Once you’ve been bitten by the boating bug, it’s only natural that you’ll want to take the whole family with you, but what are the best family boats for saltwater cruising?
Boating can be a lot of fun as a solitary pursuit, but once you start taking the family with you, your horizons start to expand rapidly.
Here at MBY, we’ve tested hundreds of top-quality family boats – the below is our selection of sub-40ft boats that would suit a family making their first foray into the exciting world of saltwater cruising.
Brig Eagle 8
BRIG is the largest RIB manufacturer in the world – not bad for a Ukrainian company that emerged 25 years ago from the ashes of a former Soviet fighter jet factory.
So when it launched a new 8m model aimed squarely at the family boats market rather than the high-performance niche which RIB builders tend to favour, we couldn’t resist taking a closer look.
Key features ticked off in this design include flexible seating and a large heads compartment, which can double as storage for watersports gear and cushions.
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The smallest model in Nimbus’ outboard-powered sportsboat range could actually be the best of the bunch, and a top option for a family boat.
One major selling point is that it’s just narrow enough to fit on a trailer, meaning you don’t have to shell out on marina fees.
It’s an exceptionally safe, easy craft to move around with deeply bulwarked decks, sturdy guard rails, grab handles exactly where you’d expect to find them and an attention to detail rarely found on this size of craft.
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 Marlin
One of the most popular ranges from the world’s biggest boatbuilder, the Jeanneau Merry Fisher has been a family boats favourite for decades, but we think they hit the sweet spot last year with the launch of the 895 Marlin.
With two cockpits, you can easily seat six for lunch back aft, before moving forward to enjoy the wind-in-your-hair experience from the bow while powering along at more than 37 knots.
The enclosed wheelhouse makes this a true all-weather boat, while two cabins below decks mean you can spend the whole weekend on board.
Beneteau Flyer 10
Crowned as the European Powerboat of the Year in 2020, the flagship of Beneteau’s Flyer range is a highly versatile design.
Part sunny weather plaything, part family boat, the Flyer 10 fits in a six-person cockpit with adjacent galley and a four-seat helm station, as well as a watersports tow arch.
Below decks there’s enough room for six adults to sit around the dinette, which can convert into a double bed, and there’s a second double berth amidships.
Only just launched in September at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival, the new Marex 330 has all the hallmarks of a future family boats classic.
Finished to a typically high Norwegian standard, the 330 includes Marex’s famous curtain canopy system, which requires just the pull of one bungee to become rain and windproof without the need to fiddle with numerous tie points.
We’re very excited to test drive this new model and will be publishing a full review in the coming months.
The oldest design on our list, but still winning over family boat buyers six years after its launch, the British-designed and German-built Sealine C330 delivers excellent packaging and fun handling for a competitive price.
The spacious accommodation is the star here, making the C330 a genuinely usable weekender for four and week-long cruiser for a couple with kids or visiting friends.
But that’s not to say it’s not fun to drive – the twin sterndrive setup, linked to a pair of Volvo Penta D3 220s, makes for a fun, agile and safe driving experience and should make the C330 a treat to thread through a following sea.
Those are just a few of the reasons why we bestowed one of our much-coveted Motor Boat Awards on the Sealine C330 back in 2016.