If you’re looking for a dedicated fishing vessel for use at sea, the trawler is your best option. This vessel suits ocean-going fishing experiences thanks to its longer length, powerful motors, and deep hull. The trawler is similar to the motor yacht, with a shorter length and a design catering to anglers.
These models are ideal for spending days or weeks out on the water, giving you everything you need for the longest fishing trips. These models come with plenty of storage space for all your gear and room for plenty of fish.
Traditionally, the trawler is a working vessel used by fisheries. However, in recent years, boat manufacturers started producing designs suitable for the private market. Many models come with luxury fittings and living areas aboard the vessel, allowing you to live the life aquatic with all your creature comforts.
Many modern trawlers feature a full-displacement hull with a weighted keel, while others utilize a semi-displacement hull variation. The full-displacement model is ideal for moving through the water rather than on top of the surface. They make seaworthy vessels, but they are slower than the semi-displacement models.
The semi-displacement hull design also provides a low riding position on the water compared to other fishing boats. However, they rely on planning through the water rather than pushing through it. One design element that links both full and semi-displacement models is the distinctive look of the boat.
- What Is a Trawler?
- Benefits of Trawlers
- Disadvantages of Trawlers
- Top Trawler Brands and Models
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Trawler?
This ocean-going fishing boat provides a full or semi-displacement hull ideal with a ballasted design offering you excellent economy as the boat planes through the water. As a result, they are suitable for long trips, spending days or weeks out on the water between refueling.
The trawler is ideal for slow cursing along the coastline, and it has the capability to reach deepwater offshore. As a result, it’s a great choice for deep-sea fishing, with all the accessories, including fighting chairs, to land large game fish.
The trawler provides the passengers with accommodations in the lower deck, with v-berths extending through the vessel’s bow. The quality of the berth depends on the price tag of the boat. Some trawler models come with fittings and accommodations that are similar to high-end motor yachts, offering a luxurious time out on the water.
Other models may have fewer luxury finishes, but they offer generous spaces for sleeping. The type of finishes and fittings in these boats determine the price tag. Models can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $1-million, depending on the size of the vessel and the quality of the customizations made to the boat.
Since these boats are large, they don’t suit trailering, and if you need to remove them from the water, you’re going to have to hire a professional transportation service to take the boat to the shipyard for repairs or to other launch areas on the coastline.
Some models may also have the capability to launch a small dinghy to reach the shore, allowing you to leave the boat on the water, anchored in place. There are cranes on board the boat to launch the tender into the water.
The trawler comes in a range of sizes, with 50-foot models being the most common choice. Boats smaller than 50-feet in length won’t offer you the same level of stability as the larger models, and the semi-displacement hull may cause smaller models to bounce up and down on the water – not ideal if you’re sensitive to seas sickness.
Benefits of Trawlers
The trawler has several benefits as a fishing boat. Here are the top reasons for investing in one of these fishing vessels.
The longer models with full-displacement hulls offer you exceptional stability in the water, even in rough swell conditions. The hull displaces the water, allowing the boat to plane through the water at lower speeds.
The trawler boat is the ideal choice for reaching remote fishing locations and for extended fishing trips where you want to stay out on the ocean for days or weeks at a time. They have a fantastic range, with large fuel tanks and diesel engines providing excellent economy for longer trips at sea.
Live Aboard Accommodations
Trawlers are large boats, and they offer you plenty of room. All models come with liveaboard accommodations for fishing crews. These boats have enough space for up to 12-people or more, depending on the size of the vessel.
The type of accommodations can vary widely depending on the size of the boat, the manufacturing brand, and the price tag of the boat. Some models are like floating hotels, offering you the same luxury accommodations you would expect to find on a high-end motor yacht.
Most models come with complete kitchens, full bathrooms, and several sleeping quarters. You get luxuries like microwaves and refrigerators for storing your food and perishables. Most models will have four-burner stoves featuring gas-powered operation and onboard gas tanks for power or trickle battery chargers to ensure you never run out of power at sea.
The trawler is second only to the motor yacht in terms of its luxury liveaboard accommodations. Cabin cruisers and some pontoon boats are close competitors, but you don’t get the extended range and offshore capabilities that you get with a trawler.
Plenty of Customizations
The customizations and accessories are huge for trawlers, and you could end up spending as much as 40% of the sticker price on the customizations and fittings you make to your boat. Make sure you enquire about the costs of the customizations with your sales agent. Look for boats offering you the best range of standard customizations to avoid breaking your budget.
Many models come with split-level designs featuring triple stories with captain’s decks on the top, lounge areas in the mezzanine deck, and sleeping accommodations at the bottom of the vessel. The hull will typically also cater to large fish storage areas with ice machines and cold rooms.
