When the weather becomes warmer and sunlight lasts into the early evening, many people seek to relax on the water. However, there are many different options for boats and their names may not tell you a lot about what they do. For example, what is a deck boat? It sounds like a boat with a flat deck, but there are other boats with this feature called pontoon boats. Also, are these boats only for relaxing on a flat deck? How might they work for someone interested in fishing or watersports?

To understand the benefits of a deck boat, let us look at each of these aspects. Deck boats have some benefits over other boats, such as a pontoon boat. However, pontoon boats have advantages of their own. Finally, transporting any boat is important for most owners. Unless one is fortunate enough to own property with its own dock, any boat will require transport on highways. Fortunately, a deck boat’s benefits suit many owners with many different needs, making them an excellent choice amongst the many watercraft available.

What Is a Deck Boat and How Does It Differ From a Pontoon Boat?

Deck boats feature a large, flat deck for people to relax. They are immediately compared to a pontoon boat, which also features a large, flat deck for people to relax on. However, there are some significant differences between the two. Although either may be acceptable for the same tasks, each has advantages and will perform some tasks better than the other type of boat.

Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat is one that sits on two or more wide, airtight floats, or pontoons. Imagine a raft where a flat deck sits on top of two or three logs, which give it buoyancy. A pontoon boat is a modernized version of this design. With multiple floating pontoons and a flat deck, these boats tend to be more stable in water, especially when still, making them better for people who suffer from seasickness or if children are running about. Also, having multiple points of contact with the water reduces the side to side rolling that can occur and cause seasickness.

Although deck boats have a flat wide deck, pontoon boats tend to have an even larger deck. For boaters with a lot of equipment, this may be a benefit. This may also allow them to hold more people or make it easier to hold a cookout on the water. The flat design on two or three pontoons also results in better fuel economy, especially when moving slowly in still waters. Of course, all of these benefits carry a consequence as well, and those are where a deck boat excels.

Deck Boat

Rather than pontoons, a deck boat has a V-shaped hull, more like how many people picture a boat’s shape. It has a large flat deck, like a pontoon boat, and a wider pointed nose than many other boats, contributing to the width of the deck. This nose, along with other styling features, makes deck boats more sporty looking and sleeker compared to a pontoon boat. Looks are not deceiving in this case. A deck boat is also much faster and more maneuverable compared to a pontoon boat. This makes them far superior to a pontoon boat for watersports, such as pulling a water skier.

Many boat owners transport their watercraft on trailers towed by their trucks. For these situations, a larger pontoon boat actually becomes a hinderance, as it may exceed towing capacities or the storage facility. This makes a deck boat, with much of the same utility, but in a smaller, sleeker, faster package, actually a better option. This benefit is even greater for those who tend to boat in small groups, not the large family parties that could benefit from a pontoon boat. One can fish and relax on a deck boat just like a pontoon boat, and have the speed to enjoy other watersports as well.

What Benefits Are There to a Deck Boat Hull?

A deck boat has a V-shaped hull with a pointed nose, much like a speedboat. However, its nose is much wider than a speedboat, allowing it to have a large deck. This creates a situation where a deck boat gives boaters a flat, relaxing deck much like a pontoon boat, but with far more speed and agility. Though slower, pontoon boats may have enough speed to pull beginner water skiers. A deck boat can travel up to 50-70 miles per hour, providing enough speed and maneuverability to tow waterskiers, rafts, and other exciting watersports.

Of course, since its nose is much wider than a speedboat’s, a deck boat will not have the speed or agility of a speedboat, and is probably not the best option for competitive motorsports. Still, for most recreational users, it provides more than enough speed for excitement combined with space for relaxation. Some deck boats even offer sporty attachments typical to motorsports. One other advantage of a deck boat is that they are designed so the nose or bow will not rise out of the water, even at high speed. This provides a stable ride at higher speeds.


What is a deck boat’s passenger arrangement? A deck boat’s helm and controls sit usually sit in the middle of the boat. Although there are generally seats for the skipper and a passenger, the main seating area lies in front of the helm, in the wide nose area. Behind the helm, there is usually another deck, providing more room for relaxation. The size of this deck will vary based on the location of the engines. Those with a larger deck tend to have more value. Some deck boats have modifications for fishing and contain various storage compartments around the deck.

Generally, these areas are uncovered, much like a speedboat. Some boats include the option to add a metal archway over the helm, called a wakeboard tower. This provides a place to attach lights or speakers and adds to the sporty feel.


What is a deck boat’s power like? It can be powered by outboard or inboard motors. Outboard motors are attached to the back of the boat with the transmission and propeller in one unit, much like on the back of a simple motorboat. However, when this is on a deck boat, it decreases the size of the rear deck, giving owners less room to relax. The other design is called an inboard/outboard (I/O) or stern drive. Here, the engine is hidden from view, allowing the rear deck to be larger. This also provides more protection for towed motorsports as the engine will not interfere with those entering or exiting the water.

For these reasons, stern drive deck boats tend to have a higher resale value than outboard deck boats. Still, many boaters prefer the outboard design, possibly due to their lower price, and some sources report that outboard sales are pushing the market. Aside from design, different engines are also available, offering a range of power and speed. Overall, boaters will have multiple options in terms of power and design, and can find a boat that suits all of their needs and desires.

Looks and Styling

What is a deck boat’s styling like? Deck boats are designed to be sporty and stylish. They wish to appeal to recreational boaters and look fast and exciting. Though not a speedboat, they often try to convey similar feelings to those looking for boats. Many also incorporate a wakeboard tower, further adding to the sporty feel. This is quite different from a pontoon boat, which looks slow and relaxing despite modernized designs. A deck boat gives people the opportunity to relax on a boat that look like it could provide some excitement as well.

How Big Is It?

What is a deck boat size? Deck boats are generally designed to be towed on a trailer. This means that they can only be 102 inches or 8.5 feet wide. Boats are designed with these limitations. In terms of length, they tend to range from 18-25 feet, though most are around 22 feet long. They weigh 2500 to 3500 pounds, making their weight on a trailer under 5000 pounds. This is within the towing capacity for most trucks or SUVs. By comparison, pontoon boats can be much larger, but that also means that they cannot be transported on a trailer.


What is a deck boat? A deck boat is the jack-of-all-trades in the boating world. It provides a large flat deck for sunbathing, relaxing, or fishing. With its V-shaped hull, it provides enough maneuverability to tow waterskiers and provide an exciting experience. With its styling, possibly including a wakeboard tower, it has a stylish, sporty look for an outdoor lifestyle. All of this is packaged in a boat that will fit on highways and is light enough to be towed by most trucks and SUVs. For this reason, a deck boat is an excellent option for private owners seeking various types of entertainment on the water.