Types of Boats: The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Boats

When taking into consideration the different types of boats that navigate the fresh and saltwater bodies of the Earth, the sheer number of them can be intimidating. This article will give you a rundown of nearly all popular types of vessels that you may encounter or even operate while on the water.

Types of boats

Each of the different types of boats can be classified by the type of system that moves the boat, either powered, sail, or unpowered.

The most popular type of boat is undoubtedly a powered vessel, while the most iconic is perhaps the sailboat. The most affordable or accessible to people are likely going to be unpowered boats.

Powerboats

Of all, all types of boat powerboats are the most common and the most versatile. They are frequently adapted to fishing, leisure, commercial, and even military use. A powerboat is simply a boat that is powered by an engine, whether that engine is inboard or outboard.

Aluminum Fishing Boats

This type of small boat is ideal for fishing in shallow waters, these sturdy boats are made to withstand the rocky terrain that you experience near the shore. They can be used in lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. They can even be customized with padded seats, coolers, shades, and even a livewell to keep your catch fresh.

Common uses: Freshwater fishing
Where they’re used: Close to shore, shallow waters
Max. Passenger load: 6
Average length: 18 to 24 ft
Price range: $10,000 – $100,000

Antique and Classic Power Boats

These are a type of boat that is powered by an engine but is from the mid-20th century or prior. Often these boats are smaller but have deeply finished wooden decks and accents, while some rarer models will have early generation fiberglass. 

Common uses: Freshwater and saltwater leisure
Where they’re used: Lakes, rivers, saltwater shallows
Max. Passenger load: 2-4
Average length: 12 to 20 ft
Price range: $50,000+

Bass Boats

Bass boats have a distinctive shallow hull and are often relatively shallow boats with a lot of deck space. These types of fishing boats will often have seating for 2-4 people via pedestal seats, and will usually have a trolling motor mounted at the bow as well.

Common uses: Freshwater fishing
Where they’re used: Lakes and rivers
Max. Passenger load: 4
Average length: 16 to 18 ft.
Price range: $15,000 – $80,000

Bay Boats

Bay boats will often be a boat type meant to fill the size gap between calm water flats boats, and bigger boats built for more active water. They will usually have a more shallow draft than a bigger boat meant for offshore navigation, but they can also provide a smoother ride.

Common uses: Saltwater cruising, light fishing
Where they’re used: Saltwater bays
Max. Passenger load: 3-6
Average length: 21 ft or less
Price range: $10,000 – $200,000+

Bowriders 

When you picture family recreational boats, you probably picture a bowrider. They have ample built-in seating and robust motors for water sports like skiing and tubing. Deep V hulls and runabout-style decks make bowriders perfect for leisure.

Common uses: Recreation
Where they’re used: Freshwater and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 8+
Average length: 18 to 21 ft
Price range: $50,000 – $500,000

Center Consoles

While center consoles do make a great fishing vessel, they are also great for numerous sea activities. They are great recreational watercraft that can be used for water sports and family fun.

Common uses: Fishing, leisure
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 7
Average length: 18 to 65 ft
Price range: $30,000 – $1,000,000+

Also read:
How Much Does a Boat Cost? (With Ownership Costs)

Convertible Boats

Convertible boats are a type of leisure boat that can be used for several different functions by default, such as cruising or fishing. They will have a deep V hull, and the most popular styles will also use a flying bridge as well. 

Common uses: Fishing, recreation
Where they’re used: Deeper fresh or saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 8 – 18
Average length: 20 to 80 ft.
Price range: $15,000 – $5,000,000

Power Cruisers

Cruisers are boat types meant to provide the space and accommodations for a small party to spend the day and overnight on the water. They will usually contain a cabin with a head, galley, and berth area.

Common uses: Leisure, cruising
Where they’re used: Larger freshwater or saltwater bodies
Max. Passenger load: 14+
Average length: 21 to 45 ft.
Price range: $250,000+

Cuddy Cabins

Cuddy cabins are perfect for leisure boating and fishing alike. The cabin makes this ideal for daytime and nighttime boating. Spend the day catching fish, then find a cozy cavern to camp in overnight.

