All Types Of Boats In One Place: Boat Types Guide


Different people have different reasons for buying a boat. For instance, water sports enthusiasts buy a boat for their waterskiing or wakeboarding adventures, while anglers buy boats specifically for fishing expeditions. And then there are casual boaters who buy a boat simply because they’re looking to spend their weekends cruising leisurely during the weekends and on long holidays. In short, whatever your reason may be for wanting to buy a boat, you’ll have an armada of different types of boats to choose from.

But as you may already know, boats come in a plethora of types, styles, and designs. Although having plenty of choices is often seen as good for the buyer or consumer, it can also make purchasing a boat a daunting experience for the first-time buyer. Thus, to narrow down your options, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different boat types available and their uses.


The first kayaks are said to have been invented by the Inuit residing in the arctic regions. These had frames made from wood or bones and were covered with sealskin. These also had a hole or a cockpit in the middle where they could enter and sit as they travel over the waters to fish and hunt.

Modern day kayaks look pretty much the same as kayaks of old. What makes them different though (aside from a more streamlined and efficient design) is the material they’re made from like rotomolded plastic, fiberglass and others. Each of these materials have their own pros and cons with regard to weight, sturdiness, and how well they travel on water. Modern Kayaks also come in a variety of types. There are kayaks made specifically for racing and there are others made solely for recreational use.


Canoes are one of the oldest forms of water transportation and have been around for centuries. Basically, it is a lightweight, open-top boat that is used on lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Like kayaks, canoes are propelled forward by using paddles and are available in various types including solo and tandem canoes, recreational canoes, racing canoes and others.

Canoes of old were generally dug out from large trunks of trees, but their modern counterparts are made from wood, plastic, aluminum, synthetic fiber, or fiberglass. Unlike kayaks that have cockpits, canoes have seats for canoeists to sit or kneel on while paddling.

Tow Boat/Watersports Boat

Back in the days, water skiers and wakeboarders would be towed or trailing behind a general purpose motorboat. Although such boats are okay for many beginning and casual water-skier or wakeboarder, there comes a time when these athletes start looking for a more specialized boat (aside from better wakeboards and watersports equipment of course) that will help improve their game and enjoy their respective sports more. This is where tow boats or watersports boats come in.

Compared to other types of motorboats, a tow boat or watersport boat is generally smaller and have rings or other devices where tow ropes are tied. They are also designed to ride in flat and calm waters like in small lakes where most competitive wakeboarding and other watersport events are held.

Not all types of watersports boats are the same though. There are those which are designed specifically for water-skiing that create minimal wakes which are perfect for water skis. There are also those which are designed for wakeboarding and create higher wakes. In any case, most tow boats have their propellers in the middle of the boat and not at the back in order to keep it as far away as possible from the person being towed behind the boat.


Basically, a dinghy is a small boat that is carried aboard or towed behind a larger boat. These small boats are used to ferry the boat’s passengers and supplies like picnic baskets, coolers and others to and from the boat and the shore or from one boat to another. Dinghies come in a variety of styles, designs and sizes, and are either powered by a motor or by propelled forward with the use of oars.


Yachts are generally used for fun, either for pleasurable offshore trips or coastal races. In general, these types of boats are associated with high-end and luxurious lifestyles, especially when you consider how much one costs. The price of course would be influenced by the size of the yacht and the amenities found in it. Yachts vary largely in size, some being only a few meters in length while others can be as much as a hundred meters long or more. If you are planning to buy a yacht, you should familiarize yourself with the coast guard requirement for boats over 16 feet.

In any case, yachts are bound to have plenty of amenities which makes it great for socializing, from spacious decks and berths to the latest marine amplifiers to ramp up the sounds when partying on board.

Jon Boat

Jon boats are rectangular, flat-bottomed and shallow boat made from aluminum or wood. Their shallow design means that they sit very close to the water, typically just a few inches above the water’s surface. They typically feature a bench for the boater to sit on, though a large Jon boat may have one or two more benches to accommodate more people. Jon boats can also have a transom onto which an outboard motor is mounted, though they can also be propelled forward using paddles. These boats are usually used by anglers who are fishing in calm waters and shallow fishing grounds. In that regard, Jon boats are pretty basic and don’t have the features of a full-blown fishing boat, but they are large enough to accommodate the casual angler, several fishing rods, and one or two tackle boxes.

