Deck boat stability is a concern boat owners often worry over, especially by comparison to pontoons.
And I get it! There’s nothing worse than feeling insecure when driving your boat over choppy waters.
As a kid growing up in Canada, summer camp was almost always about getting out on the water. From a very young age, you’re taught how to pilot and portage a canoe, or how to work a kayak. I was almost always terrified of flipping the canoe and going into the water. Not because I was scared of the water, not at all, but because of it’s incredible inconvenience. What’s worse than going over? Having to clean everything up.
The same was true when I bought my first boat, I was always concerned about capsizing. Not that it was a real threat; I mainly tootled about on smaller rivers and bodies of water. I was, however, incredibly irrational and worried about every little thing that could send someone off the side.
It’s something I’ve worried over ever since I was a little kid!
But the ultimate and “hull truth” is that deck boats are much more stable than most boaters realize, and I’m here to prove it.
The Truth About Deck Boat Stability
It’s irresponsible not to consider the safety of your passengers, but there’s a point when you shouldn’t have to worry—you made the right purchase in the first place!
That’s why I want to talk with you about stability, specifically deck boat stability. Especially when you’re boating with loads of folks, including kids, it’s important to know you’re working with a safe and sturdy craft (even at high speeds).
How Boat Hulls Contribute to Stability
So, what’s a hull exactly and how does it contribute to deck boat stability?
If you’re looking for the hull of your boat, all you have to do is look at the bottom. The hull is the only part of your boat that rides in and on top of the water.
There’s no sails, no rigs and no equipment, it is a structural element of your boat (which often determines the performance, but the overall type of boat that you’re working with).
Take a pontoon boat, for example, which has an incredibly unique type of hull. If you’ve ever seen a pontoon, chances are you know it based on its hull (the pontoons themselves), which are two to three cylindrical containers positioned beneath the boat’s bottom to help keep it afloat.
This is what we would call a multi-hulled boat, where there are now effectively two hulls (each of the pontoons).
Round, flat and V-shaped, there are some very distinct hull types out there.
When dealing with deck boats, though, you’ll likely find a V-shaped hull. Especially for larger vessels, this hull type not only accommodates higher speeds but also allows for overall smoother rides.
Pontoon Verses Deck Boat Hull Stability Comparison
One of the main things boaters will tell you about pontoons boats, particularly versus deck boats, is how stable they are due to their structure. While it might be true that pontoons are more stable, this is typically when it comes to easy weather conditions.
When things start to get a bit iffy on the water, a V-shaped hull is almost always preferable because of how much easier it is to get around. When you want more stability, typically you’re giving up performance, but with a deck boat, it’s the opposite.
If you’re looking to host a cocktail party on the water, maybe a pontoon boat would be smarter. But, if you actually want to enjoy the water, a deck boat is much better suited to hosting people while enjoying the waves.
I have loads of friends who own pontoon boats, and I keep telling them: I have a great time on your boat, but it really feels like it’s missing that extra “oomph.” When you’re on a pontoon, you feel that lack of power, which is most evidenced when waters get choppy.
How V-Shaped Hulls Slice Through Water
Think of it like this: When running a knife through water, it slices right through. Even if you’re moving super quickly. On the other hand, when using a spoon, it takes time. Although you’ll still make it through, it wouldn’t be as comfortable if you were trying to pick up the pace.
While multi-hulled boats, like pontoons, are more stable and strong in the water, it isn’t going to be able to move as quickly or as smoothly. On the other hand, a V-shaped hull provides a sturdy foundation, while giving you that “get up and go” you need.
What About Rough Waters?
If you’re concerned about deck boat stability, it might be because you want to spend time in choppier waters that are a bit more chaotic. In cases like these, you really shouldn’t have to worry about much.
A V-shaped hull is designed with choppy waters in mind, where you move more quickly through waters that are rough. That’s what makes a deck boat so great for water sports, where the only real threat is getting your clothes wet (and not because you fell overboard).
Deck Boat Features to Ensure Stability
Even when you’re in a deck boat, you might want to take some more steps to ensure that you are as stable as possible, here are some of the things that you should consider:
Snug Deck Boat Seating Layouts
While pontoon boats boast open floor plans, these often aren’t perfect for riders like young children or older generations. But if you want to ensure better stability, deck boat floor plans offer a bit more snugness to them (without sacrificing space).
Most deck boats have seating designed right in the front in an almost sunken space, which allows for greater comfort and less rocking about.
This way, when you have the best seats (and the best layout), you ensure everyone stays stable even when you’re approaching top speeds (which is especially helpful if you’ve got water skis out on the lake). Take the Bayliner 215 Deck Boat for instance, with its cushy front seating area that has compact comfort (without feeling too tight).
Deck Boat Accessories to Help Improve Stability
If you’re worried about deck boat stability for all of your passengers, there are some things that you can do. Installing certain deck boat accessories, such as cooler mounting kits (check price on Amazon) can really help improve the overall stability of your boat.
This is based on ensuring that, in every situation, your passengers have an opportunity to stabilize themselves in rough conditions. If you’re looking for a model to start with, based on a brand you can trust, companies like Bayliner and Boston Whaler offer various customizable models.
Higher Deck Boat Horsepower
If a deck boat is able to achieve higher speeds, everyone benefits thanks to its design. The truth is that V-shaped hulls perform better moving at higher speeds, as they slice through the water, so if you have a boat with a trustworthy motor, you’re more likely to ensure a smooth ride the entire way.
I’ve profiled the deal with deck boat horsepower before and now’s as good a time as ever to learn a bit more about it. If you can trust the speed and stability of your motor, then your ride is sure to follow.
A good example of this is the 2016 Chaparral 244 Sunesta, which comes from a reputable brand and features 350 HP to power your next ride.
Stay Afloat Today
As I mentioned before, while it isn’t healthy to be constantly worried about going overboard, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping passenger safety a top priority.
When you take some of these factors into account, it becomes easier to see why a deck boat is the perfect investment.