Good Fuel Economy
The trawler operates on diesel motors, allowing for better economy and longer trips at sea. The range on these boats is excellent, allowing you to take long seafaring journeys to remote fishing spots.
Sealed Cockpits and Air-Conditioning
You get a captain’s deck positioned high on the boat for a better view of the water and the horizon. Some models come with sealed cockpits, including air conditioning to keep you cool on hot, humid days. All the sleeping quarters will usually include air conditioning units for a comfortable night’s rest out at sea.
The trawler allows you to reach all sides of the boat, and they come with a walk-around design that’s easy for the angler to navigate as they fight fish swimming under the boat.
Trawlers come with all the bells and whistles you need for your fishing trips. You get full electronics setups, including GPS and fish finders, as well as communications for reaching the coast guard and other vessels on the water.
These vessels also include fighting chairs, rod holders, rod racks, and plenty of storage for your gear all over the boat.
Disadvantages of Trawlers
The trawler is a fantastic boat for offshore fishing, but it comes with a few limitations some people may see as drawbacks.
No Watersports Capability
The trawler is a purpose-built design for fishing, and you don’t have any options for watersports with this model. Some boats may come with jet skis for reaching land and enjoying water sports or spearfishing out on the open ocean or at reef atolls.
Limited Speed and Handling
The trawler is a slow-moving boat designed for economy and cruising, not performance. The handling is good and smooth in the water. However, don’t expect to make any high-performance turns or reach high speeds with this model.
The sheer size of these vessels makes them unsuitable for trailering. You’ll have to organize a slip at your local marina for storing your boat when not in use, which adds to the vessel’s running costs. The motors are also expensive to repair since they have an internally mounted design.
Expensive to Maintain
The maintenance costs for your trawler can get expensive, especially in the luxury models with larger motors. As mentioned, you’ll have extra costs to consider, such as slip fees, when purchasing one of these boats.
Top Trawler Brands and Models
There are dozens of boat manufacturing brands and trawler models to choose from when selecting your boat. Here are our top picks for the best trawlers available.
Grand Banks is one of the most established brands in the world for fishing trawlers. This company started building boats back in 1956, and they have a huge following in the commercial and private markets. The company was the first to introduce the cruising trawler back in the early 60s, with two of the most popular models of all time, the Chantyman and GB42 coming from its shipyard.
Grand Banks builds its boats in Singapore, and its trawlers offer you semi-displacement hulls, with excellent finishes and quality with the fittings for the vessel. We love the use of teak wood throughout the boat, giving it a premium, classy look.
Grand Banks offers you a range of models with classic styling and excellent performance out on the water when deep-sea fishing. This company has over 70-years of building some of the best trawler boats in the world.
The Beneteau Swift is a top-rated model from one of the world’s best trawler, sailboat, and powerboat brands.
This trawler model includes a semi-displacement hull for better stability and smoother operation at sea, and you get plenty of spacious accommodations on the lower deck and mezzanine level of the boat. Beneteau takes incredible attention to detail with their vessels, giving you a model that’s luxurious and versatile.
This Florida manufacturer has a reputation for building some of the best trawler models in the United States. You get a classic trawler style with modern upgrades to the vessel for a professional fishing experience out on the open ocean.
Kadey Krogen is well-known for its Pure Displacement Hulls (PHD) technology, incorporating it in their designs for the last 40-years. You get a boat offering you superior stability at sea, no rocking, and clean, smooth planning through all water conditions.
This manufacturing brand has its headquarter in Dana Point, California. They are the premier shipbuilder on the west coast when it comes to making top-quality fishing trawlers that offer you everything you need for deep-sea fishing trips. The company builds its yachts in Taiwan, and they have a reputation for endurance on the open ocean.
Nordhavn builds its boats to cross entire oceans, allowing for the longest fishing trips. Hop in the boat in California and take it to Hawaii or Tahiti on a single trip. Nordhavn has a reputation for building technically perfect vessels, focusing on excellent engineering and design.
The Selene is another fantastic choice for your trawler. The company has its headquarters in China, but don’t let that fool you – these boats are functional, with high-quality design and materials. The Selene is available in a range of lengths from 42′ to 92′, with nine models available.
You get excellent standard features with this boat, including stern and bow thrusters, a lightweight fiberglass design, and easy maintenance.
The trawler is a great choice for dedicated anglers looking for an offshore model. Due to the price of these boats, many private owners choose to opt for smaller models like cabin cruisers. You get the same functionality as the trawler with better handling and a much lower price tag.
The trawler is a good choice if you’re thinking about starting an offshore deep seas fishing company where you take people out onto the water for fishing trips. The trawler is the ideal model for these excursions, allowing tour operators to accommodate as many people as possible for a profitable fishing trip.
However, if you’re a private owner, you can use the trawler for a range of activities, from deep-sea fishing to cruising between islands in the Caribbean or the Keys.