow-fast,” which has the ability to cruise at slow speeds with relatively good fuel efficiency, but can also jump on plane (when most of the boat rises out of the water and skims on the surface), when and if necessary. In other cases, advancements in construction materials has allowed trawler manufacturers to reduce a boat’s weight, without giving up one bit of strength. Modern lighter weight construction techniques have also made it possible to build trailerable trawlers that may be relatively small, but still have all the comforts of home and can be towed by many pick-up trucks and SUVs.

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Mainship Trawlers

Mainship trawlers for sale.

The Most Popular American made trawler, began as a spin-off of the 1978 Silverton Mainship 34 Trawler. In late 1990s, Mainship began focusing exclusively on trawler and downeast designs, ranging from 30 to 43ft. Mainship is well known for providing an excellent value, by using modern low-cost production methods and an extensive list of standard features. This included standard diesel power, no exterior wood work, and deep full walk arounds on trawler models. This is one of the most popular manufacturers seen on The Great Loop.

Mainship Pilots are now manufactured by Marlow Marine at the Marlow-Hunter Marine Plant in Alachua, FL.

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Top 6 Trawlers For Cruising With Families [Yacht Buyer’s Guide]

Fast, slow, large or small — these are the best trawler yachts for family fun on the water..

Looking for a boat to accommodate your family? Look no further than the trawler, boating’s distinct type of vessel that’s designed for long distanced cruising or extended vacations. Livability and practicality make trawlers a perfect family yacht . They offer spacious accommodation and versatility in performance while being easy for the captain to maneuver.

We’re featuring the top 6 trawlers for cruising with families, currently for sale with Denison Yachting. No need to pack light when setting out on an unforgettable boating adventure aboard one of these vessels.

1. Beneteau Swift Trawler 41

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The Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 is a new addition to the swift trawler fleet and an excellent option for families. She’s affordable, spacious, and great on fuel — at a top speed of 23 knots, she can drive to the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale with plenty of fuel left to cruise around and return without a refill.

Large interior windows create an ideal galley for parents to watch the kids play in the water while making lunch. She can accommodate up to seven people with three cabins, two heads, and fully equipped amenities to enjoy long-distance cruises or weekend trips with family and friends. She’s available in a flybridge or sedan style.

The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 exudes safety and luxury while preserving performance and comfort. The ST 41 will be featured at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2020 — stop by to check her out or contact a Denison yacht broker for a private showing of this seaworthy cruiser.

2. 86’ Outer Reefs Yacht 2017

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This 86′ Outer Reef Yacht , named Simon Says , was designed for travel. Her systems were built and optimized for sea conditions that would otherwise prevent a similar size yacht to seek shelter in the closest port. This trawler is made to accommodate a family, plus crew with eight cabins in total.

Her 3,500-gallon fuel reserve lets her sail comfortably for an extended period of time at a cruising speed that ranges from 8.5 knots to 14.5 knots. Her standout features include a sky lounge, beautiful teak, and spacious country kitchen that makes her the perfect trawler for accommodating families.

3. 70’ Marlow 2008

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Pappy’s Toy is an elegant used trawler for sale with Denison Yachting. This family trawler was recently updated with a new bottom paint job, hull compound and wax, and new stabilizer seals. She’s equipped and built for long-range cruising with the help of a crew.

This 70’ Marlow is made for cruising with families because she’s comfortable, spacious, and homey. Her standout features include a wet bar, a large entertainment center, and a VIP guest stateroom. Pappy’s Toy is ready to take you on a luxury family adventure along the coasts.

4. Beneteau Swift Trawler 47

Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 — Boldly Designed

Another new addition to the Swift Trawler range is Beneteau’s Swift Trawler 47 . She offers more room and more power than your typical trawler. The ST 47 provides a true sense of comfort and the ability to take you farther and faster.

The new ST 47 features an open-deck layout, with large walkways and handrails to help passengers move around safely. Her generous cabin space can accommodate up to eight people on board the vessel. She combines those familiar characteristics of a classic long-range cruiser with the speed and convenience of a yacht twice her size.

5. 70’ Marlow 2005

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Marlow Yachts were built with performance and innovation in mind. Bravo Zulu is the most well-equipped and meticulously maintained used Marlows for sale with Denison Yachting. Her updates were made with a family in mind, including a brand new electronics package, new teak decks on the swim platform, and a flybridge enclosure to protect from the elements.

