The PowerBoat Guide Blog

Tracking Today’s Fast-Paced Brokerage Market

April, 2017

The $100,000 threshold is the entry point for many buyers today, and that’s especially true when it comes to the market for family cruisers. With hundreds of models to choose from, here are ten that stand out for their popularity and proven sales success. Presented in no particular order, these ten models can usually be counted upon to deliver years of boating enjoyment together with good resale values.

Camano 28

At a Glance: This popular flybridge sedan (called the Camano 28 until 1997) combines salty lines with super-efficient operation. Built on a flat bottom hull with wide prop-protecting keel. The Camano’s no-nonsense interior is well finished, and her trolly-style foredeck windows are almost unique in the boating world. With the galley down, the salon is big for a boat this size. Visibility from the lower helm is excellent thanks to large windows. The cockpit is on the small side and the bridge ladder is steep. Topside, there are three pedestal seats on the flybridge. Updates in 2003 included a standard bow thruster as well as a fuel increase to 133 gallons. Cruise at 11–14 knots with a single 200hp Volvo diesel. A sistership, the Camano 28 Gnome (1990–95), is the same boat without a flybridge.

Best Feature: Very distinctive character.

Price Range: From the low $75s to low $100s.

1990–2007

Camano 28/31

At a Glance:  The first of two 310 Signature models from Chaparral in recent years. Built on a modified V hull with cored hullsides and a solid fiberglass bottom, the 310’s open-plan interior sleeps six in a layout a little different from most 30-foot cruisers. An offset double berth is forward in the salon, and the 310’s full-service galley includes a built-in microwave, Corian counters, and generous storage. Cherry cabinetry, designer fabrics, and upscale furnishings highlight her entire cabin and her galley is notable for its generous storage. As many as six can be seated comfortably in the cockpit where a full wet bar, transom shower, and portable cooler are standard. Additional features include a transom storage locker, extended swim platform, power engine hatch, walk-through windshield, double helm seat, and foredeck sun pad. Volvo 280hp I/Os cruise the in the mid 20s.

Best Feature: Surprisingly roomy interior.

Price Range: From $60K to the mid $90s.

2004–09

Chaparral 310 Signature

Regal 3360 Express

At a Glance: An innovative design from a company known for building a quality product.  As the name implied, a “window” is integrated into the forward cabin overhead. The result was (and is) a flood of natural lighting throughout the cabin. With an offset queen berth forward, convertible dinette to starboard, and twin berths aft, the 3360 sleeps six in a cabin that seems usually spacious for a boat this size. The midcabin area is a seamless extension of the main salon providing additional seating for entertaining. Note the handy floor locker in the galley area. Privacy curtains separate the fore and aft berths from the salon. A wet bar is to starboard in the cockpit, opposite an L-shaped (or C-shaped) lounge. The rear seat folds into the transom when not in use. Twin Volvo 320hp I/Os cruise at 24–26 knots.

Best Feature: Bright and open interior.

Price Range: From the mid $60s to about $100K

2005–10

Regal 3360 Windows Express

Mainship 34 Pilot

At a Glance: An enlarged version of the super popular Mainship 30 Pilot. Where the 30 Pilot was a day boat, the 34's larger interior provides the volume required for extended cruising. The first 34 Pilots were express models; in 2001 the Sedan version with an extended hardtop offered owners the added security of a semi-enclosed pilothouse. The well-appointed accommodations consist of a roomy main salon with full-service galley and convertible dinette, enclosed head with shower, and a single stateroom forward with bi-fold privacy door. A TV on a swivel platform is mounted forward in the cabin. In the cockpit, facing bench seats behind the helm and companion seats can double as extra berths. A centerline hatch in the cockpit sole provides access to the engine. A single 350hp Yanmar diesel will cruise at 14 knots (16–18 top). Twin 240hp Yanmar diesels cruise at 18 knots.

Best Feature: Affordable price.

Price Range: From mid $80s to mid $100s.

