Learn Different Types of Boats and Hulls

types of boats

New boaters might feel overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of different types of ships and all of their intended uses. There are a multitude of classes, segments and sub-segments with literally thousands of ship builders, brands, hull types and models to choose from. That's why we've put together this guide -- to help you understand each the distinct types of vessels available -- so which you're able to make the perfect choice when shopping for new or used boats for sale, for you or your loved ones.

First, so as to understand some of the similarities and differences of different watercraft, it is ideal to learn some basic boat terminology. Let us begin by taking a look at the portion of the layout -- the hull of a boat.

Boat Hull Types

A hull is the watertight framework or body of a ship or boat, exclusive of its own deck, propulsion system, fittings and rigging. Boat hulls vary considerably in shape, design and size, which often determines their best application. They are sometimes made out of different materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, steel or wood. Although There Are Lots of variants, below are the Significant categories of hull types:

Flat bottom hulls:

A strand which has virtually no deadrise (angle between the horizontal plane in the keel and the surface of the hull). Flat hulls are secure (in calm water) and usually have a very shallow draft (i.e. depth or space between the waterline and the bottom of the hull.

Deep-V hulls:

V-hulls part the water readily and reduce thumping when running at speed.

A mix of deep forwards and flatter aft segments. This combination has advantages of both of the above.

A hull bottom that stays in the water in any way speeds. Displacement hulls are often on slower boats like sailboats and trawlers.

Semi-displacement hulls:

A strand that mainly stays in the water however gains from lift at higher rates.

A strand that climbs up and glides on top of the water at high speed. Planing hulls are made to move fast when enough power is supplied.


Boats with numerous hulls connected by a deck. Multihulls can have a few hulls. Catamarans are a favorite kind of multihull ships.

Boat Categories

Now that we've covered the most frequent kinds of hulls, let's take a look at the numerous categories of boats where these hull designs are available. Though There are a diverse range of boat types with many particular versions, for our purposes, we'll set them into the following three Chief categories, according to their own means of propulsion:


Powerboats are propelled by a couple of motors, which are usually combustion engines, even more electric motors are in use today. Inboard engines are within the boat with an appendage protruding from the base of the hull that's attached to a propeller. These appendages are usually fixed shafts or they can be pod drives with directional thrust. Outboard motors are self-contained engines which have an attached propeller. Outboards are mounted on the transom (aft end) of this boat.

There's a vast difference in powerboats based not only on size and shape but also on planned usage. Although you can enjoy most activities on most boats, we've grouped designs by typical use.

Fishing ships can be made for either fresh or saltwater use and run the gamut concerning dimensions and gear, which is typically ordered by the species of fish that they will search. Some fishing boats are flat bottom hulls designed to transport one to three anglers primarily in protected waters, while bigger sport fishing ships (or sportfishers) could be deep-v hulls that can run hundreds of miles offshore and adapt numerous individuals onboard for overnight ventures.

As stated above, these boats are designed to move far and get there quickly on semi-displacement hulls, sportfishers range 30+ feet. Large open cockpits are utilized to fight fish and a few purpose-built sportfishers are called"battle wagons". Most have a deep-V hull forward with flatter aft sections so they could get on plane fast and stay somewhat stable during fishing.

Center console ships:

With a helm station or console in the middle of the ship, these designs are available boats with a"walk round" concept. Their design helps anglers go about easily, walking from bow to stern, particularly when they have a fish on. Center consoles are powered by outboard motors (one to six) and may be 15-45 feet or longer. They're generally used for saltwater fishing and a few have a long range so they could fish well offshore. They're constructed on planing hulls.

Bass boats:

Usually 14-22 ft, bass boats are primarily used for freshwater fishing. Using a V-hull and very low freeboard (hull sides) they're used on lakes and rivers and powered by outboard motors that get their hulls up on plane.

Bay boats:

Built of fiberglass since they're used in salt or brackish waters, bay boats are designed for shallow water and are usually 18-25 ft long.

Flats ships:

With quite shallow drafts, flats ships run 14-18 ft and are usually powered by an outboard motor. However, in extremely shallow water, they can also be propelled by a push rod.

Family day ships

Family fun ships for lakes, rivers or the coast are used for numerous activities from fishing to towing and weekending to entertaining. These ships tend to differ by and deck layout and also have planing hulls so they're usually rather fast.

