Types of Powerboats, The Ultimate List!

A boat is not just a boat any longer: there are so many types of power boats on the market that it can be a challenge to determine which is the right fit for you. Here’s a rundown on what kinds of motorboats are most common.

Three Main Types of Boats

When we look at boats, in general, there are three main types:

●  Motorboats (power boats)

●  Sailboats

●  Man-powered boats

Sailboats rely on wind for their power while man-powered boats include personal watercraft like kayaks, rafts, and canoes. Motorboats, AKA speedboats, cover every type of boat with either an outboard or inboard motor. 

Boat Pricing and features can vary widely among all types of powerboats, making it essential to use tools like a boat payment calculator to determine interest, insurance, and other costs while shopping for a new boat.

Outboard versus Inboard Motors

Outboard motors are more common, and they mount on the transom on the exterior of the boat. Conversely, an inboard motor is like an automobile engine but with “marinization” features to keep it from malfunctioning in the water and salt spray.

In general, an outboard motor provides better fuel economy and are lighter than the alternative. Used outboard motors are often easier to find than inboard motors, as well. But inboard engines can also offer decent fuel economy thanks to diesel fuel, and with their weight in the middle or floor of the boat, they can enhance the overall stability of your vessel.

Types of Powerboats

Although there are nearly endless types of power boats, we’ll cover 16 of the most common here.

Bass Boats

Because bass fishing is considered a separate fishing sport, there are boats for bass fishing specifically. A bass boat usually has a V hull and a low freeboard and is ideal for fishing on rivers and lakes. Trolling motors and other specialized gear can make these boats expensive, with new boat prices proving steep in comparison with other types of powerboats.

Bay Boats

A bay boat is a cross between a flats fishing boat and a center console model. Bay boats fill the gap between the two by offering inshore fishing features like a trolling motor and a shallow draft. Casting decks and center consoles are common, but versatility is crucial since these boats are for shallow and offshore fishing. Shorter lengths are also ideal since you need high maneuverability in narrow bays.

Bowrider Boats

Bowrider boats earn their name from the seating area on the bow of the vessel. Passengers can ride on the forward part of the helm, making these an ideal boat for families and water sports. You can also use a bowrider for fishing, however.

Cabin Cruiser

With the cabin in the bow, a cabin cruiser boat is ideal for families or serious fishers who plan to stay on the water all night (or longer). You’ll usually find sleeping berths, a head (toilet), and a galley (kitchen) in cabin cruiser boats.

Cuddy Cabin

A cuddy cabin boat resembles a cabin cruiser but on a smaller scale. A low cuddy, a small bathroom, and possibly a couple of berths are highlights. These maneuverable boats are often an excellent choice for families who enjoy watersports or fishing but also need facilities on deck.


One of the pricier types of recreational boats, a catamaran has two hulls and enjoys more stability than most types of boats (except, perhaps, fishing or party barges with pontoons). Although catamarans have sails, they typically have engines as well, enabling them to travel across the water even in the absence of a breeze.

Center Console Boat

Many fishers prefer center console boats because you can move around the console easily—it’s in the middle of the boat with space on either side. Angling is simpler when you don’t have to climb over or maneuver around the helm, so center console boats are ideal for fishing.

Deck Boat

Deck boats rank highly for watersports and swimming access and tend to have many recreational features, such as plenty of seating for large groups. V-shaped hulls and wide beams mean more room for passengers (and fun).

Dinghy Boat

Though many dinghies rely on human power (via oars or sails), some use small outboard motors instead. A dinghy may be inflatable or hard-sided and often carries people and goods from a larger ship to the shore.

Dual Console

Unlike center console boats, dual console options block much of the deck of the boat, enabling you to move only between the center of the two console areas. However, the two windshields are ideal for blocking wind while moving at higher speeds.

Fishing Boat

Multiple types of powerboats can classify as fishing boats, but these usually have a front bow. Fishing boats typically have features such as rod holders, live well compartments, and trolling motors and offer easy maneuverability.

Flats Boats

Flats are shallow water boats that are great for lakes and rivers. In addition to a motor, these often require a push pole for navigation in narrow and shallow channels. Unless you only fish in shallow water, a flats boat has limited applications.

Jon Boats

An introductory-level watercraft, a Jon boat has a flat bottom and usually has wood, aluminum, or fiberglass construction. Flat bench seats in a minimalist design make these boats flexible for fishing and hunting near the shore. While not all Jon boats come with a motor, they often have a transom for mounting an onboard motor.

Pontoon Boat

A pontoon (or barge) boat is a stable watercraft with a platform bottom that has multiple pontoons for support. Pontoon boats can be party or fishing barges with features like rod holders, live wells, fish finder equipment, shade structures, and stereo systems.

Skiff Boat

Like Jon boats, skiffs are great for boating in shallow water, thanks to their flat bottom and pointed bow. These can vary in size and length and have a console for steering.


Trawlers are larger boats which pull fishing nets to trawl for fish. Trawlers typically have full facilities on board in the cabin, as they aim to house a team of commercial or other serious fishers.

Other Types of Powerboats

It’s challenging to list every type of boat on the market, especially given the advances and ongoing changes in the powerboat industry.

Plus, some boats don’t fit neatly in any given category, and some watercraft are technically not boats (such as personal watercraft like jet skis) but share similarities with one or more types of boats.