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How Fast Can a Boat Go? – Know the Boat Maximum Speed

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

how fast can a boat go

For some boaters, the joy of boating comes from fishing or chasing the sunset on the beach. However, according to many boaters, the true attraction of boating mostly lies in the exciting feeling when riding the vessel at high speed.

Hence, some people may wonder: “How fast can a boat go?” or more specifically, what is the fastest boat speed? The answers for these questions may somehow surprise you. 345 mph is the highest boat velocity ever recorded. While business-speed vessels can reach the speed of 170 mph, the average boat speed varies by each boat type.

In this post, we will cover all the necessary knowledge about average motorboat speed, as well as information on the standard pontoon boat speed calculator and other aspects.

Also, suggestions for controlling a speed boat or improving a craft’s performance will be provided within many parts of the text, so make sure to follow us until the end!

How Fast Does a Speed Boat Go


When it comes to a watercraft’s velocity, it’s often entertaining to speculate the vessel’s top speed. The Spirit of Australia, which is also known as the fastest speedboat in the world, currently holds the record velocity of 345 miles an hour.

However, since the Spirit of Australia was a custom-built yacht with aircraft engines, its speed was not reflective of the boat’s actual performances. Speeds above 170 mph might be regarded the fastest for commercial vessels these days.

While examining the top speed numbers is simple, determining a normal boat speed is significantly more challenging. There are several different kinds of watercraft, so each model is predicted to have a particular selection of high or average speeds.

Different Boat Types’ Average Velocity


In this part, we will discover certain boat models and their average speeds. By studying these boat numbers carefully, you will realize it’s simple to differ the speed range of each craft type and it’s difficult to determe a precise average speed for a boat:

1. Yacht: average speed of 50mph

It’s also hard to determine a reasonable average velocity for yachts because of their large range of potential specifications. A yacht’s length can vary between 25 to 70 feet, which creates many differences compared to one yacht and another in terms of speed.

They are often constrained by their size, although they might also transport larger and stronger engines. The maximum speed ever reported in a yacht is 80 miles per hour. However, yachts that hit 50 miles per hour are regarded as exceptionally fast.

2. Speedboat: average speed of 50mph

The fastest type of vessel is the speedboat, which can achieve speeds of exceeding 170 mph.

Customized speed watercraft, on the other hand, may attain far higher speeds. They are the epitome of velocity on the ocean, thanks to their sleek bodies and powerful motors.

The average speed of a speedboat is roughly 70 miles per hour, but high-performance versions are aimed to surpass 100 miles per hour.

Since speedboats are recognized for their fast velocity, there can be a significant performance distinction between regular and premium versions.

Similar to sport cars on streets, speedboats shouldn’t be considered as regular vessels due to certain differences in controlling and maintenance.

3. Sailboat: average speed of 8 to 12mph

Because sailboats don’t include motors, they are distinguishable from other types of vessel on the list. While the engine of a motorboat has a significant impact on its velocity, sailboats operated by the weather and sail wings are considered to be slower.

The average sailing speed is 8 mph, with a peak speed of 12mph. These stats may not appear spectacular, yet traveling without the need of an engine is noteworthy in and of themselves.

Originally, the quickest sailboats could attain speeds of above 30 miles per hour. In the nineteenth century, those boats used travel winds to transport commodities and passengers between cities.

4. Pontoon boat: average speed of 8 to 12mph

Pontoon boats are not really famous for their velocity as they’re usually linked to relaxing experiences and casual travel, yet some may reach speeds of over 30 mph. Although not as quick as speedboats, they are faster than most people expect them to perform

Pontoon pipes add more space to these vessels and don’t contribute to the acceleration, so it is harder for them to attain greater speeds.

Even while a moderate 10 to 15 mph suffices, an average pace of approximately 20mph will not really take anything away from them.

What Elements Affect the Average Speed of a Boat


When it comes to assessing a boat’s velocity, boaters need to pay attention to certain factors influencing the vessel’s performance. Here are some that may affect a watercraft’s average speed:

1. Boat length

A craft’s speed is exactly proportional to its length. The speedy boat is generally the one that is longer. Still, the length of a vessel must be measured in addition to its breadth and weight.

2. Hull shape

Another aspect that affects a boat’s speed is the form of the hull.

A boat’s length in proportion to its hull design helps it to cut through waves and water resistance, allowing it to travel quicker

While minimizing resistance is an essential factor to consider when constructing a hull, this isn’t the only factor to consider.

In terms of hull design, watercraft constants as well as slip percentages differ from one boat to the next.

3. Wind speed and direction

Another important aspect that impacts the average watercraft speed is the wind flow and its direction. If you wish to sail across the ocean on a sailboat, you must consider these things. When cruising, it is necessary for boaters to encounter a beneficial current as well as the flow of downwind.

4. Propulsion

Another important issue that influences a vessel’s speed is how it is powered. A powered boat is usually always faster than a usual sailboat, but there are other aspects to consider.

Sailboats may outrun powered boats in terms of speed, particularly compared to pontoons and other watercraft.

Adequately using propulsion is also important. A vessel with an overloaded engine may become unstable and unable to appropriately use the motor’s power. Using such a watercraft might potentially be risky.

How to Calculate a Speed Boat’s Velocity

Even when there are many elements affecting the boat’s speed, there is a general formula to calculate the average boat’s velocity and measure your vessel’s performance. Here is what the formula looks like:

Boat velocity = (rotor horsepower / weight) x boat constant

Many of the criteria mentioned in the previous parts have been transformed to numerical figures through this formula. But the end result is a theoretical number that ignores the majority of environmental influences.

Furthermore, because factors fluctuate from vessel to boat, a single computation cannot be used to produce a typical value for all watercraft.

A boat velocity calculator can be easier to search for. Still, the numbers which these calculators demand are difficult to collect, hence the only solid alternative might be to approach the boat’s builder. 


How fast can a boat go? A boat’s velocity is in fact influenced by many factors, such as the weather condition or the vessel’s designing features.

Understanding the fastest speed that each type of boat can reach is interesting and helpful in terms of controlling and assessing the performance of your watercraft in particular situations. Finally, knowing the limit of a boat’s velocity might assist boaters in avoiding unwanted violations.

We hope that the above information is useful for your boating experience. Did you enjoy the article? Do you want to add anything else? Please let us know and leave a comment below.

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