Bass Boat

As the name suggests, bass boats are small boats that are designed primarily for bass fishing; however, they are also used by anglers fishing for other species of freshwater fish. Bass boats are equipped with amenities that help bass fishing more comfortable and fun such as swivel chairs, rod holders for bass fishing rods, and live wells with recirculating water to hold the angler’s catch.

Bass boats are generally constructed using aluminum or fiberglass materials, both of which have their own pros and cons. For instance, aluminum bass boats are generally smaller and lighter, making transporting these boats easier. They’re also less expensive than their fiberglass counterparts. On the hand, fiberglass boats are more spacious providing ample room for the angler to move around. They’re also more capable of housing larger outboard motors.

Speaking of motors, bass boats are usually equipped with two types of motors: an outboard motor and a trolling motor. Outboard motors are responsible for moving the boat swiftly from one area to another, while a trolling motor allows the boat to move slowly around a particular fishing spot. Bass boats are also small enough to be propelled forward by paddling, which is sometimes necessary to minimize water disturbance and thus avoid spooking the fish away.



A runabout is the typical recreational powerboat that you see in the water; the ones that have an open bow with seating and a windshield. Like other types of boats, runabouts can be constructed from aluminum, fiberglass or from plywood material.  In the case of small racing runabouts, fiber reinforced plastic materials are used extensively in their construction in order to reduce weight and maximize speed. Also, you should familiarize yourself with the different coast guard requirements for boats under 16 feet if you are planning to get yourself one of these (or any other) small water vessel.

Runabouts can also be used for fishing and other leisurely water activities. A typical runabout can hold as many as ten passengers (the number of course depends on the size of the boat) at any given time. These boats can be powered by inboard engines, outboards, jet drives, or inboard-outboard drives and run on gasoline or diesel engine systems.

Air Boat

Air boats are unique in design and can easily be distinguished from other types of boats. This is because these boats don’t rely on propellers underneath their hulls to propel them forward. Instead, they have this large fan at the back of the boat which is responsible for providing power and movement to the boat. Also, the absence of a motor underneath and the flat-bottomed design allows it to quickly glide across the water’s surface.

Air boats are generally used in tours and by rangers patrolling swamplands. As a tour boat, it provides quick means of exploring and various waterscapes and ecosystems such as mangrove tunnels and water-locked animal sanctuaries.


A catamaran is basically any boat that has twin hulls running parallel to each other. These types of boats were said to have originated from the fishing communities in the Polynesian islands, the design of which provided better stability over the water and allowed fishermen to go farther out into the water and cover more fishing grounds.

Nowadays though, most catamarans are mainly used for leisurely purposes. They can be as large as a yacht and have the same amenities and features. That said, these are perfect boats for those who are looking to drop their boat anchor and spend the night on board instead of going back to the docks.

Modern day catamarans vary in sizes, some of which can be as large as a typical yacht. They can also have various amenities on board, and this along with their stability and smooth sailing experience, makes them perfect for longer trips on the water.

Sail Boat

The word sailboat is a general term that refers to boats that have sails. Thus, it can be a small fishing boat with a tiny sail operated by a single person, or a huge racing yacht manned by dozens of people. Even ships of old like brigantines or clippers used in historic naval battles are considered as sailboats. Even though sailboats are powered by wind, many sailboats also carry inboard or outboard diesel-powered motors in the event that the wind dies down.

Obviously, the sails are the most distinguishing feature of a sailboat. Basically, a sail is simply a piece of fabric that is used to catch the wind to drive the boat across the water. However, sailboats can also have a variety of features which makes them sea worthy including marine GPS, marine radars, and others.


