20 ft Boats: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide


When it comes to choosing a 20 ft boat, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you’re making the right purchase for your needs. This guide will provide a thorough overview of what to look for in a 20 ft boat and offer practical tips on selecting the best option whether you’re into fishing, cruising, or water sports.

Key Considerations for Purchasing a 20 ft Boat:
1. Type of boating: Determine whether the boat will be used for offshore fishing, cruising, or water sports.
2. Budget: Understand how much you can afford and explore financing options.
3. Features: Evaluate essential features such as livewells, storage options, and seating comfort.
4. Engine and performance: Check the horsepower and assess the fuel efficiency to match your activity needs.

Purchasing a boat is an exciting endeavor, yet it can be daunting due to the myriad of options available. With brands like Yamaha, Manitou, and Beneteau offering a range of models, it’s crucial to prioritize what features are most important to you and how the boat fits within your lifestyle.

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time buyer, understanding the basics—from the hull design to seating capacity and engine performance—is vital. Additionally, considering the boat’s purpose will guide you in choosing a vessel that not only meets your performance criteria but also provides comfort and enjoyment for everyone aboard.

Infographic covering key considerations for purchasing a 20 ft boat, including types of boating activities appropriate for this size, popular features, average prices, and suggested brands like Yamaha and Beneteau. - 20 ft boat infographic pillar-4-steps

Choosing the Right 20 ft Boat

When selecting a 20 ft boat, it’s crucial to consider the type of boating you plan to do—whether it’s fishing, cruising, or engaging in water sports. Each activity has specific requirements that can influence the design and features of your boat.

Offshore vs. Inshore Boating

Safety and size requirements differ significantly between offshore and inshore boating:

  • Offshore Boating: Requires a sturdier, more robust boat capable of handling rough waters. A deeper hull, such as those found in the Outlet 20, is preferred for stability. Offshore boats often come equipped with features like larger fuel capacities and advanced navigational tools to handle longer distances away from shore.

  • Inshore Boating: Generally involves calmer, shallower waters. Smaller, more agile boats are ideal, allowing for easier maneuvering through narrow channels or near the coast. Inshore boats can be simpler, focusing on comfort and ease of use.

Common Boat Sizes and Their Uses

Different activities might require different boat types and sizes:

  • Offshore Fishing: Larger boats with ample storage, robust fuel capacity, and powerful engines are preferred. For example, boats like the Outlet 20, with its 150 HP capacity and 60-gallon livewell, are ideal for serious anglers targeting big game fish.

  • Inshore Fishing: Smaller, more versatile boats are suitable, allowing for easy navigation through various waterways. Features like smaller livewells and increased cockpit space can enhance the experience.

  • Bay Boating: Often a middle ground between offshore and inshore, bay boats need to be versatile. They should provide a comfortable ride with moderate engine power and reasonable fuel capacity.

  • Cruising: Comfort is key. Features like plush seating, good entertainment systems, and room for several passengers are important. Boats used for cruising often focus on a smooth ride and good handling at various speeds.

  • Water Sports: Boats designed for water sports often feature powerful engines and special towing equipment like ski pylons. A smooth, stable ride and features like swim platforms enhance usability.

When choosing a 20 ft boat, consider how you’ll use it most of the time. If you’re into fishing, look at the livewell capacity and rod storage. If cruising is your main activity, focus on seating comfort and onboard amenities. And for water sports, engine performance and towing capabilities will be your priority.

In summary, a 20 ft boat can serve various purposes, but the key is to match the boat’s features and capabilities with your intended use. Whether it’s pulling in a heavy catch from the deep sea or enjoying a leisurely cruise on a sunny afternoon, the right boat will make all the difference in your boating experience. Moving forward, understanding specific features like boat weight, tow requirements, and seating options will further refine your choice, ensuring you select a boat that meets all your needs.

Key Features and Considerations

When selecting a 20 ft boat, it’s crucial to consider various features that will impact your experience on the water. Let’s dive into some of the key factors like weight, capacity, hull design, livewells, and storage options. These elements are essential in determining how well the boat suits your specific needs, whether you’re an avid angler or someone who enjoys casual boating with friends and family.

Understanding Boat Weight and Tow Requirements

Average Weight and Trailer Weight:
The typical dry weight of a 20 ft boat, like the Outlet 20, is around 1280 lb (580.60 kg), with some variations depending on the model and build. When considering the trailer, a painted black bunk trailer for this boat has a capacity of 2450 lb. It’s important to ensure that your tow vehicle can handle this combined weight comfortably.

Tow Vehicle:
For safe towing, your vehicle should have a towing capacity that exceeds the combined weight of the boat and trailer. This precaution helps prevent strain on the vehicle and ensures a safer ride to and from your water adventures.

Livewell Capacity for Anglers

Dual Livewells:
For anglers, livewell capacity is a significant feature. The Outlet 20 offers a large 60-gallon bow livewell and a 16-gallon aft deck livewell. This setup is ideal for separating different catches or keeping bait alive and healthy during long fishing trips.

