What Is Considered a Shallow Draft Boat?

Are you interested in boating but confused about the term “shallow draft boat”? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A shallow draft boat is a type of watercraft that can navigate in shallow waters without getting stuck, making them ideal for exploring rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly is considered a shallow draft boat and why they’re so popular.

What Is a Shallow Draft Boat?

A shallow draft boat is a type of vessel that has a relatively low depth below the waterline. This allows it to navigate in waters where other boats with deeper drafts cannot go. Typically, a boat with a draft of less than three feet is considered shallow, although the exact definition can vary depending on the size and shape of the vessel.

Why Are Shallow Draft Boats So Popular?

There are several reasons why shallow draft boats are so popular among boaters:

  • Versatility: Shallow draft boats can navigate in various bodies of water such as rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas. They can access places that other boats cannot reach.
  • Fishing: Many anglers prefer to fish in shallow waters because they tend to be rich in marine life. Shallow draft boats allow fishermen to reach these spots with ease.
  • Safety: Shallow draft boats are less likely to run aground or hit underwater obstacles due to their lower depth below the waterline.
  • Cost: Shallow draft boats are often less expensive than larger vessels with deeper drafts.

Types of Shallow Draft Boats

There are many types of shallow draft boats available on the market today. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Flats boats: These boats are designed for fishing in shallow, calm waters such as flats and estuaries. They typically have a flat bottom and a shallow draft to allow them to navigate in extremely shallow waters.
  • Jon boats: Jon boats are small, lightweight vessels that are ideal for fishing and hunting in narrow streams and rivers.

    They have a flat bottom and a shallow draft, making them easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

  • Pontoon boats: Although not typically thought of as a shallow draft boat, pontoon boats can have a shallow draft depending on the design. Some models have pontoons that sit high in the water, allowing them to navigate in shallower areas.
  • Kayaks and canoes: Kayaks and canoes are very shallow draft vessels that can access even the narrowest of waterways. They’re perfect for exploring small streams and hidden coves.


In conclusion, a shallow draft boat is any watercraft with a low depth below the waterline that allows it to navigate in shallower waters than other boats. Shallow draft boats are versatile, cost-effective, safe, and perfect for fishing enthusiasts.

There are many types of shallow draft boats available on the market today, so finding one that fits your needs should be easy. Happy boating!

Photo of author

Emma Gibson