5 Of The Best Jon Boat Covers in 2020

boat covers

Purchasing a Jon boat cover has many advantages. A good cover can protect your boat from the triple-threat of sun, rain and snow. It can also deter thieves from pilfering from your boat.

In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the best jon boat covers for any sized boat and budget in 2020.

Cover Buying Tips

When purchasing a cover, look for one that is strong and will fit your boat properly and provide long term dependable coverage.

Thin materials that are made of poor quality materials will rip and tear easily. Heavy duty materials will last much longer and are well worth the extra price.

You’ll find covers usually come in different grades of denier. Some are as low as 150, be we recommend going with 300 denier and above.

Lastly, you’ll want a cover that is protected by an adequate warranty. A 1-year warranty is definitely on the miserly side. After all, that’s just one winter. The best ones have a 5 year warranty and you’ll find 3-years is about average.

Recommended Jon Boat Covers

Let’s take a look at some of the better covers that you can purchase for your boat.

Marine Raider

Marine Raider makes two models which are inexpensive and well made:

B -300 Cover

The B-300 model is for a 14 foot boat that has a width up to 70 inches. It is made of treated heavy-duty polyester which is made to resist ultra-violet radiation, mildew, and it repels water.

The cover is made of 300 denier and is gray. It is reinforced with extra fabric at the bow and stern which makes the cover stronger and more durable. It also includes trailering straps so that you can easily tie it down. You can find the B-300 priced at only about $50.00.

C-300 Cover

The second model from Marine Raider is the C-300. It features the exact properties of the B-300, but this model is larger and can fit a 16 foot Jon Boat with a width of up to 75 inches. Because it is a little larger than the B-300, it is priced a little higher and retails for approximately $55.00.

Attwood R Max 600

Many people want heavy-duty covers that are made of thicker, stronger material. The Attwood R Max 600 is made of 600 denier which makes it very strong and resistant to ripping and tearing. Also, it’s got a 5 year warranty so they really stand behind their product.

The R Max 600 cover has double folded cross seams and is reinforced in the areas that are prone to wear. Made of 100% polyester, this cover resists UV rays and repels water, keeping your boat dry and free of mold and mildew.

If your boat has an outboard motor, Attwood has covers which include a separate motor hood that will keep your motor protected from the elements also.

You can purchase the Attwood 600  for approximately $150.00.

Dallas Manufacturing 300D

Dallas Manufacturing also makequalityJon Boat covers that are competitively priced. Their covers carry a 3 year warranty and are made of 300 denier.

The fabric is reinforced at both the bow and stern and these covers have reinforced web loops at the tie down areas.

Dallas covers are trailerable and tie-down. Trailer straps are also included.

Depending on your boat size, Dallas Jon Boat covers generally retail between $70.00 and $100.00.

Classic Accessories Jon Boat Cover

If you have a small Jon Boat that is 10 feet or less, Classic Accessories makes a cover for your boat. This is great news as most manufacturers don’t go that small.

Their cover is olive green and comes in a convenient storage bag. It features their trademarked “Weathered Protected” fabric that is made of polyester and resists mold and mildew.

Unlike other varieties, this one ties down around the bottom of the boat with no straps over the top of the boat. The tie down rope is included This feature prevents UV rays from discoloring the cover where the ropes would wrap around the top.

The D- rings that the rope attaches to are scratch resistant so that they will not rub the paint off of the boat.

This cover also features dual air vents to prevent any moisture from building up underneath. The dual vents also prevent wind from getting in and causing ballooning.

Classic Accessories Jon Boat Covers are very popular amongst outdoorsmen, and they have received high ratings from buyers.

You can purchase one of these covers for approximately $60.00 from many outdoor stores or cheaper online.

Harbor Master 300 Denier Jon Boat Cover

Harbor Master have a great range of Jon Boat covers and their 300 Denier Gray cover has received almost flawless reviews online.

The gray cover looks stylish (so your neighbors might be abated), has a cut out for the motor and plenty of quick-release, tie-down straps.

This model also features a sewn in shock cord so it fits snugly around the top of your boat. This really helps protect it against the wind and rain.

The straps come with a life-time warranty and the cover itself has 5-years.

If you shop around, you can find the Harbor Master 300 for under $50, which is great value.

Tips on Buying a New Jon Boat in 2020

new jon boat

Buying a new jon boat may seem a little overwhelming as there are many to choose from. Numerous manufacturers, boat sizes, and different features can make your decision difficult.

You can choose to purchase just a basic plain boat with absolutely no accessories, or you can one with many accessories included; like a steering wheel, swivel seats, standing platforms, livewells, etc. Here are some tips on buying a new jon boat.

