® | Official Canadian Boating License

Hull Types and Uses

There are two types of hull designs: planing and displacement.

  • Planing Hull – is designed to lift and ride on top of the water as it gains speed. Most small power boats have a planing hull design.
  • Displacement Hull – is designed to travel through the water. Sailing vessels and large cruise ships use displacement hulls because their size and power will not allow them to plane.

Hull Shapes

There are four basic hull shapes found on recreational watercraft:

Flat bottom hull on a boat, found on fishing boats.
Flat Bottom – Found on fishing boats. They are best in calm, shallow waters.

Round bottom hull on a boat, found on canoes.
Round Bottom – Found on canoes. These boats glide slowly through the water with little effort. They do roll easily, so use caution when entering, exiting, loading or unloading the boat.

Deep-V hull on a boat, found on powerboats.
Deep-V Hull – Found on powerboats. These boats move smoothly through rough water at high speeds. They generally have a larger engine.

Multi-hull bottom on a boat. Found on catamarans and pontoon boats.
Multi-hull – Found on catamarans and pontoon boats. These boats are very stable but have a wide turning and steering radius.


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