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What Is A Skiff Boat (And Skiff Vs Jon Boat)

If you are in need of a small and simple boat, then you may have been recommended to look into getting a skiff or a jon boat.

But before you make any commitments or part with your hard-earned money, you will need to know everything about these boats and which one is the best little boat for you.

What Is A Skiff Boat (And Skiff Vs Jon Boat)

If you want to know everything there is about skiffs, and how they differ from a jon boat, then we have got you covered. Here, we have brought together all our research on skiff boats so you can finally purchase your very own skiff feeling confident that you know everything there is about this handy little boat.

What Is A Skiff Boat?

Skiff boats refer to a wide range of boats, but are most commonly referring to simple little vessels that feature a flat bottom, a pointed pow, and a square stern. Their average length is between 17-25 feet and cost around $20,000.

They are not the most decorated or technological boats – most will only have a center console and a few seats. Originally, skiffs were powered by rowing but most modern skiff boats now feature an outboard motor for ease of use.

Most modern skiffs are made from strong fiberglass or lightweight aluminum, making most skiffs strong enough to be used in rocky rivers and rougher waters.

Due to their simplicity, there are not that many styles or types of skiff boats (there is not much you can do with a boat so small). Some skiff boats can come with some pre-fitted fishing accessories like rod racks or live wells to appeal to fishermen, but most skiff boats all look the same.

These skiffs can be divided into two categories: open soft top, or hard top canopy skiffs. That is the whole point of this kind of vessel – to be simple and basic for ease of use.

That doesn’t mean that this type of boat should be overlooked, however, as they come with a bunch of benefits that make them the ideal boat for a lot of people. Skiffs can be used for all kinds of activities, but most uses can be divided into two: leisure, or fishing.

Skiffs are lightweight boats that don’t require huge motors that use up a lot of gas to move around. They can save you a lot of money on fuel and this also makes them better for the environment.

If you are looking for a sustainable boat that can allow you to cruise or fish with a clear conscience, then it is worth looking into getting a skiff boat.

These little vessels are also incredibly versatile as they can be used in both freshwater and saltwater, making them ideal for all kinds of bodies of water. Skiffs are also great for shallower waters due to their flat bottoms that can just float on any depth of water, including rivers, streams, and lakes.

This means you can take your skiff just about anywhere and get close to fishing spots that are too shallow for some other fishing vessels. Some skiff-owners will take their skiff out onto the ocean but it is recommended that you only do this if you own one of the larger models.

Another great benefit to skiffs is that they are one of the safest kinds of vessel out there. The flat hulls of skiffs are usually filled with foam to help with flotation – making skiffs almost unsinkable. Some skiffs are also available with higher gunwales for safety that can also be handy for fishing too.

How Are Skiff Boats Different From Jon Boats?

If you are already looking for a skiff boat to buy, then you may also be tempted to buy a jon boat.

They are both rather similar boats – both are flat bottomed that can access water that is only a few inches feet, both can be rowed or powered with an outboard motor, and both are most commonly made from fiberglass or aluminum. They are also both affordable and stable boats to use for fishing.

After all these things they have in common, what makes a skiff boat different from a jon boat?

Well, there are a few differences between the two types of vessels.

Where the term ‘skiff’ can refer to a number of boats, jon boats are more defined. They are flat bottomed boats that feature a square cut bow.

Jon boats are not as great in rougher waters than a skiff is. Although we don’t recommend you take your skiff out onto the ocean in high winds, you will have an even tougher time in a jon boat.

This is because the jon boat has a square bow instead of a V shaped bow, and so it is not designed to deflect waves. You can modify your hull to help this, but why bother when you can just get a skiff instead?

For this reason, people use the two boats for different activities. Skiffs are more popular with fishermen and anglers, while jon boats are used by some to fish, transport, and hunt.

Skiffs are better if you plan on moving around between different bodies of water while with jon boats, you have to carefully consider if your square bow can take choppier waters.

While both can travel in shallow and rocky rivers, skiff owners are more confident to venture into rougher waters while jon boat owners are left behind.

Because of this, a lot of people just go with a skiff boat as you can have that better mobility without having to customize and modify your jon boat further. This can save you a lot of time and money, especially when you consider that both types of boats are usually around the same price on market.

How Are Skiff Boats Different From Jon Boats

Where Can I Buy A Skiff Boat?

Due to the popularity of skiff boats, a lot of companies manufacture and design their own model of skiffs.

The company Carolina Skiff specializes in center console skiffs and offers a range of skiffs from high-end offshore sea fishing boats to a more economical design.

Boston Whaler (a division of the Brunswick Group) are the best to go to if you are looking for a range of sizes – they offer skiffs from as small as 15 feet all the way up to 37 feet long.

Century Boats offer a line of hard top models and the larger the skiff, the more built in accessories you will find on offer as standard.

Basically, you can easily find skiff boats for sale on the market so you have a lot of options when it comes to brands. However, because skiffs are very simple vessels, there isn’t much difference when it comes down to design.

When you are shopping around for a skiff boat to buy, there are a few things you should consider before you go looking into brands.

The first is cost. Skiffs are pretty affordable when it comes to boats, but if you want to save some extra money, you could always buy a skiff second hand.

Another factor that is important to your final decision is size – if you plan on sharing your skiff with more than one person or you have a lot of fishing gear you want to take with you, then you will most likely need a larger skiff boat.

However, if it is just you, then you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a large skiff that you won’t fully utilize.

And finally, there are all the extra features that come with the model you are looking at. Remember that skiffs are not complex boats so there won’t be a lot of cool, amazing features that will blow your mind.

You may find some with a few handy little adjustments that could benefit you while fishing, but don’t be surprised if all the skiffs you are browsing look the same.


And that’s everything you need to know about skiff boats!

They are handy little boats that can travel in rough and shallow waters, making them a favorite vessel among fishermen and anglers. While they are not the most complex of boats to maneuver or design, that does not mean that they are not useful.

Skiffs make for great cruising or fishing boats that can handle a lot of different kinds of bodies of water.

They’re also slightly superior to the jon boat as their V shaped hull makes skiffs more adept at cutting through waves and rougher waters while the jon boat would be left floundering.

This is why a lot of fishermen and anglers would recommend purchasing a skiff over a jon boat because when you are in a skiff, you can venture into more difficult waters with confidence.

So if you are looking for an affordable type of vessel to try out some fishing, it is definitely worth your time looking into getting a skiff boat. They are stable and sustainable boats that are simple but sturdy so you can fish and cruise in comfort and peace.

Lucas Jones