Bowrider ships:

With seating area within an open bow just before their helm, bowriders can be 16-30 ft or more. They're powered by outboard motors or sterndrives,which have an inboard engine but an outboard-like appendage that protrudes from the transom.

Dual console ships:

With two dashboards and 2 sections of windshield, dual console ships are designed so that you may walk through the centre to the open bow in which there is usually a sunpad or seating area. Most operate 15-35 feet but can be more.

Cuddy cabin ships:

Distinguished by a small cabin forward, cuddy cabin boats can accommodate a bed or a toilet. They are usually 20-30 ft and may be used for all kinds of boating including limited overnighting.

Deck ships:

With a broad and flat deck, all these ships have a V-hull forwards and lots of seating space on deck aft. They are perfect for swimming, entertaining and family fun. They can be aluminum or fiberglass and possess outboard or sterndrive propulsion. They're usually 25-35 ft long.

Pontoon boats:

Similar to deck boats in their intended function, pontoon boats have two or three hulls usually made of aluminum although a few are built of fiberglass. Very secure and beamy (wide), pontoon boats are powered by a couple of outboards and are developed for entertaining on rivers and lakes. They've become very popular because of their space and newly acquired speed with a few being able to run in excess of 60 mph.

Runabout ships:

They are outboard-powered and 15-25 feet normally.

Jet ships:

Powered by jet pushes instead of propellers, jet boats are usually under 25 feet and are extremely maneuverable. They can get into shallow water and are typically used for water sports.


Some towboats may be ballasted otherwise to make different size and shape of awakens for slalom skiing, trick skiing or wakeboarding. Some towboats are tournament-rated, which means they're used in competition.

Power cruisers and motor yachts

Motor yachts are powerboats with one to three motors and frequently lavish accommodations for extended overnighting. They differ by size but also by whether they are coastal cruisers or overseas trip yachts. Most of these larger vessels are built on semi-displacement hulls.

With at least one cottage and head, coastal cruisers have complete accommodations including a significant galley and stowage space. Lengths vary but most coastal cruisers have been 30+ ft.

Pilothouse ships:

With enclosed helms before this living space, pilothouse ships are designed to run in rough seas or inclement weather. They're mainly powered by inboard engines and have cabins on the lower deck. They're able to have a open flybridge using another helm station above and begin around 30 feet.

Downeast cruisers:

More of a design statement than the usual usage issue, Downeast boats were developed in New England and are also called lobster boats. They are sometimes used for day trekking, entertaining or cruising and usually have lodging for overnighting. The design has become popular with many brands building to the Downeast aesthetic. They can have semi-displacement or planing hulls.

Trawlers take their title from the older commercial fishing boats. Today however, trawlers are slow, fuel-efficient, displacement boats with comfortable accommodations which are utilized for distance cruising under power. They may be as little as 25-30 feet.

Power catamarans:

With two hulls, powercats can be used for a variety of adventures. They're stable and roomy and usually more fuel-efficient and quicker than monohull powerboats of comparable length. Most cruising powercats have double inboards, exceptional accommodations and operate 30-65 feet. But, smaller powercats may include two outboard motors and are utilized for fishing providing a more secure platform for anglers.


Tenders are commuter ships that are utilized to go from the mothership to coast and back. They're often known as dinghies and are utilized by cruisers as a"car" for groceries, go to supper, take the dog for a shore jog, etc.. Normally, tenders are powered by outboard engines, which can be gas, propane or electric. A few tenders are rowed.

Most commuter dinghies are inflatable, so they are lighter, more stowable and won't ding the yacht up. Typically 8-15 feet, dinghies might have removable inflatable, wooden or aluminum floors and inflatable tubing sides you can sit on.

Rigid inflatable vessel:

RIBs have inflatable tube sides and ceramic or aluminum flooring that are permanently connected to the tubes. They're usually quicker and can carry bigger payloads and outboard engines. They may be 10-30 ft or more.

Rigid dinghies:

Made of wood, aluminum or fiberglass, rigid dinghies can be rowed or sailed thereby mixing tender and toy functionality.

Utility ships

Utility boats are demanding work boats made from aluminum with outboard motors and generally planing hulls. Recreationally, they may be used for fishing or other actions.

Jon ships:

Little flat-bottomed utility boats designed for shallow waters, Jon boats are 10-16 feet long and may be made from aluminum or fiberglass. They're inexpensive and good for beginners.

Similar to Jon boats, skiffs are good for shallow water and may be driven by an outboard with a tiller or through a steering console. They are also able to be rowed.