What Is A Deck Boat? Everything You Need To Know

Deck boats are vessels that come with large decks with a lot of space. The bow of a deck boat is designed bigger than many other different boats. This characteristic makes deck boats spacious enough to have plenty of seating room and an open area. 

In comparison, you can say that a deck boat is somewhat similar to a bowrider boat that has been further stretched out. When people usually talk about a party barge, they are probably referring to a deck boat.

The best thing about deck boats is that they offer a mixture of power, performance, and comfort on the water at the same time. This helps you enjoy both worlds simultaneously. In this article, we are going to learn a great deal of information about deck boats.

Here’s a picture of a deck boat (boat on the left) vs. a speed boat (boat on the right). Notice the difference in the bow and how it is shaped as long with the extra space provided by a deck boat in the bow.

Photo credit: bayliner.com

What Are Deck Boats Good For?

Deck boats come with various applications, and they are not restricted to certain purposes. Instead, deck boats are designed to be multipurpose. Normally, when someone purchases a deck boat, they probably need it for fishing, entertaining, recreational sports, or some combination of all of the three fields mentioned. Let us review these three applications one by one. 


Since deck boats come with a lot of free space, you can easily use them for your big fishing excursions with your friends. The wide space of deck boats can accommodate all of your friends, their fishing equipment, the bait, as well as everything you catch during your excursion. It is a good approach for some people to append a trolling motor to their deck boat to achieve maximum fishing capabilities.

Despite all of these, keep in mind that deck boats are not designed for deep sea fishing; therefore, you should find other solutions if you tend to plan legendary trips that take you very far from the shore. Instead of that, deck boats are the best options to go fishing in the smaller bodies of water. 

Recreational Water Sports

If you, your family, and your friends are particularly in love with water sports, then you need to dedicate a good portion of your budget to the motor once you want to purchase a deck boat.

You should not judge deck boats based on their sizes, as these are powerful boats with versatile capabilities. If you get a large deck boat, you will certainly need to have a larger engine to match the size. On the other hand, purchasing a smaller deck boat can give you a wider range of options available. In some cases, you may like to purchase a deck boat that is equipped with a tower or even a ballast system. 


Deck boats are great options for those who look for a cruiser as they have enough space for all of their friends. Since deck boats are highly customizable, you can tailor them effectively to match the exact type of entertaining you like to do. The good news is that deck boats are built for social lifestyles, so feel free to bring lots of coolers and cup holders to help your guests enjoy the most. 

Advantages of Deck Boats

Deck boats usually come with numerous advantages, including their big size, fast speed, and versatility. 


This is certainly the most essential benefit of deck boats. Most of them usually have decks that are 19 to 26 feet long. A general rule of thumb states that deck boats can accommodate an average of 12 people, and still there is enough space for everyone. 

In other words, there is enough space for your family and friends, even if you are planning to have many activities on the water. Whether you tend to go fishing or manage some water sports gear, your deck boats have enough room for it. Also, the seats are arranged forward in deck boats, offering everyone a similar view as they cruise along the seawater. 


Deck boats are not only big but also surprisingly fast. They have been designed in a way that you can satisfy your need for speed, especially if you install a big motor on them. The fast speed is best for those who tend to enjoy water sports, fast cruises, or anything else that requires excitement. The good news is that there are versatile motors on the market, so you can feel free to choose the one that best fits your needs. 


Deck boats are useful for many purposes, as it was mentioned earlier. People adore deck boats for the versatility they offer.

Deck boats are big and comfortable for relaxing evening cruises. Also, they are best for fishing outings because of their wide space and storage. What’s more, deck boats are exciting for various water sports. Therefore, deck boats are probably among the best choices for a family or individual who wants to have everything in one package. 

Great Handling

Deck boats offer great handling, thanks to the V-shaped hull they have. You can smoothly steer the boat no matter how fast it is going. If cruising along with your family and friends is your preference, then deck boats are for you. 

