Embrace America's Rivers

Best River Boat for you...

First, the best boat to use for river journeys is one that floats. This may sound ludicrous but any boat can be used, depending on the skills of the boater and what creature comforts are desired. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of watercraft. I have to admit that I was challenged to find disadvantages with some of the watercraft and some readers may disagree with some issues, based on their own boats and experiences. Following is a list of different types of boats and how they may be or may not be the best boat for the reader who is thinking about purchasing a watercraft for long river journeys:

Canoes, Kayaks, Rowboats, and Inflatables


01.) Relatively low initial investment

02.) No fuel costs

03.) Best for shallow and swift waters

04.) Can be landed or beached easily


01.) Primarily limited to downstream travel

02.) Limited amount of cargo space (kayaks)

03.) Speed often determined by the current

04.) Primitive camping (disadvantage for some)

       Powered Jon Boats (flat-bottom aluminum boat)


01.) Shallow waters

02.) Room for cargo

03.) Easy to land and pull away

04.) Transport in pickup or small trailer


01.) Doesn't handle choppy water well

02.) Small fuel tank limits the range

03.) Tiller steering can be tiresome

04.) Primitive camping (disadvantage for some)

              Bass Boats, Fish/Ski Boats, and Runabouts


01.) Speed

02.) Jet drive models great for shallow waters

03.) Will easily get on-plane for efficiency

04.) Extremely maneuverable


01.) limited cargo space

02.) Primitive camping (disadvantage for some)

03.) Often overpowered (wasting fuel)

04.) In choppy water, all aboard will get wet

                                     Pontoon Boats


01.) Lots of deck space

02.) Large cargo & passenger weight capacity

03.) Camper tops or tents for on board sleeping

04.) Fairly stable in wakes and wind


01.) Requires a wide turning radius

02.) Can be unstable for trailering

03.) Will not bank on turns (except tritoons)

04.) Pontoon logs are more easily damaged

            Cuddy Cabin Cruisers (Pocket Cruisers)


01.) Sleeping quarters for two in bow

02.) Highly maneuverable

03.) Easy to trailer

04.) Shelter from the elements


01.) Limited deck space

02.) Small sleeping quarters (most models)

03.) Relatively low passenger capacity

04.) Cabins can be hot (most don't have AC)

                                  Sailboats (motor sailers)


01.) Fuel savings while under sail

02.) Cabin models offer beds & shelter

03.) Big waves stability

04.) Large cargo capacity


01.) Requires skills to operate

02.) Deep keel can ground easily

03.) Limited under-sail time on rivers

04.) Mast must be stepped for low bridges

             Larger Cruisers, Trawlers and Yachts


01.) Comfortable cruising

02.) On board cooking, bath, sleeping

03.) Stable in high waves and wind

04.) Abundance of outer deck space and seating


01.) Expensive to purchase and operate

02.) Draft to deep for some rivers & coves

03.) Do not beach well

04.) Produces large wakes

                              Large Houseboats


01.) Comfortable cruising

02.) On board cooking, bath, sleeping

03.) Shallow draft for size of vessel

04.) Abundance of outer deck space and seating


01.) Can be difficult to maneuver and dock

02.) Generally slower speeds

03.) Often underpowered for boat size

04.) Expensive to operate (fuel)