Types Of Boats: Hulls Runabouts Fishing Cabins Cruisers
What Type Of Boat For Me
So you're looking for a boat? You probably have an idea about
what type you'd like, or at least know what you'd like to use
your boat for. In this article, we go over the types of boats
out there, and explain each.
Types Of Boat Hulls
Before going through the types of boats, you first must be
familiar with the different types of hulls available. The Hull
is the boat itself, the "body" if you will. Displacement hull
boats are boats that move through the water, pushing the water
out of the wave of the boat - displacing the water. Displacement
boats displace an amount of water equal to that of the weight of
the boat regardless of the cruising speed. Displacement hull
boats boast a smooth ride even in rough water, but due to their
design they cannot attain fast speeds. Planning hull boats ride
on top of the water, climbing over their own bow wave created by
a limited displacement capability.
A planning hull boat is basically a displacement hull boat at
slow speeds, but at higher speeds these boats use their power to
ride over their own bow waves - and propel forward instead of
pushing water out of the way. Planning hull vessels often have
"V" or flat hull designs. Finally, "semi-displacement" hull
boats do not reach a plane like planning boats, but do transform
from a displacement mode to climb their own bow wave. Larger
boats, including trawlers or cruising yachts, often have
semi-displacement hulls. Now, on to the specific types of boats,
and their usual hull shapes.
Runabouts, like the 18' Bayliner, are the most popular boats on
the water today. They are compact, sporty, and can be used for
anything from fishing to clamming to skiing to pulling up to a
deserted island in the bay and having a mid-afternoon picnic.
Runabouts have a great look, and you can find them at an equally
great price. For example, both Bayliner and Maxum start their
runabout model lines at less than $10,000.
These are two of the
most respected and best looking brands out there. Many runabouts
are considered "Bowriders." A bowrider is a boat that has split
windshields as to allow passengers to sit in the comfortable bow
area of the boat. Don't confuse bowriders with bowriding - a
dangerous activity where passengers ride on the very top of the
boat, sometimes with their feet dangling off the side.
Sport Fishing Boats
Sport fishing boats are very attractive boats, but considered a
more utilitarian version of a runabout. Pictured to the left is
a 24 foot Robalo fishing boat. Boston Whaler, Sea Chaser (By
Carolina Skiff), Hydra-Sports, along with such brands as Robalo
and Pro-Line make the most attractive sport fishing boats. These
boats often are "walkarounds" or "center console" models.
is a console in the center on the boat where all of the
steering, electronics, and sometimes even a portable head are
located along with storage. Passengers are free to walk around
the console. Sport fishing boats are more expensive than
runabouts, but there are serious boats that are very sturdy and
They range from under 100 horsepower to over 500. Donzi and Baja make astoundingly sporty sport fishing boats than
will make any prospective (or current) boater simply say "WOW!"
Boats with a "cuddy cabin" are runabouts or cruisers with a
small cabin for resting or overnight anchoring. Most cuddy cabin
owners use their small cabins for storage more than anything
else, as the cabin area is usually too small (and there are too
many bugs in there) to get a good night's rest.
aren't the best for fishing, as the only way to set anchor or
reach the bow area is to climb through a hatch inside the tiny
cabin. Most of the time, the "novelty" of having a boat with a
cabin wears off mighty quickly - especially for fishermen who
need space to manipulate equipment.
Boats like the Sea Ray 55 footer to the left are expensive,
require a lot of maintenance, and have a high operating cost -
but they're incredible to own, use, and explore with. These
boats can take on the high seas, travel to exotic ports, and
feel just like living in a luxury apartment. From prices around
$100,000 to well over $1 million, luxury cruisers are the
ultimate way to travel. The largest cruisers are powered by
inboards, while smaller models can be powered with strong stern
Skiffs, Aluminum, and Utilities
The Starcraft 18 footer is a high-quality aluminum boat.
Aluminum is a material you may want to consider along with their
fiberglass cousins. Aluminum boats are tough and durable, and
often include the same features you'd get in a fiberglass boat.
They can have a bumpy ride in choppy water, but are great for
fishing and clamming as well as water sports.
Fiberglass models resembling these aluminum boats exist too.
Boats like the Carolina Skiff 'J' series and the Boston Whaler
12' sport models are good boats that can take the tough use
Utility boats usually do not have consoles, are usually made of
aluminum, and are quite small. They are good lake boats.
Inflatable boats are very popular with the Coast Guard and
marine police agencies, but they are now becoming mainstream
boats for recreational boaters too! Sometimes called "Zodiacs"
because of a popular brand (like tissues are sometimes called
'Kleenex'), these boats are made extremely tough.
amazingly stable and can carry a large load. Sailors often use
inflatable's are dinghies. Some inflatable's even feature
fiberglass bottoms; these are called Rigid Hull Inflatable's or
"RIBs." Pictured to the left is a 2002 model inflatable from
Avon. The most popular brands are Avon, Zodiac, Sea Eagle,
Caribe, and Quicksilver.
Houseboats offer home convenience with the option of slow
cruising. Some houseboats even have enough power, however, to
tow a skier. Houseboats cannot operate in rough waters, and lack
general seaworthiness. They do, however, offer a lot of on-board
space. No picture here yet, but check out the movie "Sleepless