Modern life is an expensive business – so much so that a budget of £5,000 barely seems like a budget at all. Go to the wrong pub and a round of drinks can see off the bulk of that, so can you really expect a new powerboat for such a modest price? Well we all know that you get much more for your money on the used market but the fact of the matter is that you can still put a new powerboat on a trailer with an engine on the transom for around £5,000. What follows are five new craft on the 2014 market that look like particularly compelling value for money...


(1) Mariner 400 Dory

The Mariner 400 uses precisely the Cathedral hull shape you would expect of a budget dory.

Best new powerboats: Mariner 400

Mariner 400 dory: With an ex-display price under £3k there should be enough budget for a small outboard and trailer to go with.

On the plus side, that means lots of stability, lots of efficiency and decent inboard space - and on the downside, that means the likelihood of a hard ride. However, it’s easy to tow, launch, stow and drive and it is perfectly happy with moderate coastal waters. In terms of spec, this GRP boat comes with a remote console and a pair of seats, plus a couple of storage lockers and a useful arrangement of stainless steel cleats and rails. Of course, there’s nothing complicated about this four-man 13-footer but in ‘Ex-Display’ form (like this one from ABC Marine) the boat can be yours for just £2,995, leaving enough for a decent used 15hp outboard engine and trailer. And if you can stretch the budget a little further, this boat with a new Mariner F20 outboard can be yours for the impressive package price of £6,750.
Price: from £2,995


(2) Mac Boat Smartwave AV3500

Designed by Scott Robson and constructed from foam-filled, twin-skinned polyethylene, this Kiwi-built runabout is far more stable and robust than its modest size would have you believe.

best new powerboats: SW3500

The Smartwave AV3500 comes in at under £3,400 and weighs less than 100kg with massive buoyancy reserves.

It will take decades of battering without the need for maintenance and its generous deck space makes it useful for active pursuits like watersports, fishing or rescue work. With its generous beam of 1.7 metres and its moderate deadrise of just 13 degrees, it planes at low speeds and is ideal for beaching and shallow water work. It also has sufficient buoyancy and stability to carry four people and, despite its low weight of just 100kg, it comes with a five-year warranty and a transom equipped to cope with a 25hp outboard. Pop it on a purpose-built alloy trailer with a Tohatsu 9.8 on the transom and you’re still coming in pretty much on your £5,000 budget. For an extra £850, you could buy the remote console version (the SF3500) but with a boat-only price of just £2,395, the base AV model is a belter.
Price: from £2,395

Search all Mac Boat for sale -


(3) Sea-Doo Spark

It took Sea-Doo eight years to develop the Spark but the results are well worth the effort.


Best new powerboats: Sea-Doo Spark

The Sea-Doo Spark lacks power in comparison to most new PWCs, but it's amazing what a difference a lightweight body can make.

Built from roto-moulded plastic, this modular craft is designed to be an entirely new form of entry-level PW – and to that end, it is 15 per cent shorter, 35 per cent more frugal and 40 per cent cheaper than any other sit-down ski in the world. Powered by a marinised version of the compact and well-proven 900cc snowmobile unit, the base model only offers 60hp (less than a quarter of some performance models) and yet the fact that it weighs a massive 50 per cent less than any other two-man ski means it’s actually quite entertaining to ride. Yes, the base model offers virtually no storage but with attractively pared back aesthetics, strong construction, easy maintenance, lots of customisation routes, user-friendly driving dynamics and an extraordinary price, it’s a landmark PW.

Price: from £4,999

Search all Sea-doo for sale -


(4) AB Inflatables Rider

AB Inflatables is a prolific boat builder with 48 models of RIB constructed either from GRP or aluminium and designed as tenders and standalone craft for both the leisure and commercial markets.


AB Inflatables Rider

The AB Inflatables Rider is a PW-style RIB with hypalon tubes and decent storage in the bow.

Like every other boat in the range, this baby of the fleet is designed to offer quality underpinnings (hull, deck and tubes), alongside the traditional ‘tender-friendly’ traits of light weight, fuel efficiency and helming fun. This PW-style RIB also comes with great dry storage in the moulded bow section, plus seating for two adults and four davit lifting points for use on board a larger boat. Assets fed down from the larger boats include Hypalon tubes with three air chambers, a jockey steering console, a hand pump and maintenance kit, a non-slip deck and a transom protector. Tube ingress on a console-equipped ten-footer means space is obviously tight, but with a weight of 124 kg and the ability to host a 30hp outboard, there is still plenty of fun to be had from the little AB Rider.

Price: from £3,995

Search all AB Inflatable for sale -


(5) Pioner 14 Active

Small and plain though it undoubtedly is, the four-man Pioner 14 is a safe, solid and secure family runabout.


Pioner 14

The Pioner 14 is a Finnish four-man runabout that comes in at around £3,600 and is rated up to 20hp outboard.

The layout enables the stowage of long objects on the open port side and smaller personal gear to starboard. The integrated rope cleats and splash-proof lockers are very simple but they do add a practical touch without inflating the price. Capable of carrying four people, a weight of 190kg means it’s quite a heavily built little boat but with the 20hp option you can still expect to enjoy a relatively sporty 25-knot drive. Plainly, its reputation as a bombproof club boat is thoroughly deserved but if you have the money to spec it up with the optional console, windscreen and cushions, it might even be able to count passenger comfort among its considerable array of talents. A boat only price of £3,600 means a current 9.9hp package price of around £5,500.

Price: £5,519

Search all Pioner 14 for sale -

If the list above has whetted your appetite, this might give you more ideas: Boats on a Budget: 5 Powerboats Under £5k

And value for money is an excellent attribute for any new boat, as the following reviews demonstrate: Mariner 215 review: great value pilothouse or Affordable fun: Five brilliant ‘boy-racer’ boats.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.