20 Common Types Of Boats [2023 Guide]

We all know that a boat is a type of watercraft that is made to move through shallow water or inland waterways like rivers and lakes. The size, shape, and capacity of a boat change depending on what it is used for. Many people don’t know this, but boats and ships are two different types of watercraft. In this article, we’ll talk about the most common types of boats to help you learn more about these amazing vessels that have been used since the beginning of time.

Difference Between Ships and Boats

Ships are very big and can carry a lot of things, from big loads to thousands of people. Boats, on the other hand, are much smaller, which means they can’t carry as much cargo or people. An old saying says that a ship can carry a boat, but a boat can’t carry a ship. But it’s not really that easy.

A lot of boats today can hold another boat. There are often boats that are less than 30 feet long that carry kayaks or dinghy boats. Putting a small boat on your bigger boat can help you get to land in places where there are no docks. But does that make your 30-foot boat a ship? No, it probably doesn’t, but it does make it more useful.

Classification of Boats

There are many different kinds of boats, and it would be impossible to list them all. But, in general, boats can be divided into three main categories.

1. Unpowered or man-powered boats

2. Sailboats

3. Motorboats (engine-powered)

Unpowered or man-powered boats

In the early days of boating, these types of boats were used. They moved through the water with the help of people. Man-powered boats like rafts, kayaks, gondolas, etc., are mostly used for fun these days.


Sailboats are boats that have a sail and move through the water with the help of the wind. Sailboats have been used for many different things throughout history. Since they depend on the wind, which isn’t always there, most modern sailboats have an engine to help them when there’s no wind.


They are powered by an internal combustion engine. With the help of modern technology, motorboats can have more than one engine, engines with fins, jet engines like the ones found in Jet Skis, and different combinations of all of these to make the boat go faster.

Types of Boats

Here are some most common kinds of boats in the world. This list isn’t complete. Some less common boats aren’t on it because it would be nearly impossible to list all of them.

1. Multi-Purpose Fishing Boats

These boats were made to be useful in both salt water and fresh water, so they can be used in both. They are made to be able to go through many different kinds of waterways so that you can fish for many different kinds of fish. The first things you notice about these boats are that they are stable, strong, and durable enough to last through fishing trips on different kinds of waterways.

Source: yachts360.com

There are both manned and unmanned types of fishing boats. Most all-purpose fishing boats have a front bow, rod lockers, a trolling motor system, an outboard motor, and live wells.

2. Deck Boats

Deck boats, as their name suggests, have an open deck area with plenty of seats available for a small group of people. Deck boats have a wide deck that can fit eight to twelve people or more, but they look and act more like runabouts. They are also powerful, which makes them great for skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.

Source: fishingtackleretailer.com

The boat has a V-shaped hull and a wide beam so that it can hold more people. They are usually between 25 and 35 feet long, have a stern power drive, and are often used for recreation like swimming, water sports, etc.

3. Jet Boats

Source: boats.com

Jet Boat is known for being easy to turn because it is powered by a jet of water that comes out of the back of the boat. A jet boat is pretty similar to a bow-rider in that it has a lot of places to sit and a platform for swimming. They are fast and fun to ride. Also, the advanced propulsion system is safely wrapped in the hull to keep it from getting damaged from the outside.

4. Cabin Cruisers

Source: offthehookyachts.com

Cabin Cruisers are made for fun, and they usually have places to cook, sleep, and use the bathroom. They are perfect for people who want to feel the sun above and the ocean below. There are also modern conveniences like air conditioning and heating. The cabin cruisers have a wide, V-shaped body that makes them smooth to ride in all kinds of water and great for going short to medium distances. 

5. Cuddy Cabins Boats

Source: discoverboating.com

One of the most family-friendly boats is the Cuddy Cabins Boat, which is good for fishing, yachting, sailing, and other water sports. Cuddy Cabin boats are at least 4.75 meters long and are made of fiberglass and aluminum. They have a closed deck over the bow, a lot of storage space, and an easy-to-use navigation system.

6. Pontoon boats

Pontoon boats float because they have a large deck on top of tubes called pontoons. Most of the time, these kinds of boats are used on inland waterways and waterways that are close to shore. Most pontoon boats are between 16 and 30 feet long, on average. Depending on how the seats are set up, the deck can hold up to 25 passengers.

Source: robbreport.com

Because of how they are built, pontoon boats are not good for going fast or going far. Instead, they are best for short, relaxing cruises. Pontoon boats are mostly used for relaxing, having fun, and even fishing and water sports in a less intense way. 

7. Houseboats

Source: boattrader.com

From its name, you can tell that houseboats are built and used to make a living on the water as comfortable as living in a house. Houseboats, which are also called “float houses,” can be different sizes and shapes depending on what they are used for. Still, they all have a lot of space, a place to sleep, a kitchen, a full-sized bathroom, and even a dining room, which is pretty much everything you get in a normal house.

8. Yachts

The boats with the most luxurious and modern designs. Most of the time, yachts are used for cruising and other fun activities. All yachts have the most up-to-date navigational systems and radars to keep everyone safe, whether they are close to shore or out in open water.

