The humble Jon boat is a staple of American inland waters. With its versatility and shallow draft this utility boat is perfect for fishing, hunting, camping and general lake, river, creek and pond water activities. But we all know that not all inland waterways are calm so what is the most stable Jon boat you can buy?
The most stable Jon boat for calm inland waters will be a flat bottom Jon with a square bow. The most stable Jon boat for choppy water will be a mod-v Jon. For extra stability you can opt for an extra wide Jon boat. There are also steps you can take to make a Jon boat more stable.
Choosing the most stable Jon boat
I will assume you are reading this post because you are in the market for a Jon boat and want the most stable model available. Even if you are only here out of curiously you obviously want to know which specific Jon boat is the most stable.
Fortunately, there is not one model that is the most stable Jon boat.
I say “fortunately” because this really is good news.
Let me explain.
The Jon boat is by far the most versatile personal inland watercraft in America. The many different ways in which a Jon boat can be used makes it the best utility vessel on the planet in my (and a great many other people’s) opinion. But there is no one-size-fits-all Jon boat. Different Jon boats fit different uses and different environments.
For example, a flat-bottomed Jon boat with a square bow offers superior stability on calm water. These boats are almost as stable as solid ground when sitting on calm inland waters, from lakes and ponds to rivers and creeks. Standing up and casting off from a flat-bottomed Jon boat is easy due to the superior stability.
Likewise, duck hunting from Jon boat is also easy because the boat’s shallow draft allows hunters to access banks for reaching prey and the boat’s superior stability lets them shoot directly from the boat – try doing that on a boat that isn’t totally stable! However, hunters are more likely to be using a mod-v Jon boat rather than a flat bottom Jon for reasons I will highlight later.
Bow fishing is also done from a Jon boat because of the stability the boat offers.
To know which Jon boat will offer you the most stability you must first know where and how you will be using the boat!
Why do you need to know how and where you will use your boat to find out which Jon boat is the most stable? Because there are 2 different types of Jon boat each with slightly different stability benefits.
Different types of Jon boat
2 types of Jon boat:
- Flat bottom Jon boat.
- Mod-v Jon boat.
The original Jon boat, and most common one, is the flat-bottomed Jon. This offers superior stability on calm water. However, it starts to become unstable in chop.
The mod-v Jon boat was created to allow the Jon boat to better handle choppy water. It offers better stability in challenging weather, and water ,conditions than its flat-bottomed brother.
A quick word of explanation about the difference between a mod-v Jon boat and a flat-bottomed Jon boat. Although one is called a flat-bottomed Jon boat and the other a mod-v Jon boat, both boats have a flat bottom. The term “flat bottom Jon boat” is only used to distinguish it from the mod-v type.
If you want a more in-depth explanation of the difference between these two types of Jon boat read our article flat bottom Jon boat vs mod-v Jon boat.
There is a simple way to determine which type of Jon boat you need. Simply ask yourself if you intend to boat only on calm inland waters or, if you intend to boat on waters that are fairly choppy in areas that experience fairly strong winds.
How the different Jon boats are used:
- A flat-bottomed Jon boat offers superior stability on calm water and incredible comfort and stability at speed.
- A mod-v Jon boat offers better stability in choppy water and challenging conditions.
Double wide Jon boats
At this point I should also point out that there are wider Jon boats available. Why is this important? Well, the width of a flat bottom boat has a big impact on the stability of the boat. The wider the boat is, the more stable it is.
As the flat bottom on a wider boat is offering a larger area, and so displacing more water, it thus creates a more stable platform. This is why some manufacturers offer what is called a double wide Jon boat.
Double wide Jon boats are not actually double the width of a standard Jon but they are a good deal wider. This extra width not only offers more deck space but increases the overall stability of the boat. These boats are not as common as the standard Jon and mod-v but you can find them if you are willing to look about.
How stable is a Jon boat?
Before we begin you should be aware that any type of Jon boat will be, by far, one of the most stable boats you can use on calm inland waters.
Like most other flat bottom boats, a Jon boat in incredibly stable on calm water. Its unique hull design was created to give the boat superior stability on inland waters.
A Jon boat has a completely flat bottom and a low freeboard. This means the boat’s hull sits very close to the water line both below the water and above the water.
The flat bottom of a Jon boat sits very shallow in the water not far below the water surface. The top of the hull (the sides, bow and stern) of a Jon boat sit not far above the water line. These features give a Jon boat a very shallow draft.
This shallow draft hull design not only allows Jon boat users to access extremely shallow areas, with as little as 2″ of water, but if also offers incredible stability on calm water.
For illustration purposes you can think of a Jon boat as “sitting on” the water rather than “sitting in” the water.
The flat surface of the bottom of the boat displaces the water evenly, like a raft, thus creating incredible stability. Standing and walking on a large Jon boat when it is in calm water doesn’t feel much different from walking on solid ground.
But, a Jon boat isn’t just stable when at rest.
Even at speed Jon boats are incredibly stable and very comfortable to ride in. That is because the flat bottom, low freeboard hull design allows the boat to get on plane easily and quickly. The only time a Jon boat will porpoise and have stability issues at speed is if it has not been set-up correctly.
As you have seen, anglers, hunters and even bow fishing enthusiasts take advantage of the superior stability of a Jon boat, but bear in mind that each of these boat users will likely be using a different Jon boat.
Examples of very stable Jon boats
The following boats are very stable Jon boats. I have given you a list of Jons based on size. This list is not exhaustive but a good representation of the type of stable Jon boats that are available on the marketplace.
Very stable Jon boats:
- Hunting Jon boats – Predator range by Lund.
- Fishing Jon boats – Flat-bottomed and mod-v models by Lowe.
- Utility Jon boats – Flat bottomed and mod-v models by Tracker. Some of the best Jons on the planet.
- Console controlled Jon boats – Top-of-range remote steering controlled Jons by Gator Trax. If you’ve got the budget, get the boat!
Although the above boats are very stable there is no one model of Jon boat that is more stable than another. A
All Jon boats are incredibly stable when used in the marine environments for which they were designed.
Therefore, rather than picking a specific Jon boat based on the manufacturer or model it is best to choose the type of Jon boat you need based on the information given above. Then simply choose a size that is the best for your needs and the waterways you regularly boat on.
For example, buying an expensive 21 ‘ Lowes flat bottom aluminum Jon boat may be a bad idea if you regularly boat in narrow creeks but also deep choppy lakes. In that case you would be better with a mod-v Jon that can handle the rough water of the open lake but in a smaller size so the boat can easily navigate tight turns.
Quality Jon boat manufacturers
You should have a look at this if you want a list of Jon boat manufacturers. Keep in mind that although big brand manufacturers offer quality Jon boats, there are also some great non-branded Jon boats that offer the same type of superior stability and they sell for much lower costs that the big brand name manufacture models.
Remember, all Jon boat are very stable and no one model or make will be more stable than other. It is the type of Jon boat you choose that determines its stability; flat bottom Jon boat for calm inland waters; mod-v Jon boat for choppy inland water and windy environments like open lakes.
So check each of the Jon boat manufacturer websites by following the link above while keeping in mind which Jon boat type of need.
Making a Jon boat even more stable
Even though a Jon boat is the most stable boat you can use in calm inland waters there are ways to make it even more stable.
Stabilizing a Jon boat is as easy as adding flotation pods or outriggers.
We have a full article on making a Jon boat more stable here.