Speed boat and water of ocean

Best Boats for Florida Waters

Florida has a good mix of saltwater and freshwater, surrounded by oceans on all sides and full of swamps and rivers within. Knowing their characteristics will help you figure out the best boat for Florida water adventures.

Florida is probably the best place for boating and fishing enthusiasts. With the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico surrounding the state, enthusiasts will have a field day traversing the seas for different fish species. The rise and fall of the waves and the different conditions they may experience make it essential to choose the best boat for Florida waters.

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Boating Experience

Non-connoisseurs might not find any apparent difference in Florida boats used in freshwater than those used in saltwater. But if they look closely and learn more about where they’re planning to go boating, they might learn how different they are and which one will suit their needs better.

Here are some of the differences between saltwater and freshwater boating that might help you find the best boat for Florida:

Different Water Conditions

You will feel the difference between saltwater and freshwater boating.

Most freshwater boating takes place on rivers and lakes, where the water is generally contained. Freshwaters don’t have strong currents and waves, making navigation easier. Weather conditions are usually calm unless another boat comes close.

Saltwater boating is usually done on larger bodies of water like the ocean. As you have likely seen in many documentaries, the ocean is rough. If you don’t find a calm harbor or cove, the waves will be larger and stronger than in any freshwater area. It is more difficult to control your boat in harsher conditions.

Saltwater bodies are more challenging to navigate and larger than lakes. You are more likely to be lost, so make sure you have emergency supplies and navigation equipment.


Saltwater is not only harder to navigate but is also destructive to a boat. Saltwater is five times more corrosive than fresh water, and the salty ocean air corrodes metal ten times faster than inland. You should rinse your boat’s metal parts with fresh water after boating.

Ocean water is more aggressive and can damage your boat’s protective coating. You must also remove any barnacles and algae from your boat if it is left in saltwater for a long time; barnacles make your boat look horrible and add drag, slowing your boat down.

Hull Design

The hull on your boat gets the most abuse in rough water conditions. Saltwater boat hulls are made to withstand rougher water conditions and can take more abuse than their freshwater counterparts.

Freshwater boats typically have a shallower hull because lakes and rivers aren’t as deep, which prevents them from hitting the ground if they get too close to the shore. Some freshwater boats have flat hulls that allow them to glide across the smooth waters.

Best Places to Go Boating In Florida

Now that you know some of the differences between boating in saltwater and freshwater, it is now time to choose the right places to visit in Florida for boating. Since Florida has the best of both worlds, it is not difficult to find the right spot for boating and fishing.

Boating is one of the main activities you can do while visiting the state. Here are some of the popular spots for boating in Florida you might want to experience:

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island was once a well-kept secret among Floridians. It is known for its beautiful beaches, blue Gulf waters, and charming business districts. It is a popular vacation spot for local, national, and international tourists; people from all walks of life have discovered a piece of paradise in this place.

Anna Maria Island is one of the great places to visit in Florida to escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Relax and enjoy the lush tropical foliage as the manatees glide across the water. You can also enjoy a stunning sunrise over Tampa Bay and a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico in one day.

John’s Pass

The 1,100-foot boardwalk runs along the Intracoastal Waterway, attracting restaurant-goers and ocean-lovers from sunrise to sunset.

John’s Pass Village offers more things to do, eat, and drink than any other place on the Gulf Beaches. You can also shop for souvenirs, dine on the dockside, and find other things to do on your visit to turn it into a full day of fun.

Silver Glen Springs

Silver Glen Springs is a popular day-use area and an important archaeological site, demonstrating the delicate balance between outdoor recreation and conserving precious resources. Silver Glen Springs is a popular swimming spot with its 73 degrees Fahrenheit water – and probably the clearest water in Florida. Take your snorkel with you to meet the fish face-to-face.

The springs were once home to a village. It is home to huge middens, ancient “trash heaps” filled with fossilized snail shells and other items from everyday life, hidden under a canopy of live oaks.

Egmont Key

Egmont Key is accessible only by boat, with a unique natural history and cultural history. The lighthouse had stood since 1858, when the Seminoles used the island as a camp during the Third Seminole War. It was then occupied later by the Union Navy in the Civil War.

Active up to 1923, Fort Dade was constructed on the island in 1898 as the Spanish-American War loomed. Aside from visiting these historical sites, visitors can also enjoy hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, and picnicking.

Egmont Key is found at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island offers unforgettable experiences, whether a walk along its pristine beaches or a kayak ride through the bayside mangrove forests.

Enjoy a walk along the nature trail to the Scharrer Homestead, and let the ocean breeze blow through the old-growth slash trees. Feel the warmth of the live oaks.

Boats for Enjoying Florida Waters

If you are done deciding which part of Florida you want to visit and go boating, you might want to check out the following types of boats – this can help you decide which of these you think is the best boat for Florida.


A pontoon boat is one of the common types of boats used for recreation. They are flat and use floats for buoyancy. Modern pontoon boat designers create large deck plans that accommodate many amenities like sun pads, stand-up bars, and expansive lounge areas.


Any class or subclass of a boat that contains a sail with one or more masts and rigging systems as its primary source of propulsion is considered a sailboat. They come in many models and rigs. They include racing boats, sloops, schooners, trimarans, and sailing cruisers.


All boaters love bowriders, from those just starting out boating to those who have been boating for years. Ask anyone who has been boating for a while what their first boat was, and most will tell you a bowrider is the best boat for Florida.

This is because bowriders are some of the most versatile Florida boats and can be used in many different ways. This is why almost every boat manufacturer has a bowrider range.

Find Quality Boats at Bay Excursions

Nothing can quench an adventurous spirit more than a day of boating in Florida and its open seas. Don’t fret if you find owning a boat to be expensive. Bay Excursions is here to provide you with quality boating services.

Bay Excursions has got you covered if you need a boat tour in Madeira Beach, FL, whether for fishing or leisure. We can give you a tour of the fantastic Madeira Beach and its neighboring islands. Book a tour with us now!

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