Choosing The Best Type Of Boat For Yours NeedsChoose your boat with care. Get the right boat, and you’ll have plenty of enjoyment from your time on the water. Choose carelessly, and you risk being turned away from a lifetime of pleasure.
Too many craft hang forlornly on moorings, or stay parked in backyards because their owners have chosen the wrong boat – or perhaps because they’ve had a frightening experience on an early trip, and are reluctant to venture out again.
Fishing, water skiing, diving, cruising, racing – there’s no single type of boat that does everything equally well. Your choice of boat may have to be a compromise – but a careful compromise can still satisfy.
It makes sense to use the knowledge and experience of people who have already been through the process of choosing and owning a boat. Most boaties like to talk about their boats. Visit a nearby boat ramp or marina, find someone with a boat like the one you’re interested in, and simply ask: “What’s it like?�?
Chances are you’ll glean a wealth of valuable background information, hearing the good news, and maybe the bad news too. A vendor may gloss over a boat’s bad habits or on-going maintenance needs, but an owner, with the hard-won wisdom of experience, can tell you what’s in store for you.
The design of a boat’s hull determines how it will handle, how fast it will go, how steady it will be at sea.
|(A) Displacement Hull – relatively low power for size – deep round hull – cannot plane.
(B) Semi-displacement Hull – deep V shape forward and round or flat towards the stern – planes at higher speeds.
(C) Planing Hull –|
The powerful motor of a planing craft lifts the hull up and out, well ahead of the bow wave, with only a small part of the flatter after-section of the hull in contact with the water.
Deep V-section hulls cut through the water, giving a softer ride than boats with shallower hulls.
All planing hulls are designed to go fast in smooth water. They can also plane in rough conditions, but speed may have to be reduced to below planing speed. The planing hull is also less efficient at slow speed, so care must be taken in order to maintain stability. This also means careful loading is critical.
These craft move through, not on, the water. They have good directional stability, have good stability in loading, and generally handle heavy weather well. Their maximum speed is determined by the waterline length rather than the engine power. Most displacement craft have inboard or inboard/outboard motors, and are usually kept on moorings. Trailer sailers and keelboats are also displacement-hulled craft.
Full inflatables or semi-rigid inflatable boats have great stability and give a soft through wet ride at speed, although in choppy water there is the risk of occupants being bounced out by an unexpected wave.
Inflatables are widely used in surf rescue work because of their low freeboard, soft sides and ease of launching. They are also popular as divers’ workboats or yacht tenders. They have their drawbacks – they have poor directional control and are susceptible to punctures as well as deterioration through ultra-violet radiation.
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