1998–2008

Mainship 34 Pilot

Tiara 3500 Express

1995–2003

At a Glance: Yet another Tiara success story — a mix of conservative styling, quality construction, and beautiful teak interior. With a super-wide 13'9" beam, this is a big 35-footer with impressive cabin space, a huge cockpit, and tons of storage. The Tiara’s single-stateroom interior was available in two configurations: Plan A (sleeps six) has a portside dinette and head, while Plan B (sleeps four) trades the dinette in favor of an enlarged galley, head with stall shower, and a bigger stateroom with island berth and private access to the head. In both layouts, the salon L-lounge converts to a double berth with it’s own privacy curtain. Huge cockpit seats 8–10 people.  Extended swim platform can carry a PWC. Standard 385hp gas engines cruise at 16–18 knots. Cummins 370hp diesels cruise at 24–26 knots.

Best Feature: Traditional teak interior

Price Range: From the high $60s to low $100s.

Tiara 3500 Express

Meridian 341 Sedan

2005–13

At a Glance: This is an updated version of the original Meridian 341 Sedan (2003–04) with greater beam, better styling, and a spacious two stateroom interior. Built on a low-deadrise hull with a solid fiberglass bottom, the 341’s tiered cabin windows create the impression of great space in the salon. The galley is forward, on the same level as the salon, and the well-appointed decor is an attractive blend of leather seating, vinyl wall coverings, and cherry joinery. A head with a stall shower is to starboard, accessed from either the master stateroom or the passageway. If the interior of the 341 Sedan seems spacious for a 34-footer, the cockpit is small and the side decks are practically nonexistent. A molded staircase leads up to the extended flybridge with its wet bar and guest seating aft of the helm. A lower helm was optional. Twin 320hp gas inboards cruiseat 18–20 knots.

Best Feature: Sporty styling.

Price Range: From the low $100s to low $200s.

Carver 350/36 Mariner

1997–2003

At a Glance: Mega-popular entertainment platform with enormous single-level interior dwarfs anything her size on the water. Full-beam salon is made possible by elevating the side decks above the cabin windows — instead of leading aft to the cockpit, these walkways reach up to the bridge. The Mariner’s original layout features a U-shaped dinette to port in the salon, settee opposite, inside bridge access ladder, and an offset double berth in the forward stateroom. In 2004, the floorplan was modified to include a booth-style dinette in the salon, no interior ladder, and a centerline queen berth in the stateroom. Both configurations boast a large head with separate stall shower. The engine compartment is a tight fit. MerCruiser 300hp V-drive gas engines cruise at 14–16 knots.

Best Feature: Huge party-time interior

Price Range: From the mid $40s to the mid $90s.

Carver 350 Mariner

At a Glance: Another Sea Ray success story — this best-selling family cruiser combines the sleek styling and top-shelf amenities common to all recent Sundancer models. The Sundancer’s open-plan interior is notable for its oversized galley with cherrywood cabinets and more counter (and storage) space than many larger boats. There are berths for six including a comfortable kidney-shaped sofa opposite the galley that converts to a double bed. The sunken midcabin area aft serves as a secondary conversation area during the day and a guest stateroom at night. The cockpit sole lifts at the push of a button for access to the engines. Tiered dash with burlwood insets has space for electronic add-ons.The side decks are narrow. Offered with V-drive inboard or sterndrive power, MerCruiser 5.7L 300hp inboards cruise at 24–26 knots (low 30s top).  

Best Feature: Great styling.

Price Range: From the high $50 to the low $100s.

2003–07

Sea Ray 320 Sundancer

Sea Ray 320 Sundancer

Sea Ray 340 Sundancer

At a Glance: The top selling 34-foot express ever, Sea Ray found the sweet spot with this popular model. Considered a "big" express cruiser when she was introduced in 1999. Luxurious accents like high-gloss cherry cabinets, faux leather upholstery, and quality hardware and appliances set the 340 apart from most of the competition. Roomy open-plan interior with large galley, sunken mid-cabin area sleeps six. Note pull-out TV above the galley. Built on a solid fiberglass hull with an integrated swim platform and moderate 11'5" beam. Cockpit features include a removable rear bench seat, wet bar with sink, built-in ice chest, cocktail table, and companion seat with storage under. Power engine compartment hatch is a nice touch. On the downside, the side decks are narrow. MerCruiser 370hp V-drive inboards cruise in the mid-to-high 20s.

Best Feature: Advanced styling (in her day).

Price Range: From the low $40 to the low $100s.

1999–2002

Sea Ray 340 Sundancer
(placeholder)

10 Great Pre-Owned Family Cruisers You Can Buy for Under $100K

Back to Article Index

PowerBoat Guide Home Page