Just because you have a small boat, doesn’t mean you need to lose out on deck space. There are plenty of boats that can give you the kind of deck you want but in a compact vessel.
We’ve compiled a few different types of boats, just to show you a cross-section of what is out on the market right now.
Let’s get started!
What is a deck boat?
A deck boat is like the love child between a pontoon boat and a roundabout.
With the layout of a pontoon boat and the hull of a roundabout, you have the perfect boat for water sports, fishing, or just relaxing on the water.
Great Small Deck Boats
1) Hurricane Sundeck 187 OB ($31,000)
The Hurricane Sundeck 187 OB is a great boat with a large deck, but for a decent price.
With a price tag under $50,000, you can afford a few extra amenities such as various deck (material) options, paint color, additional seating, fishing extras, and graphics which can be added to the side in order to personalize your Sundeck.
As far as standard accommodations are concerned, it comes with a plethora including:
- A canopy with an aluminum boot for protection
- A drilled transom
- An automatic bilge pump
- A Bluetooth enabled stereo with two speakers
- An anchor locker
- Two ladders (one stern and one bow)
- A single bucket seat for the helm, A full wrap-around windshield
- A live well
2) Starcraft Marine Limited I/O 2000 ($27,000)
The Starcraft Marine Limited Inboard/Outboard 2000 is a great boat whether you’re craving a relaxing vacation, a fun weekend trip, or if you want to impress your friends.
It comes with a removable table with a base that screws into the deck, a bow filler cushion as well as a bolster which flips up, and:
- A wake tower
- A digital depth finder
- A swim platform which is extended
- A bracket in order to attach a mirror to your wake tower,
- Color changing LED light kit (RGB)
- A stainless steel rub-rail
- A vinyl cockpit cover
- A portable bathroom with a drop-down curtain for privacy
- A visor for the driver
- Slide and aft curtains for everyone else
- A satellite antennae
- Pressurized transom shower,
- A live well (which is plumbed)
- Wake tower with board racks, speakers, and bimini
3) Bayliner Element E21 (average used $31,500)
Our Element E21 series is a boat that is big on space. Even the 21-foot E21 is versatile enough to do almost anything you need and will give you the space you need to be comfortable with nine of your family and friends.
The engine compartment comes with a 500 GPH bilge pump and a battery switch. The E21 series also comes with a custom sport steering wheel, and a tandem axle black painted trailer with a swing tongue and trailer brakes.
In addition to those things, you’ll also be getting:
- 12V navigation lights, an M-hull design
- Helm windscreen
- Swim platform with telescoping ladder
4) Chaparral 191 Suncoast ($31,195)
The 191 is a return to the basics for Chaparral in style without having to skimp on quality. The seating allows for a lot of deck space with still having an inviting cockpit as well as plenty of space for entertaining.
It also comes with its own trailer, so you don’t have to worry about that either.
The 191 is set up with an open concept design. This lets you walk past the helm and wet bar while you soak in the sun when you’re finding the perfect place to lounge.
They removed the extra beam which usually goes into the forward bow.
5) Four Winns HD 180 OB RS ($35,067)
The HD 180 OB RS is a boat with a lot of power while also offering a sleek appearance and comfort for your family. It offers a few curved backrests, an L-shaped lounge (with lumbar support), sofa-style seating, and a couple of bucket seats so it can seat up to 9 people comfortably.
It comes in a few eye-catching color combinations as well, including crimson and jet black, grey and atomic yellow, and a classis phantom grey and cognac brown.
Other accommodations include:
- A stereo which accommodates many options: USB and MP3, AM/FM radio, and is Bluetooth-enabled
- Bimini top with a wakeboard tower and a Sunbrella
- Storage in the bow and cockpit, and beneath the seats
- A walk-thru transom
- Storage locker which is located in the floor and which has a molded fiberglass finish
- Fiberglass liner that is both skid-resistant and has built-in drains
Pontoons Boats To Consider
Pontoon boats are boats which rely on pontoon tubes to stay above water. They contain so much reserve buoyancy that designers of pontoon boats can create massive decks to place atop those tubes.
There are different designs of pontoon boats including catamaran, trimaran (sometimes called tri-toons), and small inflatable pontoon boats which only have room for one or two people.
Often, they are made of abrasion-resistant PVC and nylon and have frames which are built out of aluminum, plastic, or steel. The bigger a pontoon boat is, the more of a chance that they will be run and powered by electric trolling motors.
However, if you have a personal (one or two-person sized) boat, you may have to move it with an oar.
You can use a pontoon boat for a number of things even though they are often known as party boats these days. They also make decent fishing boats and you can relax and take a vacation or a leisurely ride down a river in a pontoon boat.
6) Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX ($16.895)
The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX is a great example of a pontoon boat you can use for both relaxing and fishing. The great thing about pontoon boats is the amount of deck space they have. This particular boat has 24-inch diameter pontoon logs which are multi-chambered.
Other amenities include:
- A built-in rail lock system so you can use a snapless mooring cover if you want
- A fishing deck on the bow with a couple of fold-down fishing chairs, rail-mounted drink/tool holders and a rod holder
- Aft L-shaped lounge with storage under the seat
- Vinyl flooring to make clean-up a breeze
- An aft boarding platform with a ladder that folds down
- Bimini top with storage pockets
- Two aerated live wells and an optional trolling motor
7-11) Avalon Signature & Boutique ($26,000 – $32,000)
- 7) Catalina $32,000
- 8) Avalon LSZ $23,000
- 9) Avalon GS $20,000
- 10) Avalon LS $19,000
- 11) Venture $16,000
I couldn’t pick just one boat from this great brand of pontoon boats. Avalon is known as one of the best brands of pontoon boating manufacturers for a reason. They build strong, stylish boats. Their Signature and Boutique lines offer so much in terms of comfort, features, and fishing amenities while being somewhat less expensive and offer smaller options than their other series: The Master Series.
The Boutique Collection encompasses the Avalon LS and the Venture. These are compact, affordable, and are only about 7.5’ to 8’ wide.
The Signature Collection is still affordable but are a little more luxurious and offer extra amenities and more plush furnishings.
Great Sailboats With Great Deck Spaces
Sailboats are boats that are mostly or only propelled by its sails. There are different kinds of sailboats and each of them is distinguished by keel type, purpose, the number of masts, the shape of the hull (or how many there are), and the size of the whole boat.
Aside from catamarans and trimarans, some of the more popular and common mono-hull designs are:
12) Swallow Boats BayCruiser 23 (average used price $60,808)
The BayCruiser 23 has a surprising amount of space both in the cabin and on the deck, despite the small boat size overall.
Because the cockpit is angled comfortably and offers great back support, you can feel safe, comfortable, and sail well despite any foul weather. The style–inside as well as outside–is both light and airy, which add to space.
So, while it might look cramped to some, it will feel spacious while you’re aboard.
13) West Wight Potter 19 (average used price $5,800)
The Potter 19 is a spacious and comfortable boat that is just as beautiful and with finishes that you normally find in bigger, more expensive yachts.
For example, on the West Wight Potter 19 you’ll have:
- Main and lapper sails
- A galvanized keel that fully retracts
- A teak interior trim
- Louvered teak locker doors
- A cabin top handrail made of teak
- Cabin doors made of mahogany and with a urethane finish
- An anchor line compartment with an air vent
- A sink and faucet which has a 2-gallon water capacity
- Stainless steel mast transport crutches
- A full-length cabin headliner
- Marine Porta-Potti
- Cooking stove and butane fuel
- Transom motor mount that is adjustable
- A full-length cabin headliner
Fishing Boats To Check Out
While you can fish off of any type of boat, a fishing boat (as in a boat whose purpose, sole or shared, is for fishing). Often, they have deep V designs to help handle rough waters.
However, if you’re looking to go down a river or inland, a shallow bottom boat (like a bass boat) will help you get where you need without running aground.
Normally, fishing boats are known for being center console boats due to their ability to allow boaters to fish all around the vessel because of the open floor/deck plans.
14) Princecraft Ventura 224 (average used price $49,367)
This aluminum deck boat can seat up to 12 people comfortably. It is spacious but is also filled with great amenities:
- Four folding seats to open up space when they’re not in use.
- Two large aerated live wells
- A lockable rod storage compartment
- An icebox
- A privacy enclosure
- Plenty of storage space
With all of these standard options, you can easily take this boat out to catch some fish or just to relax on the water with your favorite person and/or your favorite book.
15) Crownline E6 XS ($83,460)
The Crownline E6 XS is both sporty and roomy, which might sound like an oxymoron. But just because something moves fast, is sleek, and sporty, that doesn’t mean it can’t have plenty of space. It is a little bigger than the rest of the boats on our list (at 26’) but it is still fairly compact in relation to its sister boats.
The under-mount cockpit storage is just one example of how they maximize the space on deck. There are plenty of other standard storage options as well as other amenities:
- Two easy-access cooler
- Hot tub style seating
- A third, larger cooler under the forward bow cushion
- Fully-appointed head compartment with electronic flush
- Sink, storage, cabinetry in the bathroom
16) Boston Whaler 230 Vantage ($117,369)
This 23-foot boat earned the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Innovation Award for all of the creative ways it uses its space on board. The result is an incredibly spacious boat with:
- Bow seating area with a stowable table
- Crips console and smooth-riding hull
- Port seating that adjusts and can also stow gear
- Aft seating allows you to expand the cockpit area when you want to fish or entertain
- Head that is both comfortable and sleek with a molded sink with drain, and a lockable door. Handy.
A cabin cruiser is a power boat and has accommodations within the structure of the boat. They’re generally anywhere from 25 feet to about 50 feet in length. They also generally come with a head, a galley, and a berth (sleeping accommodations). They generally have the same amenities as bigger yachts but don’t cost as much because the accommodations aren’t necessarily as luxurious.
17) Finnmaster T8 ($127,672 )
With the Finnmaster T8, you don’t have to compromise between power and space. This boat offers both a sporty feel and enough comfort for your family. It is surprisingly luxurious.
Okay, so it’s a little pricier than some of the other boats on our list.
But, you do get a lot for the price tag:
- LED navigation lights
- Windscreen wipers
- Hydraulic steering
- Adjustable steering wheel
- Electric bilge pump
- Galley and sink
- Drawer fridge
- Seawater head
- Canopy garage
- Stainless steel handrails
- Four cleats and two folding cleats
18) Sargo 25 ($167,464)
The Sargo 25 is the smallest in the model range but it is also one of the best wide walkaround layouts on the market right now. Even in its small stature, the Sargo 25 offers most of the amenities you’ll find in its larger sister boats.
Even the cockpit cabin is big enough to comfortably seat six people.
It also offers:
- Smart hull and solid build which allows for efficient soundproofing
- Double stern rail gates
- Sliding cabin hatch to bring in more light
The best part is that it’s small enough for an experienced boater to take it out for a solo ride.
19) Boston Whaler 285 Conquest (average used price $ 90,000)
The Conquest is quite the name but it is fitting for this small but hefty and spacious fishing boat.
She features enough amenities to make you comfortable to matter the length of the trip: active day cruise, saltwater fishing runs, or a weekend trip with your fishing buddies or your family.
The Boston Whaler 285 Conquest also offers:
- Port lounge seating which also serves as cooler storage
- Helm seat with flip-up bolster and armrests
- A cabin that sleeps four with a plush forward V-berth and dinette
- A mid-cabin double berth
- Optional HDTV
- Deluxe galley
- Private head
- Overhead rod racks to keep your gear handy but also out of the way
20) English Harbour Yachts 27 (average used price $ 133,408)
The English Harbor 27 gives you a ton of deck and a special cabin in a small space. There’s plenty of room to relax in one of the 27’s four full-size berths (split up between two separate cabins). There is also a spacious saloon to serve food for six people. The shower has a separate shower, which is also nice.
She’s not just comfortable though; she also offers a fast and safe ride for you and your family. She has a semi-displacement hull and a full keel which lets her go up against all sorts of weather and water conditions.
I would be remiss if I missed out on telling you exactly just how beautiful she is with her modern-classic design.
She has a timeless elegance that can only be achieved by a team of experienced craftsmen and with the highest quality of components.
Whether you want a small boat because of the space you have available to you or because of the funds you have available, you can rest comfortably knowing that you don’t have to sacrifice deck walkaround space when you have strict restrictions.
There are plenty of different types of boats as well as different brands which offer different types of amenities.
When you’re buying a boat—no matter the size or the price you’re looking at—make sure you have a checklist with you and don’t be shy about shopping around.
You might also want to look into buying a used boat if you’re looking for specific sizes, amenities, or models but can’t find one for the price you are looking for.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.