Source: luxuryliners.com

The amenities and extra features on a yacht can change its size, and the number of engines is related to how much weight it needs to move. Depending on the extras you choose, yachts over 12m can cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars.

9. Dinghy Boats

Dinghy boats are often used to describe inflatable boats, rowboats, and sailboats. They can be moved by hand with oars, by the wind with sails, or by small outboard engines.

Source: getmyboat.com

Often, the dinghy is used to get to larger boats that are anchored. You can use them to get through shallow or narrow waterways. People like to take them on camping trips. Dinghies are small boats that are easy to move and are usually used as support boats for bigger boats.

10. Centre Console Boats

Source: discoverboating.com

These open fishing boats are made to go out into rough ocean water to catch fish. Onboard, you’ll often find rod holders, outriggers, and other gear. Because the console is in the middle of the boat and the hull is deep and V-shaped, there is a lot of room to move around and sit. The deck also has a strong insulation system that keeps the fish storage from getting frozen. Center Console boats are perfect for people who like to fish.

11. Runabout Boats

Source: discoverboating.com

Runabout boats are fun for racing, fishing, and water skiing. These vessels, which can typically hold between four and eight passengers, are frequently the starting point for people who want to participate in more casual forms of boating. These boats’ controls, including a steering wheel and levers that adjust the speed and direction of the craft, are situated behind the windscreen.

12. Life boats

They are small boats that are usually attached to or carried by bigger boats to get people to safety if something goes wrong. Still, they can also be single ships that work in conditions close to shore. All of them are ready for any kind of disaster by having first-aid kits, life jackets, and food and water supplies.

Source: Wikipedia/ by Brosen 

Depending on where they are used, they can be very different sizes and be able to carry a wide range of people. Most of the time, they are made of fiberglass or are inflatable. They are towed by a larger boat or lowered into the water by a crane or a davit if they are on a boat.

13. Trawlers

The trawler boats are great for long-distance cruising because they have large cabins and round hull that makes it easy to move through the water. Because of how it is made, the boat needs less horsepower to move through the water. This means that it uses less fuel and can travel farther. On calm days, they can handle big rivers, lakes, and oceans. 

Source: Wikipedia/ by D Ramey Logan

Having places to sleep, cook, and use the bathroom on a boat makes it fun to spend the weekend on the water with family and friends. These kinds of boats are bigger, more comfortable, and have more room.

14. High-Performance Boats

Source: boats.com

High-performance boats are like the Ferraris of the waterways. They are made for professional racing or for speed-hungry adventurers. With their sleek, futuristic designs, these boats catch the eye of everyone nearby and give the driver and passengers a huge adrenaline rush. High-performance boats are fast because they have big engines with a lot of horsepower and deep V-shaped hulls, and narrow beams made of strong, light materials to reduce drag and reach peak performance.

15. Banana Boats

Source: scubaquatic.com

Banana boats can fit anywhere from three to ten people, so they are often used for family and fun activities. It’s impossible to find someone who hasn’t at least considered riding a banana boat at some point in their life. This inflatable boat is in the shape of a banana. It doesn’t have a motor built in and floats easily on the water. It has a lot of hooks and straps for people to hold on to while sitting on it.

16. Fireboats

Source: gcaptain.com

Even with all that water around, fires can start on any ship or in any harbor. Fireboats are the first ones to get to the scene. These boats are specially designed firefighting boats with pumps and nozzles. The pumps use the water around the boat to send water to the nozzles, so it is unlikely that the boat will run out of water to spray.

17. Sedan bridge boats

Sedan bridge boats are a mix of a few different types of boats. They are very popular for long-distance cruises and trips close to shore that require good navigation skills. The boat’s hull has some features and amenities that are like those of a yacht.

Source: getmyboat.com

Because the bridge is up high, sedan bridge boats give the impression that they are very big. For the boat to move steadily through the water, its hull needs to be deep enough to balance out the height of the bridge. As a bonus, it gives the boat more room below for sleeping, so it can accommodate more people on longer cruises.

18. Trimaran boats

Source: windrider.com

You can tell that trimarans are boats with three hulls from their name. The middle hull is always the biggest. It is called the main hull, and it is connected to the smaller hulls on each side. In recent years, these boats have become more and more common. They are mostly used for racing, taking tourists on tours, and even as warships.

19. Bowrider Boats

Bowriders are known as the ideal family boat because they can hold more than eight people. The bow is made in a way that lets for creative and comfortable seating, and the boats even have a swim platform on the back.

Source: boattrader.com

The bottom of this runabout-style boat is shaped like a V, which makes it easy to ride in different kinds of water. Even though the usual rule is to use stern drive power, outboard engines have become more popular recently.

20. Catamaran Boats

Source: lagoon.com

Catamarans have two hulls that are the same size. Their design lets them have a higher displacement, a shallower draft, and less hull volume, which makes them great for fishing or just cruising around at a slow pace. Catamarans are made all over the world for a wide range of reasons.

The Bottom Line

You can find the right type of boat for you if you know what you want to do with it. Whether you want to cruise for fun and relaxation, go on exciting adventures, or take your fishing to the next level to become a pro, the right boat is out there waiting for you.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments