Boaters who enjoy comfort often choose boats with cabins. Having a cabin on the boat provides protection from the sun, wind, and rain while on the water and gives the boaters, or their guests, a place to rest when they want to relax. Boats with cabins come in many different varieties from large cabin cruisers to smaller boats with pilothouse-type cabins. Finding the right types of boats with cabins for you and your family or friends requires knowing the differences between the various boat styles.
Types of Cabin Cruiser Boats
Cabin cruiser boats are some of the most well-appointed types of cabin boats. They are designed for spending extended periods on the water and generally come with a sleeping area, a galley, and a small bathroom. These types of boats come in lengths ranging from 25 feet to 100 feet. Boaters tend to like them because they have plenty of room, can be used in both freshwater and saltwater, and they often have large swim platforms and sun pads for relaxing.
The most common types of cabin cruiser boats are express cruisers and pocket cruisers.
Express cruisers, also called expresses, coupes, and sport cruisers, are designed for high performance with a low-slung hardtop and a V-shaped hull. They often have top speeds of more than 30 knots and cruise efficiently at speeds from 22 to 25 knots. The top makers of express cruiser boats include Boston Whaler, Formula, Monterey Boats, Princess, Pursuit ans Regal.
Pocket cruisers are smaller than express cruisers and try to fit a lot of boat into a small package with creative engineering and a smart use of available space, making them ideal for couples and smaller families. These cabin cruisers generally have a living area situated above deck with a cabin below deck to maximize space and comfort. They are generally chosen as recreational boats for weekend leisure trips. The top makers of pocket cruiser boats include Cutwater, Jeanneau and Ranger Tugs. Some unusual new designs, including those from Sea Ray and Solara, have a cabin in the middle and a bow cockpit forward.
Types of Cuddy Cabin Boats
Cuddy cabin boats are boats with a small, enclosed cabin space that may or may not be large enough to stand up in. Depending on the model, they may also have a head and possibly even a small galley. These boats with cabins tend to range in length from 20 feet to 26 feet, and place more emphasis on open cockpit space but still have the cuddy cabin for overnight trips or breaks from the weather. Boaters can enjoy just about any activity that they would undertake with a larger boat, including fishing, cruising, and towing skiers, boarders, and tubers. However, they have limited sleeping and storage space as they are not intended for long voyages. Some makers of various types of cuddy cabin boats include Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Jeanneau, and Sea Ray.
Boston Whaler 330 Outrage. Photo credit: Boston Whaler
Types of Offshore Cabin Boats
There are many types of offshore cabin boats in a wide range of styles and sizes. Some, which would usually be categorized as trawlers, have larger displacement hulls offering the maximum amount of tankage and onboard storage space. A handful of offshore cabin boats also offer electric or hybrid motors to maximize fuel efficiency.
Trawlers are designed for extended stays during long voyages. They tend to have relatively large cabins, can have displacement or semi-displacement hulls, and come with either one or two engines. Most will have at least one private stateroom, a full galley, and an enclosed head. Most trawlers range from 30 feet to 80 feet in length, although there are a few that fall outside this range. Top trawler brands today include Beneteau, Grand Banks, Nordhavn, Nordic Tugs, and Ranger Tugs.
Flybridge cabin cruisers
These boats are cruisers that have a steering station on top of the hard top, and in some cases on very large models, an upper cabin as well. They are a popular choice among boaters for their elevated perspective during cruising, along with their versatility and spaciousness. Flybridge cabin cruisers come in a number of shapes and sizes, starting at around 35 feet and going up from there. Top manufacturers of flybridge cabin cruisers include Beneteau, Cranchi, Fairline, Galeon, Lagoon, Prestige, and (on the used boat market) Sealine.
Cranchi M44 HT. Photo credit: Cranchi
Downeast cabin cruisers
Downeast cabin cruisers are exceptionally well-suited for overnight trips and day cruising. They tend to have a helm station in the main cabin, with accommodations in a lower cabin positioned toward the forward part of the hull. These cabin boats can typically accommodate 10 or more passengers and range in size from about 20 feet to nearly 70 feet in length. Leading boat manufacturers specializing in downeast cabin cruisers include Back Cove, Ellis, Hinckley, and True North.
Catamarans are also offered as offshore cabin boats, especially in the sailing category. These are usually made of fiberglass or carbon fiber and have two reinforced hulls. Top builders include Fountaine-Pajot, Catana, Leopard, Nautitech, and Seawind. There are also some power catamaran cruising boats, which are generally appreciated for their high stability and spacious decks. Top builders include Aquila, Leopard, Nautitech, and Lagoon.
Astréa 42. Photo credit: Fountaine Pajot
Trimarans, aalso known as double outriggers, are sailboats similar to catamarans except they have three hulls: a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls connected to the main hull with lateral beams. Their design makes them exceptionally fast, so they are preferable for many recreational and racing purposes. They are often chosen for long trips with family and friends or for thrilling rides at high speeds. There are many manufacturers of trimarans, including Astus, Dragonfly, Farrier, Neel, and Radikal.
Types of Cabin Boats on Lakes
You can find just about any type of cabin boat on a lake, though most you’ll see are smaller and less powerful than the types of boats used offshore since they’re land-locked and are generally used for covering shorter distances. Lakes are also where you’ll find many houseboats, which certainly fall into the cabin boat category, and lots of people use them for vacationing or in lieu of a lakefront home. On some large lakes where fishing is popular, there may also be a contingent of fishing boats with cabins.
For more information see: The Most Popular Types of Lake Boats
With the many different types of cabin boats available, it can be difficult to choose the best type of boat for your needs. At Rightboat, we have a wide range of models of boats with cabins on our platform to meet various budgets and tastes. We’re confident that our new and used boats will bring your boating dreams to life. Browse our listings today to compare brands, models, and features.
This article was most recently updated in July 2023 by Lenny Rudow
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