Get The Right Size

If you are going to be fishing or hunting in a large body of water, like the ocean or a Great Lake, it is a good idea to go with a larger boat.

New jon boats come in many different sizes and some of the larger ones are over 20 feet. Waves can kick up quickly on large lakes and if you are a couple miles from shore in a small ten footer you are going to have a difficult ride back to shore.

Be Especially Wary of Waves

The waves can crash over the sides of a jon boat and can soak you and your expensive gear. Larger waves toss small boats and the passengers riding inside and can result in bad cases of sea sickness. It also can be a dangerous situation, especially if you are duck hunting or steelhead trout fishing and the water is ice cold.

You don’t want to be tossed out of the boat or soaked when it is 40 degrees outside and the water is barely above freezing. No matter how well you are dressed, when the outside temperature is low and cold water drenches you, hypothermia can quickly set in.

15 Feet & Above is Best

If you are going to fish large lakes or the ocean, it is a good idea to go with a boat at the very least 15 feet. There are a few days when you can go out on calm days with a smaller boat in the 12 to 14 foot range, however; most days the waves are two feet or greater which requires a larger boat.

So, when looking at new jon boats keep this in mind. Jon boats are lighter than other types of boats and are extremely prone to being tossed about in wavy conditions.

V-Hulls Are Better In Waves

Fishing or duck hunting is difficult when the waves are pounding you and it is hard to stay in one place. For this reason, you might want to go with a larger boat and choose a v-hull. These boats will handle the waves much better than a small 10 or 12 foot flat bottom variety.

Don’t Overload

You also need to consider how many people you’re going to be taking out.

If you have four buddies that all want to duck hunt with you, it would not be too smart to buy a smaller boat. You could easily exceed the weight limit of a smaller design so always think about how many passengers you want to take out and how much gear you will have.

On the other hand, if you just want to go out by yourself on small calm ponds or lakes, a small 10 to 14 foot boat is your best choice. It will be able to better transport and move around.

Correct Transportation

Once you make a decision as to the size of the jon boat you need, the next thing to think about how you will transport it.

If you have a small car, unfortunately, you are going to be restricted to a small boat. But if you have a truck or a van, you can haul a large boat with a trailer.

Make sure that your vehicle can handle towing the combined weight of the boat, gear, and trailer. Also, be sure to check out the trailering laws as they vary from state-to-state.

Price Engines Before Purchase

Larger jon boats are heavier and because of this, you will need a larger engine to get quickly from one location to another. If an engine is not included, it is a good idea to price engines before buying your new boat.

Compare the makes and models for the best deal. You might be able to find a deal for both that is better than buying them separately.

Plan For Your Intended Use

Depending on the amount of work you want to do on your boat, purchase one that will meet your current needs.

For example, if you are going to be duck hunting, you can save a great deal of time by buying a boat that is already camouflaged.

Similarly, if you want your new jon boat to be a bass boat with swivel seating and a steering wheel, you will have a big project on your hands if you just buy one that has bench seating.

Fiberglass For Saltwater

If you are going fishing in saltwater, you might want to choose a fiberglass jon boat rather than an aluminum one.

The fiberglass version will be easier to clean and will not corrode like an aluminum model eventually will. When choosing a fiberglass jon boat for the ocean, it is a good idea to go with a v-hull so it will cut through the waves better than a flat bottom design.

Shop Around!

Probably the best tip for those looking to buy a jon boat is to take your time and shop around.

Many times, companies that sell new boats will place their older stock models on sale to make way for the newest models. A 2018 model that is still on display is still a new boat because it hasn’t seen water but will be cheaper than the same 2019 model.

The Best Time To Buy

The best time to buy a new jon boat is in the off-season right after duck season in the dead of winter in many places.

If you live in a warm climate, the best time to buy is in December when inventory is being put on clearance to make way for the brand new models.

In summation, buy a jon boat that you will be happy with for years to come. Oftentimes, people choose one that does not meet their future needs. So, they resort to selling it so that they can buy a boat that fits them better.

If you take your time and think about what you need now and in the future, this will save you a lot of hassle (and money!) downstream.

Jon Boat Lights – Regulations & Recommendations in 2019

jon boat lights

Jon Boat lights are a necessity if you plan on boating at night or during low light conditions. Boats should be properly equipped with lights so that other boaters can easily spot your craft at night and maneuver away to avoid collisions.

Boat Light Regulations

According to the United States Coast Guard, Jon Boats must follow lighting regulations that have been made to ensure the safety of all boaters.

