Common types of boats & Top 10 Places to rent them along the Emerald Coast!


From bass anglers to wave riders, folks whose leisure time includes a body of water have an armada of boats from which to choose. If you’re considering the purchase of a watercraft, the type of boat you select should be driven by its intended use – and, of course, your idea of fun. Have a passion for watersports? Maybe you’re looking to cruise around leisurely? Are you hooked on fishing or is sailing more your speed?

Generally, watercraft are divided into these 3 categories:

  • Cruising: Geared to those looking to spend time relaxing or entertaining on the water. Some models offer room and features sufficient for a day cruise; others feature cabins and amenities for an overnight stay.
  • Fishing: Open cockpits in the rear – or stern – allow for more front – or bow – deck space to make it easier to fish. While smaller vessels don’t have much room for seating, larger craft may include cabins for overnight trips.
  • Watersports: Specifically designed to accommodate water skiers and wake boarders, these boats have towing capabilities and offer a faster, more thrilling ride.

Once you decide what you want from a boat, understand that the price will be based on the size, model and brand – and that options can be overwhelming. Begin your research by getting to know the different types of boats below and their uses:

Types of cruising boats

Bowrider Boats: A type of runabout with a seating area in the bow, a V-hull, and typically used for day cruising. Riders tend to enjoy sitting in the bow because of the nice breeze it offers. With swim platforms off the stern, bowriders also allow for skiing. Size: 16-35 feet

Pontoon Boats: Considered the most popular boats in the world, these multi-hull craft rely on pontoons, which resemble large tubes, to float. They’re comfortable because of their wide decks and couch-like seating. And while primarily used for leisure trips, pontoons with large and powerful engines can be used to pull skiers. Size: 16-30 feet

Sailboats: These vessels are partly or entirely set in motion by the wind. There are a large variety of sailboats, which are distinguished by size, hull configuration, keel type, amount of sails and purpose. Size: 7-70 feet

Trawler Boats: Recreational trawlers are well suited for longer trips. These boats have a displacement hull, which makes them fuel-efficient as they use less horsepower, and they are spacious enough to accommodate sleeping and cooking. Size: 26-50 feet

Cabin Cruiser Boats: These powerboats often have such amenities as a galley, bathroom and a sleeping area. Depending on size and engine configuration – inboard or outboard – cruisers are typically capable of handling choppy waters. Larger, inboard models require a greater level of skill to pilot. Size: 24-75 feet

Types of fishing boats

Bass Boats: These boats’ low profiles and V-hulls allow for better access to shallow water. They’re best known for angling bass and can typically accommodate 3 people. Size: 16-26 feet

Center Console Boats: Named because of the central location of their steering console, these single-deck, open hull freshwater and saltwater boats can typically handle rougher offshore waters. They’re well-suited for those looking to catch ocean fish. Size: 18-48 feet

Sport-fishing Boats: Larger vessels geared for those who go after bigger fish. Sport-fishing boats are spacious enough to provide amenities for extended trips. Size: 38-100 feet

Aluminum Fishing Boats: Smaller boats featuring riveted or welded aluminum hulls are primarily used for freshwater fishing. These simply-designed, lightweight vessels are well-suited for shallow water and inlets, and can fit in places other boats cannot. Size: 8-24 feet

Walkaround Boats: Best for family fishing experiences, walkarounds feature stowaway seating, rod holders and steps to access the forward deck. Like center console boats, they have open hulls and full-length decks, as well as cabins for longer trips. They are most used in coastal waters and larger bays. Size: 18-28 feet

Types of watersports boats

Fish & Ski Boats: Designed for fishing and watersports, fish and ski boats offer the best of both worlds and are ideal for families that enjoy watersports. Most feature a sunpad area that can convert into a fishing platform. Size: 16-22 feet

Ski Boats: For the waterski enthusiasts, these motorboats are made to tow 1 or more water skiers and feature powerful engines. Size: 18-28 feet

Wakeboard Boats: The design and features of wakeboard boats enable them to create large wakes that a wakeboarder can jump from side to side – often doing aerial tricks. Known as V-drive boats, wakeboard boats have their engines placed backwards in the bow of the craft, which creates a larger wake. Size: 18-28 feet

Jet Boats: Similar to bowriders, jet boats have spacious seating areas in the front, as well as seating in the back. Known for maneuverability, they can be used for a relaxing cruise or a speedy ride. Size: 14-26 feet

Personal Watercraft: Also known as PWCs, these craft are designed for those with a passion for watersports, such as tubing and waterskiing. PWCs usually have planing hulls, allowing them to move more rapidly on the water. Typically more affordable than a boat, some PWC models are designed to carry up to 3 riders. Size: 8-13 feet

Top 10 Places to rent along the Emerald Coast.

