Best Boats for Shallow Water – Our Top 10 Picks

There’s a myriad of shallow water boats to choose from these days. The suitable boat for you is determined by your intended use, such as fishing, leisure, or speed. There are other points to think about as well.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 best boats for shallow water. The following are our top 10 picks:

  1. Beavertail 17 BT Strike
  2. Hell’s Bay Waterman
  3. Sterling TR7
  4. Bonefish Bohemian 17
  5. Dragonfly 17
  6. Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher
  7. Skull Island 16
  8. East Cape Fury
  9. Sea Chaser 180FS
  10. Yellowfin 17 CC

Read on to know more about each of these great shallow water boats, as well as their benefits and features.

Also, check out our top pick, the iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover, for an excellent boat cover:

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10 Best Boats for Shallow Water – Our Top Picks

1. Beavertail 17 BT Strike

The Beavertail 17 BT Strike is designed for ultra-shallow performance and can handle a lot of storage. The Beavertail Strike is the industry’s driest technical poling skiff. This efficient and compact shallow water boat is easy to move and store in your garage.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’6’’
  • WEIGHT – 550 pounds
  • DRAFT – 6’’-8’’
  • BEAM – 6’1’’
  • MAX. HP – 90
  • FUEL – 20 gal

2. Hell’s Bay Waterman

One of the best shallow water boat options is the Hell’s Bay Waterman stealth. While in operation, it has no-frills and noise. Waterman offers a wide selection of trim and reach options. It also has excellent tracking and poling capabilities.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 18’
  • WEIGHT – 530 pounds
  • DRAFT – 4.5’’
  • BEAM – 6’1’’
  • MAX. HP – 70
  • FUEL – 23 gal

3. Sterling TR7

The Sterling TR7 is a shallow water boating powerhouse and one of the best boats for shallow water. The outer hull and inner liner of the Sterling TR7 are welded together to form one continuous piece. The Sterling TR7 is built completely of carbon fiber and Kevlar. Poling is also easy for the boat. It’s the one that combines strength and fortitude.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’
  • WEIGHT – 575 lbs.
  • DRAFT – 5’’
  • BEAM – 7’4’’
  • MAX. HP – 90
  • FUEL – 22 gal

4. Bonefish Bohemian 17

The Bonefish Bohemian 17 gives shallow boating a new look. The Bonefish Bohemian 17 features a distinct stylistic set that distinguishes it from classic boat designs. The boat includes marine-grade wiring, which helps it function better.

High-grade UV resistant Gelcoat, epoxy, vinyl ester resin, and a combination of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar are used to build this fast, slim, shallow water boat.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’9’’
  • WEIGHT – 550 pounds
  • DRAFT – 7’’ – 9’’
  • BEAM – 6’
  • MAX. HP – 70
  • FUEL – 26 gal

5. Dragonfly 17

The Dragonfly 17 is another choice to consider in your hunt for the best boats for shallow water. It’s simple in design and adds a smart element to your shallow boating experience.

The Dragonfly 17’s key features include a quick-change pump, easy poling platforms, and secure steering. Its stylish appearance sets it apart from the competition, sailing smoothly in shallow waters.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17′
  • WEIGHT – 700 pounds
  • DRAFT – 8″
  • BEAM – 6’8″
  • MAX. HP – 115
  • FUEL – 24 gal

6. Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher

The Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher is ideal for you if you desire maximum strength and rigidity. The boat’s maximum endurance comes from a combination of the newest carbon fiber and Kevlar construction.

What I enjoy best about the Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher is that it offers easy access to the compartment, and you can modify the bench and backrest to suit your shallow water boating preferences.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’2″
  • WEIGHT – 650 pounds
  • DRAFT – 7″
  • BEAM – 7’3″
  • MAX. HP – 90
  • FUEL – 23 gal

7. Skull Island 16

Skull Island 16 is recognized for its outstanding strength-to-weight ratio. Its one-of-a-kind engine design makes sailing in shallow water a breeze. Skull Island 16 has plenty of room, with compartments designed to fit a room full of poling gear.

To complete the shallow water boating experience and easy poling, Skull Island 16 is constructed with materials like 100 percent hand-laid glass and composite construction, 100 percent vinyl ester resins, Corecell, and ultra-light Kevlar. It also comes with different cockpit configurations.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 16’2″
  • WEIGHT – 400 pounds
  • DRAFT – 5″
  • BEAM – 5’0″
  • MAX. HP – 30
  • FUEL – 12 gal

8. East Cape Fury

The East Cape Fury is a larger vessel that can accommodate more people, supplies and is simply more comfortable. And, despite its large size, East Cape Fury is ideal for shallow water. It now features a flush scooter deck as an option. The East Cape Fury also boasts a lightweight construction that allows it to spin and glide with little effort.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 18’1″
  • WEIGHT – Not disclosed
  • DRAFT – 5″ – 8″
  • BEAM – 6’0″
  • MAX. HP – 90
  • FUEL – N/A

9. Sea Chaser 180FS

The Sea Chaser 180FS is made entirely of wood-free components, making it extremely durable and unsinkable. The woven roving and tri-directional fiberglass are a great combination for making the Sea Chaser 180FS durable and unsinkable.

The spacious cabin and storage are one of my favorite parts of the Sea Chaser 180FS. The Sea Chaser 180FS’ standard features aren’t that typical, as they differ from many other boat types’ standard features. The Sea Chaser 180FS will guarantee you a fantastic water boating experience.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’10”
  • WEIGHT – 1,500 pounds
  • DRAFT – 8″
  • BEAM – 7’1″
  • MAX. HP – 150
  • FUEL – 33 gal

10. Yellowfin 17 CC

The console and overall body of the Yellowfin 17 CC are incredibly detailed and well-made. Because of its responsive weight and pebble-style nonskid coating, poling is significantly easier. Another reason to consider the Yellowfin 17 CC is its exceptional stability.

With this skiff, effortless stable poling is unrivaled. Even when shallow water boating in rough, windy conditions, the Yellowfin 17 CC is your dependable partner. It also boasts a unique cockpit drain system that keeps the interior of the boat dry while speeding and cruising in shallow water.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LENGTH – 17’4″
  • WEIGHT – 600 pounds
  • DRAFT – 6″
  • BEAM – 6’4″
  • MAX. HP -115
  • FUEL – 22 gal

Boating Tips on Shallow Water

the best boats for shallow water

There are a few considerations to take if this is your first experience boating in shallow waters.

It’s a good idea to practice listing when you purchase a new boat. Turning causes the boat to tilt either to the left or right, and this is known as listing. Make sweeping practice rotations back and forth in an S pattern to practice listing. This will assist you in becoming proficient at driving to the side and moving on and off course.

The next step is to understand the tides. Never be caught off guard by a tide schedule. A tide change of up to several feet occurs in several coastal areas.

Another important point to remember when boating in shallow water is to keep an eye on your speed. Stay on plane if you know the water is deep, and you’ll have a clear path back to the channel. Maintaining your speed is essential for escaping when the boat is on plane.

Inspect the soundings. You can use the “soundings” information to determine the depths of any waters you are passing through.

Wind ripples signify the shift from deep to shallow water, so keep an eye out for them. Watercolor should also be checked because it reveals factors that may interfere with your preferred sailing experience.

Trim the engine if you find yourself in too shallow water, as this will allow your boat to float away.

These are just some of the crucial pointers to remember while getting started with shallow water boating.

Jon boats, according to most anglers, are the best for fishing. They aren’t wrong because of the flat-bottomed skiff design of Jon boats; they are ideal for inland rivers or shallow water.

You must evaluate the boat‘s maneuverability and strength. The majority of utility boats are ideal for shallow seas, lakes, canals, rivers, and water reservoirs. Utility boats are primarily concerned with storage capacity, maneuverability, and stability when in use.

Hunting, fishing, cargo and passenger transit, camping, and first responder rescue are all possible with shallow water boats.

Dry Deck Importance

Most shallow water boat purchasers progressively assess the engine’s horsepower, the compartment’s space requirements, the boat’s poling stability, and, most notably, the dry feature of the decks, which is an unnoticed but essential feature.

Several groups and forums have been discussing how fantastic their skiff specifications are. Even so, practically everyone complains about the lack of comfortability when boating in shallow water. So remember to look at not just the materials used and the capabilities of the skiff, but also the way it was built and how comfortable it will be. This is critical for selecting the best shallow water boat for you.

Aside from the described above, there will always be better ones. Shallow water boats were first offered as a “bay-boat” concept in the early 2000s. This design is a cross between a flat-skiff and a modified V-center console. From there, they added extra elements and flair to transform old skiffs into new ones, and many manufacturers are still developing their models to meet or exceed the standards of their previous skiff models.

Conclusion – What Are the Best Boats for Shallow Water?

To recap, what are the best boats for shallow water? Our top 10 picks are as follows:

  1. Beavertail 17 BT Strike
  2. Hell’s Bay Waterman
  3. Sterling TR7
  4. Bonefish Bohemian 17
  5. Dragonfly 17
  6. Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher
  7. Skull Island 16
  8. East Cape Fury
  9. Sea Chaser 180FS
  10. Yellowfin 17 CC

Your intended application influences the best shallow water boat for you. You should take into account all of the variables, including comfort, space, horsepower, durability, and cost. Jon boats, also known as flat water boats, are becoming increasingly popular as they now include more features than ever before. They’re also more affordable and easier to transport than larger boats.

If you’re going fishing or just want to have fun, the shallow water boat with the most volume in its compartment is the one to choose. Wide cap skiffs are ideal for patrol or occasional family use because they can accommodate two or more persons on board. But if you’re looking for a full-on adventure, the resistance of the shallow water boat’s structure can be your main focus.