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How Long is a Boat

How Long is a Boat

When it comes to boats, size matters. The length of a boat not only determines its classification but also influences its functionality, capacity, and suitability for certain activities. This article will guide you through the different sizes of boats, their classifications, and how to choose the right size for your needs.

Boat vs. Yacht: A Matter of Size

Many people often use the terms boat and yacht interchangeably. However, these are very different terms primarily distinguished by size. A yacht is a larger, recreational boat or ship, typically ranging from about 35 feet to over 160 feet in length. Anything over 160 feet is considered a “Superyacht”. On the other hand, boats are generally smaller, ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 feet in length.

You might also be interested in reading “Questions to ask when you are buying a used boat“.

Boat Size Classifications

Boat sizes are classified into four different classes according to their length:

  1. Class A: Boats measuring less than 16 feet.
  2. Class 1: Boats measuring more than 16 feet but less than 26 feet.
  3. Class 2: Boats measuring more than 26 feet but less than 40 feet.
  4. Class 3: Boats measuring more than 40 feet but less than 65 feet.

These classifications are important as they determine the required safety equipment on board.

Choosing the Right Boat Size

The size of the boat you should buy depends on several factors, including its purpose, the number of people it will carry, and where you’ll be using it.

Boat Size According to Purpose

The purpose of your boat will directly influence its size. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Fishing: For offshore fishing, you need a robust, sturdy boat that’s 30 feet long or larger. For inshore fishing, a 17- to 22-foot-long boat is ideal. For bay and lake fishing, a boat between 20 and 30 feet is often ideal.
  • Cruising and Pleasure Sailing: For inshore cruising, boats are generally between 20 and 30 feet long. For offshore cruising and sailing, you’ll need a vessel that’s 30 feet or longer.
  • Water Sports: A boat between 15 and 25 feet with a powerful engine is enough for most water sports.

Boat Size by Passenger Number

The number of passengers also influences the size of the boat. For example, a family of six will need a boat that’s at least 20 feet long, while a family of three only needs a 12-foot-long boat.

Other Factors Affecting Boat Size

Other factors to consider when choosing a boat size include your experience level, available dock space, storage and trailer requirements, budget, and the type and model of the boat.


Choosing the right boat size is crucial for a safe and enjoyable boating experience. Whether you’re planning to go fishing, cruising, or enjoy water sports, understanding boat sizes and how they are designed to be used can help you make an informed decision.

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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