Gallon Capacity and Bait Storage:
Having dual livewells with substantial gallon capacities ensures that you can store bait and keep your catch fresh. The smaller 16-gallon livewell in the stern is perfect for quick access to bait, enhancing your fishing efficiency.

Seating and Comfort

Max Passengers:
The Outlet 20 comfortably seats up to 7 passengers. This capacity is ideal for family outings or a day out with friends.

Cockpit Seating and Upgrade Options:
Standard seating includes four fold-down seats, with the driver’s seat on a locking pedestal with a slider for easy adjustments. For those looking for more comfort or customization, upgrade options like additional plush seating or custom upholstery are available to enhance the boating experience.

In summary, when choosing a 20 ft boat, considering these detailed features and how they align with your boating lifestyle is crucial. From the weight and towing requirements to the livewell capacities and seating arrangements, each aspect plays a pivotal role in defining the utility and enjoyment of your boat. We’ll explore the performance and specifications to give you a better understanding of what to expect from your vessel in terms of power and navigational capabilities.

Performance and Specifications

When selecting a 20 ft boat, the performance and specifications are critical factors that impact your boating experience. This section delves into the engine options, fuel capacity, beam width, hull gauge, and advanced navigational technologies that enhance maneuverability and efficiency.

Engine Options and Efficiency

One of the popular choices for a 20 ft boat is the Mercury 115 ELPT Pro XS. This engine is known for its robust performance and efficiency. It fits well within the typical horsepower range of 115-150 HP for this size of a boat. The Mercury 115 ELPT Pro XS offers a balance of power and fuel efficiency, making it a suitable option for both leisure cruising and sport fishing.

The fuel efficiency of an engine like the Mercury 115 ELPT Pro XS ensures that you can enjoy long days on the water without frequent refueling stops. This is particularly important for anglers and cruisers who plan extended trips offshore or along the coast.

Navigational Technology

Navigational technology in 20 ft boats has seen significant advancements, with systems like the Helm Master EX setting new standards. This technology includes joystick control, which revolutionizes how you maneuver your boat. The joystick allows for precise movements, making docking and navigating through tight spots easier than ever. This is especially beneficial in marinas or during tricky anchoring situations.

The Helm Master EX system enhances the overall handling of the boat, offering features that support both novice and experienced boaters. The ability to move the boat laterally or rotate it on its axis with simple joystick movements changes the game in boating dynamics.

Specifications Overview:

  • Horsepower Range: 115-150 HP
  • Fuel Capacity: Typically around 22 gallons for a 20 ft boat
  • Beam Width: Around 95 inches, providing stability and space
  • Hull Gauge: Approximately 0.125 inches, offering a sturdy and durable build

These specifications highlight the robustness and capability of 20 ft boats like the Outlet 20, which is designed to handle various water conditions and provide a stable, reliable ride.

In conclusion, understanding the engine options and navigational technologies available for 20 ft boats helps in making an informed decision tailored to your specific boating needs. With the right setup, you can expect efficient performance, ease of navigation, and a memorable experience on the water. We’ll look into additional considerations that are vital when choosing the perfect boat for your adventures.


When it comes to purchasing a 20 ft boat, the dealership you choose is just as crucial as the boat itself. At Blackbeard Marine, we understand the importance of not only making the right choice in your boat purchase but also in ensuring you receive top-notch after-sales support.

Choosing the Right Dealer

Selecting the right dealer is about more than just finding a place that sells boats. It’s about finding a partner in your boating journey. A reputable dealer like Blackbeard Marine doesn’t just sell you a boat; we provide you with a comprehensive boating experience. From initial inquiries to after-sales services, our team is dedicated to ensuring you receive the guidance and support you need. Our expert staff is always ready to answer any questions, helping you make an informed decision that best suits your boating lifestyle.

Blackbeard Marine’s Commitment

At Blackbeard Marine, we are committed to providing an exceptional customer experience. We offer a wide selection of boats tailored to various boating activities, whether it’s fishing, cruising, or water sports. Our lineup includes trusted brands such as G3, SunCatcher, Skeeter, and Yamaha Boats, ensuring quality and reliability.

We pride ourselves on our detailed knowledge of each model’s features and capabilities, which ensures that you find the perfect 20 ft boat to suit your needs. Whether you are a seasoned angler looking for a robust fishing platform or a family seeking a comfortable cruising vessel, we have the expertise to guide you to the right choice.

After-Sales Support

Our relationship with you doesn’t end at the sale. Blackbeard Marine’s after-sales support is a cornerstone of our business model. We offer comprehensive maintenance and repair services to keep your boat in prime condition. Whether you need routine servicing, engine repairs, or custom upgrades, our certified technicians are equipped to handle your needs efficiently.

Furthermore, we understand that accessibility to parts and accessories is vital for boat maintenance and customization. Blackbeard Marine stocks a wide range of high-quality parts and accessories that you can rely on to enhance your boating experience or address any repair needs.

In conclusion, choosing the right dealer is essential for a satisfying boating experience. At Blackbeard Marine, we not only provide a wide range of high-quality 20 ft boats, but we also ensure you receive the ongoing support you deserve. Visit us to experience how our commitment to excellence can make all the difference in your boating adventures.