Common uses: Day cruising
Where they’re used: Larger bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 8
Average length: 18 – 28 ft
Price range: $5,000 – $1,000,000+

Deck Boats

Deck boats are one of the types of pleasure boats that are made for holding more passengers more comfortably than other boats. They have a wide-open and spacious deck area that can accommodate several passengers easily.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Lakes, rivers, saltwater bays
Max. Passenger load: 12
Average length: 24 to 36 ft.
Price range: $20,000+

Downeast/Lobster Boats

Also known as lobster yachts, these types of boats were made for navigating the rough seas of the east coast lobster grounds. They have low windage, a deep V hull to cut through waves, and a cockpit that is large enough to perform lobster fishing duties.

Common uses: Fishing 
Where they’re used: Saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 10+
Average length: 36 ft.
Price range: $20,000 – $2,000,000

Dual Consoles

Dual consoles are a medium-sized personal boat that is often used for saltwater fishing, watersports, and day cruising. They are popular because they can accommodate a lot of passengers and can be used for a wide variety of activities.

Common uses: Fishing, leisure
Where they’re used: Saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 12+
Average length: 17 – 39 ft
Price range: $11,000 -$800,000

Express Cruisers

Express cruisers are pleasure boats that are similar to other cruisers in purpose, though they are designed with a full head, full galley, and a sleeping space equipped with 2-6 berths. They are meant for faster and more long-distance cruising.

Common uses: Cruising
Where they’re used: Saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 10
Average length: 25 to 45 ft.
Price range: $150,000+

Flats Boats

One of the best types of small boats for fishing in very shallow waters, flats boats are very durable and can glide through waters as shallow as just 5 inches deep.

Common uses: Shallow waters
Where they’re used: Freshwater
Max. Passenger load: 4
Average length: 15 – 25 ft
Price range: $3,000 – $150,000

Flybridge Motor Yachts

Flybridge yachts encompass many different boat types that all have the commonality of the flying bridge. This type of bridge allows for a better view of the area around the vessel, as well as providing more space for movement.

Common uses: Cruising 
Where they’re used: Saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 10+
Average length: 30+ ft.
Price range: $1,000,000+

High-Performance Power Boats

These types of speed boats scratch the itch that many have for a very fast vessel. They are long and sleek and are usually limited on passenger and cargo space in a trade-off for speed.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Calm fresh or saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 2-3
Average length: 18 ft.
Price range: $10,000 – $1,000,000

House Boats

Houseboats are one of the more unique types of watercraft, as they were designed to be used as a home. Houseboats allow the owners the luxury of being able to move to different areas, as far as the waters will take them.

Common uses: Living
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 7
Average length: 40 – 60 ft
Price range: $4,500 – $1,600,000+

Inflatables

Inflatable powerboats are one of the boat styles that you may find aboard larger vessels. They often consist of a rigid hull with the rest of the boat being inflatable. They will use a smaller outboard motor when powered.

Common uses: Leisure, emergency
Where they’re used: Fresh or saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 4-6
Average length: Under 14 ft.
Price range: $5,000 or less

Jet Boats

These high-speed vessels are one of the best types of watercraft for tasks such as offshore supply carriers, patrol boats, passenger ferries, and even rescue craft.

Common uses: Recreation, rescues, patrolling
Where they’re used: Freshwater
Max. Passenger load: 4
Average length: 16 – 18 ft
Price range: $20,000 – $66,000

Jon Boats

Popular in midwest US regions on calm or shallow waters, Jon boats are one of the types of boats for lakes and have a wide, flat bottom. They cannot handle rough water or large wakes very easily.

Common uses: Fishing
Where they’re used: Freshwater lakes
Max. Passenger load: 4
Average length: 14 ft.
Price range: $1,500 – $5,000

Mega Yachts

These massive ships are one of the most luxurious types of large boats you can get. Owned by the rich and famous, a mega yacht is often has a full crew of 16 people that make the trip run smoothly.

Common uses: Travel and leisure
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 12 – 100
Average length: 80 – 590 ft
Price range: $275,000,000+

Motor Yachts

Motor yachts are great for day and overnight cruising as well as saltwater fishing. They are one of many types of riverboats, but they can also make long voyages.

Common uses: Pursuing large fish
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 12
Average length: 40+ ft
Price range: $300,000+

Personal Watercrafts (PWC)

Personal watercraft encompasses many different water vessel types, that have an enclosed hull. Personal watercraft can be driven or operated while seated, kneeling, sitting astride, or even laying down.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Fresh or saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 1-2
Average length: 10 ft.
Price range: $250 – $10,000

Pilothouse Power Boats

Pilothouse powerboats are styles of boats that feature an enclosed helm cabin. This is to provide the captain with all-weather protection, in all seasons.  

