What is a Deck Boat? A Complete Guide to Deck Boats

Published July 8th, 2021 by Bernardo

Updated: April 3, 2024

What You’ll Learn

As you read this blog post about deck boats, you’ll learn:

  • These boats are designed to provide maximum space for fishing, entertaining, water sports, and other activities.
  • The additional space comes from an expanded bow section.
  • Deck boats have many advantages, but it’s best to weigh all of the pros and cons of different types of boats before you buy one.

What is a Deck Boat?

As the name implies, deck boats are vessels that have been designed with large decks. The bow is bigger than it would be on many other different types of boats, and this additional space makes room for plenty of seating and an open floor area. If you want to put it very simply, you might say that a deck boat is somewhat like a bowrider boat that has been stretched out.

If you’ve heard a friend talking about their new “party barge,” there’s a good chance they’re referring to a deck boat. These boats are known for offering great blends of power, performance, and comfort on the water. Many people might say this makes them the best of all possible worlds. Before deciding if a deck boat is right for you, it helps to consider all of the benefits these vessels offer.

Benefits of Deck Boats

The first thing to know about deck boats is that they’re big. Most of them have decks that are about 19 to 26 feet long, though there’s certainly some wiggle room. That means there’s plenty of room for your family and friends, even if you want to enjoy multiple different activities on the water. From people to fishing poles to water sports gear, your boat will have room for it.

The next great thing about deck boats is that they’re nice and fast, especially for their size. The design of these boats means that you’ll be able to satisfy your need for speed, especially if you add a large enough motor. This is great for people who want to enjoy water sports, fast cruises, or anything else that requires some get up and go. You have many choices when it comes to motors, so just make sure you get one that meets your needs.

Finally, people adore deck boats because they’re so versatile. They’re big and comfortable enough for relaxing evening cruises. They have enough deck space and storage to make themselves useful for fishing outings. They even have enough oomph to make water sports a real possibility. For a family or individual wanting a little bit of everything, a deck boat might be the best possible choice.

What Is the Purpose of a Deck Boat?

Since these boats are so versatile, they’re not necessarily restricted to one specific purpose. Instead, a deck boat is something like a jack of all trades. Normally when someone decides to buy a deck boat, it’s for fishing, entertaining, recreational water sports, or some combination of those three things.

Recreational Water Sports with Deck Boats

Don’t let the size fool you; a lot of these boats can move. If you get one of the larger deck boats, you’ll need a larger engine to match the size. If you have a smaller deck boat, you have a broader range of options. In either case, it’s probably worth dedicating a good portion of your budget to the motor if you, your family, or your friends are particularly interested in water sports. You may also want to look into getting a deck boat that’s outfitted with a tower or even a ballast system.

Fishing on A Deck Boat

Deck boats offer a great deal of space, especially appealing if you like to have big fishing excursions with all of your friends. There’s room for all of the people, their fishing gear, the bait, and whatever you catch that day. Some people like to buy trolling motors for their deck boats to maximize their fishing capabilities. Keep in mind that most deck boats weren’t designed with deep sea saltwater fishing in mind, so you may want to look elsewhere if you plan on planning legendary trips that take you far from shore. Instead, deck boats are better for fishing in the smaller bodies of water in South Florida.


If you’re looking for a cruiser with enough room for all of your friends, a deck boat is likely to be right up your alley. Deck boats are highly customizable, making it relatively easy to tailor yours to the exact type of entertaining you like to do. Want lots of coolers and cup holders to keep your guests refreshed? Go for it! These boats are built for a social lifestyle.

How Is a Deck Boat Like a Pontoon Boat?

Because of their size, ample deck space, and great seating options, deck boats are often compared to pontoon boats. Deck boats don’t typically have quite as much floor space as pontoons, so there isn’t quite as much room to walk around. Still, a deck boat can normally compete with a pontoon boat regarding seating and storage space. The seating on a pontoon is often designed with lounging in mind, while deck boats are better for cruising around and enjoying water activities.

Also, like pontoons, deck boats offer smooth rides. Both types of boats will be comfortable at every speed, and they can accelerate fairly well even with minimal bow rise. Still, deck boats generally offer a bit more power and agility, which is impressive considering they don’t sacrifice much space, comfort, speed, or grace.

The other reason these boats get compared so frequently is that they are both very easy to maneuver. It will still take some time to familiarize yourself with your vessel completely, but the learning curve isn’t as steep as many other boat types. Expect them to dock with relative ease and give you good visibility from the captain’s chair.

What Is the Difference Between a Deck Boat and a Pontoon?

Even though these boats share a lot in common, there are also some key differences when you start considering the features of deck boats versus pontoon boats. Of course, the biggest and most obvious difference is that a pontoon boat is built on a pair of pontoons, just as the name implies. The deck boat is built using a much more conventional fiberglass hull. These differences in design translate to some key differences in the ride itself, especially in the two following ways:

  • Since a deck boat has a more traditional boat hull that angles down toward a point, it’s able to offer a softer re-entry into the water after being lifted by waves and wakes. This typically translates to a smoother ride and more responsive performance even when waters are a little bit on the rougher side of things.
  • Also related to its ability to cut through the water smoothly, a deck boat typically offers a drier ride from boat spray while underway. A deck boat has a hull that can direct water out and away from the vessel and its passengers compared to a pontoon boat.

What Is the Difference Between a Deck Boat and a Speedboat?

A speedboat, as the name suggests, has been refined for speed. Therefore, the front end is normally a bit narrower to reduce drag. The front end of a deck boat is wider, which gives it more of a square shape, reducing speed and handling somewhat but leaving a lot more room for people. Compared to a speedboat, deck boats offer less in terms of acceleration, handling, and thrilling speed, but they offer much more in the way of comfort, convenience, and versatility.

Are Deck Boats Good?

The only way to decide which boat is best for you is to weigh all of your options and think about how they relate to your lifestyle. If you value deep sea fishing more than anything else, a deck boat probably isn’t right for you. On the other hand, if you value the ability to entertain guests and enjoy various activities, it’s hard to beat a deck boat.

Deck Boats for Sale in Florida

Here at Nautical Ventures Marine Superstore, we love getting out on the water in just about every way. Visit any of our Florida locations, and we’ll help you find the very best boat for your needs!

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