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Buying a new boat is a long and hard process. Knowing the type of hull you want or need, is only one step of that process. There are different types of hulls for different types of boats. Each hull has different purposes in the water and should stay in specific water types.
Keeping the proper hull in the proper waterway will ensure you and your passengers have a fun cruising or fishing trip.
5 Hull Types
First, let’s understand what a boat hull really does and what types of hulls there are to choose from. The obvious purpose is to protect you from getting wet! It’s the basic boat structure that sits in the water. These structures can greatly affect how the boat rides over waves and how comfortable your passengers are.
1. Flat-Bottom Hulls
While there aren’t many boats with truly flat-bottomed hulls, these hulls also refer to models that have practically no deadrise. In calm water these boats will have a smooth ride and glide over the top of minor waves. If you put these boats in rougher conditions or open water, you are likely to have a terrible and rather wet ride. The low profile doesn’t block the upward spray like Deep V models.
These boats do not cut into the water like the other hulls. This allows for less drag and the boat will move fast. The hull performance is dependent on the height and choppiness of the waves. When fishing, anchoring is recommended to keep your position. Flat-Bottom Hulls are not preferable for deeper water and/or high wind conditions. For the best ride and fishing outcome keep to lakes, ponds and shallow calm rivers.
2. Sharp V-Hulls
Now for the exact opposite of a flat bottom boat, is the v shaped hull. The “V” refers to the view when looking straight down the front of the boat. These hulls vary from a Shallow-V (better for shallower water) to a Deep-V.
A Deep-V hull sits further in the water for a larger draft. In deeper and open water it’s preferable to have a longer boat with a deeper “V” with higher gunwales (The upper edge of a boat’s sides). These attributes create better riding performances in larger waves and leads to a drier ride for your passengers.
This type of hull is popular for those who want to go offshore. The extreme deep V models are perfect for sportfishing or for traveling in deep waters for great distances.
Multi Hulls are also known as Tunnel Hulls or Cathedral Hulls. The name obviously gives these models away, they tend to have dual or tri-hulls, like catamarans or deck boats. The depth of these hulls can vary as can the depth of water they can travel through easily. If you are looking for light fishing or fishing with the kids, these boats can be effective. They however are not ideal for pulling larger fish do to the space, railings and size.
This category of hull also includes the ever so relaxed pontoon style boat. Instead of the generally shaped hulls, pontoon boats consist of 2 or more ‘tubes’. These tubes act as the hulls, keeping the boat afloat with a span of deck atop the tubes. Like all multi-hull boats, these boats take large turns, so be sure to stick to wide enough waterways where you can turn your vessel around easily, if needed.
The advantage of these types of hulls is that they cut the water and the hull also lifts over the waves using air pressure created within the Multiple-Hull design. Deck boats are very popular because they travel over shallow water, they offer space for groups of people and work great for trips out to the sandbars. Multi-Hull Deck Boats are not preferable for rougher waters.
4. Modified V Hulls
Modified V hull boats are the most common hull for smaller boats. These are probably the most versatile of boats. The shallower V’s provide stability in the shallow like flats boats but also allow for the boat to get out in deeper water. The extra V’s on either side of the center V allow for shallow fishing, stability and a drier ride than flats boats.
These models can hold 5+ people and can be equipped with some pretty great fishing amenities. Modified V boats can be launched in freshwater or saltwater and can be fished in the shallow or in the slightly deeper offshore waters. Even with the shallower V’s they cut through the waves much better than a flats boat.
5. Round or Displacement Hulls
Round bottom boats are great for slow cruising and light fishing. The boats offer a smooth ride but can rock back and forth easier than any other type of hull. Taking round bottom boats into rough waters or deep waters can cause the vessel to roll. The round bottom with no stabilizing chines, like the average v-hull, makes these boats more probable to flip.
Keeping these boats to inland or inshore waters should be a given. The shallow bottom and open design allow for freshwater fishing and smaller saltwater fish found close to shore or structures. Now a days the most common form of round bottom boats are smaller vessels like kayaks and canoes.
Things to Consider When Looking at Hulls
Along with the category of the hull, there are also 3 important factors when deciding on the type of hull:
The cost will be determined by how much you can afford. Look into the best hull that fits your fishing needs! If you are looking for a cheaper model to do some light fishing or maybe target a specific species like bass, then stick with a flats boat. For even cheaper flats models go for an aluminum hull and smaller size. Looking for a large more expensive boat to take out into the open seas for game fish or travel a great distance, look into the deep-v center console, dual console or models with decent cabin sizes.
For more moderately priced boat you can look into smaller center consoles with no cabin, pontoon boats, deck boats or some bow riders.
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The performance will be determined by what type of water and the conditions you will be fishing in. If you’re planning on boating across large areas of open/deep water, then you’ll want to look at a “V” shaped hull. As long as you stay closer to shore a Flat Bottom boat should work great. If you plan on Deep Sea Fishing, then you’ll want to look at boats with a Deep-V.
Remember to also consider the length of a boat hull. If you are boating on a day with heavier waves, then a longer/heavier hull will help cut through the water without lifting the boat out of the water in-between larger waves. This allows for the boat to travel faster and you’ll be able to get to your destination quicker. Our recommendation would be to research a hull longer than 21 ft. if you plan on riding your boat in the Gulf of Mexico in water deeper than 10 feet. The weather changes quickly and the waves increase dramatically once you get further outside from the islands. A longer boat breaks the top of the waves much easier and creates a drier ride. Also consider the type of Yamaha outboard motor that best fits the type of hull that you ultimately choose. Talk to a salesperson to give you more details about the effect of a motor and the horsepower of the motor and how that motor will work best for the type of boating you’ll do most frequently.
3. Space needed
The space you need will be determined by how many people you plan on bringing with you and the type of fish you intend to catch. If you would rather take larger groups out on the water, then you should consider a Deck Boat. If you plan on bass fishing or fishing lakes and rivers, smaller boats with space for 2 or 3 anglers will be sufficient. Planning on taking the family out cruising? Try a center or dual console Deep v hull so you can cruise and/or fish offshore.
Flat boats are perfect for 2-5 anglers, shallow waters to calm moderately deep lakes, freshwater fishing and normally have a cheaper price tag. Depending on the size of your Deep V model you can bring a whole party aboard or a 4-member family, travel in deep offshore water or inland waters but can be on the pricier side.
Multi-hull boats can be either more expensive or cheaper, depending on the size and uses. Bigger multi-hull boats, like pontoon, can fit upwards of 12 people, provide a stable platform for light fishing and can be taken into inland or inshore waters. Modified V hulls give the best of both worlds, they are like hybrids of Deep V, flat bottomed and multi-hulled boats. They will have a shallow V in the middle and will have wings like mini-v’s on either side of the center-v.
Smaller round bottomed vessels can be among the cheapest of boats. These models tend to fit 1, 2 or 3 people and can’t afford a lot of angling space but make for good slow-moving boats. Remember these boats can roll in even the most slightly of choppy waters, so try keeping these vessels to inland or near shore waterways.
Whether you have a lot or a little, want to go into the deep water or stay shallow or want a 2-seater or to bring the whole crew, there is the perfect boat out there for you!