Adventure Marina, Bait, Fuel & Watersports
1201B U.S. Highway 98 Ft. Walton Beach , FL 32548
Adventure Marina is a full-service marina located on the Intracoastal Waterway at the foot of the Brooks Bridge on Okaloosa Island. Offering four-six- and-eight-hour pontoon rentals, deep-sea fishing charters, bait and tackle shop and fuel dock.

Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center
8974 Tomahawk Landing Road Milton , FL 32570
Discover the fun of outdoor adventure in Northwest Florida with Adventures Unlimited, offering canoeing, kayaking, tubing and zip adventures. Soar through the air and get a bird’s-eye view of the forest, beaches and river below.

Aloha Pontoon Watersports
194 Harbor Boulevard E Destin , FL 32541
Enjoy the beautiful Emerald Coast waters with affordable Jet Ski rentals, pontoon boat rentals, fishing charters, dolphin tours and parasailing adventures. Never Jet Skied before? If you are under 22, they offer a boater’s certification class so you may enjoy the waters.

Banana Boat Rides
314 Harbor Boulevard Destin , FL 32541
Grab your group and head down to the Destin Harbor and take a Banana Boat ride around Destin’s beautiful waterways. Up to six guests can ride at once. A photo package is available for action shots.

Bay Paddle Sports
Destin , FL 32541
Have fun on the bay or the shoreline.  Let Bay Paddle Sports provide you a way to escape the crowd or join one with a kayak or paddleboard adventure.  We also offer eco-tours where you’ll enjoy viewing our local wildlife.  We can even help you hold a birthday party!  We deliver our rentals right to you on the beach or at one of our many convenient drop-off locations.

Blackwater Canoe Rental
6974 Deaton Bridge Road Milton , FL 32583
Come experience the Blackwater River, the only pristine sand river left in the United States. Blackwater Canoe Rental is open year-round for your canoeing, tubing and kayaking pleasure, offering complete round-trip service.

Blue Crab Watersports
404 Harbor Boulevard Destin , FL 32541
Stop dreaming and start enjoying! Blue Crab Watersports rents pontoon boats, waverunners, kayaks and paddleboards. The company’s Yamaha VX Deluxe Waverunners carry up to three passengers. Their 24-foot pontoon boats seat up to twelve. Full and half day rates are available. Blue Crab is located behind Marina Cafe, offering easy access to Crab Island, Destin Harbor and beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay.

Blue Heron Watersports
200 Harbor Boulevard Destin , FL 32541
Blue Heron is proud to rent all NEW 90 horsepower pontoon boats, waverunners, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. Its location on the Destin Harbor gives you easy access to all of the beautiful waterways of Destin and Ft. Walton Beach. The flat water of the Destin Harbor, the open water of the Choctawhatchee Bay, and the world-famous Crab Island are yours to explore when you rent from Blue Heron.

Bob’s Canoes
7525 Munson Highway Milton , FL 32583
Canoes, kayaks, and tubes are available for rent from Bob’s Canoes, offering complete round-trip transportation service. Group discounts are available. Open March through September. Call for reservations.

Boogies Watersports
16 Harbor Boulevard Destin , FL 32541
Located at HarborWalk Village, Boogies Watersports offers waverunners, pontoon boats, dolphin excursions on wave runners and parasailing. The company also offers a two-hour narrated glass-bottom boat dolphin cruise with dolphin encounters and bird feeding. Call for trip times.

Click here to read more about boating along the Emerald Coast! Some general information was taken from http://www.inthenation.com/types-of-boats/

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