Every inland waterway boater loves a flat bottom boat. They are versatile, hard-wearing, shallow water vessels that are great for fishing, hunting and general water work.
What A Wide Flat Bottom Boat Is & Why You Need One
What is a wide flat bottom boat and what are its advantages?
A wide flat bottom boat is an inland waterway vessel that has all the same features and functionality as a normal flat bottom boat but it has a wider beam.
The wider beam makes the boat is more stable and makes it much better at dealing with choppy water than a standard width flat bottom boat.
The extra width also offers more deck space for gear, cargo and passengers.
The most common type of wide flat bottom boat is the double wide Jon boat.
The double wide Jon boat
You may be aware of the 2 basic types of Jon boat, namely the flat bottom and Mod V. But, what on earth is a double wide Jon boat?
A double wide Jon boat, also called an extra wide Jon boat, is a flat bottom boat that has all the same features and functionality as a normal Jon boat but it has a wider beam.
A double wide Jon boat is more stable on the water and better able to deal with chop than a standard width Jon.
It also offers more deck space for gear, cargo and passengers.
A double wide Jon boat is a flat bottom watercraft designed to be used on calm inland waters.
Like a standard Jon boat, a double wide Jon boat excels in very shallow waters and can be used to navigate waterways that are only a few inches deep.
A double wide Jon boat has a much wider beam than an average Jon boat.
However, the name “double wide” is a bit misleading.
A double wide Jon boat does not have double the width of similar length Jon boats.
A double wide Jon boat usually has just several extra width inches than a standard Jon boat but this is enough to make it much wider especially at the base.
Several extra inches may not sound like much to add to the width of a boat, especially on a small boat like a Jon, but it has a big impact on the performance of the boat.
The extra width not only gives the boat a bigger deck area but it offers a lot of extra stability to the boat as well.
Because a double width Jon boat is not actually double the width of a standard Jon boat, a more accurate term to describe it, and one that is used in many parts of the country, is extra wide Jon boat.
Both extra wide Jon boat and double wide Jon boat are used interchangeably and refer to the same type of boat.
Advantages of a double wide Jon boat
The extra width provided on a double wide Jon boat offers the boater a lot of advantages.
Advantages of using a double wide Jon boat include:
- Extra deck space.
- Increased storage.
- Improved stability.
- Better performance in choppy water.
Extra deck space
The extra width on a double wide Jon boat obviously leads to more deck space.
This extra deck space allows the boater and passengers to move more freely about the boat especially when fishing or hunting.
The extra deck space means extra room for storage units.
An extra wide Jon boat has much more deck space to add permanent, or semi-permanent, storage units.
Simple storage containers for gear, equipment and personal items can easily be installed on a double wide Jon boat.
These boats also offer enough room for adding a livewell.
A double wide Jon boat will also usually have a greater weight capacity than a standard width Jon boat.
For the weight capacity of Jon boats read our Jon boat weight capacity guide.
Extra width on a flat bottom boat means extra stability.
To understand why this is the case think of a flat raft. As a raft is a very basic flat bottom boat it is a good way of representing how flat bottom vessels interact with the water.
A smaller raft will have less stability than a larger one, especially when it is carrying cargo, because there is less displacement of water occurring.
With a bigger raft there is a wider base area to displace more water.
This makes the raft more stable and less likely to sink.
The same thing occurs with a Jon boat. As a Jon boat has a flat bottom, like our raft example, it creates its stability through water displacement.
A flat bottom boat can be thought of as “sitting on” the water rather than “sitting in” the water.
A crude and simplistic, but effective, way of explaining of how a flat bottom boat works.
Like our raft, when a Jon boat has a wider base it will displace more water and therefore create more stability on the boat.
If my explanation falls short and is difficult to understand forgive me and just know that the wider the Jon boat, the more stable it is!
In fact, a wider beam on a boat leads to such better stability that it is one of the ways people try to make a Jon boat more stable – by widening the hull.
The extra width offers better performance on choppy water
Although Jon boats are very safe watercraft when they are used in the right environments and under the correct conditions, they are not unsinkable.
Anyone who owns a flat bottom boat knows that they are not a great choice in rough water (see our article can Jon boats handle rough water).
A flat bottom boat is unsuitable for rough water use while a Mod V Jon boat (also called a semi-v) is better designed to deal with rougher conditions and waves.
Hence you will most often see double wide Mod V Jon boats rather than square bow double wide flat bottom boats.
But even a Mod V is a flat bottom watercraft and therefore can become unstable in challenging waters.
But by adding some extra width to it this gives the boat improved stability as we covered above.
This improved stability basically means you are giving the boat an extra layer of protection against capsizing in bad weather conditions.
If you need a better understanding of the differences between a flat bottom boat and a Mod V Jon boat read our article flat bottom vs Mod V Jon boat.
Why You May Need A Wide Flat Bottom Boat
A double wide Jon boat, or any wide flat bottom boat, is used for the same things that a standard width Jon boat is used for.
Below are some of the most common uses for a double wide Jon boat:
- Shallow water navigation.
- Inland waterway transportation of goods and people.
- Hunting on the water, such as duck hunting.
- Leisure activities.
- Utility work.
Even though a double wide Jon boat can easily be fitted out for bass fishing it is the perfect candidate for a Jon boat to bass boat conversion.
How much is a double wide Jon boat?
Obviously a double wide Jon boat will be more expensive than a standard width Jon.
Likewise any other flat bottom boat that is wider will be more expensive than its standard model cousin.
Also, because there are a lot less of these type of wide flat bottom boats in the marketplace this can also drive up prices.
Many flat bottom boat owners will add width to their existing boats as pat of an outfitting project or when they are adding customizations.
However, unless you have the necessary tools and experience this can be a difficult task especially if you are working with aluminum.
For typical Jon boat costs see this article.