Bay or Flats Boats

Bay or Flats Boats Statistics

Designed specifically to run in the “flats”, those shallow coastal waters where saltwater species like tarpon, redfish and bonefish thrive, flats boats often work in waters less than two feet in depth. Anglers enjoy a wide-open platform at the front of the boat, or “bow”, to cast their line. Elevated platforms at the back of the boat, or “aft”, allow occupants to move the boat through shallows with a long pole, watching for fish below the surface. Bay boats are similar in concept, just with deeper bottoms, or “hulls”, and slightly higher sides to provide a smoother, safer ride in rougher coastal waters. Both types of boats typically feature one or more livewells, used primarily to keep live bait. Both also may feature a “jack plate,” a movable engine mount that can raise the engine vertically to allow the boat to continue running in shallow water.

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Activities You'll Most Enjoy

Due to their design, both bay and flats boats are somewhat single-purpose, although each can certainly still be used for the occasional cruise or trip to your favorite waterfront restaurant. Most of the time, however, they’ll be used to pursue fish, working shallow coastal flats while, in the case of bay boats, occasionally venturing offshore.

Which Engine is Right For Your Boat

Quiet and easy to service, outboards create additional room in the main seating area, or “cockpit”, and storage space by positioning the engine behind the flat portion forming the back of the boat, or the “transom”. Outboards can also be fully lifted, or “trimmed”, out of the water, key to getting into the shallow waters fishermen crave.