WHAT IS A BOATS DRAFT?
If you are looking for a new boat to purchase, you most likely will have come across the nautical term "draft" many times. It is also sometimes described as a boat's draught. Whichever term you have been seeing, it is important to know what it means. A boat's draft is the distance between the top of the waterline and the lowest point of the hull(body of the vessel). In other words, draft measures how deep the vessel goes below the waters surface.
The draft of a boat is extremely important to know before heading out on the water. It allows the driver and passengers know how deep water needs to be in order for the vessel to float freely. If you are interested in drifting, you will want a smaller draft. There are advantages and disadvantages to both shallow draft and deep draft vessels. Which type of draft is best for you, will come down to what you plan on using your boat for and the depth of water you would like to take it out in.
It is also worth noting when outboard boats are measured it is usually with the engine tilted. Also the weight provided by the builder is usually with empty tanks and no equipment.
When you first start your search for a new boat as a beginner, there are so many options and styles it can be overwhelming. Ask yourself "Where do I want to use my boat?" and once you have the answer you will be able to narrow down whether a shallow or deep draught vessel is right for you based on the information below!
Shallow Draft Boats
Types of Shallow Drafts: Flat, Semi V, Pontoon
Flat bottom boats are extremely stable in calm water allowing for a comfortable ride. However they cannot handle going into deeper water with choppy waves. Rough waters will cause a flat bottom boat to capsize. Their main purpose is to get into very shallow water to fish inshore and they are designed to be able to be polled. Shallow draft boats will almost never have a keel.
Deep Draft Boats
Types of Deep Drafts: Round with Keel, Deep V
Boats with a deep draft are perfect for handling turbulent water and waves without tipping over. They often have a keel which is designed to provide stability. Deep draft vessels are made for deeper bodies of water like the ocean or large lakes, but cannot navigate most inland waterways. They are excellent for offshore fishing.