Tugboats are small but very powerful boats which are primarily used to tug or pull vessels that cannot move by themselves. This includes disabled ships, oil platforms and barges. Tugboats are also used to help the larger ships navigate the narrow waters like a canal or a crowded harbor.

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats are small boats that are capable of carrying a large number of people for their size. They are also extremely stable as they have a wide base relative to their lengths. All these features and more are what makes buying a pontoon boat appealing for many people.

Center-console Boats

As the name implies, a center-console is a single-decked boat with the console built right in the middle. These are pretty good as an all-around boat, and can be used for a variety of water-related sports and activities as they offer generally excellent performance in both calm and rough waters.

But even though center-consoles can be used for any type of water activity, they are mostly used as a fishing vessel. Their open decks offer plenty of room for anglers to move about as well as open air space for casting even long fishing rods without the fishing lines getting snagged.

Center-console boats are also great for leisurely trips offshore, especially the bigger ones. The larger the boat gets, the more amenities like bunks, mini kitchen, pull-out transom seats and others are made present.


Trawlers aren’t as fat as most boats out there, but that’s mainly because speed and racing isn’t what trawlers are designed for. These boats are used for Long-distance cruising at a leisurely pace, often cruising at less than 20 miles per hour towards to their destination. Besides, the slower speed lower-horsepower engines also consume less fuel, making them great for those who are conscious about fuel efficiency and consumption.

But whatever trawlers lack in speed, they make up with other features. For instance, trawlers boast an abundance of space. An open deck allows passengers to get out from under cover and enjoy the sunshine while lounging on boat seats, while below deck one will find sleeping accommodations, a toilet and shower, and kitchen.

Cuddy Cabin

A cuddy cabin offers the best choice for those who are looking for the performance of a bow rider and the versatility of a deck boat. Like boats of similar size, a cuddy cabin works well for cruising, entertaining, watersports, or just hanging out with friends at the sandbar. Unlike bow riders, cuddies swap out the open front seating area for a small, enclosed cabin. They also offer a host of amenities including a typical V-shaped bed designed to fit within the contours of the bow, a marine toilet, a freshwater sink, and minimal kitchen.

Bow Rider

Bow riders may be the perfect family boat, carrying plenty of passengers between the main seating area and the additional forward seating located in front of the driver’s seat. That added real estate does not only increase passenger capacity, but also provides additional areas for socializing. The bow rider’s classic V-shaped hull also provides a confident ride in a variety of water conditions.


As their name suggests, houseboats are basically boats that function as a residences for their owners. They have all the amenities you’ll want in a home, from toilets and shower to kitchens, and even floors covered with lush boat carpets for added luxury and comfort. These boats can be found throughout the world and the concept of using a boat for residence has been around from for countless of decades and even centuries.

In general, there are two main types of houseboats: static houseboats and vacationing vessels. The first type is perpetually harbored and thus are static. These resemble flatboats or barges and come equipped with all the necessary conveniences for daily living. However these houseboat models cannot operate on water because of the distinct absence of propelling mechanisms. The second type comes equipped with household furnishings and engines to propel them on water. Though these kinds of houseboat models cannot be operated in the high or open oceanic areas, they can be operated quite successfully in minor water bodies.

Cabin Cruiser

Like most other motorboats, cabin cruisers have plenty of amenities that make it perfect for a weekend cruise. The main seating area has plenty of space where passengers can relax and enjoy the views as they travel to their destination. They also include a host of amenities like toilet and shower, kitchen and multiple berth or sleeping accommodations.

Globo Surf Overview

The ones mentioned above are just some of the most common types of boats available because there are still plenty of other water vessels out there, each of which are designed for a specific activity or boating scenario. If you are in the market for one, be sure to familiarize yourself with the different boat types suitable for the kind of watersport or boating activity you plan on doing. This is because knowing exactly what you want out of your boat is the first step towards making an informed buying decision. Also, always keep the coast guard boating safety checklist and requirements to ensure that your boating adventure doesn’t end up in a disaster

More Boat Reviews:


  1. A Guide to Different Types of Boats, Marine Insight
  2. Pros and Cons of Different Boat Types, Marine Max
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!