Understanding the different categories of boats

Mar 26, 2018

There are many types and names given to boats such as: Cuddy, Open Deck, Center Console, Express, Express Cruiser, Cruisers, Sport Cruiser, Opens, Cuddy, Sedan Bridge, Flybridge, Sport Bridge, Aft-Cabin, Sports Cruiser, Cockpit Motor Yacht, Motor Yacht, Motor Yacht Pilothouse, Motor Yacht, Megayacht, SuperYacht, Sport Fish, Fishing Boat, Sport Express Fish, Fishing Convertible, Skylounge, Trawler, Fast Trawler, House Boat


There are no strict definitions, but tendencies accepted by all. We have chosen some photos to illustrate what a boat in this category would resemble, but always remember that there are several variants and some boats can easily fit into several categories.


OK, let’s start ...


Cuddy Cabin: boat less than 30 feet with a small cabin at the bow of the boat. This small cabin is furnished with a large cushion only and perhaps a porta-potti toilet. Everything is pretty rudimentary.


Open Deck: boat less than 40 feet with the bow section offering easy access to a sitting area. Generally, there is a space for a toilet on the passengers side by the windshield. Everything is designed to accommodate friends and family for a day excursion, where comes the name, Day Boat.


Center console: boat powered by outboard engines, the whole boat is easily accessible, meaning that it is easy to move about the boat with a central cockpit.  Often a toilet is incorporated in the cockpit and often has a fabric bimini or hard top roof. With a higher freeboard that most boats in this length, it is a very versatile boat, very popular in the south of the United States. The Boston Whaler or Everglades Rugulator are a perfect match to this category.


Express: boat with inboard engine (s) with a fairly large cockpit and a cabin that allows comfort. It usually offers the possibility of sleeping 4-6 people and the cabin has a toilet in a closed compartment.  A galley with a microwave, a hot plate and sometimes a dinette area. The options of air conditioning, , hot water and a generator for comfort at all times is also available in a Express model.   This category also uses names such as: EXPRESS CRUISER, CRUISER, SPORT CRUISERS, SPORT YACHT and among Europeans: OPEN and FEATURED. The Searay Sundancer 33 or 48 correspond to this description.



FLYBRIDGE:  boat that has a helm above the interior cabin accessible from the cockpit by stairs or ladder that allows an improved vision while navigating but especially adds additional living space for all on board. Depending on the configuration of the main deck, there are several possible variations ... The Azimut 53, 55, 60, 62 or Searay L510 Fly, for example, correspond very well to this description.


Sedan Bridge:   offers easy access to the cockpit area without the need to climb stairs as the cockpit is almost at the same level as the boat’s aft platform. A Sport Bridge can also offer this easy access and basically both the Sedan Bridge and Sport Bridge fit in the flybridge category.



Aft-Cabin: it is also a flybridge but there is a stateroom located on the stern of the boat.  This boat will require you to climb a small ladder or stairs to get access to the cockpit area and then again more steps to gain access to the helm.  The engine is found in the central part of the boat, usually below the living room floor. The Carver 456 or Meridian 408 fits this description.


Cockpit Motor Yacht: it fits into the same description as the Aft-cabin except that there is an area at almost the same level as the aft platform to embark onto the boat, much like a sedan bridge, but there are stairs or a small ladder to access the cabins and the cockpit. The engines are still under the living room floor. The Meridian 459 perfectly matches this description or the Carver 564. These are of course flybridges also.


Motor Yacht: is a flybridge first and foremost, but a Motor Yacht when the boat attains a certain length. Sometimes we add the abbreviation M / Y to other descriptions, such as AFT-CABIN M / Y. In summary, several manufacturers add the letters M / Y as soon as the boat has engines. Not a precise category but what is certain is that it is a boat with engines.



Pilothouse: think of the Carver 56 Voyager for example, it is primarily a flybridge but with a well arranged helm in a section separate from the rest of the boat. Sometimes we mention RPH, for Raise Pilot House, when the helm is completely separate but above all raised above the main deck. This helm is not on the flybridge itself. Several European manufacturers offer this configuration for the helm, such as Ferretti and Sunseeker.


Skylounge: this is primarily a flybridge with a helm located on the upper deck like all flybridges except that the cockpit will be completely enclosed from the outside elements, ie protected from the sun and / or rain. Often mentioned as a fully enclosed helm, very comfortable with the air conditioning/heat, seats, sofa for people accompanying the captain. It really is another environment on board the yacht, usually there is a full bar, TV, etc.


Yacht: here we are talking about a boat greater than 50 feet, rather luxurious. It is a Motor Yacht that is at the top of the range. Often the Azimut, Princess, Sunseeker, Sanlorenzo, Ferretti, Riva, bear this name. The new Searay L series also fits this description.


Megayacht:  it is customary to refer to a megayacht when the vessel is over 100 feet and less than 200 feet in length but like the other types of boats, there are no rules. Normally the boat would have at least 3 decks including a sundeck.  The lower deck for the bedrooms, the main deck for the living room, galley, cockpit or additional small lounge, an RPH (raised pilot house), an upper deck with an enclosed and comfortable area.  The sundeck on the top deck for sun and sometimes a spa.


Superyacht: these are custom-made yachts for a very wealthy client. The value easily exceeds 80 million USD and can reach and exceed 500 million USD. It measures at least 200 feet and up to 500 feet. They often have a very large swimming pool, a heliport, 4 to 5 decks. In short, very luxurious yacht with crews of 15 to 30 people. Normally there are anyway from 3 to 6 rooms for 12 guests.  Sleep quarters for the crew are separate and ratio with the length of the vessel.


Sport Fish: fishing boats in this category include several types of fishing boats and depends on length.  One can qualify a 20-foot boat a sport fish but generally they exceed 30 feet. They are well built boats, strong and robust as they can handle an uneasy sea. They have very powerful engines. They are also called Fishing Boat. The most prominent of this category, to name a few, are the brands Viking, Bertram and Hatteras. They always have a helm on the upper deck and a very distinctive appearance.


Express Sport Fish: these are fishing boats without a raised helm but may have a TUNA TOWER.


Convertible Fishing: again, this is a Fishing Boat but with a very luxurious interior in line with a luxury Cruiser and even sometimes more luxurious than a Motor Yacht. Usually the Convertible will have the upper deck completely enclosed for more comfort. The helm on the upper deck is then merged with a full lounge with refrigerator and of course a bar. A class A yacht.


Tuna tower:  is a helm at the top of a stainless steel tubing structure to provide excellent visibility inorder to spot the schools of fish in the distance.


Trawler: a boat designed for long periods of navigation. The engine room is particularly functional, the different systems are very visible and above all are easy to maintain. The functional aspect is the priority of the manufacturer. The helm is also a highlight. Usually, it is easy to move around outside the boat (the bulkwalks are wide). Normally there is one engine and the maximum speed hardly exceeds 10 to 12 kn.


Fast Trawler: is a Trawler but speed performance of the boat is superior, in fact, the speed can reach and exceed 20 kn. Often, there will be twin engines.


House Boat: a boat that allows a lifestyle that is similar to floating cottage. It is usually mounted on a structure similar to a pontoon. The main deck includes the helm, galley, staterooms and bathrooms and often there is a roof terrace. This is not a fast moving boat but does allow for lots of room for entertaining and family life.  Some houseboats can reach over 70 feet in length.


Lobster Boat: originally built as a fishing vessel on the northeastern coast of the United States with the stern open so as to allow, for example, to easily access fishing nets or cages.  The bow of the boat was designed to tackle big waves as fishermen rarely have the luxury to wait for a calm day. Today, Hinckly for example, produce this type of boat in a more luxurious format.

Hinckley Picnic boat in Maine
Hinckley boat in Maine

There are also many other terms as the nautical vocabulary is quite elaborate and especially very adaptable. The same boat can be labeled differently and left up to not only the experience of the sales person but the clientele that the manufacturer is aiming.

Do not hesitate to contact the brokers at Ita Yachts Canada for any questions at 514-521-1221, we are at your disposal.


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