The Different Types of Small Boats

March 15th, 2021 by




Small boats tend to be the vessels that first help individuals discover their love for the water. They also tend to be fairly affordable and act as great introductions to the world of boating and watersports. But after just a few minutes of spending time on the internet, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to find the right kind of boat.

There are all types of small boats out there, so it’s important to use discretion. Not only are they less expensive than large boats, but small boats are also easier to load on a trailer or tow with a car. And they can sneak their way into narrow waterways that larger boats can’t get through.

Perhaps most importantly, small boats allow owners to simplify their boating experience and more easily connect with the elements and enjoy the water. But which small boat is going to be best for you?

Luckily for you, we’re here to help. So keep on reading, and we’ll take you through the main types of small boats that you have to know about.


1. Jon Boats

Jon boats are some of the most popular and prolific small boats for aluminum fishing vessels. This kind of boat is a practical option for many people because it can come in all kinds of sizes, variations, and price points.

But what makes a Jon boat different than other kinds of boats? That answer has to do with how the hull is designed and how it’s built for certain types of waterways.

These boats are basically flat-bottomed utility boats. They’re used for all kinds of different purposes, from collecting lumber to fishing to hunting. Thanks to the flat shape of the boat’s hull, these vessels tend to sit on top of the water rather than gliding through it.

Jon boats usually don’t have high sides. The main downside to this kind of boat is that it doesn’t work particularly well in choppy waters.

However, these boats really shine when in shallow waters or water with many mud or obstacles. They’re great in swamps and similar environments.

It’s also hard to beat a Jon boat when it comes to shallow water fishing. The flat hull makes it easy to get around shallow waters. You also get a lot of stability if you stand up in the boat.

That stability also makes it easier to wrestle with a large fish you’re trying to reel in.

Also, interestingly enough, the original Jon boat wasn’t invented by anyone named Jon. It was most likely first built by a man named Charles Barnes.


2. Skiffs

Another kind of all-purpose, simple, and basic utility boat is a skiff. Skiff is a catch-all term that’s usually used to describe a boat that’s open and small.

These kinds of boats are extremely low maintenance. Other than rinsing your boat down at the end of the day and taking care of the outboard motor, there’s very little that you need to worry about.

Because there aren’t any accessories or additional systems, there’s very little that can malfunction or break. These boats are very reliable, and it won’t cost you a lot to keep them in good condition.

Skiffs are also easy to handle. Thanks to their small size, it’s easy to navigate the water and tow with a truck. They can also be quite affordable.

There are also many things that you don’t have to concern yourself with when you own a skiff. If you owned a larger boat, you’d probably have to worry about things like boat storage. Most people just keep their skiffs in their garages or driveways.

And when it comes to winterizing a boat, it’s much more complicated if the vessel has complex plumbing and fuel systems in it. Basically, when you own a skiff, everything that has to do with owning a boat is simplified.

With all that said, there are some downsides to owning a skiff. The small size means that you’re very limited when it comes to how many people you can take out on the water. You also can’t bring a whole lot of gear along and should avoid large bodies of water that are subject to rough seas.

And because it’s a very open boat, you’ll be exposed to the weather and the harsh sun. You’ll have to check the weather before you decide to take the boat out.

Despite those downsides, a skiff can be a fantastic and affordable option for people looking to dip their toes into the watery world of small boats.


3. Small Pontoon Boats

Pontoons are extremely versatile boats that are easy to handle. They also offer a good amount of storage and seating. These boats are easy to use and easy to enjoy.

You can use a pontoon boat for watersports, day cruising, swimming, or just lounging out in the sun.

These days, pontoons can come tricked out with marine-grade carpet, high-quality vinyl seats, a choice of rail skin colours, and coordinated graphics.

A pontoon is a kind of floating device that’s used to add buoyancy to a vessel. It’s composed of hollow and airtight tubes that make the vessel virtually unsinkable.

Pontoon boats utilize multiple pontoon tubes to float on the water easily.


4. Personal Watercraft Boat

A personal watercraft (PWC) boat is a recreational boat that is jet-propelled. These boats are commonly referred to as jet skis.

These watercrafts come with a lot of power. In fact, jet propulsion systems typically provide between 60 and 300 horsepower. And the world’s fastest jet ski can reach 80 mph in just three seconds.

Owning a PWC will allow you to participate in water skiing, fishing, and watersports. A personal watercraft can be either a sit-down model or a stand-up one.

A stand-up PWC can be used by just one rider. A sit-down model usually allows for at least two.


5. Canoes and Kayaks

If you’re interested in getting out on the water but also want to keep your body active, then you should get either a canoe or a kayak. These are great low-impact activities that will add to your flexibility, increase your strength, and improve your aerobic fitness.

While both a canoe and kayak will allow you to be an active participant as you navigate the water, there are some key differences between these two kinds of boats that you need to know about.

First off, a canoe is an open boat where you can sit or kneel inside. You use a single-bladed paddle to push the boat through the water.

A kayak is enclosed, and you sit inside of it with your legs extended out in front of you. To move through the water in a kayak, you use a double-sided paddle.

Canoeing and kayaking are low-impact exercises. This makes them ideal for people who don’t want to perform strenuous exercise but are still looking for excitement. Both of these activities will improve your cardiovascular fitness.

They will also increase your muscle strength, especially in your chest, shoulders, arms, and back.

Regular kayaking and canoeing can also improve leg and torso strength. This is because the boats are usually driven by using leg pressure and rotating the torso. There’s also less stress on the tissues and joints because these are low-impact activities.


6. Small Sailboats

If you’re someone who’s looking for some old-fashioned adventure, then a sailboat may be just what you need. Unfortunately, learning to sail takes a lot of time and usually involves paying for expensive classes. And buying a full-sized sailboat can also be a pricey endeavour.

However, many small sailboats can fit just a person or two, are fairly affordable, and are easy to learn how to use.

One of the best kinds of small sailboats is the dinghy. These are lightweight and affordable vessels that are easy to maneuver and difficult to capsize.

While a dinghy isn’t particularly speedy, this tiny boat has fantastic handling properties.

The boat will likely come with an open cockpit and a detachable tiller, and a centreboard. This boat can also be carried on top of a car or beached without much trouble.

There’s also the popular and adorable Sunfish sailboat. This is a little racing dinghy that’s only thirteen feet in length.

Unlike other dinghies, Sunfish are very easy to capsize. But capsizing is part of the fun. These boats are loved by children and adults and are used by beginners and experienced sailors alike.

The Sunfish is a lightweight fibreglass sailboat that utilizes a very simple rigging setup. If you’re looking to learn how to sail, this can be an excellent ship to start with.

And because these boats heel so much, they can help beginners get used to what it’s like to ride a sensitive boat. They can also help you learn about the limits of sailboats and how to avoid capsizing.


The Importance of Knowing About the Different Types of Small Boats

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now understand the different types of small boats, and you even have an idea of which boat would be best for you. Boating can be both exciting and extremely satisfying. And by knowing about how boats differ, it’s easier to figure out which kind of vessel is going to help you achieve your boating desires.

Are you looking to buy a new or pre-owned boat and hit the water? If so, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!