No matter how slick the sales pitch is, don’t believe the hype, the perfect boat doesn’t exist. However, the best boat for you isn’t unreachable which is why we’re focusing this post on the advantages of the flat bottom boat.
A Solid Foundation
Decribed in a single word; stability. One reason for the stable nature of the flat bottom boat is in the deadrise or lack thereof. Regardless of how that term may sound, deadrise isn’t a new zombie flick or video game, it’s the angle or bite a boat has into the water. Generally speaking, a sharper deadrise (without the correct counter balance) generates a tender feeling vessel which rocks from side to side while at rest. Confused? Think about standing in a canoe and doing a few dozen jump jacks. If that thought frightens you for multiple reasons congratulations, you understand stability. On a flat bottom vessel, the limited entry of the hull coupled with its overall width lets you move about or even stand on the gunwales without the worry of rocking about wildly or capsizing.
Skinny Water Loves a Flat Bottom Boat
Unlike a V-shaped hull, a flat bottom boat rides on top of the water versus pushing it to the side. Yes, the negative here is there will be some hull slap and the occasional spray but the trade-off is the ability to operate in just mere inches of water. Now if the thought of a shallow draft immediately made you salivate over big reds, bonefish or other shallow water species of fish, you’re on the right track. Why? Well in many cases, the flat bottom ride can go where most other boats can’t. The naysayers will pick here and say that your outboard is already lower than the draft, but we’ll answer that with a few marvelous inventions, a jack plate, engine trim, and poling platform. In other words, if stealth is your game, the motor will most likely be as high up as possible and you’ll be drifting, trolling, or pushing a pole.
Rick Ryals from Florida Sportsman Radio says, “I’ve been on this boat (Sundance DX20) all morning and the fuel needle hasn’t moved.” The reason for this, boats like the Sundance DX20 are lightweight and don’t require oversized power sources on the transom. The tradeoff, such boats aren’t going to be the fastest on the water, but the smaller four-stroke offers owners big breaks at the gas pump. Mix less fuel consumption with recent price dips and throw in lots of versatility and it becomes clear why flat bottom boats are often considered sport utility vehicles of the water.
The hulls of most flat bottom boats are filled with foam which results in boats that are almost unsinkable. To prove that idea, we cut a hull in half, loaded it with men and floated it into a test pond. As you can see from the photo, not only is she still floating, she’s fairly flat and still very stable. (And oh yes – the guys pushed each other into the drink after the photo was taken!)
Off to the Dealer
In the end, no single hull or flat bottom boat is the perfect fit for everyone so before you buy, you should carefully consider how you’ll use your new boat, where it will run, your budget, and local maintenance centers. Also, consider only reputable dealers and be sure to check out this helpful post, “How to Choose a Good Boat Dealer“.