As we all know, a boat is a type of watercraft that has been specifically designed for navigating near-shore areas or inland waterways such as rivers and lakes.
What makes a boat different from a ship is its smaller size and lesser carrying capacity compared to the latter.
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.
According to modern naval terms, a boat is defined as a watercraft that is small enough to be carried abroad a ship (some boats are measured up to 1000 feet in length).
Similarly, many boats are intended to provide service, not in near-shore areas but in 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. However, from the oldest known boat named dugouts, the evolution of the watercraft has now reached luxurious motor yachts.
Apart from recreational purposes, boats have also served an integral purpose in the modern commercial world by allowing active transportation of both passengers and cargo, wherever short distances are concerned.
Table of Contents
Types of Boats
Technically, there are several different types of boats, and it’s impossible to list down all the types. But, 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 used around the world.
Related Read: 5 Biggest and Magnificent Sailing Ships of All Time
1. Fishing 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 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 type of a boat used for fishing.
Related Read: Types of Fishing Vessels
2. Dinghy Boats
A dinghy can be a small inflatable boat usually made of rubber and comprises 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 cannot navigate in narrow areas. These rowboats can also be utilised as companion boats and are taken to camping expeditions or fishing in shallow waters.
Related Read: Differences Between a Ship and a Boat
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-shaped 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 are 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. In addition, the bow area of these 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 wakeboards 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 rapidly.
4. Catamaran Boats
Unlike other boats, Catamaran is a multi-hulled watercraft that features two parallel hulls of equal size. Catamaran Boats feature less hull volume, shallower draft, and higher displacement than vessels with a single hull.
Excellent for fishing purposes and even for leisurely cruising abilities, Catamarans are being built for various purposes across the world.
Related Read: Main Types of Catamarans Used in the Shipping 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 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 with 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.
Related Read: Lafayette – The World’s Biggest Ship for Fish Processing
There are houseboats of different shapes and sizes worldwide, offering the luxury of living on water and providing 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.
Related Read: Top 10 Largest Cruise Ships in 2017
9. Trawler Boats
With features including a displacement hull and fuel-efficient engines, trawlers are intended to smoothly manoeuvre through the water bodies without exhausting much horsepower or consuming excessive fuel.
This quality makes the trawler a brilliant option for 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.
Equipped with sleeping berths, plumbing systems, and cooking galleys, these boats allow passengers to continue their activities for a couple of days or more.
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 per navigation requirements 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. There are different types of yachts in the market, including day sailing yachts, weekender yachts, cruising yachts, luxury sailing yachts etc. to meet the various requirements.
13. Personal Watercraft (PWC) Boats
The PWC boats, also known as water scooters and jetski, are customized boats for adventurous activities. This recreational watercraft allows individuals to explore the waters at their own ease and participate in games such as water-skiing and sports fishing, etc. There are two types of PWCs – “sit down” and “stand-up” models; while the former is intended for two or more people, the latter can only be used by a single rider.
14. Runabout Boats
Capable of accommodating four and eight people, Runabout Boats are typically used in racing, fishing, water skiing, etc. The movement of these open boats is controlled by a steering wheel and forward controls, as located behind a windscreen. Runabouts are usually declared entry-level vessels for casual sports and boating activities.
15. 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 areas and a swimming platform. In addition, the advanced propulsion system is securely enwrapped in the hull to protect it from any external damage.
16. Wakeboard/ Ski Boats
The wakeboard boats and the ski boats look quite the same but differ in their fields of action. The inboard ski boats require a powerful range of acceleration, and the shape of the engine and propeller accentuates it. On the other hand, the inboard wakeboards feature a V drive engine system, deep hulls, and a huge wake to set in motion.
17. Banana Boats
A banana boat is a type of watercraft that is solely utilized for recreational activities and family entertainment. As the name suggests, it is a banana-shaped inflatable watercraft and easily floats on water. It does not have an inbuilt motor system. A banana boat has the capacity to seat around three to ten people. Interestingly, at the same, the vessels being used primarily for the transportation of bananas as cargo is also called Banana boats.
Related Read: Top 10 Most Expensive Private Yachts In The World
In emergencies, lifeboats come to the rescue! The lifeboats are small watercraft 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.
19. Pontoon Boat
Used popularly for inland waters and other small water bodies, Pontoon boats are flattish in shape, relying 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.
They are used for recreational activities like cruising and fishing etc. The shape of a Pontoon boat helps designers plan the seating arrangements and other facilities according to the requirements.
20. 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.
You might also like to read:
- A Guide To Types of Ships
- Types of Sailboats: A Comprehensive Classification
- Different Types of Submarines and Underwater Vessels
- Different Types of Barges Used in the Shipping World
- LNG Tankers: Different Types And Dangers Involved
- What is Karadeniz Powership?
- Top 11 Books On Boating
Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.
The article or images cannot be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any form without the permission of the author and Marine Insight.
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