The Different Types of Boats Explained

What are the different kinds of boats

There were around twelve million boats registered in the United States in 2019. Americans love all their different kinds of boats and they continue to buy the seafaring vessels hand over fist. However, like cars, there's not just one single type of boat.

Boats come in all shapes and sizes and each model comes with its own set of unique traits. 

There are all kinds of reasons to own a boat. From fishing to recreation to racing to travel. With so many different types of boats out there, it's important that you know what you want to do with your ship before you go ahead and purchase one.

Luckily for you, we're here to help. Whether you're currently on the market looking for a new boat or you're just interested in learning more, you've come to the right place. So keep on reading and we'll walk you through the different types of boats that you need to know about!

1. Fishing Boats

Fishing boats are built exclusively for the practice of catching fish. These boats come in a wide range of sizes and can be made for both freshwater and saltwater bodies. The immediate characteristics of these boats include strength, stability, and durability to make it through the fishing ventures across all types of waters.  

Fishing boats can either be manned or unmanned. The all-purpose fishing boat will usually feature an outboard power, a trolling motor system, rod lockers, motor system, front bow, and live wells. 

Compared to the different kinds of boats meant for rivers and lakes, a fishing boat in an offshore environment is going to be taller and stronger so that it can withstand the harsher saltwater conditions. 

2. Deck Boats

Deck boats, as the name implies, come with an open deck area that provides room for seating arrangements for a small number of people. The boat has a V shape hull and a wide beam that can accommodate more people than a pontoon boat.

These boats are usually around thirty feet in length and they come with a stern power drive. Deck boats are often used for recreational activities like water sports and swimming as well as tanning. 

3. Pontoon Boats 

Pontoons are extremely versatile boats that are also easy to handle. They provide a good amount of seating and storage, too. These vessels are both easy to use and easy to enjoy.

You can use a pontoon boat for day cruising, lounging out in the sun, swimming, or watersports. These days, pontoons can even be tricked out with high-quality vinyl seats, coordinated graphics, marine-grade carpet, and a variety of rail skin colors.

A pontoon is a sort of floating device that's used to make a vessel buoyant. It's made out of airtight and hollow tubes that essentially make the boat unsinkable. 

Pontoon boats make use of several pontoon tubes in order to float easily on the water. 

4. Catamaran Boats

A Catamaran, unlike other different kinds of boats, is a multi-hulled boat that sports two parallel hulls of equal size. Compared to vessels with just one hull, a Catamaran has higher displacement, shallower draft, and less hull volume. 

catamaran type of boat

These boats are great for leisurely cruising. The wider body increases stability and square footage.  Catamarans can be built for all kinds of purposes. 

5. Houseboats

There are houseboats of all different sizes and shapes all over the world. These boats offer the luxury of living out on the water and they provide great holiday and recreational accommodation facilities. 

Also known as a float house, a houseboat makes use of broad flooring and modern amenities, such as proper sleeping arrangements, fine dining, and entertainment. 


These boats offer fun activities like family sailing, water sports, and relaxed cruising. While many houseboats are motorized, there are some different kinds of boats that aren't able to operate under their own power since they're usually meant to stay at one location.  

6. Skiffs

A skiff is a simple, basic, all-purpose utility boat. A skiff can be any boat that's small and open. 

These types of boats are easy to maintain and generally just require a rinsing down at the end of the day. Because it doesn't have any accessories, it's very difficult for this boat to breakdown. These boats also tend to be very reliable and affordable. 

Due to the small size of this kind of boat, you'll be very limited when it comes to how many people you can take on the water. You also can't bring a lot of gear with you and you should avoid large bodies of water that can be subject to rough seas. 

7. Motor Yacht Boats

Motor yacht boats are the latest design in the evolution of boats. These vessels are mainly used for leisure activities. 

The motor yacht is at least twelve meters longs and has one or two diesel engines per navigation requirement. There are many different kinds of yachts including luxury sailing yachts, cruising yachts, weekender yachts, and day sailing yachts.

The Importance of Knowing the Different Types of Boats

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a much better understanding of the different types of boats. As we can see, boats come in all different shapes and sizes and they can be used for all kinds of purposes.

In reality there are far more types of boats than this including wake boats or jon boats but we didn't think you would go that deep.  This is why it's so important for you to figure out what you want to get out of your boat before you make a purchasing decision. 

Once you get that boat though, we are here to help.  We have tons of boat care accessories and boat care products. Take a look at all of our marina boat supplies and thanks for checking out Better Boat.