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Our ultimate guide to choosing a day boat

Interboat 820 stars & stripes blue hull

The Covid-19 pandemic profoundly affected our relationship with the outdoors. Since then, recreational boating has become increasingly popular in the UK. The latest Boating and Boat Ownership survey by British Marine reports a significant increase in boat sales and new boat ownership, with more and more people exploring the UK’s magical inland waterways. There’s no better way to spend balmy summer days, and a dayboat is the perfect vessel to make the magic happen. In our ultimate guide to dayboats, we provide the lowdown on these fantastic vessels and why you might want to invest in one.


What is a day boat?

If you fancy boating but are likely to just be going out for a few hours at a time, the dayboat is the number one motorboat that you need to know about. A dayboat is suitable for both beginners and advanced boaters alike.

Typically, a dayboat offers ample deck space and outside amenities for entertaining – there is no better boat to cruise the UK’s waterways on.

Note: you might see it written as two separate words – day boat or dayboat, but they all mean the same thing.

If you’re new to boating and about to make your first exciting boat purchase, you might also like to check out our blog on the most popular types of motor boats.


Who is a day boat suitable for?

Day boats are suited to anyone who wants to cruise on the water by day but get back on dry land at night, as these boats don’t usually have any fixed sleeping quarters. Day boats are suitable for people who want to spend entire days or just a few hours on the water during boating season.

This type of boat is very popular with families and people who like to entertain as there is plenty of room for guests, but smaller day boats are also perfect for couples and small families or groups of up to 10 people.


How many people can you fit on a day boat? 

Day boat occupancy rates vary depending on the individual boat style but typically carry between 5 and 10 people, and some hold up to 12.


Do you need a licence? 

In most cases, a boat must be licensed, insured, and have valid Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certification when being used across certain inland waterway systems. You’ll be penalised if you don’t have BSS certification and you aren’t exempt.

Several navigation authorities, such as the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust manage different rivers and canals across the UK, each with its own licences and fees.  A separate licence must be obtained from the official body you intend to moor your boat on or sail upon.

Read more about licencing your boat here and learn more from our previous blog post: Do you need a licence to drive a boat in the UK?

Find out more about owning a boat on the UK’s inland waterways here.


What facilities are available? 

Facilities on dayboats depend on the size and style of the vessel. Typically, you don’t have a cabin on a dayboat, but some larger ones might have a cubby-hole-style cabin seating 2 – 4 people.

A great way to get a sense of dayboats is to look at some models and compare them. Visiting a boat broker like us can help you hone your choices and get expert advice on the best dayboat for you and, of course, there’s nothing quite like seeing a boat up close and personal.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the more popular day boat brands we typically help our customers to purchase at Val Wyatt.



The Corsiva range offers an excellent portfolio of day boat models, giving plenty of choice to seasoned boaters and new enthusiasts alike. Corsiva’s more compact boats, like the Corsiva 505 New Age, seat 5, while the larger models, like the Corsiva 650 Tender, offer generous space for 8 adults.

Corsiva day boats typically offer an excellent amount of under seat storage, and tables can lower to create a forward sundeck.

To peek into life as a new Corsiva boat owner, read this customer interview here.


Interboat 19 – a classically-styled day boat, this vessel offers upholstered seating for up to 9 people and ample under seat storage and is powered by a shaft driven, diesel 19 hp or 27 hp Vetus engine, ensuring ultra quiet cruising. See full specifications here.

Interboat 22 – a larger option offering seating for 10 people and extended facilities, making an overnight stay for a couple possible. A double bed can be made up between the front seats, and other facilities include a sink, fridge and toilet. See full specifications here.

Interboat 820 – one of our most popular models. It combines the best of Interboat’s unique features to offer style, space and practical facilities for longer cruising. The adaptable transom easily converts the boat from an open platform with triple sundeck to a safely enclosed watertight cockpit. All basic needs can be met with a separate toilet compartment that doesn’t impact the seating in the boat, and space for a sink and fridge. See the full specifications here.

Read more about the Interboat range here.

What makes a good vessel?

There are many different brands and styles of day boats. That’s why it is essential to get the right advice before you buy. It’s easy to think you know what you want, but your idealised picture, especially if you are a beginner, may not be your best option.

This is precisely what happened to one of our customers. He recently shared his experience of choosing a boat with us. When he first came to visit us he had his heart set on an old sports boat, but after a lengthy discussion with our experts and seeing some of the boats in the flesh, he ended up purchasing an Interboat 19 – he was over the moon with his purchase and hasn’t looked back. You can read the full case study here

So, the boat you think you want might not be the boat that you actually need.


Key considerations

Other considerations include a canopy, helping provide shelter from the sun and light rain showers. However, if you only intend on taking short trips in fine weather on sheltered waterways, an open day boat may be sufficient.

Having a toilet onboard is also a bonus and is often one of the first questions we ask, so this may be something you’d like to consider if you are looking at one of the larger day boat models. A swim deck and ladder will also be vital if you plan on taking a dip in the water.

Ultimately, a good day boat is both easy to handle and look after. Space for guests is another element to contemplate carefully so depending on your budget, you may be looking at a second-hand boat or commissioning a new boat build.

Obviously, a brand new boat will require a higher budget but this will offer you a complete choice on hull colours, canopies, cushions and fittings to get the boat to your exact taste – while benefiting from the boat manufacturers’ full warranties.


Safety features on a day boat

Boating is a beautiful experience and is all about relaxing and having fun but being on the waterways, even sheltered rivers, comes with many often hidden dangers.

Strong currents, deep or shallow water, and submerged objects are just some things that boaters need to be aware of. It is therefore essential to ensure that you are adequately equipped before going on the water. Safety features on day boats should include:

  • Life jackets (when on coastal waters – and for children at all times)
  •  A fire extinguisher

Boaters should also read and adhere to the following advice by the BSS:

Feel free to contact our team to better understand how to prepare a day boat for passengers with different physical abilities. Boarding poles can assist with entry to a vessel, while booster seats can help to heighten a helm position.


What should you wear?

You can wear what you like when boating, but sensible and comfortable clothing suited to the expedition is always advisable. We would always suggest suitable shoes – and definitely no heels or shoes with dark soles that could mark the boat. Deck shoes are ideal – or shoes with soft, light soles.

Given that UK weather can change unexpectedly, it is worth bringing extra layers and a waterproof jacket. And don’t forget your sun cream, which is an absolute must if you don’t have a canopy to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, and your swimmers and a towel if you plan to take a dip.


Buying your dream day boat with Val Wyatt – what to expect

As an established, independent marina on a picturesque stretch of the iconic River Thames in Wargrave, we are passionate about helping you find your perfect boat, investing in long-term relationships to ensure you have the best possible experience as soon as you take to the water.

We offer a wide range of services, including a brokerage for new and used boats along with storage facilities and professional cleaning, maintenance, and boat repairs.

To find out more about buying a boat with Val Wyatt, get in touch. You might also like to read a case study about upgrading a day boat if you are already a boat owner and searching for your next model.