Her three-stateroom, four-head layout with separate crew quarters makes her a comfortable trawler to live in. The master suite includes a king-size berth, office, and plenty of storage — there’s even a separate washer and dryer. You can easily spend weeks on Bravo Zulu and feel pleasantly at home on the water.

6. 65′ Hampton 2009

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This 69′ Hampton 2009, named FeuryUs , is for sale in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with Denison Yachting. She’s in excellent condition with over $300,000 in upgrades, including new Garmin electronics, joystick dockmate remote control, and stabilizers with larger fins. FeuryUs is perfect for families or entertaining guests as she’s fully equipped with four cabins, four heads, a cozy salon, and a large aft deck. She’s stable and reliable, with plenty of space for storage and entertaining.

FeuryUs has the capability of a 1,500-mile range at 8 knots (900 rpm), but can be pushed up to 19 knots at full throttle (in case you need to outrun a storm or want to get back in time for happy hour on the dock). She’s is one of those yachts that make you feel unstoppable on the water, and she’s ready to make memories with you and your family.

Trawlers are an excellent choice if you’re in the market for a comfortable and spacious boat. Their large fuel capacity makes them ideal for long-distance cruising and overnight vacations. Contact a Denison yacht broker to find the right trawler for you and your family.

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Best Trawlers for 2024 – Top 5 Options to Consider

Swift Trawler 50

Swift Trawler 50

Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler

Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler

Ranger Tugs R-23

Ranger Tugs R-23

Chris Riley

If you love the idea of long-range cruising on the open ocean in a seaworthy vessel that offers the creature comforts you need to live in your watercraft for extended periods, a trawler is precisely what you need in your life.

It’s the closest thing you can get to a yacht without the hefty price tag that comes with it. If you squint hard enough, trawlers look like mini-yachts.

They are stout vessels fitted with powerful engines, a skeg, and a displacement hull designed to plane on the water. Below deck, you’ll find a pilothouse forward, an engine room, a freezer hold, a galley, and accommodations that can host a small crew.

But, perhaps the most important feature of trawlers is that they are designed for fishing . Most come with heavy fishing machinery such as net rollers and trawl winches, which incidentally, is how these vessels get their name. They tow a net through the water to herd and capture fish – a technique known as “trawling.”

So, what are the best trawlers, and how do you choose the best one? We’ve reviewed the top 5 options and put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you pick the best one.

Beneteau is best known for its range of powerboat and sailboat watercraft . Now, if you thought those boats were amazing, you haven’t seen their range of Swift Trawlers.

The Swift Trawler 50 , in particular, is an absolute beauty. It has an expansive interior with lots of natural lighting and exquisite intelligently-designed fittings that make it perfect for both fishing expeditions, as well as romantic or family getaways if you ever need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The boat has a spacious deck plan with wide walkways and high bulwarks for added safety onboard. Standard features include a flybridge lounge that comes with a foldable sliding table, an external galley with a sink and worktop, as well as an optional electric grill.

The U-shaped galley comes with two refrigerators, an extractor hood, a double sink, and a service hatch. All in all, the Swift Trawler 50 adds a whole new dimension to luxury cruising.

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● Fully-customizable ● Spacious and luxurious interior ● Comes with lots of convenience amenities

● Slightly pricey

If you love the finer things in life and don’t mind spending a little extra moolah on a boat, you need to check out the Nordic Tugs 54 Trawler. Its meticulous craftsmanship, stunning exterior design, and plush interior finishes make this vessel feel like an ultra-luxurious home on the water.

This American-built trawler has plenty of room inside and comfortably sleeps up to six people. We particularly love its custom wooden fittings that blend luxury and sophistication to give you a true masterpiece.

The beauty of this Nordic tug isn’t skin deep either. This trawler is powered by a 670hp diesel Volvo Penta engine to give you a cruising range of approximately 2,600 NM at 8 knots. So, if you want a vessel that oozes opulence and has loads of comfort and convenience features to boot, the 54 Trawler is precisely what you need.

● Excellent craftsmanship ● Exquisite interior finishes ● Large cruising range

● It’s a bit of a fuel guzzler

Trawlers don’t exactly come cheap. Most of them retail for $500,000+. The Ranger Tugs R-23, however, was designed with the price-conscious boater in mind. At a base price of only $115,000, this trawler boat delivers outstanding value for money.

It is powered by a 200hp Yamaha outboard engine and has a very open and airy feeling about it. The galley is equipped with a microwave, cooktop, and refrigerator with a freezer. This ensures that you have everything you need for those long extended stays out on the water.

