Are you pondering on the fact of which type of boat suits you the best? Whether you are casually looking around to buy a boat or a water sports enthusiast, this article is all you need. Once you go through this article with the details about the different types of boats, you will be able to choose the right boat to either buy or rent. If not, you will have extra knowledge about boats you can show off in front of your family and friends. Read on!

What is a Boat? Difference between boat and ship:

A boat is a watercraft generally smaller than a ship and comes in an extensive range of types and sizes. You can typically find small boats in rivers, lakes, or protected coastal areas. Additionally, a boat is smaller and has a lower carrying capacity than a ship.

A ship is a large watercraft that carries cargo, passengers, or in support of specialized missions like fishing, research and defence by travelling the world’s oceans and other sufficiently deep waterways. Based on their purpose, load capacity, shape and size, ships are distinguished from boats.

Classifications of Boats:

There are several types of boats with several sub-classes and several designs. But here is the primary and all-round classification of boats:

A man-powered or unpowered boats:

As the name suggests, these boats were used in the early stages of boating history and human resources were used to move through the water. Recreational vessels like rafts, kayaks, gondolas etc., use man-powered boats.


Sailboats are boats that navigate through water using the power of the wind. Since wind can be unreliable, the sailboats come with an engine to help them when there is no wind.

Engine-powered boats:

Commonly called motorboats, engine-powered boats use an internal combustion engine to move through the water. To get the better performance of the vessel like Jet Ski, the motor boats have more than one engine with the help of modern technology.

Top 25 Types Of Boats:

We have presented you with a list of some popular types of boats you can look into if you wish to increase your boat knowledge. Or even if you want to go on a trip in a boat.

1. Fishing Boat:

Fishing boats are used on saltwater and freshwater bodies and come in various sizes. These boats can withstand fishing expeditions on different rivers because of their stability, strength and endurance. In addition, there are fishing boats with both human-crewed and crewless. The standard features of an all-purpose fishing boat are a front row, an outboard motor, a trolling motor system, rod lockers and live wells.

2. Tug Boat:

The boats that primarily aim to assist massive ships in manoeuvring through crowded areas are called tug boats. In addition, tug boats can serve as salvage boats, ice breakers and firefighting vessels when necessary and assist larger vessels in sailing through narrow passages or close ports.

A tug boat uses a secured tow line or physical means to push or pull a massive ship to a secure location. This is why ports, harbours, rivers and vital sea routes like canals and shallow or narrow waterways have tug boats stationed. Tug boats have high power-to-weight balance and excellent manoeuvrability making them advantageous over other boats and ships.

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3. Tow-sports Boats:

Tow-sports boats are boats which have sleek looks and are highly adaptable. The field of the application being the only difference, the design of a wakeboard boat, surf boat or ski boat is almost the same. These boats are excellent options for adventure seekers or family-friendly options. Another difference between tow-sports boats is the engine types and propulsion arrangements.

There are potent motos in the back of wakeboard boats that make the ride more enjoyable and wavier for the person being pulled by, creating large waves. Whereas there are potent engines in ski and surf boats that provide great speed and acceleration, giving one a smoother ride.

4. Kayaks:

Although made from the same materials as canoes, Kayaks are smaller boats than canoes. Therefore, a kayak can accommodate only a single person who is always seated. This means the person’s legs are always covered by the kayak’s body. Depending on the purpose of the use, the kayak’s design is determined. This is because though kayaks are primarily used for whitewater kayaking, they are also used for ecotourism excursions, diving and fishing.

5. Deck Boats:

As the name suggests, a boat with ample od deck space is called a Deck boat. These types of boats are similar to Bowriders, the hull being the noticeable difference. Deck boats gave catamaran-inspired hull designs with two or three chines. These boats are faster and more adaptable because their design is less bulky. Deck boats are a perfect option if you and your family are obsessed with speed.

6. Life Boats:

A rigid-hulled inflatable small boat used for rescue and search operations in an emergency is called a lifeboat. All big ships should have a minimum number of authorized lifeboats on board by regulation. These boats are equipped with all the necessary tools, from signalling devices to first aid kits required to transport passengers to safe locations. Unlike the inflatable structure, this boat has a solid hull design that can carry maximum weight by withstanding adverse weather conditions. Although the most commonly utilized rescue or lifeboat designs are Rigid, Hulled Inflatable Boats, several more types are available.

