Types of Small Boats – 7 Most Common

If you are planning to buy a small boat, it can be difficult to choose as there are so many options. There are many different types of small boats, each one being designed to perform a certain function or activity.

In this article, I’ll list the most common small types of boats to help you choose the best one for you.

The 7 most common types of small boats are as follows:

  1. Fishing Boat
  2. Dinghy Boat
  3. Deck Boat
  4. PWC or Personal Watercraft Boat
  5. Pontoon Boat
  6. Jet Boat
  7. Runabout

Any of these boat types would be great for fishing or leisure boating. They provide easy access to small streams and backwaters, are low-maintenance, and promote quality time with friends and family.

Read on to learn more about these small boat types including the features for each.

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Types of Small Boats – 7 Most Common

1. Fishing Boat

small fishing boat

As its name suggests, this type of small boat is exclusively designed for fishing. It comes in various sizes that are appropriate for use in both freshwater and saltwater.

Among the traits that you can see in a good fishing boat are durability, strength, and stability – all of which ensure that you will not have a difficult time surviving the challenges you might encounter when fishing on different waterways.

You can go for an all-purpose fishing boat equipped with valuable features, like rod lockers, live wells, outboard power, trolling motor system, and front bow.

You can also expect the fishing boat to be taller in size. It comes with a stronger build in comparison to those designed for rivers and lakes. This is crucial for withstanding harsh conditions. 

There are aluminum fishing boats known to weigh less while showcasing a higher level of durability. You can use a bass boat that has a slim profile and can go faster speeds.

2. Dinghy Boat

What are the different boat types

Another small boat that you can choose is the dinghy. A dinghy is simply a small inflatable boat often constructed out of rubber material. It has rowlocks and cross thwarts serving as the oars and seats of the boat.

A dinghy is often referred to (most often in the UK) as any small inflatable, rowboat, or sailboat (most often in the UK). 

It is common for a dinghy to be used as a companion to a larger yacht or sailboat. A dinghy boat is great if you want something small and manageable. You can take it on a camping trip or any shallow water fishing trip.

3. Deck Boat

A deck boat is called as such mainly because of its open deck area capable of providing enough seating arrangements to accommodate small groups of people. It has a V-shaped hull and a wide beam that helps increase the number of passengers that it can accommodate. 

The deck boat often measures around 25 to 35 feet in length. It often has a stern power drive. Most of those who have a deck boat use it for recreational purposes, like water sports and swimming, among many others. 

4. PWC or Personal Watercraft Boat

Also called a Jet Ski and water scooter, a PWC boat can be defined as a customized boat mainly designed to handle adventurous activities. It is a recreational watercraft, which makes it possible for those who use it to explore and enjoy the water, depending on their own pace and preference. 

Owning this boat also allows you to participate in games like sports, fishing, and water skiing. You have to take note of the personal watercraft boat because it can be either the stand-up or the sit-down model.

This boat’s stand-up is for just one rider, while the sit-down version allows at least two people.

5. Pontoon Boat

This type of small boat is commonly used in small bodies of water and inland water. It is flat in shape and comes with pontoons or tubes where it relies when floating on the water. In most cases, the pontoon boat is around 15 to 30 feet in length. It also has a shallow draft. 

You will notice a few tubes made of aluminum in this boat too. These tubes offer support to the boat’s broad platform, thereby boosting its stability.

This is the perfect small boat for you if what you are looking for is one that you can use in recreational activities, such as fishing and cruising. The way it is shaped promotes ease in making proper seating arrangements and preparing other facilities based on certain requirements.

6. Jet Boat

A jet boat features one or more than one jet drive. It makes use of the jet drive, not the propeller, for propulsion. This is a small boat known for its maneuverability.

Measuring around 14 to 24 feet, it is an excellent choice if you want a small boat that you can use to get into shallow waters and enjoy certain watersports. 

7. Runabout

A runabout refers to a small type of powerboat that measures around 14 to 24 feet. It uses a stern-drive or outboard engine for power.

One advantage of the runabout is that it serves multiple purposes. You can use it not only for watersports but also for other activities like fishing and cruising. 

Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Small Boat

Are you still trying to convince yourself to buy a small boat? The following reasons for owning one will surely entice you to finally get your hands on the best type of small boat in the market today. 

  • Easy access to small streams and backwaters – While it is true that small boats are incapable of reaching as many areas that those boats powered by 225 horses can run, they are still beneficial because they can access those areas that huge boats can’t reach. Having a small boat makes it possible to reach tiny streams, fish waters, backwaters, and other water bodies not reachable by those big and fancy boats
  • Low-maintenance – A small boat is easier to maintain because it consists of just a few systems and features. This means that you do not have to worry about numerous systems failing at the same time and requiring huge maintenance costs and expensive repairs. 
  • Promotes quality time with loved ones – Having a small boat allows you to bond with your loved ones in a more relaxed manner. In fact, boating can make your family closer. It even allows you to reconnect with the people you love while enjoying nice scenery. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Small Boat

Are you a first-time buyer of one of the above types of small boats? Then make sure that you are guided with the following tips during the selection process to avoid wasting your money on one that is inappropriate for your needs and requirements:

  • Know your budget – Determine the specific amount you are willing to spend for a high-quality and functional small boat. This will prevent you from overspending. Therefore, before buying, it is advisable to write a certain figure for the total amount you wish to spend. Could you stick to your budget and commit to it? 
  • Consider the costs associated with owning a boat – When you estimate the total purchase price, it is important to consider the total cost you will most likely spend from boat ownership. Note that you will also be spending on insurance, storage, and fuel aside from the purchase price. It is important to spend on occasional repairs, seasonal maintenance, and safety equipment too. Know exactly how much you will be spending once you already own a small boat so you can prepare for it. 
  • Watch boat shows – You can use this experience in improving your familiarity with the finest small boats currently available in the market. A good boat can introduce you to various models offered by different manufacturers. This will help you compare your choices and have a well-informed buying decision. 
  • Choose a boat that suits your experience and specific requirements – You may be tempted to buy a mighty boat that you can use in the water as well as the most expensive vessel that fits your budget. However, it is advisable to check your level of boating experience and unique requirements first, so you can buy one that truly suits you. 

For instance, if you are still a beginner in boating and it is your first time owning a boat, it would not be good to go for a large and compelling model. If this is the case, one of the types of small boats listed earlier will be more comfortable for you to use. 

What Are the Most Common Types of Small Boats?

So what are the different types of small boats currently available in the market? The following 7 small boats are mot common:

  1. Fishing Boat
  2. Dinghy Boat
  3. Deck Boat
  4. PWC or Personal Watercraft Boat
  5. Pontoon Boat
  6. Jet Boat
  7. Runabout

These boats are among the most dependable types. If this will be your first small boat, carefully consider your specific needs.

Also, do not forget to undergo safety training before buying so you will be fully prepared once you start using your chosen small boat in the water.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful at increasing your enjoyment on the water! Here are some products that we use – as boaters, sailors, kayakers, cruisers, and lovers of the open sea – and we hope you’ll find them helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, we’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact products that we use and recommend to everyone, even our own families.

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Related reading:

3 Most Common Types of Boat Lifts

What Is the Fastest Pontoon Boat in the World?

Types of Fishing Boats – Recreational and Commercial

Best Fishing Boat for Family – Our Top 7 Picks