Common uses: Commercial
Where they’re used: Open saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 8-12
Average length: 38 ft.
Price range: $15,000 – $250,000

Pontoon Boats

Pontoons are a common type of pleasure boat. They have a large open deck with lots of seating, and generally a large sunshade. They are not particularly fast or maneuverable, but they are designed for leisure more than speed.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Freshwater lakes and rivers
Max. Passenger load: 6-10
Average length: 24 ft.
Price range: $10,000 – $35,000

Power Catamarans

Power catamarans fit under the boat classifications of a yacht and make a great choice for overnight cruising. The two hull design gives it stability against storms and rough seas.

Common uses: Overnight cruising
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 12+
Average length: 14 – 100+ ft
Price range: $32,000 – $9,000,000

Runabouts

Runabout powerboats are those that are used for a number of purposes, like fishing, cruising, water skiing, or even racing. They have a deep V hull and are often fiberglass. They may also have a semi-enclosed cockpit.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Larger bodies of salt and freshwater
Max. Passenger load: 4-8
Average length: 28 ft.
Price range: $4,000 – $400,000

Ski and Wakeboard Boats

The capacity is based on the boat sizes, but generally, up to 17 passengers can enjoy both watersports and fishing on ski and wakeboard boats.

Common uses: Watersports
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 17
Average length: 16 – 28 ft
Price range: $9,000 – $312,000

Skiffs

A skiff is one of the types of boats for ocean navigation that has a flat bottom, with a sharply pointed bow, and a square stern. They are generally considered to be coastal craft and should not be in big, rough water.

Common uses: Utility
Where they’re used: Coastal areas
Max. Passenger load: 1-4
Average length: 15 ft.
Price range: $5,000 – $25,000

Sport Fishing Boats

This is one of the kinds of boats that are ideal for longer fishing trips, as they have everything you need to stay out on the water.

Common uses: Fishing
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 12
Average length: 26 – 100 ft
Price range: $15,000 – $5,000,000+

Sports Cruisers

Sports cruisers are one of the medium types of motorboats that are still considered to be trailerable. They are used for day cruising, overnight cruising, or anything in between. 

Common uses: Cruising
Where they’re used: Fresh or saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 6-10
Average length: 34 ft.
Price range: $10,000 – $3,000,000+

Tenders

This is one of the many different boat types that is used to transport cargo, ferry passengers, or used for pleasure rides on the water.

Common uses: Fetching things for larger boats
Where they’re used: Large bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 10
Average length: 15 – 24 ft
Price range: $1,400 – $1,700,000+

Trawlers

Trawlers are one of the boat classifications for larger boats that are based on commercial fishing vessel designs. They have enclosed helms and are capable of supporting several people out at sea for extended periods.

Common uses: Fishing, cruising
Where they’re used: 
Max. Passenger load: 
Average length: 
Price range:

Walkaround Boats

This is one of many different types of boats designed for fishing. It is known for its characteristic walkway that allows 360-degrees of fishing

Common uses: Fishing
Where they’re used: Larger bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 7
Average length: 18 – 30 ft
Price range: $7,500 – $500,000+

Sailboats

In any list of types of boats, there must be those powered by sail and wind. The most recognizable powered vessel type is the sailboat. They have the signature mast and boom and are often much larger than powered vessels of the same speed capability.

Antique and Classic Sailboats

Classic and antique sailboats are beautiful and unique works of art. Dating back as far as 1919, these vessels are a part of history.

Common uses: Recreation
Where they’re used: Larger bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 8
Average length: 16 – 163 ft
Price range: $5,000 – $6,000,000

Beach Catamarans

Beach cats, inspired by the Polynesian double-canoe sailboats, are easy to maneuver and can easily rest on the beach until the captain is ready to set sail again.

Common uses: Leisure
Where they’re used: Ocean
Max. Passenger load: 3
Average length: 40 ft
Price range: $6,000 – $2,159,210

Catamarans

A unique boat that has two parallel pontoon-style hulls that allow the catamaran to have less overall hull volume, lower displacement, and a shallower draft than single-hulled vessels.

Common uses: Fishing, cruising
Where they’re used:  Saltwater bays and coastal areas
Max. Passenger load: 2
Average length: 8 ft.
Price range: $1,000 – $10,000

Center Cockpit Sailboats

Center cockpit sailboats are similar to cabin cruisers and will have additional deck space and potentially cabin space aft. These types of sailboats are very popular with captains that enjoy having guests aboard.

