Jon boats are one of the most popular shallow water utility vessels in America. They have served the country since pioneer times and continue to be used on inland waters the length and breath of the American continent. The very popular and well known flat bottom Jon boat has a shallow draft and squared bow making it ideal for calm, shallow water use but what on earth is a mod-v Jon boat?
A mod V Jon boat, also known as a semi-v or modified V hull Jon boat, is similar to a flat bottom Jon boat but has been modified to allow it to be used in more challenging conditions. A mod V Jon boat has a bottom that is half flat and half curved. The curved bottom at the front area of the boat gives it better stability in choppy waters and its pointed bow allows it to cut through waves while its flat bottom at the back area maintains its shallow draft. A mod V Jon boat is preferred over a flat bottom Jon boat on inland waters that regularly experience chop and wind.
What is a modified V hull Jon boat?
A modified V hull Jon boat is exactly what the name implies – it is a Jon boat with a modified V hull. However the V-hull modification is not made to the entirely of the hull. Okay, but what exactly does that mean?
A modified V hull Jon boat has a slightly different hull design from a standard flat bottom Jon boat. A modified V hull Jon boat has a pointed bow to allow it to cut through waves and it is slightly curved underneath at the bow area to give the boat the ability to move through chop without taking on water.
A modified V hull Jon boat is also known as a mod-v Jon boat and a semi-v Jon boat. The name semi-v Jon boat probably best represents the nature of this vessel.
If we look underneath a Mod V Jon boat we we will see that approximately half of the boat has a flat bottom while the other half is curved and has a slight “V” shape. The back end half is flat to offer shallow draft and stability in calm waters while the front half is curved to allow the boat to better ride choppy water.
The bow of a Mod V Jon boat has been modified to be pointed to further help the boat cut through waves and deflect water away from the boat.
Although a Mod V Jon boat and a flat bottom Jon boat look very similar on first viewing there are key differences between the two.
The hull of a traditional Jon boat has a completely flat bottom. This allows the boat to access extremely shallow areas of water because it gives the Jon a very shallow draft. However, this neat feature which gives the boat exceptional stability on calm water makes it very unstable in more turbulent waters.
A Mod V Jon boat on the other hand has a bottom that is only partially flat. The back end of a Mod V Jon boat has a flat bottom while the front end has a curved bottom with a slight “V” shape to it. This curved hull feature allows a Mod V Jon boat to better ride choppy water because it can cut through the waves and is less likely to take on water.
The bow of a Mod V Jon boat also differs in shape from the bow of a flat bottom Jon boat. A flat bottom Jon boat has a square bow whereas a Mod V Jon boat has a pointed bow.
This difference in bow shape allows a Mod V Jon boat to cut through waves and deflect them away from the interior of the boat.
Why Mod V Jon boats are used
Boats that are designed to be used in turbulent water, like ocean-going vessels, will have a deep draft and a “V” shaped hull. This design helps the boat to main stability in choppy water as it can cut through waves better.
A traditional flat bottom Jon boat is an excellent shallow water boat because it has a completely flat bottom and shallow draft. The boat “sits” on the water rather than in it making it extremely stable on calm water.
Unfortunately though, the flat bottom design that makes a Jon boat so suitable for calm water makes it unsuitable for, and unstable in, rough water (see our article about using a Jon boat in rough water).
As Jon boats are almost always used on calm inland waterways, with some exceptions, they do not normally need hull characteristics designed to ride rough water. Their flat bottom shallow draft hull design is perfect for calm shallow waters as it offers exceptional stability and a very smooth ride even at speed (see this article).
However, not all inland shallow waters are calm. Some anglers, duck hunters and utility boat users who needed the shallow draft of a flat bottom boat to access shallow waters found themselves encountering problems because the shallow inland waterways they boated on were not always calm.
Although these boaters required a shallow draft boat to access shallow waterways those same waters would experience high winds and choppy water thus making a completely flat bottom boat unsuitable.
So, these boater found themselves in a quandary, they couldn’t use a v-hull boat, such as a rowboat for example, because they needed to access shallow water areas but a flat bottom boat was too unstable in challenging conditions (see our article Jon boat vs Rowboat).
To combat this problem Mod V Jon boats were created.
In order to still be able to access shallow water a flat bottom was needed to maintain the boat’s shallow draft. However, in order to better deal with choppy water the Jon boat needed to be modified in a way that would allow it to cut through the waves and maintain stability when the conditions became more challenging.
To do this part of the bottom of the boat, at the front end, was curved upward and a slight “V” shape was added to it to resemble a v-hull boat., while the back bottom part remained flat. This meant the boat maintained its shallow draft but could cut through chop much easier without taking on water.
Additionally, the usual squared bow of a standard flat bottom Jon boat was redesigned to make it more pointed. This also resembles a v-hull boat because, like a v-hull boat, the pointed bow on a Mod V Jon boat can cut through waves and deflect the spray away from the interior of the boat.
These hull design changes altered the traditional flat bottom Jon boat into the Mod V Jon boat we know today. A boat that retains the unique shallow draft characteristics of a flat bottom Jon boat but that can be used in more challenging conditions.
Because a Mod V Jon boat has approximately half of its bottom flat and half curved (though sits more like 60%/40%) it is often called a semi-v boat.