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What Are Flat Bottomed Boats Called? – A Complete Guide

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

what are flat bottomed boats called

Whenever you go for a boat ride you’ll notice boats come with different types of shapes and colors. Have you ever seen a boat with a flat bottom? Do you know, “what are flat-bottomed boats called?”

Let’s take a moment to understand flat-bottomed boats and their different types. A flat-bottomed boat is known as a “shallow draft boat, shallow water boat, or skiff.” As its name suggests, the bottom of the boat is flat. This unique design gives it several advantages compared to regular hulls.

What is a Flat Bottom Boat?


Flat-bottomed boats come with a narrow draft and two-chinned hull design, best used in shallow waters. Though not literally flat, they are considered flat-bottom because of their minimal draft.

The flat-bottom design provides a shallow draft suitable for easy traversing and anchoring on relatively calm waters. It gives boaters better control and more space to lounge on the deck for fishing without disturbing fish.

In truth, these flat-bottom crafts can navigate in conditions with low water levels, shallow sandbars, and muddy or rocky bottoms.

Why is It Named So?


This flat bottom boat name is given because they have a complete or closed-to-flat bottom design. Unlike others, they do not have round-bottom, tri and tunnel, displacement, or V-hull.

Some flat-bottom boat designs might be tailored to have a semi-V hull, but most do not.

What Are Its Other Names?

The flat-bottomed boat is also known as a shallow draft boat, Jon boat, Dory boat, or by its other synonym, a flat-bottom skiff.

Punt is also another name for a flat bottom boat. It is a type of flat bottomed river boat with a square-cut bow design.

It’s a searchable flat-bottomed boat crossword clue derived from the fact that they usually have a shallow deadrise or a minimal draft.

A barge, canal boat, dinghy, dory, gondola, jon boat, punt, raft, and roundabout are the other common names for a flat-bottom boat. It is also known as a bateau, coastal craft, drift boat, narrowboat, riverboat, sled boat, scow, and more.

Different Types of Flat-bottomed Boats


Here are a few selections from a long list of boat types you should not miss.

  • Pontoon boats- A pontoon boat is the most common type of flat bottomed boat ideal for various purposes. It is easy to remember with its 7 letters name.
  • Barges – These vessels are used in canals, rivers, islands to the island, and inland water channels. They ferry cargo and freight in shorter trips and may be pushed or pulled by tug boats.
  • Canal boats – These are wider narrowboats ideal in very shallow canals and rivers. A small one called a Gondola and a large flat-bottomed boat called a “Canal boat” ferries passengers aside from cargo.
  • Canoes- Canoes have different designs, pointed bows, and wide hulls. They’re made of wood, aluminum, or fiberglass and used for fishing and recreation.
  • Dory boats – Dories are flat-bottomed rowing boats made of wood without a keel. These are some skiffs capable of carrying heavy loads.
  • Flat-bottomed dinghies and roundabouts – A small flat bottomed boat known as a dinghy or roundabout features with semi-V-shaped hulls ideal in both shallow and deep waters.
  • Jon boats – This is a popular flat bottom fishing boat constructed of aluminum with a pointed bow and wide flat hull.

What Are Small Flat-bottomed Boats Used for?

Small flat-bottomed boats are the best watercraft boaters utilize for fishing, utility, sport, and recreational activities.

They are traditionally the best all-around watercraft for hunting, and a lot more even in oceans when modified or following certain safety conditions.


We hope to help you understand what are flat bottomed boats called and why they are called that way. They are perfect for navigating shallow waters and for various leisure and recreational trips.

So, if you’re looking for an ideal boat to explore the waters, don’t forget to check out a flat-bottomed boat. Use this review to know your best option before setting up fun-filled boating.

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