Disadvantages of Deck Boats

Despite all the benefits of deck boats, there are some factors you have to keep in mind before purchasing a deck boat. A brief list containing the disadvantages of deck boats can include the following items:

  • Deck boats are not well designed for big water or heavy seas.
  • Deck boats are not suitable for lengthy trips.
  • The fuel consumption efficiency of deck boats is not high.
  • There is no cabin in deck boats. Then you have no specific shelter in bad weather when you are far away from home. 
  • Deck boats are relatively expensive, though the prices are dependent upon the model and optional packages of the boat. 

How much does a deck boat cost?

Deck boats cost around $30,000 to $80,000 to buy new, which is actually relatively cheap if compared to other types of boats such as ski boats, bass boats, and pontoon boats. You can save a little bit of money buying used, but it may be harder to find a used deck boat than other types of boats.

Deck boats are a bit rare on the local used market, so you may have to go to a dealer to buy one used. This means you will be paying their premium.

Deck Boats vs. Pontoon Boats

Deck boats are most of the time compared with pontoon boats. That is because the two boats have almost similar sizes, deck spaces, and great seating options. Despite that, there are some key differences between them too. 


In the case of space, pontoon boats usually have wider floor space. Then, there is more room on pontoon boats to walk around. Despite that, deck boats can compete with pontoon boats in the field of seating and storage space. Pontoon boats are designed with lounging in mind, while deck boats are better options for cruising around and attending water-related activities and sports. 

Both deck boats and pontoon boats offer smooth rides and are comfortable at any speed. Both of them can accelerate roughly quickly, even with the minimum amount of bow rise. Despite these similarities, deck boats are generally a little more powerful and agile. That is so impressive, considering the fact that deck boats do not sacrifice much space, comfort, speed, and grace. 

Both deck boats and pontoon boats are easy to maneuver. Although it may take some time for you to get to know the boat completely, the learning process is not as difficult as it is for some other boat types. These boats are expected to dock with ease and give you decent visibility from the captain’s seating position. 


The biggest difference between pontoon boats and deck boats is obviously what the name “pontoon” implies; pontoon boats are built on a pair of pontoons. On the other hand, deck boats are built using a more traditional fiberglass hull. Because of these noticeable differences in design, the riding itself becomes different in deck boats versus pontoon boats, especially in the two following ways:

  • Deck boats can re-enter the water more softly after being hoisted by wakes and waves. That is because deck boats offer a more conventional boat hull that angles down toward a point. The result is a smoother ride and more responsive performance compared with pontoon boats, even when the water is a little rough. 
  • Deck boats can offer a drier ride from boat spray while underway because they can cut through the water smoothly. Deck boats come with a hull that can diverge water away from the vessel, hence helping the passengers remain drier compared with pontoon boats. 

Deck Boats vs. Speedboats

As the name suggests, speedboats have been designed specifically for high speed. That is why the front end of speedboats is normally somewhat narrower to decrease drag.

On the other hand, the front end of a deck boat is designed to be wider, giving the boat a relatively square shape. This eventually reduces the maximum speed of the boat as well as its handling capabilities but helps it provide a lot more room for people.  

Deck boats offer lower accelerations, handling, and thrilling speeds compared with speedboats. Instead, they offer higher standards in terms of convenience, comfort, and versatility. 

Top Deck Boat Brands

If you have ever been thinking about purchasing a deck boat, you certainly need to know the best deck boat manufacturers currently on the market. Some of the most famous brands active in this field are:

  • Bayliner: Known mostly for their reliability. 
  • Boston Whaler: offering a wide variety of models. Known for being extremely reliable and safe.
  • Chaparral: Offering flashiest deck boats, though having elevated price tags. 
  • Princecraft: Manufacturer of solid, middle-of-the-pack deck boats. 
  • Regal: Known for fast, agile deck boats that are usually not very big. 

Final Words

If you are planning to purchase an economical boat for your family and friends, a deck boat under 21 feet is a good entry-level boat for you. The popularity and versatility that deck boats offer make them easy to sell once you are ready to head for another boat type or a different size. 

If your regular boating activities mostly consist of social events and you would like to carry up to ten or twelve people every time, deck boats can be great options for you. The good thing about them is that you can order options to customize your deck boats to your personal preferences.