It has plenty of storage and is highly versatile – a feature that ensures every space on the boat has multiple uses. For instance, the dinette converts to a sleeper, while the mid-berth can be used as storage or converted to a sleeper for the kids. It also has separate sleeping accommodation for two, or you can add the filler cushion to combine them.

What sets the R-23 apart from other trawlers in its class is the fact that it has many of the same amenities you would expect in a larger cruising yacht. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar vessel at that price point.

● Great value for money ● Packed with loads of convenience amenities ● Suitable for long-range cruising

● The engine is slightly noisy

Krogen 50

If you’re up for a cruising adventure on the open ocean, then you’ll love what the Kadey-Krogen range of trawlers brings to the table. The boat manufacturer has been around for more than four decades and has maintained its classic patented full-displacement hull design, making these trawlers one of the most stable vessels you’ll come across.

This makes them perfect for ocean cruising, even in rough waters and sloppy weather conditions. It has ample room to store all the fuel and supplies required for long passages across the ocean.

The Krogen 50 , in particular, is a work of art. Its beauty takes your breath away the moment you lay your eyes on it. The interior has a rich, cozy home-like feel that makes you forget you’re on the water. Every aspect of this trawler is designed meticulously to combine high-performance capabilities with livability.

● Built for long ocean cruises ● Provides exceptional stability even in the rough waters of the high seas ● Beautiful interior design

● Slower than other trawlers in its class

Nordhavn 41

Nordhavn 41

No list of top trawlers would be deemed complete if it didn’t feature Nordhavn. The boat manufacturer has been around for several decades and is renowned for its well-engineered crafts built to last a lifetime.

Now, if you’re in the market for a liveaboard trawler that you can use to cross oceans on your cruise around the world, the Nordhavn 41 is designed to do just that. The folks there weren’t playing around when they built this boat.

They employed the world’s most advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics alongside the latest design technology to produce the safest and most efficient watercraft you’ll ever come across. It has ample liveaboard space, with an expansive galley that comes with loads of amenities like a stovetop, refrigerator, cabinetry, and a countertop.

It also has an exquisite master cabin and a guest stateroom that sleeps two. All in all, if you plan to live onboard your trawler, this is the boat you want to do it in.

● Roomy interior ● Has several convenience features ● Built to last a lifetime

● Fuel efficiency not as you would expect

How to Choose the Best Trawlers – Mistakes to Avoid

There’s an old saying that trawler owners have some of the most impressive cruising résumés in the boating world. That experience has come, in large part, from trial and error.

And, make no mistake about it – the opportunity to make a big blunder is always lurking around the corner. In this buyer’s guide, we explore some of the mistakes to avoid when you go trawler shopping, as well as some useful tips that will come in handy when looking for the best trawlers.

1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

This is the easiest of mistakes to make, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But, as long as you do your homework and research on the boat you want to buy, it’s easy to minimize the chances of making this classic rookie mistake.

The first step involves a serious introspection about what you want to use the boat for – for the first five years, at least. Five years is the sweet spot.

Do you plan to use it for some heavy-duty fishing, or do you intend to use it more for recreational purposes like cruising the open ocean waters with your family? Once that’s clear in your mind, then and only then can you start the search for your perfect boat.

There are three main things you need to think about when looking for the best trawlers to buy.

Hull Design

First is the hull design. This is important since it will affect the way your boat handles in rough waters. Ideally, you want a boat with a full-displacement hull that’s ballasted.

It should be able to give you the range you need to make long ocean passages and economic enough to get you to your destination and back without having to spend a small fortune in the process.

If, on the other hand, you want to get to your destination faster and don’t plan on venturing into exceptionally choppy waters, a trawler with a semi-displacement hull will suffice since it runs faster compared to its full-displacement counterparts.

The next thing you need to consider is the overall safety of the trawler you want to get. Some of the features you should be looking out for include its ability to navigate extreme weather conditions , remain stable in the rough open seas, and carry heavy equipment on board. The vessel you buy should also be unsinkable.

Finally, you should think about the comfort and convenience features that come with the boat. You are, after all, going to be out at sea for long periods.

Now, if the purpose of the boat you’re getting is exclusively for fishing, then you can get away with buying a basic boat with Spartan accommodations. Such a boat would be more focused on the fishing features built into the boat’s design and less on luxury.

