What is a Deck Boat & What Does it Look Like?

what is a deck boat

What is a deck boat? Well, it sounds simple and it may even sound naughty to some. It is oftentimes compared to similarly sized (and similarly priced) boats such as pontoon boats and bowriders. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this practical and economic vessel.

In this guide, we will bring out the fun and entertainment in deck boats and tell you everything you need to know about this boat, bit by bit. If you are ready to jump in and learn more about one of the most popular entry-level boat models in the market today, then keep reading!

Deck Boats Explained in Detail


In terms of measurement and dimensions, the most relevant figure would be the deck boat length. Despite the differences in other aspects, it is the length that would dictate deck space, style and layout, and necessary materials (such as fiberglass and aluminum) to ensure that the stable platform is as sturdy as it is entertaining.

From point to point, a typical deck boat can have a length within the range of 18 to 24 feet, with some going as low as 16 feet and others going as long as 28 feet.

Stern and Hull

The rear area and the hull (the body of the deck boat) follow a distinct curvature that is sort of a hybrid between the more common boats such as bowriders and the more affordable and simple options such as pontoons (or pontoon boats).

In other words, you can expect a boating vessel such as a deck boat to be slightly narrower than pontoons or pontoon boats but wider than bowriders.


Weight is an important factor to consider and is affected by the materials used (such as aluminum and fiberglass), the components attached (such as the main motor and seats), and the deck boat accessories and add-ons (such as extra storage compartments or fishing gear and equipment). All of these contribute to the load of the boat.

The greater the load of the boat, the higher the chance that the boat would tend to run at slower speeds, especially if the deck boat is only powered by low horsepower motors.

On average, deck boats weigh around 3,100 pounds while the other components and equipment will tend to increase the boat's weight by a third, resulting in roughly 1,000 more pounds (4,1000 pounds total).

Engine, Horsepower, and Speed

In terms of gliding through the water, you can expect as much as you would out of this vessel as you would out of a pontoon.

Expect this vessel to be fitted with a 150 - 300 horsepower motor, which is fast and powerful enough for casual activities such as water sports and fishing.

Seating Space

As a passenger, do not worry about room or space when it comes to seating and roaming around. These boats are shaped the way they are in part to contribute to better placement of seats without compromising water maneuverability and speed.

The same thing could also be said about pontoon boats and bowriders in terms of space, speed, and capability in the water.


Compared to a pontoon boat, deck boats are better in terms of handling in a traditional sense. If the boat pilot is more experienced with traditional fishing boats, then deck boats should be right up his alley.

Versatility and Function

Taking a ride on a deck boat is fun, entertaining, and cost-efficient. The speed of a deck boat may not be as powerful as others, but people who tend to spend time in vessels such as this would prefer to party in lakes or rivers where the waters are calmer and more predictable.

Aside from hosting events and social gatherings in style, a deck boat is also good for water sports and fishing and is considered to be marginally better than a pontoon boat because of slightly better space management and speeds in the smaller bodies of water.

However, if you are looking for a more high-performing ride that is as entertaining as it is fast in terms of speed, then keep in mind that other boats may be better.

Price Range

Deck boats are considered to be entry-level options in the boating market. Compared to a pontoon boat, however, a deck boat may have higher prices.

Expect a brand new deck boat to be within the range of $20,000 to $50,000.

What Does a Deck Boat Look Like?

what does a deck boat look like

The typical shape of vessels under this category is v-shaped, but not as sharp and narrow as bowriders (but also not as wide and flat as a pontoon).

To visualize a vessel such as this, think of the midway point between a pontoon and a bowrider.

What are Deck Boats Made of?

From modern-day water sports deck boats to the more traditional and casual deck boats, both fiberglass and aluminum are utilized to create a great balance between durability and mass.

Advantages of Deck Boats

  • Great handling and docking capabilities
  • Sportier and more stylish design and layout
  • Better acceleration

Disadvantages of Deck Boats

  • Typically costs more to purchase and maintain than a pontoon
  • Less powerful than other boats within the same price range
  • Not as agile and aerodynamic as a bowrider

What are Deck Boats Used for?

  • Fishing
  • Watersports (Wakeboarding and Waterskiing)
  • Social Events/Gatherings
  • Outings
  • Daytrips
  • Traveling Across Small Bodies of Water

Best Deck Boat Brands and Manufacturers

There are a lot of good deck boat brands and manufacturers in the market these days, but if you are looking for a tested and proven brand that has received numerous reviews both in terms of boat performance and aftersales services, take a look at our suggestions below:


Tahoe deck boats are one of the most prolific deck boat manufacturers in the market. The company is known for prioritizing spaciousness and proper outboard motor engine placement without sacrificing overall performance in terms of sport boat performance and casual fishing expeditions.

The warranty offered by Tahoe deck boats covers the hull, the transom, and interior stringers for up to 5 years, with components being covered for 1 year.


Bayliner is one of the few well-marketed deck boat manufacturers and sports the tagline "More seating. More fun." The brand truly emphasizes the freedom and experiences with friends and family that you get to bring home and carry with you for several years to come.

Bayliner's boats are categorized into cruising, fishing, and water sports, so there is plenty of room for different activities and purposes on a Bayliner ride.


With a wide deck boat range from 18 feet to 28 feet, expect a lot of fun and versatility with NauticStar's line of deck boats. Known for outboard motor engine power, maneuverability, and agility, a ride on a NauticStar deck boat, pontoon boat, or any of the other boat types will leave you wanting for more awesome trips on lakes.

NauticStar is also one of the few deck boat companies that are producing hybrid models, so if you want to consider environmentally-friendly electric engines, then you might want to check out NauticStar's boat line-up.


Starcraft's deck boats are pretty unique in that the models feature a more innovative design and longer, more spacious running surface, hull, and outboard motor engine capabilities. Considered to be one of the leading producers of pontoons and deck boats, this brand is definitely something you should highly consider, especially if you are looking for maximum features and maximum optimization of storage capacity, among other factors.

The brand's mission is focused on family values and emphasizes design, strategy, marketing, and engineering around those core values. Starcraft's thrust on families has definitely led them to the upper echelons of the deck boat and pontoon boat party, so if you are ready to take the next step with a bit of flexibility when it comes to prices, consider building and buying a Starcraft model.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a deck boat and a pontoon boat?

A deck boat has a v-type body while a pontoon observes a u-shaped format.

What is the purpose of a deck boat?

A deckboat has several functions, including casual trips in small bodies of water, fishing, and watersports.

Are deck boats good?

Deckboats are definitely worth considering if you are looking for an entry-level vessel that has a familiar design and style.

How much do deck boats cost?

Deckboats can range from $20,000 to $60,000 when bought brand new, but some can as gow as low as $15,000, depending on the manufacturer and length.

What does a deck boat look like compared to pontoon boats and bow riders?

Deckboats are the in-between of pontoons and bowriders. If you want the best of both worlds, go with a deckboat.


Hopefully, we have provided you with an in-depth explanation of this unique and presentable entry-level vessel. The next time someone asks you, "what is a deck boat?" you will definitely be able to provide that person with the information required.

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