At a minimum, Jon Boaters need to carry a good flashlight to shine at other approaching boats. However, Jon Boats that are powered by an engine are mandated to have similar lighting to other power boats.

What Color Lights?

In general, Jon Boats fall into the small boat classification and need to have an all-round white light at the stern and green/red bow lights.
The red light is supposed to be displayed portside while the green light is on the starboard side of the boat. Another acceptable way to display lights is to have the all-round white stern light and lights mounted to the sides of the boat.

What is the Cost of Lights?

There are numerous manufacturers of lights that are suitable for Jon Boats. Most of the time you can find each light for under $50.00.

Types of Lights

You can choose from lights that require electrical hook-up to your boat battery or LED models that require AAA batteries. The types of lights that can be installed on Jon Boats include bow lights, stern lights, transom lights, and side lights.

Recommended Jon Boat Lights

Although usually not required by law, side lights and additional stern lights also help other boaters to take notice of you when you are out in your Jon Boat.

Bass Pro Shops sells a good quality all-round white stern light for approximately $30.00. The light has 6 LED white lights which require 12 volts to operate. It folds down when not in use. To mount this light, you will need to drill four holes and attach it with nuts and bolts.

You can also purchase a nice bow light from Bass Pro. You can choose from Bass Pro’s clamp-on model that simply clamps onto the front of your boat or you can affix an Attwood Quasar Bi-Color Bow Light.

The Attwood Bi-Color requires that holes be drilled to mount the light with screws and a center hole so that the light when mounted sits flush. If you decide to go with a clamp-on model, you will need to carry AAA batteries with you in your boat in case your batteries go dead while you are boating at night.

Sea Sense makes a telescopic 12 volt stern light for boaters that want this option. This light is easier to store than the longer standard stern lights. Sea Sense also offers a variety of other stern lights that are of fixed length or can fold down. Their bow light extends 14 inches above the bow and is visible in a 225 degree radius from the front. It also features wire plugs that can quickly be connected or disconnected making this light easy to put up and take down each trip.

Jon Boat Navigation Lights

Shoreline Marine, as well as Attwood Lights, manufactures good navigation lights in different styles. They can be  be mounted along each side of your boat.

Jon Boat Seats – Types & Recommendations for 2020

jon boat seats

When it comes to jon boat seats, there really are a lot of options.

Most boats when purchased have the standard bench seating. This seating can be uncomfortable; however, there are a lot of choices in seats that can make your boating experience much more comfortable.

The challenge comes in balancing comfort with carrying too much load – an easy thing to do!

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you modify your seating and keep your load down.

Jon Boat Seats

When it comes to seats for Jon Boats, there are plenty of choices you can make. We’ll now look at a couple of recommended seat manufacturers, Shoreline Marine and Wise.

Shoreline Marine Seats

Shoreline Marine makes a sturdy green plastic seat that mounts to standard swivels.

This design can support up to a 250-pound fisherman or hunter and is made with heavy-duty plastic.

Shoreline Marine also makes a couple of padded seats that fit nicely into jon boats, too.

High Back / Low-Back Boat Seats

Lumbar / back support is an important consideration when choosing a comfortable seat. You can choose a low-back boat seat that supports the lower back or you can opt for a high-back seat supports the entire back.

The low-back seats, as well as, the high-back seats fold down for storage and transport. The differences between the two types of seats are price and color choice.

Shoreline Marine’s low-back seat is offered in a “sand” color which is a fine choice for boats venturing out on fishing trips. It is also offered in a camouflage pattern for hunters.

Both types can support a 275-pound outdoorsman. The high-back seat is offered in white and sand.

And, like the low-back seat is also made with UV protected materials so they will last a long time without fading and cracking in the sun.

Camouflage Plastic Seats

Shoreline Marine also manufactures camouflage plastic seats that are strong and able to support 275 lbs.

These seats come in either brown or green plastic trim and feature the classic Mossy Oak Duck Blind pattern camouflage which is ideal for duck hunters. They are easy to mount and they fold down for convenient storage and transport.

Wise Boat Seats

Another manufacturer of high-quality Jon Boat seats is Wise.

Wise specializes in Jon Boat seats that are very comfortable and well-priced. Their seats come highly recommended from outdoor enthusiasts and their product line is extensive. They sell nine different types of seats that are a great addition to any Jon Boat.

Like Shoreline Marine, they offer the high and low back seats. But, they have many more types to choose from. Their ergonomic seats are very comfortable and are made to withstand years of outdoor use.

Ergonomic Seats

Wise currently has two models of ergonomic seats; the Torsa Trailhawk  (pictured above) and the Torsa Scout (below)).