On the other hand, if you intend to use it for recreational purposes, the majority of the time, get a boat whose interior setup makes it ideal for the whole family. It should have plenty of comfort and convenience amenities that make it feel like a home away from home.

Once you know the type of trawler you want to get based on what you plan to use it for, you can now start narrowing down the specific models that embody your vision for the perfect boat. Sea trials should soon follow to give you a feel of the trawler’s handling characteristics.

We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. This is why you should take the sea trial bit very seriously. So, while the boat is still at the dealer’s dock, schedule a long sea trial, preferably in iffy weather, to put the trawler through her paces.

If you’re happy with the results, you can now address your expectations of the boat one at a time. Keep in mind that you may need to compromise on certain aspects of it. Nonetheless, based on how much customization the manufacturer allows for, you may be able to get a good number of the features you might want it to have.

2. Underestimating the True Cost of Owning a Trawler

This is yet another common mistake most first-time boat buyers make. You may become so fixated on buying a trawler that you end up overlooking the operational costs that come with owning one.

Now, owning a boat is nothing like owning a car. While both pieces of machinery need regular maintenance and occasional repairs to keep them in good running form, the costs associated with each are worlds apart.

A seemingly simple task like cleaning your trawler is nowhere near the price of taking your car to the drive-through carwash to get it spick and span. The process may involve getting experienced scuba divers to clean the underside of the trawler for you. That aside, other costs you have to factor in include:

  • Boat insurance
  • Fuel and oil changes
  • Monthly slip fees at the marina
  • Servicing and repair
  • Spare parts
  • Waxing it every 6 months
  • … and several other expenses

Once you add all these up and break the figure into a monthly rate, you’ll be able to get what the true cost of ownership is. Buy a boat that’s within your budget while factoring-in what it will cost to run it.

3. Buying the Wrong Type of Boat

Again, this all comes down to your intended use of the vessel. If you’re looking to buy a liveaboard trawler, you might want to get something with a little more room. Boats can start to feel a little claustrophobic after a while. So, if that’s going to be you and your family’s full time living space, you might want to consider how much livable space the boat in question comes with.

The other thing you need to think about is the overall speed of the boat. A trawler with a full-displacement hull may offer the stability it needs to combat the high seas’ rough waters, but the tradeoff here will be speed. Boats with this type of hull move painfully slow through the water.

Think – A snail riding on a turtle’s back going, “Weeee…” as the wind blows across the snail’s head. In this case, you would be the snail, and the full-displacement-hull trawler would be the turtle. You may even experience the occasional sailboat zooming past you as you trudge along the water.

So, if speed matters a great deal to you, you’ll need to buy the right type of trawler. Perhaps one with a semi-displacement hull instead?

4. Not Involving Your Partner in the Purchase Process

The secret to the successful purchase of a trawler is a lot like relationships themselves: compromise.

To avoid putting your trawler up for sale less than a year after purchasing it, ensure your partner is involved in the decision-making process. You need to find a boat that you’re both happy with; otherwise, that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

Since you’re both going to be spending considerable amounts of time out at sea, it’s important that boating is an equal passion for both partners. The boat in question needs to have the features and amenities you both want in a great trawler.

Granted, you may not get a vessel that addresses all the individual needs of each party, but it’s about compromise once again. Find a middle ground that makes you both happy.

5. Impulse Buying

Trawling is a lifestyle, not a hobby. If it’s a day cruising boat you’re after, this isn’t it. Trawlers are designed for people who intend to spend most of their time on the water, fishing in the high seas.

So, if you recently attended a boat show and fell in love with that swanky-looking trawler you came across, you might want to pause before you go ahead and purchase it. As a rule of thumb, never sign a contract when you’re at a boat show – tempting as it may be.

Don’t get sucked-in by the artificial pricing of boats, only to end up entangled in a long-term financial commitment simply because you made an impulse decision in the heat of the moment. Understand what trawlers are intended for and take the time to figure out if that’s the lifestyle you envision for yourself for the next five years.

If it is, avoid making the mistakes outlined in the previous sections when choosing the best trawler to buy.

The Ultimate Adventure-Filled Lifestyle

If you’re passionate about the trawling, we recommend getting any of the 5 boats we’ve reviewed in this guide. Ensure that you avoid making the common mistakes made by first-time boat buyers when shopping for the best trawlers.

One thing is for sure, though. You’re about to embark on the most thrilling adventure of your entire life.

In the meantime, if a yacht is more your speed, we’ve reviewed the best yachts . They’re worth checking out.

