Best Deck Boats Guide 2020

When you’re in the market for something new and considering the type of boat that will be best for your style of boating, deck boats are a unique option. These vessels offer a combination of speed and space you won’t find on just any boat. If you’re considering buying a deck boat for your next purchase, you’ll want to take the time to learn all about what these watercraft offers and whether they have the features you’ll need. This guide will cover everything from the basics of deck boats and their benefits to the various popular brands and models on the market today. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about deck boats and what they have to offer.

Hurricane SunDeck 187 OB Deck Boat Hurricane SunDeck 187 OB. Photo by Hurricane Boats.

What are Deck Boats?

The deck boat design combined the standard pontoon layout with a hull that is more akin to a runabout. The open space allows for plenty of passengers and enjoyment while on board, but the hull is designed for speed and agility, generally offering something a bit quicker than the average pontoon. As a result, these boats are often more popular among those who are looking to enjoy water sports like tubing and water skiing and are considered as good alternatives to those who may be interested in buying pontoon boats and bowriders.

Deck Boat Features

Deck boats have a large, rectangular deck space that may or may not include built-in seating and other features. This will vary depending on the model that you choose. Unlike a pontoon or other flat boat, however, a deck boat has a v-shaped hull that is usually quite pointed, since it is designed to add speed to the vessel. Essentially, those who enjoy the relaxing design of the pontoon but who want a little more sport will end up faring better with a deck boat.

What are the Benefits of Deck Boats?

There are plenty of perks to owning a deck boat. Firstly, these models are much more prepared for water sports than the average pontoon or other basic cruising boats. The boat is actually designed just for those who want the space and the speed in the same vessel, so you can find plenty of perks in the specific nature of their offering.

What does a deck boat look like?

Unlike a pontoon, the seating and entertainment areas are toward the front of the boat, ensuring that everyone can see the action and have a good time on the water. Deck boats are great for larger families and group activities on the water as they provide ample seating. You won’t have to compromise speed or performance, thanks to the sport-designed hulls, and you’ll still have plenty of space for everyone on board.

Newer deck boat models are even being designed specifically for things like fishing, including adding all of the storage and other fishing equipment that wouldn’t be included on a standard model. You will be able to pick and choose from a wide selection of boats that offer various built-in features and included equipment to ensure that you can make the most of your boating experience every single time.

Because of the v-shaped hull and speed of these boats, you won’t have nearly as much trouble with the handling in shallow waters or tight spaces. Unlike a pontoon that turns more like a giant bus, this boat will handle with ease and take turns without missing a beat, making it a much more enjoyable ride for those who want something sportier with slightly more responsive handling.

What are the Best Deck Boats?

Although there are a number of different styles and brands of deck boats on the market today, there are some that are more popular than others. For basic boat ownership when you don’t want to spend a small fortune, you can rely on popular models like:

  • Bayliner Element E21
  • Hurricane SunDeck 187 OB
  • Four Winns HD 180 OB RS
  • Stingray 192SC
  • Chaparral 191 Suncoast
  • Regal 22 FasDeck
  • Sea Ray SDX 250

What does the list above tell you? Not a single manufacturer is repeated, which means you can find deck boat models available from just about any major brand that you prefer, as well as many smaller boat builders. This makes it easy for those who have a brand preference and even those who are just shopping on a tighter budget, as you can narrow your options based on price and manufacturer when you are comparison shopping for your next deck boat.

Are Deck Boats Good for Fishing?

As mentioned above, some manufacturers are building deck boats specifically for fishing. But are they a good choice for your type of fishing? Well, it depends: deck boats are often great options for fishing on smaller bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes, although they are not suited for offshore and deep-sea fishing.

New vs. Used Boats: Classic and Modern Options

When it comes to buying a deck boat, just like with any boat purchase, you’ll have to choose between new and used models. Some people like the idea of a modern, newly designed vessel that is going to give them plenty of innovative features. Other people enjoy the cost savings that they get from buying a classic used deck boat that has just what they need and nothing else. Ultimately, the choice will be yours to make. In either category, you’ll find a wide selection of models to choose from and deck boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Affordable Deck Boats

Some people who don’t want to buy used will choose a more budget-friendly brand like Bayliner, who offers a full line of basic deck boats with simple arrangements. These boats are designed to hit all the marks without hitting the highest price point, giving consumers another way to get more for their money when it comes to investing in a deck boat. You can even choose new or used models to help increase your selection and widen the available options. Although some people won’t find what they want in the used market, it certainly doesn’t hurt to look.

Wrapping Up

Deck boats have a lot to offer. Their hybrid design answers a great boating demand for a vessel that has both speed and space for the ultimate in enjoyment on the water. These unique boats are certainly not designed for every boater, but they do have a lot to offer to those who choose them. When you need space and speed and you don’t want to compromise, the deck boat should definitely be on your list. Test drive one for yourself and you’ll be hooked in no time.

Written by: Valerie Mellema

Valerie Mellema is a writer, published author and avid bass angler who lives on the shores of Lake Fork in East Texas — the top bass lake in Texas and the fifth in the nation. For the past 10 years, she and her husband have enjoyed the pontoon boat lifestyle while fishing a lake that not only has bass but beautiful wildlife as well. She holds a BS in Agribusiness/Equine Business and regularly contributes articles to, YachtWorld and Boat Trader.


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