7. Dinghy Boats:

The types of inflatable boats made with rubber are called the Dinghy boats. These boats come with seats by cross thwarts and oars by row locks. Commonly called sailboats, rowboats or simply inflatable, Dinghies are powered by outboard engines, oars and sails. These boats come in handy when the mothership cannot travel through narrow space because they work in tandem with larger vessels. Camping trips or shallow water fishing is where Dinghy boats can be used as companion boats.

8. Canoes:

A long and narrow boat that uses paddles to move is called a canoe. The seating of the people propelling the boat is on the boat’s bottom, kneeling with single-bladed paddles facing the direction of the movement. With a body constructed of fibreglass, moulded plastic or aluminium that keeps the weight down, canoes are open-top. However, wood or timber frames draped in canvas were used to build canoes that were much heavier in weight in the past.

9. Houseboats:

A boat designed or modified to be used primarily as a home is called a houseboat. These types of boats transform simple boats into elegant floating homes beautifully. As a result, houseboats are gaining popularity in many countries.

A houseboat comes in different sizes; for example, a boat with distinct living quarters for families of one or two people. In addition, these boats have specialized engine rooms like those on large ships with main engines and power generators.

10. Bowrider Boats:

The quintessential family boat that can seat eight passengers in the cockpit, bow, and helm is called the Bowrider. The boat provides ample seating because of the unique design of the boat’s bow portion. You can also make for a fun day on the water because these run-about-style vehicles have a swim platform for putting up wakeboards or swimming activities.

In addition, bowrider boats provide an excellent ride in various water situations with their distinctive V-shaped bottoms.

11. Sail Boat:

For as long as there were sailors, there were sailboats with variations in design from time to time. Sailboats use wind power to transport goods and people across continents and, therefore, are the simplest types of boats. As a result, sailboats were the most efficient and sole means of long-distance travel before the invention of motors or engines. Multi-hull designs are gaining popularity these recent years, but traditionally these types of boats were monohulls.

12. Cuddy Cabin Boats:

Suppose you are a family searching for a boat with hidden cabin space that is manoeuvrable and small. In that case, a cubby cabin boat is an ideal choice. Because of their adaptability, these cuddy cabin boats offer superior sailing control, a remote cabin within the enclosed deck space, and additional storage capacity.

In addition, it has a portable potty, standard storage, and V-shaped sleepers with optional tables. Although they are modest in size, the space and comfort are more than you think which can be used for recreational purposes.

13. Skiff Boats:

Skiff boats feature a tiny aluminium body with a flat bottom and a small to mid-sized motor, which is suitable for nearshore fishing. Weekend fishers usually prefer skiff boats because they are portable and inexpensive. In addition, the size of these boats allows them to be stored indoors and easily moved, making them the best choice for an entry-level inshore fishing boat.

14. Pontoons:

Pontoon is a luxurious pleasure boat that acquired a significant appeal from being an unsightly boxy watercraft. Furthermore, these boats are 16 to 30 feet long with an outboard motor engine. These types of boats are an ideal choice for water activities, freshwater fishing and day sailing.

These boats use three hollow aluminium tubes with tapered ends in the front instead of relying on a solid hull for buoyancy. Hollow tubes are used for soldering other support systems. In addition, it provides significantly more deck space by installing a flat deck.

15. Ferry Boat:

Ferry boats are the boats we must have heard of at least once, even if you haven’t seen one. It is a large boat transporting vehicles and passengers from one place to another. You will be able to see cross-river ferries travelling from one store to another on significant rivers.

Some ferry boats have restaurants, entertainment areas, brief tours, and even housing quarters. However, most ferries do precisely what they are designed to do. These boats are often tiny in size and are built for short-distance travel.

16. Hovercrafts:

The renowned fishing vessels that thrive in the southern United States are called Hovercrafts. These boats have an insanely loud engine with a matching air propeller and flat aluminium fuselage. The driver of this boat sits in a taller chair than the other seating options, which improves visibility. This boat’s capacity to navigate shallow waters and wetlands makes a hovercraft ideal for fishing and crocodile hunting. These boats are quick and enjoyable and are still primarily used as amusement boats.

17. Yacht:

A yacht is a type of boat that epitomizes fun and luxury, which has been developed for recreational use and is essentially a fancy motorboat. Yacht means cruising boat, which is derived from the Dutch word jacht. These types of boats are primarily emplores for the pleasure of throwing lavish parties, apart from cruising or sailing. Although a typical Yacht is roughly 20 meters long, it can range from 9 to 100 meters. These boats can reach top speeds of 20 to 45 knots, with propulsion motors ranging from 105 to 2000 horsepower.