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About Chris

Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.

Categories : Boats

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michael mann on August 5, 2021

i really enjoyed your article. the 5 boats you have listed are very ocean capable. i do have a question. how about BERING yachts. i believe their full-displacement and are also ocean crossing capable? can you tell me anything about BERING yachts? and why they didn’t make your list?

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Northwest Motor Yachts from 52′ to 70′

Northwest Motor Yachts are not “cookie cutter” models. Each Steve Seaton designed boat Northwest Yachts builds is tailored to the individual requirements of its’ owner. The size, layout, styling, hull configuration and construction materials are carefully considered in the creation of your new boat; one built just for you.

For open ocean, coastal, near coastal and inside passage cruising, our semi-displacement, FRP constructed Trawler series are the perfect configuration. This gives the owner the option of cruising at displacement speeds for economy or, for when it is needed, cruise at speeds up to 12 knots (depending upon engine selection). Northwest Motor Yachts are built standard as a twin engine configuration optionally as a single. Northwest Motor Yachts are available with engine sizes that will allow for faster cruising speeds or to achieve top speeds of 18 to 20 knots. For the 52 and 55, Northwest offers the John Deere 6068 (330hp) engine(s) as standard. For the larger models, the John Deere 6090, (500hp), 6135 (750hp) or MAN 1000hp engines are available.

If you like one of our models, please tell us so by clicking on the “like” button that appears on each model page under “Northwest Fleet”.

For more information or to find out how surprisingly affordable it is to have a boat tailored just for you, please call or write us .

Click on “The Northwest 45 Story” to view in Youtube.

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Best Trailerable Trawler Brands: Pocket Cruisers to Go Anywhere

12th oct 2023 by lenny rudow.

Rightboat logo

There are many different types of boats with cabins , but if you want to do some serious adventuring from coast to coast, nothing will beat trailerable trawlers. You can hitch up to your tow vehicle and head to any lake, river, or bay you want, sleep aboard, prep meals, and essentially enjoy your very own floating mini-home. Ready to start exploring? These top pocket trawler brands are just waiting for you to take a peek.

Best Trailerable Trawlers for Towing

Some boats are technically trailerable but require a huge beast of a tow vehicle and special permits to get from point A to point B. Those that are best for trailering, however, can be hauled by a standard full size pick-up truck or a large SUV. True, these will be among the smaller options out there and will have tighter cabins and fewer amenities. But if lots of space is your highest priority you’d probably be looking at larger trawlers for sale , as opposed to these pocket trawlers. If you can get by with less elbow room and want to hit the highway with minimal stress, check these options out.

Atlas Boat Works

With an LOA of 21’3”, a beam of 7’0”, and a dry weight of 2,400 pounds, the Atlas Pompano 21 is about as small as you can get while still enjoying a cabin worthy of an overnight. With a 54-hp diesel inboard, it’s also about as fuel efficient as you can get, burning a mere 1.4 gph at an 11-knot cruise. And even though it’s an inboard, the Pompano 21 draws a mere two feet of water, so it can be launched and loaded at most boat ramps. The helm is enclosed on three sides, and below there’s a mini-galley and a V-berth with a portable MSD underneath. 

You say you want an outboard powered-pocket trawler? Atlas also offers the 23 Pompano, which adds a bracket and a 70-hp outboard that provides speeds of up to 20 mph and a cruise in the mid-teens. If a touch more elbow room is to your taste check out their Acadia 25 models, which have substantially more cabin space and fully enclosed stand-up heads. Beam is 8’6, though, so they can still be hauled just about anywhere in the U.S.

Atlas Boat Works boats for sale

Atlas Pompano 21

Photo credit: Atlas Boat Works

C-Dory has a number of trailerable models but the 22 Cruiser takes the cake for ease, since it tips the scales at a mere 2,600 pounds and stays under a 5,000 pound fully loaded towing weight — which means even a relatively modest tow vehicle can pull it without any problems. It’s designed to run with just 115 horsepower on the transom, and has an open 4’6” aft cockpit so you can enjoy some fishing when the mood strikes. Yet for such a svelte disposition, the cabin has a significant amount of room, with a dinette to port, the helm station to starboard, a mini-galley behind the helm, and a 6’3” V-berth forward. Surprisingly, it also has 6’2” of headroom. 

You can up the ante a bit with their 23’ Venture, which takes headroom to 6’4” and can handle up to 150 hp. Or consider the 25 Cruiser and 26 Venture. These have significantly larger cabins yet still keep beam at 8’6” so they can be hauled legally in the U.S. without a permit.

