Boat Types (A Complete List of Boats and Their Types)

Unlike a ship, which is designed for offshore and open water navigation, boats are mainly used near the shore or on inland waterways such as rivers and lakes. It’s important to know that while ships can carry larger quantities of goods than small boats, they’re also much more expensive.

A boat is a watercraft that is small enough to be carried aboard a ship. So, what’s the difference between a boat and a ship? Well, it all depends on the size. A boat is a smaller watercraft, meant for travel on coastal or inland waterways.

Boats are used for recreation activities like angling, boat racing, and cruising. They can be propelled by oars, paddles, sails, and motor engines. And the ship is a big watercraft designed for travel on oceans and seas. It’s commonly used to transport passengers or cargo.

Types of Boats

There are many different types of boats, and it’s impossible to list all the types. But we’ll try to mention the most significant boat types.

Fishing boat – a boat designed for catching fish, crabs, and other seafood. It has a number of fishing rods and it has a small boat, a boathouse for storage.

small fishing boat
Small fishing boat

Speed boat – a boat designed to transport people or cargoes at high speeds. These boats have powerful engines and fuel tanks for longer trips.

Yacht – a boat designed for cruising, racing, and boat racing. It has a large boathouse, fuel tank, and one or more boat engines.


Tug boat – a boat used to assist navigation in harbors, marinas, and harbors. It has boat rigging ropes and a boat propulsion system.

Tug boat

Raft boat – a boat made of logs, usually used for boat racing or boat transportation.

Trawler boat – a boat designed to catch fish using fishing lines and nets. These boats come with boat winches for hauling.

Pontoon boat – a boat that is boat-shaped, with floor attached to floats. These boat types usually resemble a boat tube and they’re used to transport people or cargo.

Pontoon boat
Pontoon boat

Houseboat – a boat designed for living and recreation. It’s a boat that’s shaped like a boathouse, with a floor attached to floats.

Ferry boat – a boat designed to transport people, cargo, and vehicles across rivers and lakes. It’s usually equipped with an engine and fuel tank.

Inflatable boat – a boat that can be easily deflated and hauled in a storage area. It’s used by the military, police, rescue, and racing.

Lifeboat – boat used to save lives at sea, usually during boat accidents. It has a fuel tank and engine.


Cabin boat – a boat designed to transport people or cargo. It has a boat propulsion system, fuel tank, and engine.

Rowing boat – a boat that moves with the help of boat oars. It’s usually equipped with a fuel tank and engine.

Catamaran boat – comes with two parallel hulls of equal size.

Riverboat – a boat designed for transportation on rivers and harbors.

Barge boat – a boat designed to transport people or cargo.

Barge boat
Barge boat

Sailboat – boat propelled by sails.


Dinghy boat – boat propelled by oars.

Deck boat – the boat that has an open deck for carrying people or cargo.

Passenger boat – a boat designed to transport people.

Bowrider boat – boat with cabin located in front. One type of leisure boat.

Commercial boat – a boat designed for commercial fishing, transportation of cargo or passengers.

Canoe boat – boat propelled by paddles.

Game boats – boats used for fishing and boat tournaments.

Powerboat – boat propelled by an engine.

Motorboat – boat propelled by a motor.

Float boat – a boat made of hollow logs or other floats. It’s usually used for racing.

Yacht boat – boat for racing, cruising, and fishing.

Punt boat – boat with a flat bottom, used on river or lakes. It’s usually propelled by boat oars or boat motors.

Console boat – boat with console and steering wheel.

Runabout boat – a boat built especially for speed boat racing. They’re equipped with an engine, fuel tank, and transmission system.

Personal Watercraft or PWC boat – a boat designed for water recreation, with engine and propeller.

Personal Watercraft
Personal Watercraft

Bottom Line

There are many types of boats out there, and they all serve their own purposes. For instance, sailboats use the wind to move themselves along while motorboats rely on an engine for propulsion. If you’re interested in learning more about boat types, we encourage you to explore this website. It contains boat types, boat models, and boat photos.

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