The difference between the two is the seat padding cover material. The Trailhawk features high-quality Cordura fabric while the Scout utilizes vinyl.

Camouflage Seat Patterns

Both the Trailhawk and the Scout come in three different camouflage patterns to choose from. These colors are: Duck Blind, Shadow Grass, and Break-Up. You can also choose a Hardwoods pattern for the Scout seat or a Max 5 pattern for the Trailhawk.

Wise’s high and low-back seats feature a no-pinch hinge so you will not harm yourself when folding or unfolding them. They both come in the Natural Gear or Max 5 camouflage pattern.

Their folding plastic seats come in a camouflage pattern for any outdoor situation. You can pick from a variety of patterns and color combinations. They come in a tan, green, or brown plastic shell.

Camouflage patterns include: Shadow Grass, Duck Blind, Break-Up, All-Purpose Green, and Advantage Max 4.

Clam Shell Seat

Wise also offers a clam shell Jon Boat seat. A lot of times, it’s actually cheaper to buy a new seat that have the old ones repaired by a pro.

These seats feature snap-on seat cushions which can be bought from Wise in different camouflage patterns.

If you need seats for different hunting situations, this seat is an excellent choice as you can change the pattern to fit your outdoor surroundings.

Mid Back Seats for Lumbar Support

Wise developed a seat with contoured foam that supports the middle back. This is great if you have back problems or just need the extra support.

These mid-back seats also come in several different camouflage patterns. What’s nice about them is the cushion is particularly high quality. You can go on all day fishing trips and they won’t go flat like other cheaper models.

They are also o.k for the larger outdoorsman. If you’re 6″3 and close to 30o lb’s they’ll still give you a comfortable float – but you might want to look into the “Big Man” design below.

Big Man Seat

There are some big men that enjoy the outdoors and Wise did not forget about them. Wise’s Big Man seat is extra-wide and also has a no pinch hinge.

If you’re sore and tired from using bench seats – these are the ones for you. They’re extra-wide and have more padding than regular boat seats. This makes them great if you’re getting on a bit in years or have back issues.

Basically, they’re good for anybody who wants to stay out fishing for longer in more comfort!

Boat Bench Seat

Another popular seat from Wise is their Camouflage Bench Seat.

These bench seats come with your choice of vinyl or Cordura fabric and are offered in Shadow Grass or Max 5 camouflage.

Pro Seat

Wise also makes a Pro Seat for boaters that don’t like a high-seat but like cushioning on the standard bench seat. These seats also come in several camouflage patterns.

Seating Cushions

If you do not want to spend much money to make your ride more comfortable, you can simply purchase a seating cushion.

Stearns makes a seating cushion in either camouflage or fluorescent orange which are great quality. These seating pads are also U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation devices in case of an accident where someone falls out of the boat.

Swivel Seats & Clamps

When hunting or fishing, it is important to be able to rotate to different positions. A swivel seat can accomplish this.

In order to mount swivel seats in your Jon Boat you first need a seat clamp. A good seat clamp is made of steel. Springfield manufactures a well-constructed swivel seat clamp for approximately pretty cheaply.

This seat clamp is a good choice because it adjusts from 8 inches up to 20 and a half inches and can be used on bench seats on newer boats or it can be used on the smaller seats found on older Jon Boats. It’s also about the same price as the one from Wise – but that one doesn’t come with a swivel.

Boat Seat Slider Bracket

Some people prefer to be able to slide back and forth on their bench seat. A slider mounting bracket is needed to accomplish this.

SliderG5 makes a sturdy well-constructed sliding bracket for around $90.00. This bracket allows you to slide from side to side on your Jon Boat bench seat and it also has pins that will prevent your seat from sliding if you desire to stay put.

And, with the SliderG5, you can slide your seats right off of the bracket and keep them clean and indoors until your next boating adventure.

There is a Jon Boat seat for all situations and preferences.

The main point when venturing out on your boat is to stay comfortable throughout hours of sitting time by choosing an appropriate seat.

Trailer Towing Laws in 2020

trailer towing laws

When it comes to trailer towing laws, I bet it wouldn’t surprise you to learn they vary considerably state-to-state.

Law enforcement are very strict with their application of these laws, so it’s always worth checking them before buying a new trailer or crossing state lines.

Here’s a summary of the main trailer towing laws.

Width of Trailer

In the majority of states (47 in total) you won’t need a wide-load permit if your trailer’s width is under 8 ft 6” (102 Inches).

As Jon Boats are small their trailers are around 60”, so you not likely to encounter any legal problems with trailer width.