C-Dory boats for sale


Photo credit: C-Dory

Best Trailerable Trawlers for Cruising

If you plan to do serious cruising and spend days at a time aboard, a few creature comforts and some additional elbow room is in order. You’ll need the ability to prep meals, have plenty of room for sleeping, enough stowage space for all your gear, and a separate fully enclosed head compartment. Can you get all that and still have trailering abilities? You bet.

Ranger Tugs

There aren’t many pocket trawlers that have a full suite of cruising amenities yet can still be trailered, but Ranger Tugs has several models that fit the bill thanks to an 8’6” beam and a folding mast. Check out the R-23, R-25, and R-27, for example, and you’ll see a list of options including perks like diesel forced-air heat, air conditioning, Fusion stereo systems, and electric cockpit grills. More important for the cruisers among us, the galley is fully equipped (including a microwave, stove-top, and refrigerator/freezer), and there’s room to sleep five even on the smallest model, with a forward stateroom, a convertible dinette berth, and a midship berth.

If you’re willing to jump through the hoops to get a wide tow permit, Ranger Tugs R-29 and R-31 offer much bigger cabins and gobs of amenities. Dry weight for the R-31 is 12,000 pounds so you’ll need a tow vehicle that’s quite capable, but everything above hard-top level folds down to maintain a 13’6” height, keeping to the legal maximum.

Ranger Tugs boats for sale

Ranger Tugs R-25

Photo credit: Ranger Tugs

Nordic Tugs

This builder only offers one model that’s trailerable, the Nordic Tug 26, and with a 9’6” beam in most states you’ll have to get a permit to haul it down the road legally. You’ll also need to be careful about the ramps you use, because the boat has a 3’6” draft. But if you’re willing to deal with the extra paperwork you’ll have an excellent cruising boat with sleeping accommodations for four, a fully enclosed stand-up head compartment, a full galley, and lots of extra stowage space. At 8,600 pounds you’ll need a substantial tow vehicle, but this isn’t outside the capacity of many full-sized trucks.

Nordic Tugs boats for sale

Nordic Tugs

Photo credit: Nordic Tugs

Sporty Trailerable Trawlers

There are many different types of boats out there, and while trawlers are historically slow and fuel efficient, in this day and age you can find some that are downright sporty. With planing hulls and outboard power they certainly push the definition of a trawler, but these boats deliver the amenities and often the look that trawler aficionados love.

Cutwater’s C-248 is their only model that offers the hassle-free trailering that goes along with an 8’6” beam. If you’re willing to do some legwork, however, the C-288 C and C-30 Sedan have 10-foot beams and can fly across the asphalt atop a permitted trailer. These boats feature fully enclosed helms and cabins, riding atop a fast double-stepped hull. They also display an inventive use of space, designing in a bonus berth underneath the dinette.

Cutwater boats come fully equipped right out of the box, with an eyebrow-raising list of standard features including perks like Garmin electronics systems, digital engine displays, and folding cockpit seating. More to the point, they also come with plenty of power and the C-248 is one of the few boats on the planet that can be used like a pocket trawler and also pull a water skier.

Cutwater boats for sale

Cutwater C 248 Coupe

Photo credit: Cutwater

Solara is the latest brand from Fluid Motion, and these boats are billed as “luxury pocket cruisers.” With outboards on the transom and stepped planing hulls, many of their models cruise at over 30 mph and can hit speeds well into the 40s. They offer three different 25-footers that have that magic 8’6” trailerable beam, but very different layouts. 

The Solara S-250 C “coupe” model features a fully enclosed cabin and helm station, with a galley, dinette, and helm station plus a lower cabin with a berth and enclosed head. The CW “center walkaround” is almost like a center console, except that the console goes all the way to the port side of the boat and encloses a cabin with a berth, mini-galley, and head. And there’s a dual console model as well, which is great for day-boating but doesn’t really fit into this roundup since it doesn’t have enclosed sleeping accommodations.

Solara boats for sale


Photo credit: Solara

Just which of these options would be the best pick for you, personally? That depends upon your priorities—and just how hefty your tow vehicle is. Whatever you may decide, however, one thing is for sure: These days you can get trailerable trawlers that are simple, sumptuous, sporty, and everything in-between.

Written By: Lenny Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites. Rudow lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk ; he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

More from: Lenny Rudow

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