BOAT HULL COMPARISONS

SEPTEMBER 2019

 

When boat shopping, the first question that comes to mind is how you plan to use it. Anglers want tackle storage, families like comfortable seating and wakeboarders need speed. With the needs and features checked off the list, what comes next? Most often it’s the price. There might be something missing from the list, though—the boat’s hull design.

Car buyers give little thought to the exterior design (not to be confused with the exterior styling and graphics) and the same goes for boats. Yet nothing makes a difference in your boating pleasure more than the design of the hull. You might have all the features you need inside the boat, but not on the bottom. Choosing the right hull can make a huge difference in comfort, ride, performance and handling.

Understanding the basics of hull designs—and how each makes the boat perform differently—are worth taking the time to know. There is much give and take when it comes to hulls, and no design does everything well.

Here is an example. When perusing boat specs, new boaters rarely stop at deadrise, because they don’t understand what it means. Measured in degrees, deadrise is the angle where each side of the bottom intersects with an imaginary horizontal line (the water line). Deadrise can be measured anywhere on the hull, but most boat makers list transom deadrise.

Deadrise relates to the type of hull. Deadrise is important because it’s a common measure of how soft a boat will ride. Put another way, more deadrise generally equals the ability to run at faster speeds and slice through the chop. Flat bottom jon boats have zero deadrise, while a bay boat might have a 25-degree deadrise.

Here’s a look at the most common types of hulls.

Deep V
The deep V hull is wedge shaped from bow to stern and has a more pronounced deadrise. Deep V hulls are most common in boats used on large bodies of water, where taming the chop in rough conditions is a must. The better ride qualities are offset by added draft—or how deep the hull goes below the surface—and reduced stability. Those compromises enable the hull to slice through waves, rather than take a pounding. Aluminum multispecies fishing boats and bay boats have deep V designs.

Mod V
Mod V refers to a one-piece hull with a modified V shape at the bow that transitions to a flatter V at the stern. This design, along with a lower profile in the water, provides a near-perfect mix of handling, stability and fishability. The flatter portion toward the stern adds stability and speed, while a tapering wedge-shaped forward helps cushion the ride like a deep V. This hull design is most common with small freshwater boats because it provides the better of two worlds for family needs.

Flat bottom
With zero deadrise, flat-bottom hulls are popular for some small skiffs and jon boats. The reasons why are shallow draft and stability, which makes them ideal for small waters. Flat bottom boats are easy to maneuver in calm water, but not in mild chop or rough water.

Skiff
Saltwater skiff hulls have flat bottoms with squared sterns and sharp bows. The latter characteristic separates skiffs from traditional flat-bottom hulls, which have squared bows and sterns. The first spec looked at by most skiff buyers is draft—the less the better. Skiffs are designed and laid out for skimming across shallow flats, or for maneuvering narrow backcountry channels. All that adds up to a hull design that is geared for accessing shallow water without compromising handling and performance.

Offshore
Whereas draft is most important to skiff and inshore boaters, offshore anglers first look at deadrise, which dictates how well the boat handles waves in big water. Transom deadrise is significant because, on a planing hull, only the aft end is consistently in the water. The steeper the deadrise, the better the hull can slice through pounding waves. Look for a deadrise of 21 degrees or more when shopping for an offshore boat.

Pontoon
Pontoon hulls comprise two or more metal tubes. Also called logs, those support decks fitted with all sorts of accommodations, such as spacious lounge areas, lots of storage and open deck space for entertaining. Pontoons come in round, U-shaped or elliptical shapes. Cylinder-shaped round logs offer maximum structural strength. The larger diameter of the pontoon, the better. Larger pontoons offer an optimal balance of high-riding flotation and efficient performance. The pontoons are welded/bolted to deck support channels and cross beams, which are the structures that connect the pontoons to the deck. The more structurally strong the better when it comes to support channels, which are key components for durability and the ride of the boat. 

Performance
Exclusive to bass boats, the performance hull design does what it means. Designed around tournament competitions—which are timed events—the ideal performance hull runs dry and stable in rough water without compromising handling. Performance hulls are like fiberglass versions of mod-V aluminum hulls. None are the same and all have specific design features setting them apart. An example is the NITRO Vortex Technology™ (NVT™) hull, a revolutionary design that uses a series of parabolic curves instead of traditional strakes. The result is a hull with exceptional top-end speed and lift—plus improved acceleration—all while maintaining superior control and handling.

If you have more questions about which hull design is best for your needs, find the answers at a Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Boating Center. The boat selection covers the gamut of hull designs, from the mod-V and deep-V TRACKER aluminum lineup and SUN TRACKER pontoons, to the inshore and bay line of MAKO boats and NITRO performance bass boats. 


More News

BOATING JARGON CHEAT SHEET

AUGUST 2019

The language of boating jargon has a logical purpose—shorten phrases into single words of uniformity that can be clearly communicated—and understood—by anyone involved in the navigation or tending to of the vessel.

CHOOSING BETWEEN OUTBOARD AND STERNDRIVE POWER

MARCH 2019

Life is good. You have just decided to buy a new TAHOE sport boat. There it sits in the showroom, ready to be all yours. You envision warm, sunny days on the water with the family in the boat of your dreams. There is nothing left to do but give the nod to the sales consultant and close the deal, right?

Mako Boat Comparison

MARCH 2019

The growing popularity of inshore and nearshore saltwater fishing is creating a demand by anglers for boats catering to their specific needs. Whether the pursuit is venturing into the backcountry to search for snook in the mangroves, intercepting migrating tarpon in the pass or stalking redfish in the marshes, there is a rig to meet your needs

With more than 130 locations, we're everywhere you need us to be.