Trailer Brakes

All but seven states legally require trailer brakes for heavier trailers. These brakes must be on all wheels and be able to operated from the cab of your vehicle.

Generally, the gross weight of the trailer must be in excess of 3,000lbs to require brakes. Again, considering the highest load capacity for Jon Boat trailers is around 2,000lbs, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If (like me) you’re wondering which states don’t require trailer brakes (but alert drivers…) they are: Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming.

For a full state-by-state list you can check this page from AAA.

Towing Speed

Again, speed limits vary on a state-by-state basis. As a general rule of thumb, with a small trailer you can legally go as fast as without. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should!

Some notable exceptions are California, where a 55 mph limit is imposed on all vehicles carrying trailers. Kansas, Conneticut and West Virigina also operate a 55 mph (unless posted) rule. You can find the full list here.

Trailer Lights

Under federal law, all trailers are required to have brake lights, tail lights, turn signals, side lights and rear and side reflectors.

The law around trailer lights is pretty stringent and varies considerably between states. In some states you need two tail lights, in others just one. Some states also require you to have a registration plate light. So you can see the trailer light laws need to be checked and you can find then by states here.

Trailer Safety Chains

Most states require safety chains when towing a trailer. You can find out which ones do and a great interactive map at the readybrake.com website.

Safety chain attachment is an important consideration when purchasing a trailer hitch. It’s prudent to buy one that allows for the connection of safety chains.

I’m sure you’ll agree, the thought of hitting a bump in the road and becoming disconnected from a trailer on a freeway is not one to contemplate.

The federal law Section 393.70 offers more information and guidance.

The Best Camouflage Mats For Your Jon Boat

camaouflage boat mats

Instead of painting, many jon boaters use camouflage boat mats to camouflage the inside of their boat.

Why Use Boat Mats?

Camouflage mats make a great choice if you’re duck hunting. Birds flying overhead can’t detect your boat in the surrounding habitat and will often fly right over.

They also help dampen noise and make the flooring more comfortable in both winter and summer.

The Advantage of Mats

When examined further, the addition of mats to a jon boat has quite a few advantages:

1. They reduce noise in the boat so you can move around more quietly without alarming nearby game or fish.
2. They protect the boat’s original or painted finish. The padding prevents scratches from coolers and other equipment inside the boat.
3. They provide a comfortable rest for your feet and insulate to keep your feet warmer during cold weather outings.
4. They need no glue or other adhesives.
5. They are quick and easy to install in your boat and also can be removed and interchanged with other colors very easily.

Recommended Camo Mats

Bass Pro Shops sells the new “Styx River Camo Neo-Mats” for the Tracker Grizzly line of Jon Boats.

The mats are individually sold in sections that include the floor mat, front deck mat, and rear deck mat. You can also purchase a mat kit that includes all three sections at a reduced price. If you are covering your boat with mats, you can expect to pay $600.00 to $800.00.

These mats come in four different camouflage patterns to help you blend into any surrounding. The patterns are: Muddy Water, RealTree Max 4, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass, and Mossy Oak Break-Up.

Hydroturf Mats

Hydroturf mats are also a popular option for camouflage boat mats. They are basically “closed cell” foam mats, that repel water and are stain-resistant.

They also do a much better job than say a spray-in-liner for the floor and front-deck of a duck boat. In the winter your poor pooch will be freezing lying on the floor, and it the summer the heat will be akin to a BBQ. With Hydroturf you can walk barefoot without cooking your feet!

You can buy hydroturf direct from hydroturf.com or there’s a similar variety at from Gator Trax Boats.  A 40″ by 62″ sheet is around $60, and it’ll usually take 4 to cover an 18′ boat with some scraps left over.

Jon Boat Flooring

If you would like matting to prevent you from slipping and to camouflage the inside of your boat, you can make it out of rubber or vinyl flooring. You will be hard pressed to find the flooring in camouflage but you can use solid black and then paint it yourself with Hunter’s Specialties Camo paint.

Anti-fatigue mats are pretty inexpensive and make a great option for aluminum jon boats. They’re especially good to give a dog something to lie on other than cold metal.

Lie hydroturf, a lot of anti-fatigue mats are made from closed-cell foam. This means they won’t absorb water. They’re also able to fit together like a jig-saw and won’t move about when fitted together. They’re available in many hardware stores and online.


Tips For Buying a Used Jon Boat in 2020

used jon boat

If you are looking to buy a used jon boat, there are some important things to look at. Here are some tips to help you make a good decision and end up with a boat that will last you many seasons.

How Much Time Do You Have?

The first thing to consider when purchasing a used boat is; how much work are you able to put into it, or how much work do you want to put into it? Like any restoration project, if you buy a “Fixer-Upper” and have time to work on it, you can get a real bargain.

Check For Leaks & Previous Repairs

Used jon boats can cost you quite a bit to prepare them for the water. The first tip is to examine the boat thoroughly and look for obvious leaks.

When examining a used jon boat for leaks, the very first thing you want to look for is areas that have been repaired.

If you visually discover that the boat in question does have repairs, do the repairs look like they were done professionally or are they sloppy? Do they look bad enough that the boat might take on a lot of water?

How To Check Boat Leaks

There are a couple of different methods for checking boat repairs for leaks. The best, and most thorough way, is to move the boat onto a trailer or stands and actually fill the boat with several inches of water.

You can focus on the bottom of the boat and see if it is leaking, and if it is, how fast is it leaking. This will give you an idea of what you can expect when you take it out on the water.

If it is leaking in several places and it is leaking quickly, you might want to pass on the boat. It will be hard to repair it and make it so that it does not leak.

Location of Leaks

Take notice where any leaks are coming from. Are they coming from cracks in a fiberglass jon boat? Or are they just simply dripping from an old bolt or rivet in an aluminum boat?

Oftentimes, if a fiberglass boat is leaking from cracks, the boat is damaged beyond repair. Maybe it fell off of a trailer and the entire hull is cracked. Or it ran into structure and caused a great deal of damage to the entire hull.

Make sure you evaluate the extent to which the used boat leaks before making a purchase. If an aluminum boat is leaking around bolts or rivets, it usually can be repaired easily.

Check For Peeling Paint

The second tip when you are deciding to purchase a used jon boat, is to look for areas of peeling paint. Peeling and chipped paint spots can accelerate corrosion on an aluminum jon boat that is used in saltwater.

If you plan on using an aluminum boat in saltwater, it is important to remove the peeling paint and repaint it so that galvanic corrosion does not occur. Fiberglass boats do not corrode in saltwater so this is not an issue with them.

Test Corroded Areas

If you are buying a boat that has visual signs of corrosion, make sure you test the corroded areas to determine how bad they are.

Most boat sellers are not going to let you try to kick a hole in the bottom of their boat, however; if you just use a finger and press on the corroded areas, you should be able to tell how bad it is.

If the metal moves, or worse yet, if you do cause a small hole, you should examine how large of an area the corrosion encompasses.

All corroded areas can lead to leaks, which in turn can sink your boat if they leak too badly, so make sure that the corroded areas of the boat you are thinking of purchasing are superficial and can possibly be fixed.

Check The Transom

Another tip when buying a used jon boat is to check the transom really well. Inspect the wood for cracks and most of all, rotting.

If the transom needs replaced, it need not be a deal breaker, however; the cost of materials and your labor should come into play when you are negotiating a price for the boat.

If you can do the work yourself, it will cost around $25.00 for materials and a couple hours of your time. If you cannot fix the transom and have to pay someone to do it, it could be quite expensive so you might want to pass on the boat.

Check The Oar Sockets

When you are inspecting a used jon boat, another thing you want to look at are the oar sockets, if the boat has them.

Older boats have most likely had a lot of oar use. This use over time can cause the metal sockets to crack and the nuts and bolts to loosen. Another thing that can happen, overtime, is that the bolt holes can become too large, therefore causing the oar sockets to become loose or fall off.

Inspect the oar sockets because new ones will cost you $30.00 or so.

Ensure The Weight is Correct

Make sure before buying a used jon boat that you are satisfied with the weight of it.

If you are looking to buy a small jon boat for two people, you want to make sure that it is light enough to be moved by two people. A couple extra feet of boat can really add on to the weight and make it hard to move around.

Different makes of boats can vary quite a bit when it comes to weight. So when you are looking at a used boat, preferably have your fishing or hunting buddy with you so that you can pick up the boat and get a good feel for the weight. Look for handles on a used boat that make it easy to move.

Shop Around

Lastly, look for deals and shop around for a while. Many boat owners are upgrading and are just selling their boat. Others are selling their boat with all of the equipment included.

When comparing similar boats, it is a good idea to factor in the cost of all the included gear. Trolling motors, oars, life preservers, flashlights, batteries, air horns, and the anchor can really add to the cost of a jon boat.

If you find one that has all, or some of these things, and is a good solid boat, you have most likely found a good used jon boat.

What is a Jon Boat?

what is a jon boat

As this website is all about Jon Boats, I thought it’d be worthwhile discussing what they are and where the name comes from!

What Is A Jon Boat?

Quite simply, a Jon Boat is a small fishing or hunting boat.

Predominately, they have a flat hull (those some do have a “V Hull”) and this provides much needed stability for reeling in fish or tracking ducks.

Jon Boat Sizes

The size of a Jon Boat can range from just 8′ all the way up to 20′. The common sizes are 10′ to 15′.

Usually, the size of the boat is dictated by the body of water you’re using. For greater distances and larger waves, a longer boat is typically preferred.

You can find more information on our page “Jon Boat Sizes“.

Jon Boat Materials

These boats are usually made from Aluminum, Fiberglass and Wood.

As a general rule, aluminum jon boats are the preferred choice. Their reduced weight allows the hunter or fisherman to stow more gear (or bring a friend along).

Having a lighter boat also means you don’t require a bigger engine, and this is another plus. Add in the fact they’re easier to launch and far easier to modify, their appeal is easily understood.

Fiberglass and wood boats do have they’re own advantages – particularly in salt-water.

You can read more about this comparison here.

Where Did The Name Come From?

No-one is really sure exactly where the name “Jon Boat” originated.

What we do know is that people began referring to “Flat-Bottom Skiffs” in the The Ozarks (the mountainous region that covers part of Missouri and Arkansas) at the start of the 20th century. Having a flat-bottom made them ideal for traversing the shallow waters found in the Missouri Valley.

“Ozark John Boats” were popular for float fishing, duck hunting and even carrying timber from the end of the 19th century. Tourists also loved them as they could fish standing up with little fear of tipping.

Originally, these “Float Boats” were made from pine and green lumber. Because the cost of construction was low, they could be disposed of after a single voyage downstream.

The arrival the 20th century saw improvements in their design and construction. Jack pine began to be used and so, “Jack” became “John Boat”.  At least this is how one theory goes!

Jon or John – The Scandinavian Connection

Shrewd observers will note there are two different ways of spelling the boat – “John” and “Jon”. This alternative “origin theory” could go some way to explaining why.

In Scandinavia, “Jon” is one of the most common names. Fishermen used small, flat-bottomed boats to ferry themselves and their gear to larger fishing boats.

As they were stable, useful and cheap to construct, the fisherman took them to their hearts. In doing so, they bestowed the familiar nickname “Jon” upon them.

One thing is certain. More than 125 years after “Jon Boats” first became popular, outdoorsmen all across America still love these industrious boats!

How To Correctly Store a Jon Boat

jon boat storage

Storing a jon boat correctly will help it last longer, prevent repairs and also protect your investment. You’ll find several great recommendations for jon boat storage in this article.

Before Storage: Cleaning

The first thing you should do before storing your boat is to clean it thoroughly. This is extremely important for saltwater boaters. Saltwater can cause galvanic corrosion of aluminum boats so it is essential to remove all traces of salt.

Freshwater can contain “aquatic hitchhikers”, non-native organisms that can be transferred from one body of water to another. In order to ensure that you are not spreading non-native organisms, the best thing you can do is a thorough wash before you store your boat.

Best Boat Cleaning Brands

There are many chemicals on the market today for cleaning jon boats. A good one is Star-brite’s Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner. This cleaner will remove any living organisms and will also remove algae stains which become harder to remove after storage.

Once your boat is washed and cleaned, inside and out, it is almost ready for storage.

After Washing: Examine

After washing, you should then do a thorough examination and look for any cracks, dents, or peeling paint. These are all areas of concern and can cause corrosion or more serious repairs later.

Fiberglass Jon Boats

If you have a crack in a fiberglass boat that is not fixed over the winter or over a period of time where the outside temperature fluctuates, the crack can become larger as contraction and expansion of the fiberglass occurs with cyclical temperatures.

When you are out in a fiberglass boat and you hear popping sounds, and what sounds like the boat cracking, that is the boat naturally adjusting to the temperature of the water.

Over the winter, or over the period of time that you are storing the boat, this also happens with the temperature fluctuations. Small cracks can become larger cracks so make sure that all cracks are properly repaired before storage.

Aluminum Jon Boats

Aluminum jon boats also expand and contract with changing temperatures but not that much. Still, it is a good idea to check for loose rivets and screws and fix dents before storage.

The biggest reason to fix dents before storing is that if you used the boat in saltwater, these are the areas that usually trap water under seams and starts rusting.

Peeling paint is another area where water can congregate and can cause corrosion over time. This is not a problem with fiberglass jon boats but can be with aluminum boats.

Selecting a Good Storage Area

If you are storing a jon boat outside, you should try to store it in an open area where tree leaves and limbs will not fall on it.

Wet leaves will stick to aluminum like glue and the tannins in leaves can quickly cause staining.

