types of boats

The Different Types of Boats and Their Uses

VWB Blog 1 year ago 18

Looking to get out on the water and enjoy yourself? You’re not alone. Every year over 87 million people go boating, and that’s just in the U.S.

Whether you’re looking to rent a boat for an event, buy one for long-term use, or simply want to increase your knowledge, knowing the types of boats available to you will be beneficial.

If you’re not sure what type of boat you need, keep reading, our guide will get you started.

Kinds of Boats

There are three main categories of boats:

  1. Unpowered or human-powered
  2. Sailboats
  3. Engine-powered boats

Unpowered or human-powered boats include rafts and kayaks. These boats utilize human power to move through the water.

Sailboats navigate via the power of the wind, using a sail. Since wind is unreliable, most modern sailboats also have an engine.

Engine-powered boats, or motorboats, have an internal combustion engine. Often they have more than one engine.

Examples of the Different Types of Boats

Let’s look at a few examples of human-powered or unpowered boats. Canoes and kayaks are two common types of unpowered boats.

While many people think they are the same, canoes and kayaks, have a few key differences. Kayaks are smaller than canoes. They are designed to only fit one person, sitting down.

This is due to kayaks being mainly used for whitewater kayaking. The closed body of a kayak helps prevent water from getting into the boat.

However, in recent years more and more types of kayaks have come out. Some of these include inflatable kayaks and tandem kayaks, like the ones available at

Canoes are long, narrow, open-top boats. Like kayaks, they are human-powered, using a paddle.

Canoes have been around for thousands of years. The oldest canoe in existence is estimated to be 10,000 years old!

Sailboats use a sail to navigate via the wind but often have a motor for backup power. Most sailboats are small and designed for only one or two people. However, sometimes sailboats can also be yachts.

A yacht is larger. Aside from sails, other types of yachts are often solely powered by engines. The latter is a type of motorboat.

Motorboats have at least one engine powering them, but many have more than one. They may be inboard engines (part of the boat’s construction) or outboard engines (hanging off of the back of the boat).

Motorboats may also be called powerboats. Motorboats are extremely popular and are used for everything from racing to fishing to even full-time living (houseboats).

Know Your Boats

There are many, many types of boats, each with its own purpose. If you’re looking to buy or rent a boat, it helps to know which boat types are best for which activities. That way, you can get the most bang for your buck and safely enjoy your outing on the water.

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