Lake Erie is an amazing place to explore. But you will need to know the best size boat for Lake Erie before getting started on your adventure.
The size of the boat is important to determine the best type of boat for a unique body of water like Lake Erie. It has conditions unlike most bodies of water because of the weather in the region and the rough conditions in the open water.
Once you understand the risks of Lake Erie, choosing a boat size becomes much easier. You should aim to get a boat 21 feet or bigger to get around safely. The bigger your boat on the lake, the less you need to worry about storms, waves, or rough conditions that could damage your boat too.
Known around the world, Lake Erie can be quite intimidating to many boaters who have less experience on the water. It is the 12th largest freshwater lake in the world and it is too rough for smaller boaters. In the guide, we explain why that is true and what the best size boat for Lake Erie truly is for maximum safety.
The size of the boat is an important factor to consider when getting ready for a Lake Erie adventure. Due to some Great Lakes experience in the past, the information provided in this guide is the most accurate you will find to help you get the proper boat for your needs.
Best Size Boat For Lake Erie
The size of a boat that is best for Lake Erie depends on its intended use and the weather conditions too. For example, if you are planning to fish, you will need a bigger boat than if you are just looking for a day out on the water.
Boats with a length of under 21 feet will be able to navigate the lake but they could face some difficulties in specific situations. We recommend getting a boat with a length greater than 21 feet to better handle Lake Erie.
The reason your boat size matters so much for Lake Erie is that the lake is notorious for stormy and rough conditions. There are regular occurrences of boat damage and the local beaches on the lake experience waves up to 25 feet.
The other thing about Lake Erie is how quickly the conditions can change too. However, you can avoid some of the conditions depending on where on the lake you will be spending most of your time. The western region of the lake is known to be less rough with smaller waves with smaller boats around 18 to 21 feet.
If you head towards the Eastern region of Lake Erie, it is full of larger boats approaching 30 feet in length. And there will be no signs of anything other than cabin cruisers capable of moving through these rough waters.
What Is The Best Boat Type For Lake Erie?
Lake Erie’s size allows for a wide range of boating activities, but it is unique because of the local conditions. This makes it extremely important to choose a proper boat type that will handle the lake swell properly.
There are a few different types of boats that can be used for Lake Erie. The best boat type for Lake Erie is dependent on what the user's needs are and what they want to do with the boat. Activities like fishing will require a different boat type than if you were hosting a large group for fun.
Center Console Fishing Boat
A center console boat is a good choice for Lake Erie because it is sturdy and easy to use. This is a boat with a centered steering station and an open area on the deck.
It can accommodate plenty of people depending on the size as well. This allows you to maximize your experience safely.
They also have a large number of storage spaces that can be used for different types of equipment. The boat has enough room to store fishing equipment, bait, and anything else needed for your trip.
This boat is built tough with a durable construction too. They have the perfect shape and features to handle rough waves and water conditions.
A cabin cruiser is a more luxurious boat that is found on Lake Erie. They are often found in the eastern parts of the lake as well. These boats are perfect for fishing and cruising around the lake.
This is because in this area the water tends to be rough and there are stormy conditions that occur a lot too. These boats can handle the rough waters with ease because they tend to be much larger, closer to 30 feet long.
Pontoon boats are also great for both fishing and relaxing on Lake Erie. They are versatile boats that can be used in a variety of ways, but you should be sure to have a large enough size before taking it to the open water.
Pontoon boats can be used for fishing, but they can also be used for relaxing and taking in the sights of Lake Erie. If you are looking to take in some fresh air while fishing or even if you just want to enjoy a day on the water with your family, pontoon boats are great options.
What Happens If You Take A Small Boat On Lake Erie?
If you take a small boat on Lake Erie, you will be in danger of being stuck or stranded if the swell gets too rough. This is because waves can get rough and many large boats cause them to get even bigger.
The differences in density of lakes and oceans are caused by the temperature of the water. Lakes have colder water than oceans because they are closer to land and have less sunlight exposure which causes them to have lower temperatures.
The weather in the region of Lake Erie can also cause the conditions to change quickly. If you do take a small boat out, you will be fine if you remain within the break walls but once you go outside this area into the open water you will be at risk.
Once your small boat gets too far into the open water, the waves cause the boat to rock violently and you will not be able to pick up any speed. This will either cause you to capsize or get stuck entirely.
What Else Do You Need To Boat On Lake Erie?
When you decide to take a boat on Lake Erie, it is legally required to have a Visual Distress Signal Tool on your vessel before leaving the dock. This is a device that must be approved by the US Coast Guard as a way for others to locate your boat if you were to get lost or stranded.
This is something you should not overlook as a boat owner, especially if you are taking a smaller boat closer to the 21-foot threshold on Lake Erie. It is also something you need if you intend to go into the open waters.
Is It Safe To Take A Boat On Lake Erie?
Lake Erie is a large freshwater lake in the United States but it is much different than many lakes you might be used to. If you are planning to take a boat on Lake Erie, you must know what the weather conditions are like before you go on your trip.
The waves on Lake Erie are more powerful than those on other lakes and can be very dangerous for boaters. If you are planning to take a boat on Lake Erie, it is recommended that you take one that is at least 21 feet long.
You should also consider what part of the lake you will be on. As you move east, it gets rougher and more dangerous for small boats. It is ideal to use a fiberglass boat that is more damage resistant too.
If you take the proper precautions and plan your trip the right way, you will have no issues taking a boat on Lake Erie. This is a perfectly safe family activity to enjoy during the summer months too.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson