TheSeaholic brings you 5-min Easy Guide to Different types of Boats

    As we all know, a boat is a type of watercraft which has been specifically designed for navigating in near-shore areas or inland waterways such as rivers and lakes.

    What makes a boat different from a ship is, of course, its smaller size, and lesser carrying capacity compared to the latter.

    Read About Fishing Vessels – Types of Fishing Boats

    However, the definition of a boat –its size, shape and capacity-varies according to its purpose. To understand better, you might want to read about the major differences between boat and ship.

    While in the modern navel terms a boat is defined as a watercraft that is small enough to be carried abroad a ship, there are boats which are measured up to 1,000 feet in length.

    Similarly, there are many boats intended to provide service, not in near-shore areas, but the offshore environment. Interestingly, contradicting the “ships can carry boats, but boats can’t carry ships” argument, even sometimes the US Navy submarines are called boats.

    Historical evidence suggests that the boat has been used for transportation since pre-historic times. From the oldest known boat named dugouts, the evolution of the watercraft has now reached in luxurious motor yacht Boats.

    Different Types of Boats

    As mentioned, technically, there are several different types of boats and it’s impossible to list down all the types. Primarily, boats can be classified into three main sections as follows:

    • Unpowered or man-powered boats (like rafts, gondolas, kayaks, etc.),
    • Sailboats (sail-propelled)
    • Motorboats (engine-powered)

    Here we have a list of the major types of boats in the above-mentioned categories of vessels, along with boat pictures, that are used around the world.

    1. Fishing Boats – Famous Types of Boats

    Built exclusively for fishing, fishing boats in different sizes are used on both salt and freshwater bodies. The immediate qualities of these boats include stability, strength, and durability to survive the fishing ventures across various kinds of waterways.

    Fishing boats can be both manned and un-manned types. The all-purpose fishing boats generally include features such as a front bow, rod lockers, a trolling motor system, an outboard power and live wells.

    Compared to the boats meant for lakes and rivers, the boats fishing in the offshore environment will be taller in size and strong-built to withstand saltwater and harsher conditions.

    On the other hand, the aluminium fishing boats weigh less and are highly durable.  The bass boats designed with slim profiles, and consist of 2-3 anglers on board, are such type of a boat used for fishing.

    2. Dinghy Boats

    A dinghy can be a small inflatable boat usually made of rubber and comprises of cross thwarts and rowlocks that act as seats and oars, respectively.

    Commonly powered by sails, oars and small outboard engines, Dinghies are popularly known as sailboats, rowboats or simply inflatables.

    These boats team up with more significant vessels and come in handy when the mothership is unable to navigate in narrow areas. These rowboats can also be utilised as companion boats and are taken to camping expeditions or even for fishing in shallow waters.

    Also Read about What are Kayaks – Types of Kayaks & How to do Kayaking

    3. Deck Boats

    As the name suggests, Deck Boats come with an open deck area that provides plenty of seating arrangements for a small group of people.

    The boat features a V shape hull with a wide beam to accommodate more passengers than a pontoon boat. Usually measures 25-35 ft in length, they are provided with a stern power drive, and popularly used for recreational activities like swimming, water sports etc.

    4. Bowrider Boats

    Known as a quintessential family boat, Bowriders offer room for eight or more passengers across its cockpit, bow cockpit and helm. The bow area of these types of boats has been constructed in a unique way to allow a spacious seating arrangement.

    Moreover, these runabout-style vessels contain a swim platform for putting on wake-boards, or for swimming activities feel-good leisure boating.

    With its classic V-shaped bottom, Bowrider Boats offer a splendid ride across different water conditions. The usage of sterndrive power is the typical rule, but the demand for outboard engines is increasing at a high rate.

    4. Catamaran Boats

    Unlike other boats, Catamaran is a multi-hulled watercraft that features two parallel hulls of equal size. Compared to vessels with a single hull, Catamaran Boats features less hull volume, shallower draft and higher displacement.

    Excellent for fishing purposes and even for leisurely cruising abilities, Catamarans are being built for various purposes across the world.

    6. Cuddy Cabins Boats

    Well-suited for fishing, yachting, sailing and other water sports, Cuddy Cabins Boats is one of the most family-friendly vessels.

    Featuring a closed deck over the boat’s bow, the boat allows a convenient storage space and too easy navigation. The cuddy cabin boats are usually built of fibreglass and aluminium, and the minimum length is around 4.75 meters.

    7. Centre Console Boats

    Essentially a boat that features a hull with no cabin or foredeck and the helm station in the centre of the boat, Centre Consoles are great fishing platforms.

    These boats are ideal for sports fishing and work in harsh offshore waterways where there is plenty of ocean fish. The essential equipment consists of bait wells, gunwale rod holders, fish lockers and outriggers, to name a few.

    In addition, the deck provides a powerful insulation system for icing the fish storage.

    8. Houseboats

    There are houseboats of different shapes and sizes across the world, offering the luxury of living on water and provide excellent recreational and holiday accommodation facilities.

    Houseboats, also known as Float house, incorporate broad flooring and modern amenities such as entertainment, fine dining, and proper sleeping arrangements.

    The boats offer fun activities like relaxed cruising, water sports, family sailing etc. While most of the houseboats are motorized, there are boats incapable of operating under their own power since they are usually kept stationary at a location.

    9. Trawler Boats

    With features including a displacement hull and fuel-efficient engines, trawlers are intended for them to smoothly manoeuvre through the water bodies without exhausting much horsepower or consuming excessive fuel.

    This quality makes the trawler a brilliant option for participating in long-range cruising activities, as all modern facilities can be found aboard the boat.

    10. Cabin Cruiser Boats

    Offering all the essential features of a home, Cabin Cruiser boats are great for relaxed sailing. Designed with a galley and a berth, these boats offer modern comforts like heaters, air conditioners, and power generators.

    In addition to a deep-V bottom, the Cabin Cruisers employ a secure shaft drive mechanism plus rudder steering and therefore are mainly suited for movement in the salty water.

    11. Game boats

    Powered by diesel or petrol engines, these fibreglass boats are large in measurement and are useful for the game fish pursuit, especially pelagic fishes like tuna and marlin.

    12. Motor Yacht Boats

    The latest design in the evolution of boats, the motor yacht is a watercraft primarily used for leisure activities. The motor yacht has a standard length of 12m and above, with one or two diesel engines as per navigation requirement in inland waters or the oceans.

    The motor yacht can vouchsafe for an enjoyable family trip, for a long period of time that it sails on the water. Currently, there are different types of yachts in the market including Day sailing yachts, Weekender yachts, Cruising yachts and Luxury sailing yachts etc. to meet the various requirements.

    13. Personal Watercraft (PWC) Boats

    The PWC boats, also known as water scooter and jetski, are customized boats for adventurous activities. This recreational watercraft allows individuals to explore the waters at their own ease and also to participate in games such as water-skiing and sports fishing, etc. There are two types of PWCs such as “sit down” and “stand-up” models, where the former is intended for two or more people, while the latter can only be used by a single rider.

    14. Jet Boats

    Powered by a jet of water ejected from behind the vessel, Jet Boat is notable for its high manoeuvrability. The structure of a jet boat is quite similar to that of a bow-rider, as it offers a lot of seating area along with a swimming platform. The advanced propulsion system is securely enwrapped in the hull, to protect it from any external damage.

    15. Lifeboats

    In emergency situations, lifeboats come to the rescue! The lifeboats are small watercraft that are attached to bigger vessels like cruises and their main function is to carry passengers to a secure area if the concerned vessel is met with an accident. The lifeboats are well-equipped with immediate food and water supplies, and other necessities to pacify the frightened voyagers in case of a shipwreck.

    16. Pontoon Boat

    Used popularly for inland waters and other small water bodies, Pontoon boats are flattish in shape and that relies on tubes (pontoons) to float on the water. Typically, the length of the Pontoon boat ranges from 15-30 ft with a shallow draft. It consists of multiple aluminium tubes supporting the broad platform providing excellent stability.

    17. Sedan Bridge Boat

    Typically ranging from about 35–65 feet in length, Sedan Bridge Boat by Sea Ray Company offers the pleasure of excellent visibility to the navigator. With an extended bridge area, the boat makes the passengers feel like a big ship bridge and offers accommodations down below to suit extended stays on the water.

    Apart from the above-mentioned ones, several other types of boats are also available in the market.

    The list of the boats continues with vessels such as Skiff or Jon Boats, Hydrofoil boats, Cigarette boats, Cuddy Boats, Tug Boats, High-Speed Crafts, Bumper Boats, Pilot Boat, Fire Boat, Well boats, Kayak, Bay or Flat Boats, All-Purpose fishing Boats, Deck Boats, High-Performance Boats, Rafts, Surfboats, Narrowboats, Folding Boats, Log Boats, Go-fast Boats, Catboats, Junk Boats, Ferry Boats, Canoe Boats, U-boats, Dory boats etc.

    Over to you..

    If you think any other type of boat should be added to this list, let’s know in the comments below.


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