What is a Deck Boat?
For those looking to upgrade their boating game by getting the passenger capacity of a pontoon boat with the maneuverability of a bowrider, a deck boat might be for you. This guide will give you a detailed look at the many benefits of the deck boat design.
Deck Boat vs Bowrider
Deck boats employ a unique hull design, which gives them a wide bow allowing for more deck space and ample seating. In contrast, a bowrider has a more pointed bow design, which limits seating and storage capacity. A bowrider will need added length to get the same interior space of a comparable deck boat.
Boat Hull Shapes
While a bowrider’s hull is characterized by a deep V design for exceptional handling, deck boats accomplish their wide decks by using either a flared bow or a three-hull bow design adding stability and lift to the front section, before coming together into a deep V towards the stern. This difference in the hull shapes result in bowriders winning in performance, but deck boats are able to easily carry more gear and passengers.
The interior of a deck boat can be configured to almost any activity. Many manufacturers produce a range of boats with layouts tailored to lounging, fishing, water sports or entertaining. The hull design provides exceptional versatility and regardless of how you want to use your boat, there is a deck boat that is perfect for you.
Deck boats can be powered by either an outboard or an inboard/outboard engine. The outboard is generally less expensive, provides excellent maneuverability, lower weight and is easy to maintain. An inboard/outboard engine is housed within the hull of the boat with only a sterndrive off the back of the hull. While this adds a little complexity, weight and takes up some of the storage capacity of the hull, it provides a clean stern deck for lounging or swimming and gives the captain uninterrupted views around the boat for watching guests in the water or for tow sports.
Deck Boat vs Pontoon
Deck boats and pontoons excel in carrying capacity, but the differences in hull design mean that they have very different handling characteristics.
Side-by-side a deck boat and pontoon boat with the same engine will perform similarly when it comes to speed. The deck boat will have slightly more resistance with more hull in the water. However, a deck boat will carve into turns much easier than a pontoon which gives the deck boat the advantage. Pontoons, on the other hand, can accommodate twin engines, adding to the speed of the boat, but also adding cost and complexity.
Boat Size and Capacity
The stability of the pontoon platform makes it exceptional for lots of seating options and the weight carrying capacity is unmatched. Pontoons range from 18- to 28-feet with a passenger capacity of as many as 18 people, while deck boats can range from 18-to 26-feet with a maximum of 14 passengers.
Boat Hull Types
Pontoons are relatively lightweight allowing for a lower horsepower engine to push a much longer vessel. However, any storage space for gear must be built into the seating area as the is no interior hull space to take advantage of. Deck boats can have storage in the seats and in the floor, providing plenty of room for tubes, skis and fishing rods.
Boating Activities with a Deck Boat
With almost unlimited versatility, there’s no end to the adventures you can have in a deck boat.
The high, wide bow of a deck boat provides excellent buoyancy and makes for a dry ride. This design is perfect for near-shore ocean boating and can take you in comfort to your favorite beach or sandbar. Ample lounge seating then gives you and your family plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy your time on the water.
For the water sports enthusiast, deck boats are perfect for towing. Sports boat models can be purchased with tow bars, and easy to use boarding ladders and can come equipped with rear facing seating for a spotter to sit and watch water skiers or tubers without having to turn around.
The exceptional storage space and wide decks of a deck boat give anglers plenty of room for rods and tackle, as well as places to cast without getting in the way of other anglers. Fishing boat models also can be selected with bow seating for added flexibility.
Hurricane Deck Boat Types
The original innovator in the deck boat design is Hurricane Boats. Over the years the brand has established a few core boat models that each are designed for a unique purpose.
The SunDeck is built on a spacious design with versatile performance. With oversized doors, the easy to access and spacious in-deck cargo space found on a SunDeck ensures you’re ready for anything with room for additional life jackets, water toys, fishing gear and more.
Offering shallow draft versatility and deck boat stability, the FunDeck has an open floor plan delivering more space for entertaining. The FunDeck has the space and entertainment capabilities of a pontoon with the incredible performance of an industry-leading deck boat hull.
The Center Console deck boat has centralized control combined with expansive seating for unparalleled versatility. The refined, wide-beam deck boat is ideal for fishing enthusiasts looking for deck boat performance.