Common uses: Cruising, leisure, racing
Where they’re used: Coastal regions, large freshwater lakes
Max. Passenger load: 4-6
Average length: 45 ft.
Price range: $250,000 – $1,000,000+

Sailing Cruisers

As the name suggests, these boats are great for longer trips. The cabin allows overnight cruising, making it ideal for vacationing.

Common uses: Long-distance sailing
Where they’re used: Large bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 8
Average length: 40 ft
Price range: $170,000 – $250,000

Cruiser/Racers

This is one of the more unique types of racing boats, as it is equipped with the supplies for competitive racing, but it also has a cabin and can accommodate guests for overnight cruising.

Common uses: Competitive racing
Where they’re used: Large bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 16
Average length: 35 – 50 ft
Price range: $6,000 – $3,500,000

Daysailers

These lightweight sailboats are ideal for a day out on the water. They are fairly simple boats, but they can be used in narrow waterways, which is a plus.

Common uses: Daytime sailing
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 4
Average length: 7 – 30 ft
Price range: $4,000 – $4,000,000

Deck Saloon Sailboats

Another great option for overnight cruising, deck saloon sailboats have a raised saloon, generally with large windows, to provide a really unique sailing experience.

Common uses: Day sailing
Where they’re used: Large bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 30
Average length: 33 – 128 ft
Price range: $22,420 – $7,000,000

Sailing Dinghies

These small boats are ideal for teaching new sailors, as they are straightforward to operate. They have a capacity of 1 – 8 passengers, depending on the size of the boat.

Common uses: Teaching
Where they’re used: Open bodies of water
Max. Passenger load: 8
Average length: 6 – 20 ft
Price range: $400 – $250,000

Ketches

Characterized by the two-mast design, a ketch is a great cruising boat, for both daytime and overnight sailing and cruising.

Common uses: Cruising
Where they’re used: Large bodies of water
Max. Passenger load:  39
Average length: 50 ft
Price range: $10,000 – $12,000,000

Motorsailers

Motorsailers are motorized pleasure yachts that while wind-powered and sail-driven, it is also equipped with a motor to augment their mobility.

Common uses: Leisure, cruising
Where they’re used: Coastal regions
Max. Passenger load: 10
Average length: 46 ft.
Price range: $8,000 – $150,000

Pilothouse Sailboats

Pilothouse sailboats have a fully enclosed helm, and offer protection for the captain and crew in adverse weather, while also helping the crew to conserve energy during downtime. They are also generally larger than other sailing vessels. 

Common uses: Cruising, leisure
Where they’re used: Coastal regions
Max. Passenger load: 14
Average length: 50 ft.
Price range: $12,000 – $250,000+

Racing Sailboats

Generally very spartan and empty inside to save on weight, modern racing sailboats are made with a hydrofoil that helps them achieve incredible speeds. They require expert sailors to captain them. 

Common uses: Racing
Where they’re used: Coastal regions
Max. Passenger load: 14
Average length: 70 ft.
Price range: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000

Trimarans

Trimarans are another type of sailboat that is popular with the racing community. They feature a main hull, with a parallel hull on either side attached with lateral beams. They are very strong and fast, being popular racing vessels, ferries, and even warships.

Common uses: Racing
Where they’re used: Saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 1000+
Average length: 35 ft.
Price range: $10,000 – $60,000+

Unpowered boats

Unpowered boats will be used in calm or inland waters, relying in no small part on the prevailing current and the skill of the operator to guide them. They are often the boat categories used for transportation or recreational purposes, and while they are not powered they are incredibly useful.

Dinghies

A dingy is a type of boat without engines. It is any one of a huge variety of small unpowered boats. They are often used as ship-to-shore boats for larger vessels. They can frequently accept oars, a mast, and boom, or a small outboard motor.

Common uses: Transportation
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 1-2
Average length: 8 ft.
Price range: $1,000 – $100,000

Kayaks

Kayaks are small, narrow one or two-person boats that are only powered by the oars of those in them. They have a covered deck that generally encloses the operator’s lower half. They are versatile and relatively cheap.

Common uses: Recreation, fishing
Where they’re used: Fresh and saltwater
Max. Passenger load: 2
Average length: 8 ft.
Price range: $250 – $5,000

Similar Posts