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What Is The Best Boat For Cruising To The Bahamas?

By Robert Bowman | Posted On Jun 06, 2023
Updated On Mar 25, 2024

There is nothing quite like crossing the Gulf Stream from Florida and catching the first glimpse of that striking iridescent turquoise water of the Bahamas. With the Resorts World in Bimini so popular and Walker's Cay Marina re-opened, heading to the islands by boat is not the worst idea in the world. In fact, the Bahamian government recently reported that tourists arriving in 2022 were up by 233% over the same period in 2021! There's no question that social media has played a big role in educating the world in the beauty of places like Rose Island that can only be reached by boat.

Whether you cruise south in the fall to spend the winter in the Bahamas or you're heading over from South Florida, selecting the right yacht for sale can make a world of difference. Opinions differ, but generally a boat for the Bahamas will perform the best if it draws 5-feet of water or less, which can limit some larger yachts and sailboats. If you're trying to determine what boat to buy for the islands, it's best to look at what actual boats are for sale on the market.

So what is the best boat for cruising the Bahamas? According to the type of boats listed for sale in the Bahamas, 43% are either catamarans or center-console boats. Each of these different types offer a shallow draft for safe navigation between islands and are easy to maneuver, making them the best boats for Bahamas cruising. With an average price of $535,382 there are plenty of options at both ends of the market depending on your budget. Not far behind, luxury yachts are the next most popular boat, but have an average asking price of over $7 million.

(Below: Youtube Channel 'Life By The Bow' offers tips on crossing from Florida to the Bahamas.)


While purchasing a boat in the Bahamas and taking possession of it there is an option, finding the right yacht for sale in Florida may make more sense. You can have it surveyed much more easily, complete any repairs with a certified technician, and the closing process will be smoother. That being said, the United Yacht Sales team has experts on staff to assist you every step of the way from the beginning of your search, to closing and taking delivery of your boat. If buying a boat and setting sail to the islands is part of your dream, let us help. Call our main office today at 1-772-463-3131 and we'll connect you with a professional, experienced yacht broker that knows the ins and outs of cruising the Bahamas.

Below are several options, in order by length, of boats we recommend for taking to the Bahamas to cruise, fish, snorkel, and explore the many uninhabited islands.



Fountaine Pajot sailing catamaran bahamas

With a draft of 4' 5", this Fountaine Pajot 56 is quite capable of cruising the Bahamas and will offer exceptional fuel efficiency. Accommodating up to 6 guests in 3 cabins, along with a beam over 26-feet, PLOTO has the space on board for multi-night vacations. This particular sailing catamaran is configured for single-handed sailing thanks to a self-furling main and self-tracking jib. PLOTO also has all of the comforts many cruisers desire including air-conditioning, water-maker, ice machine, sound system, and more.

Asking Price: $499,000

Location: Key West, Florida

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aquila power catamaran for bahamas

If you enjoy the advantages of cruising on a catamaran, but prefer your power source to be from diesel and not wind, look no further than a power catamaran. "BLESSED" is a 2021 Aquila 54 that is equipped for private ownership, but could easily be placed into a successful yacht charter program. This boat was the winner of the Multi-Hull Of The Year award in 2022 and has an island-friendly draft of 4' 6". You can cruise comfortably at 18-20 knots or put it in fuel-efficient mode which gives you a 957 nautical mile range at 7.8 knots.

Asking Price: $2,650,000

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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beneteau 52 swift trawler for bahamas

For those of you who desire a long-distance cruising boat that can be your home on the water for weeks at a time, this Beneteau 52 Swift Trawler checks a lot of important boxes. The draft on the Swift Trawler is less than 4 feet and the twin Volvo D9 575HP engines offer quiet, efficient performance. Even better, JERSEY LILY was re-fit in 2019 with updated upholstery, refrigeration, head systems, freshwater systems, and new electronics. 

Asking Price: $895,000

Location: Stuart, Florida

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"HOT MIX" - 2012 CABO 44 HTX

cabo sportfish for the bahamas

If you're coming to the Bahamas to fish, which many of the visitors do, it's hard to beat the versatility of the Cabo 44 HTX. With a draft of 3' 7" and loaded with fishing features galore, HOT MIX is the sportfish you need to see. Notable features on this Cabo include Raymarine electronics, Triple Stidd helm seats, Zipwake Trim Tab Control, built-in livewell, and much more. The popular 2-cabin layout means you can bring your closest friends along for the ride.

Asking Price: $899,000

Location: Key Largo, Florida

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hcb  yachts in the bahamas

If you've ever been to Bimini on the weekend and strolled down to the marina, there's a good chance you'll see a handful of HCB Yachts tied up. REELIN N DEALIN is an excellent example of a 42 LUJO powered with triple Yamaha 425 XTO's and has a draft less than 3 feet. Capable of easily handing the normal 2-3 foot swells you encounter when crossing over, this is a great Bahamas boat to island hop and hunt big game.

Asking Price: $784,900

Location: Miami, Florida

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leopard sailing catamaran bahamas

With as popular as catamarans are in the islands, it made sense to include KNOT APPROPRIATE in our list of best boats for the Bahamas. A feature of the boat new to the catamaran industry is the doorway from the main salon to the foredeck. This allowed you to go from the stern to the foredeck without having to go around the sides of the boat. At first other manufacturers said it was a mistake but now every manufacturer is doing it. So put Roberson and Caine down for innovation and design along with sailing performance. 

Asking Price: $435,000

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

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contender boats for bahamas

It's hard to beat a Contender center-console cruising in the Bahamas. DIRTY NEST is a newly listed 2012 Contender 39ST with brand new Mercury 400's. If you don't want it to take forever to sail your cat to the Exumas, a fast center-console might be right up your alley. Imagine cruising into the uninhabited islands from the vantage point of the Gap Tower, seeing the shadows of Tarpon cruising the flats. This boat has 4 live wells and new Garmin electronics for the serious anglers that want to fish the Bahamas.

Asking Price: $410,000

Location: Miami Beach, Florida

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All of the featured boats above can be easily delivered to you on the east coast of Florida where you can provision, fuel, and set sail for your Bahamas adventure. Remember, the key things you need in the perfect Bahamas boat are a shallow draft, good visibility, good storage, and air-conditioning certainly helps. But whether you choose power or sail, fast or fuel efficient, cruising-oriented or hardcore fishing, it's entirely up to your boating plans. The United Yacht Sales team is here to assist you in your search for the perfect boat to go to the Bahamas. If you already own a boat and want to see what it's worth in today's market, please use our What's My Boat Worth form and our team will get back to you with a market evaluation.

Also Read: What is the best size cruising yacht?

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