Furthermore, these yachts create a subcategory within themselves because they are adapted to meet specific demands and purposes. Depending on their needs, these boats are made of a monohull or multi-hull construction.

18. Dual console Boat:

Dual console boats are ideal for day cruising or recreational fishing, and its name comes from the fact that with two windshields, this boat has two independent consoles. Because of the dual console boat’s adaptability, most fishers, skiers and casual boaters favour them. These boats provide better manoeuvrability, comfort, storage capacity and seating because they are substantially more significant than a centre console boat.

Additionally, the twin console boat has more fishability, increased dry storage space, a V-shaped hull, front sitting space, better weather protection and more capacity.

19. Sedan Bridge Boats:

One of the most prevalent boat types is Sedam bridge boats. These boats require excellent navigation skills necessary for long-distance cruises and nearshore voyages. This boat combines a few different types of boats, making it a hybrid vessel.

However, the features, amenities and hull of the Sedan bridge boat are identical to that of a yacht. In addition, because of the high position of the bridge, the Sedam bridge boats give the impression of being huge boats. Therefore, the boat’s hull depth must be sufficient to counterbalance the bridge’s height to ensure stable travel through the water.

20. High-performance Boats:

The High-performance boats are designed for professional racing or to meet the needs of speed-hungry adventures, and it is also called the waterways’ Ferraris. These boats attract the attention of all-around observers and have sleek and modern designs. These boats have large engines with many horsepowers and deep V-shaped hulls, which help them achieve maximum performance.

In addition, durable and lightweight materials are used to manufacture narrow beams. High-performance boats are employed for professional boat racing. To comply with specific laws and regulations, few modifications have been made to these boats.

21. Centre Console Boats:

Centre console boats have a hull with no cabin or foredeck and the helm station in the middle of the boat, making them fantastic fishing platforms. Furthermore, these boats operate in rough offshore waters with abundant ocean fish because they are designed for sport fishing. Some necessary items for the boat are the bait wells, gunwale rod holders, fish lockers and outriggers.

22. Rescue Boats:

Some boats are meant for serious work in several situations, although boats are meant for an adventurous and fun time. Rescue boats are small vessels that carry passengers to safety in dangerous situations and are usually attached to bigger vessels. However, they can also operate in nearshore conditions individually. These boats are ready for all kinds of disasters by carrying some food, water supplies, first aid kits and life jackets. The rescue boats come in different sizes and capacities, depending on the area.

23. Cabin cruisers:

Cabin cruisers are the types of boats that are great for travelling overnight that feature a home designed into a vessel. In addition to air conditioning and heaters, the cabin cruisers offer a sleeping area, kitchen and bathroom. These boats provide a smooth ride across all water conditions and are ideal for mid-range distances because of their vast, V-shaped body.

24. Trawler Boats:

The types of boats ideal for long-range cruising are trawler boats. This is because they come with a round displacement hull to ensure smooth manoeuvring through eater and large cabins. In addition, these boats move through the water using less horsepower, which means they can cover long distances by burning less fuel. Trawler boats include modern amenities like a sleeping area, a bathroom and a kitchen and pleasant cruising similar to cabin cruisers.

25. Personal watercraft:

As the name suggests, personal watercraft boats are the ones that are used by people personally for personal enjoyment. These types of boats are customizable for any water adventure, commonly known as Jet Ski or water scooters. These types of boats allow the ride to go through water at high speed. This is possible because they are lightweight and small in size.

Interesting facts about boats:

Here are some of the facts about boats that you might find interesting:

  • Some boats sink when they clash with other vessels or objects, even though boats are highly robust.
  • The first ship to reach America had only 40 individuals on board, including Christopher Columbus.
  • According to the evidence discovered by numerous archaeologists, boats were utilized about 900,000 years ago.
  • Today, Americans own approximately 18 million boats used for leisure purposes and some for business purposes.
  • Since boats have a limited lifespan after which, they aren’t considered safe.
  • Sailboats are designed to last 30 to 40 years, even if built of softer materials like plywood or fibreglass.
  • The world’s longest boat was the Seawise Giant, an oil tanker constructed in 1979 and decommissioned in 2009.

Whether you are seeking an adventure or looking for leisure and relaxation cruising, the types of boats mentioned in this article will help you pick a boat of your choice. In addition, we hope the information has helped you in the next step of becoming a pro in boats. Finally, don’t forget to let us know if you found the article helpful!

Disclaimer: The content presented in this article is based on research and not a replacement for a professional opinion. The website is not responsible for the authenticity and accuracy of the information.


About Yashasvi

Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.