What is a Small Boat Called and What are Its Types?

Small boats might not always be the most glamorous vessels on the water, but they are undoubtedly some of the most practical. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a day out fishing with friends or simply want to explore the local waterways, a small boat can be an invaluable asset. But what exactly is a small boat called? That’s a question that many people might find themselves asking, especially if they’re not familiar with the boating world.

Small boats are generally defined as any watercraft that is small enough to be transported by trailer. This means that they can be taken to various locations and launched into the water, making them perfect for exploring rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. While there are many different types of small boats, some of the most common ones include dinghies, skiffs, and jon boats. Each of these boats has its own unique characteristics and features, making them ideal for different activities and purposes.

If you’re looking to get into boating, a small boat is an excellent option to consider. Not only are they highly versatile and affordable, but they’re also a great way to explore the great outdoors and take in some beautiful scenery along the way. So whether you’re an experienced boater or are just starting out, there’s no better time to start exploring the world of small boats and all they have to offer.

Types of Small Boats

Small boats come in different shapes and sizes, each with unique features that cater to various water activities. Here are some popular types of small boats:

  • Kayaks: These narrow and lightweight boats are perfect for solo paddlers who want to explore calm lakes and rivers. Kayaks come in different types, including sit-in, sit-on-top, recreation, touring, and whitewater.
  • Canoes: Canoes are versatile boats that can accommodate 1-3 paddlers. They have an open hull design that allows for carrying gear or fishing equipment. Canoes come in various types, including recreational, touring, and whitewater.
  • Jon Boats: Jon boats are flat-bottomed boats that are ideal for fishing, hunting, or transportation in shallow waters. They are usually made of aluminum, and some models have built-in seats and storage compartments.
  • Inflatable Boats: These portable boats are perfect for those who want to explore waters without breaking the bank. They can be easily deflated, folded, and stored in the trunk of a car. Inflatable boats come in various types, including dinghies, rafts, and kayaks.
  • Pontoon Boats: Pontoon boats are popular for family cruising and fishing. They have a flat deck that sits on two or more pontoons, providing ample seating space and stability on the water. Some models have built-in grills, changing rooms, and water slides.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Small Boat

Before buying a small boat, consider the following:

  • Intended Use: Are you planning to use the boat for fishing, cruising, water sports, or transportation?
  • Capacity: How many people and how much gear do you need to carry?
  • Material: Should you choose a boat made of aluminum, fiberglass, wood, or inflatable material?
  • Maintenance: How often do you need to take care of the boat, and what is the cost of upkeep?
  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend on the boat, including accessories and equipment?

Comparison of Small Boat Types

Here is a comparison table of the popular small boat types:

Boat Type Capacity Intended Use Price Range
Kayak 1-2 people Recreation, touring, fishing $200-$1,000
Canoes 1-3 people Recreational, touring, fishing, hunting $500-$2,000
Jon Boats 1-4 people Fishing, hunting, transportation $500-$5,000
Inflatable Boats 1-8 people Dinghies, rafts, kayaks $50-$1,000
Pontoon Boats Up to 20 people Cruising, fishing, watersports $10,000-$50,000

Choosing the right small boat can enhance your water experience and provide memories for years to come.

Parts of a small boat

Small boats are a great way to enjoy the water, whether it’s for fishing, leisurely cruising, or even racing. Before you hit the water, it’s important to know the different parts of your small boat so you can better understand its equipment and how to operate it. Let’s take a look at the different parts of a small boat.


The hull is the main body of the boat that floats on the water. The shape of the hull affects the boat’s handling and performance. The types of hulls are planing, displacement, and semi-displacement. Planing hulls are found on faster boats and are designed to lift the boat out of the water at high speeds. Displacement hulls, on the other hand, are found on slower boats, and are designed to sit in the water rather than ride on top of it.


The deck is the top surface of the boat where you walk around. It’s important to make sure the deck is clean and free of any clutter to prevent tripping hazards or accidents. The deck also has hatches to access the inside of the boat, and it’s where most of the equipment and controls are located.


The motor is the heart of the boat, providing power to the propeller to move the boat through the water. Small boats may have outboard, inboard, or electric motors. Outboard motors are mounted on the back of the boat and are removable for maintenance or repair. Inboard motors, on the other hand, are located inside the boat, and require more maintenance but offer more power. Electric motors are a popular choice for small boats because they’re quiet and environmentally friendly.


The rudder is a vertical flat plate located at the back of the boat that steers the boat left or right. It’s controlled by the helm, or steering wheel, which connects to the rudder via a cable or hydraulic system. It’s important to know how the rudder responds to the helm and how to navigate your boat safely.


The propeller is a rotating blade that’s used to propel the boat through the water. It’s attached to the end of the motor shaft, and its size and shape affect the boat’s speed and maneuverability. The number of blades on a propeller can also affect its performance.

Understanding the different parts of a small boat will help you enjoy your time on the water, keeping you safe and in control. Happy boating!

History of Small Boats

Small boats have been used throughout history for various purposes, from fishing to transportation. They can vary in size, shape, and material, but all share the common trait of being smaller than a typical commercial or military ship. Here, we dive into the history of small boats and how they have evolved over time.

  • Ancient Times: Small boats have been used since ancient times, with evidence of dugout canoes dating back to at least 8,000 BCE. These early boats were typically made from a hollowed-out tree trunk and used for fishing and transportation.
  • The Middle Ages: During the Middle Ages, small boats such as the longboat and cog were used for transportation and trade. The longboat was a sturdy, open-decked craft commonly used by Vikings, while the cog was a more versatile vessel used for both river and sea transportation.
  • The Age of Exploration: Small boats played a crucial role in the Age of Exploration, with explorers such as Christopher Columbus and James Cook using small boats such as caravels and sloops to journey across the oceans and discover new lands. The invention of the steam engine in the 1800s led to the development of steam-powered boats, which made long-distance travel easier and more efficient.

Today, small boats continue to be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from recreational sailing to commercial fishing. Modern small boats are often made from materials such as fiberglass or aluminum and are equipped with advanced technology such as GPS navigation and electric motors.

Small boats have come a long way since the dugout canoes of ancient times. From the sturdy longboats of the Middle Ages to the steam-powered boats of the 1800s, small boats have played a crucial role in transportation, trade, and exploration throughout history.

Below is a table summarizing some of the key types of small boats throughout history:

Type of Small Boat Time Period Purpose
Dugout Canoe Ancient Times Fishing and Transportation
Longboat Middle Ages Transportation and Trade
Cog Middle Ages River and Sea Transportation
Caravel 15th-16th Century Exploration and Trade
Sloop 17th-18th Century Exploration and Trade

No matter their size or purpose, small boats have always been an important part of human history and continue to play a vital role in our lives today.

Small Boat Maintenance

Maintaining your small boat is crucial to ensure its longevity and safety while out on the water. Here are some tips for keeping your small boat in top shape:

  • Regular cleaning – After each use, make sure to rinse your boat with fresh water to remove any salt or debris that may have accumulated. This will prevent damage to the boat’s surface.
  • Check for leaks – Inspect your boat for any leaks or cracks that may have developed. These should be repaired immediately to avoid further damage.
  • Battery care – If your boat has a battery, make sure to keep it charged and maintained properly. Check the water level regularly and keep the battery terminals clean.

Proper Storage

Storing your small boat correctly will also help ensure its longevity. Here are some tips:

  • Find a dry, covered storage area – Your boat should be stored in a dry, covered area to prevent damage from the elements.
  • Remove water from bilge – Make sure to remove any water that may have accumulated in the bilge before storing the boat.
  • Secure your boat – Ensure that your boat is properly secured to prevent it from tipping or shifting during storage.

Maintenance Schedule

Creating a maintenance schedule will help you keep your small boat in top condition. Here are some tasks you should include:

  • Clean and rinse after each use
  • Check for leaks and repairs as needed
  • Check battery regularly
  • Inspect and replace damaged parts as needed

Small Boat Maintenance Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure you are maintaining your small boat properly:

Task Frequency
Clean and rinse After each use
Check for leaks Every 2 months
Check battery Monthly
Inspect and replace parts As needed

By following these tips for small boat maintenance, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your boat and enjoy many more adventures on the water.

Popular Small Boat Brands

If you’re in the market for a small boat, you may be wondering which brands are the best to consider. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are five of the most popular small boat brands on the market today:

  • Boston Whaler: Known for their unsinkable boats, Boston Whaler is a top choice for those looking for a reliable, high-quality small boat. Their models range from 11 to 42 feet.
  • Sea Ray: Sea Ray offers a wide variety of small boats, including bowriders, sport boats, and cruisers. Their boats are known for their sleek design and comfortable interiors.
  • Glastron: Glastron boats are designed with a focus on performance and style. They offer a range of models, including bowriders, deck boats, and cruisers.
  • Tracker: If you’re looking for a more affordable option, Tracker boats are a great choice. They offer a range of models, including bass boats, jon boats, and utility boats.
  • Bayliner: Bayliner is another affordable option that offers a range of small boats. Their models include bowriders, deck boats, and cruisers.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Small Boat Brand

When choosing a small boat brand, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, consider the type of boating you’ll be doing. If you’re interested in fishing, you may want to choose a brand that specializes in fishing boats. If you’re looking for a boat to cruise around in, you may want to choose a brand that offers comfortable seating and amenities.

Second, consider your budget. Some brands are more affordable than others, so it’s important to determine what you can afford before you start shopping.

Finally, read reviews and talk to other boaters to get a sense of the quality and reliability of each brand. Buying a boat is a big investment, so you want to make sure you choose a brand that will last.

Comparison Table: Popular Small Boat Brands

Brand Range of Models Specialties Price Range
Boston Whaler 11-42 feet Unsinkable boats High-end
Sea Ray Bowriders, sport boats, cruisers Sleek design, comfortable interiors Mid-range to high-end
Glastron Bowriders, deck boats, cruisers Performance, style Mid-range
Tracker Bass boats, jon boats, utility boats Affordable options Low-end to mid-range
Bayliner Bowriders, deck boats, cruisers Affordable options Low-end to mid-range

As you can see, there are a variety of popular small boat brands to choose from. By considering your needs, budget, and the quality and reliability of each brand, you can find the perfect small boat for your next adventure on the water.

Small Boat Safety Guidelines

Small boats can be an ideal way to explore the water and take on different activities such as fishing or kayaking. However, they require extra attention and safety measures to ensure that everyone onboard remains safe. Here are six safety guidelines that must be followed by everyone aboard any small boat:

  • Always wear a life jacket: Life jackets ensure that you are afloat and breathing even in the event of an accident. Ensure that the life jacket you use is of the right size and is fastened correctly.
  • Be aware of weather conditions: Always check the weather conditions expected before getting on to the water. If the weather forecast suggests high winds or thunderstorms, reconsider your boating plans.
  • Carry safety equipment: Always ensure that you have all the safety equipment required for emergency situations, including a first aid kit, flares, fire extinguisher, and whistle. Keep the equipment in accessible and dry storage
  • Follow boating rules: Ensure that you have all the necessary licenses, registrations, and permits required by the government before setting out. Follow boating rules including maintaining safe speeds, maintaining a safe distance between boats, avoiding stunt driving and anchoring on authorized spots only.
  • Don’t drink and boat: It’s illegal and dangerous to operate any boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boating under the influence can impair your judgment and potentially lead to fatal accidents.
  • Use common sense: Being mindful of your surroundings and practicing safety measures is the backbone of being safe while boating. Ensure that you are familiar with the waterbody, your boat’s capabilities and its limitations to make informed decisions while on the water.

Boating Safety Checklist

Before setting out on any small boat, always ensure that you have completed a boating safety checklist. This will ensure that you have all the necessary equipment and measures in place to ensure a safe and pleasant outing. Here is a simple checklist to follow:

Item Checked
Life Jackets
First Aid Kit
Fire Extinguisher
Weather Forecast Checked
Boating Rules Check

Small boat safety is paramount, and investing time and resources in safety equipment and practicing good decision-making habits will help ensure that you and your loved ones have safe and enjoyable outings on the water.

Small Boat Accessories

Small boats are versatile watercraft that can be used for various activities, including fishing, leisure cruising, and watersports. To fully enjoy the experience, boat owners should invest in the right accessories that can make their boating trip not only more comfortable but also more functional. Here are some essential small boat accessories and their benefits:

  • Anchor: An anchor is a crucial accessory for small boats, as it helps the boat stay in place when fishing or enjoying a relaxing day on the water. Anchors come in different sizes and weights, and the right one depends on the boat’s size and the type of water it will be used in.
  • Battery: Small boats often require batteries to power the trolling motor or other electronics on board. A reliable battery with enough capacity can ensure that the boat runs smoothly throughout the day and provides peace of mind during extended trips out on the water.
  • Lights: Small boats also need lights to comply with safety regulations and facilitate navigation during the night or in low visibility conditions. LED lights are a popular choice for boat owners since they are energy-efficient, reliable, and offer bright illumination.

Boat Covers

A boat cover is an essential accessory that helps protect a boat’s interior and exterior from damage caused by water, sun, and other environmental factors. Boat covers come in various materials, including polyester, canvas, and vinyl, and can be customized to fit each boat’s dimensions and shape perfectly. A good boat cover can prolong the life of a boat and save owners the costly repairs often associated with long-term exposure to the elements.

Fishing Accessories

For small boat owners who enjoy fishing, some accessories can make the experience more productive and enjoyable. These accessories include:

  • Rod Holders: These allow the angler to keep multiple fishing rods in place securely, making it easier to detect and respond to bites.
  • Fish Finders: Fish finders use sonar to locate fish in the water, helping anglers pinpoint their targets and improve their chances of catching fish.
  • Bait and Livewells: Live bait and fish require a well-oxygenated water environment to stay alive, and a bait or livewell can provide just that. These accessories allow anglers to bring live bait and catch back to shore safely.

Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)

A PFD is arguably the most essential safety accessory for all small boat owners. PFDs provide the buoyancy needed to keep a person afloat and can help save lives during an emergency. PFDs come in different types, sizes, and colors, and the right one depends on the boat’s size, the water conditions, and the intended use. Wearing a PFD at all times while on the water should be mandatory for all boat occupants.

Table and Chairs

Accessory Benefits
Table A table provides a convenient surface for eating, drinking, or playing games while on the boat.
Chairs Comfortable chairs can make a day out on the water more enjoyable, whether fishing or soaking up the sun.

A small table and comfortable chairs might seem like a luxury on a small boat, but they can significantly enhance the boating experience. They provide a cozy space for snacks, meals, or sitting and enjoying the view during leisurely cruising. They are also ideal for socializing with friends and family aboard the boat.

What is a Small Boat Called?

1. What is the difference between a small boat and a yacht?
A small boat is typically under 30 feet in length and used for recreational purposes, while a yacht is larger and used for both recreational and commercial purposes.

2. What are some examples of small boats?
Some examples of small boats include canoes, kayaks, rowboats, dinghies, and skiffs.

3. What is the smallest size a boat can be?
There is no set minimum size for a boat to be considered small, but typically boats under 20 feet in length are considered small.

4. Is a pontoon boat considered a small boat?
It depends on the size of the pontoon boat. Smaller pontoon boats under 30 feet in length could be considered small boats.

5. Can a small boat be used for fishing?
Yes, small boats are often used for recreational fishing. Some small boats are even specifically designed for fishing purposes.

6. How fast can a small boat go?
The speed of a small boat depends on the type of boat and its engine. However, small boats typically have slower speeds than larger boats.

7. Are small boats safe to use?
When operated safely and with proper equipment, small boats can be safe to use. It is important to follow all safety guidelines and regulations when using a small boat.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know what a small boat is called, you can confidently explore the vast waters with proper knowledge and information. Whether you’re looking to fish, relax, or simply enjoy the scenery, a small boat is the perfect way to do so. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit again soon for more informative articles!