Flat-bottom boats have many functions, the majority of which involve calm, shallow waters. Everyone from fishermen to the common tourist can enjoy a flat-bottom boat, especially as their unique ability to glide slowly along the water typically provides a bump-free ride. There are some flat-bottom boats, however, that value speed over serenity. In these boats the ride tends to be significantly more bumpy--but much quicker.
Most flat bottom boats are usually used in flat, calmer bodies of water such as lakes, ponds and rivers that do not have fast currents. Their flat, straight nature does not allow them the flexibility to ride out choppy waters, as they can easily become unstable and tip in rough water. Additionally, excessive wind may also cause a normally calm body of water to become choppy, thereby causing a flat-bottom boat to flip.
A Jon boat is made from aluminum or wood and contains one to a few levels of bench-style seating. They are typically used for hunting and fishing, as they are extremely stable and are not likely to make a lot of noise or movement--two things that tend to scare game away.
Air boats--also known as flat-bottom punts or fan boats--glide easily above shallow waters, making them ideal for touring marshes, swamps and narrow ravines, lakes or rivers. These types of boats are usually maneuvered by propellers and engines and are used quite frequently by tour guides.
High-speed runabouts ride on top of the water rather than riding through the wakes of the water, allowing the boat to maneuver smoothly at high speeds. This boat is typically used for recreation, and boat passengers can expect to feel as though the hull--or front of the boat--is significantly higher than the rest of the boat. This is because the hull must elevate to ride on top of the water, causing a faster but choppier ride than many boaters may be used to.
A dory is a small, lightweight boat approximately 15 to 22 feet long. The sides of the boat tend to be abnormally high, which allow fishermen to engage in their sport with little worry of going overboard or scaring the fish away. Thus, dories are often used at beaches and in open-sea fishing excursions.
Nellie Day is a freelance writer based out of Hermosa Beach, Calif. Her work can regularly be seen on newsstands, where her specialties include weddings, real estate, food and wine, pets, electronics, architecture and design, business and travel. Day earned a master's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.