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What Type of Boat Is Most Likely to Have a Planing Hull? – An Expert Explanation

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

what type of boat is most likely to have a planing hull

While studying boats and ships, it is inevitable that you find it confusing to distinguish different types of boat hulls. After all, they share many common features and fit with a lot of vessels. One of the most popular questions relating to this topic is, “What type of boat is most likely to have a planing hull?”

Boats, like their hulls, are available in a multitude of forms and sizes. Regardless of their design, most hulls are intended to perform one among two things: expel water or glide on top of the wave, which is known as planing.

However, this is not all the information you need to know about planing or planing hull types. In this article, we will compile a proper explanation for the title question as well as other knowledge related to planning hulls in particular and other boat hull designs in general so you will have an overview of this special boat component.

Moreover, a list of tips to distribute the boat’s volume and further notices on traveling with planing hull vessels in real situations will be highlighted in this article. So, you and other sailors can practice this process without too much difficulty. Continue reading to learn more!

What Is a Planing Hull


A planing hull is designed to generate positive pressure distribution (lift), which implies that it glides on its bow wave as well as reduces draft with speed. When a boat plans, the volume of hull inside the water decreases, resulting in reduced drag.

Planing hulls offer a variety of shapes, the most typical is a V form together with a chine. This chine pushes the wave downward, assisting with lift.

There are many models of V-shaped hulls, each with its own set of handling features. A broad deep V hull typically provides a smooth ride in surf, however, it will take more effort to get moving, while a narrower shallow V may demand less power to travel but will not be as pleasant as the V hull when you encounter high waves.

Flat bottom planing hulls, also known as cathedral hulls, have a larger horizontal surface area, so they will not be as pleasant in rough circumstances. Nonetheless, they perform a highly stable condition while moving at moderate speed.

The Difference Between Displacement Hull and Planing Hull


As I have mentioned above, a vessel with a planing hull may maneuver the waves regardless of its weight. To provide entrance to the aircraft, it features a flat hull shape. The flatter the floor, the better it is in terms of usefulness!

Flatter hulls require less power to achieve high speeds. Nevertheless, there is a trade-off in controlling because flat hulls do not perform well in choppy seas. To navigate rough waves, many planing boats feature shallow V-shaped hulls. This style of boat hull is used in contemporary boats. Some boats even include “stepped” hulls for added lift.

On the other hand, a displacement hull may be identified by its rounded foundation or teardrop shape from the bow to stern. It disperses the same amount of water as from the boat’s capacity, as suggested by the name.

Therefore, the hull is effective, as seen on a range of cruise vessels, such as trawlers and certain sailboats. This hull design’s speed is limited by the multiplication of the waterline length’s square root with 1.34. According to this estimate, a 64-foot boat is permitted to reach a peak speed of little more than 10 knots.

Types of Planing Hulls and Planing Hull Boats

Since fishing boats are tiny yet power-driven, they often feature planing hulls. Most of the time, they surf the waves rather than plow it. As a result, less gasoline is used. Still, the trip can be rougher and more unstable when they rebound on the water.

There are several varieties of planing hulls, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, as described below:

1. Round bottom planing hull

Although this form of hull and displacement hull share the same design, there are significant differences between the two. While displacement hulls are mostly included in bigger boats, round bottom hulls are used in way smaller one, like kayaks or canoes. They provide a smooth ride and also swing back and forth.

The goal of the rounded bottom hull is to allow boats to travel more smoothly on the waves at a slower speed. It also reduces the drag on the boats. The disadvantage is that it is unsteady and requires a balancer or a strong keel to prevent rolling.

2. Flat bottom planing hull

This is common on relatively small, uncovered vessels with a low depth. It’s a style of hull that works well for angling in pools, lakes, and quiet rivers. Dinghy boats or rowboats are the greatest examples.

In calm water, boaters can rely on its steadiness. Take notice, though, of its wide bow, which creates a bumpy ride. It takes a lot of force to move it. Crafts with flat bottom tow are only available with low performance motors. Unfortunate scenarios may arise when these boats crash and roll during rapid bends.

3. Deep V-shaped hull

The deep V-shaped hull is good for navigating choppy waves and venturing further beyond the shore. It’s a basic design, although certain producers may tweak it a little. It’s what you’ll find on fiberglass speed boats and watercraft.

At average speeds, a fishing vessel with such a deep V shape is simple to handle. The V section cuts through the waves, providing a smooth ride even in choppy conditions. Because of its modest draft, it’s ideal for catching fish in minor rivers and streams.

Just be cautious when making quick bends because it may roll or bank. This hull can travel at the same pace as a flat-bottom hull, yet it takes more horsepower.

4. Multi-hull

Multi-hull trawlers feature more than one hull for planing as well as displacement. The air pocket emerges in the centre of the hull, allowing these boats to easily take off.

This type of hull may be seen on pontoons or catamarans. They include a broad beam, which gives them tremendous stability and allows them to sail easily on the water. Take note of the fact that the propeller in this kind of boat is not entirely submerged.

Multi-hull boats demand a large pitch but also hold capabilities when traveling at higher top-end speeds. A big area is required when they rotate as well.

5. Cathedral Hull

Cathedral hulls are designed based on the demand for a new model of altering tri-hulls in modern motorboats. It’s built for stability, with two or more hulls connected for increased breadth.

The hull’s bow and stern have more surface area so expect a bumpier ride in turbulent conditions. Due to the sheer hammering of the hulls, there are huge amounts of sprays as well.

Planing Boat Hull Types | BoatUS

Planing Hull’s Size Limits

Because it is said that planing hulls are best suited for smaller crafts, there needs to be a size restriction. It’s not a smart idea to upscale since cube quadratic law brings out flaws. Planing hull vessels typically differ in length from 20 to 24 meters.

The planing area and weight must be balanced. Whenever the length is doubled, the weight also increases by a factor of eight. In this scenario, the planing pressure only raises four times and is therefore insufficient for the weight.

Unfortunately, every planing hull has this drawback. It could never be a large ship since the planing pressure would be insufficient to sustain the increased weight.


After reading this post, I believe you have the answer to ”What type of boat is most likely to have a planing hull?” Smaller vessels and fishing boats like pontoon boats are the most suitable models with this kind of hull. The planing force will support the weight of these water-skiing boats, making them easier to glide on the waves while traveling at high speeds.

This information is very useful, especially when you are selecting a boat for angling. Most of all, we hope that the above information and guidelines can help you identify these types of planing hulls without too much effort and purchase the right boat to use.

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