Upside Down & Elevated

Jon boats should always be upside down if they are stored outside without a cover. And, it is a good idea to regularly check on it and remove all leaves as quickly as possible after fall storms.

In addition to keeping your boat upside down, you should also store it off the ground. This allows air to circulate in and around the boat so that it will dry thoroughly.

If your boat does not dry in cold climates, freezing of water can cause expansion of seams which will result in more leaks when it is time to take it out.

Jon Boat Covers

A cover is a good investment for any jon boat. Covers keep wet leaves and debris off of it.  When it’s time to take your boat out again it the spring, it will be clean and ready to go.

There are numerous covers on the market today for any size jon boat and some people just use inexpensive tarps.

Jon Boat Tarps

A tarp is better than no cover at all and will keep wet leaves and limbs out of your boat. Like a cover, a tarp will also protect any gear or seats that are left in the boat for any length of time. Before putting a cover on for long term storage, make sure that the inside of the boat is thoroughly dry.

Protection From Small Animals

If you decide to go with a cover and keep your boat outdoors, it’s also a good idea to elevate it with wooden blocks.  Doing this has several benefits. It allows the air to circulate the boat and keeps the sides and bottom dry. Also, it doesn’t kill the grass under your boat or create an enclosed habitat for animals and rodents to use as cover.

Chipmunks, mice, rats, moles, and snakes can all find their way under your boat. And, if your trailer is close by you might find light wires chewed when you use your boat again.

As you can see, proper storage of your jon boat is essential. When the new season comes round, you’ll also want to get out there as soon as possible!

Aluminum Jon Boats vs Fiberglass

aluminum jon boats

Aluminum jon boats and fiberglass jon boats each have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is a good idea to choose one that best fits your specific needs.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most important pros and cons both types offer.

Aluminum Jon Boats Weigh Less

Aluminum is lighter than fiberglass and this fact is evidenced by the weight of similar sized jon boats.

For example, an aluminum Lund 1436 L that is 14 feet long and 57 inches wide only weighs 146 pounds while a Pro-Strike 14’ 2” fiberglass jon boat that is 55 inches wide weighs much more at 260 pounds.

So the aluminum jon is almost half-the-weight as the fiberglass one. This marked difference in weights makes the fiberglass boat much harder to lift and move around.

Fiberglass Jon Boats Need Trailering

Fiberglass boats are harder to lift and place on top of vehicles and many times need to be trailered.

An advantage of aluminum boats is that the smaller one’s can be mounted on a vehicle rooftop. This saves the owner the cost of purchasing a jon boat trailer.

Aluminum Jons Are Easier To Launch

Weight also is a factor when you get to the launch location. You’ll  certainly notice the extra weight when you have to move your boat (possibly by yourself) to or from the water.

When you factor in the weight of gear and supplies, the amount of fun diminishes. Especially in the rain!

Fiberglass Jons Need A Bigger Engine

Due to their extra weight, fiberglass boats run deeper in the water. As a result, they require a larger engine to power them. This results in a bigger initial outlay, lower fuel efficiency and increased fuel cost.

Aluminum Boats Are Easier To Modify

Another advantage to having an aluminum boat is that aluminum is easier to drill through. This matters if you would like to modify your boat in any way.

You can drill though fiberglass. However; caution is advised as fiberglass can crack around your hole, causing much bigger problems.

Fiberglass is Better Suited to Seawater

Fiberglass jon boats are better suited for saltwater. Their extra weight makes them more stable and this is an advantage in waves. Also, fiberglass does not corrode but aluminum will, in certain circumstances.

Aluminum jon boats usually have quite a few places where galvanic corrosion can occur. These include chipped paint areas, dents, scratches, and any place saltwater can accumulate. These areas should be watched closely if you plan on using your boat in saltwater environments.

Lastly, aluminum boats need to be cleaned after every saltwater use to protect against corrosion.

Fiberglass Is Easier To Clean

Yet another advantage to purchasing a fiberglass boat is that fiberglass is generally easier to clean.

Fiberglass will stain, however; there are plenty of chemical cleaners on the market that will help make your boat look shiny and new. Bio-Kleen makes a fiberglass cleaner that is good for cleaning fiberglass and aluminum boats. But it is used in only one step to clean aluminum boats. Then, you still need to use an additional aluminum cleaner.

With Bio-Kleen fiberglass cleaning products, you only need to use one cleaner on a fiberglass boat. Depending on how stained or soiled your boat is, it’s easier and cheaper cleaning fiberglass.

Before purchasing your jon boat, you’ll need to consider all these factors. Then you can decide which one suits your fishing or hunting conditions the best.