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Skiff vs Jon Boat

skiff vs jon boat

There are various models available for small fishing boats. The skiff and the Jon boat are two of the most common options. They both feature a flat bottom and a shallow shaft, which makes many contemplate choosing between them.

However, they have advantages and disadvantages, and indeed many differences. In this post, we’ll look at both boats in detail and help you determine the best option.

What are Skiff Boats?

Skiff boats are a type of small boat that is typically characterized by their shallow draft and wide beam. They run through console constrole.

They are often used for fishing, as they can accommodate many anglers and their gear. Skiffs can also be outfitted with an auxiliary motor to provide more power when needed.

Some skiffs are designed specifically for racing, while others are built for more leisurely pursuits. Regardless of their intended use, skiffs are popular among boaters due to their versatility and maneuverability.

Skiffs are also popular among fishermen, as they can easily maneuver in tight spaces and catch fish in shallow waters. Skiffs come in a variety of sizes but typically range from 10 to 20 feet long.

Advantages of Skiff Boat

Shallow Draft

This allows skiffs to navigate in shallow waters where other boats can’t go. This is perfect for fishing in estuaries and other areas with limited access.

Wide Beam

Skiffs have a wider beam than most other small boats, which makes them more stable and less likely to capsize. This is important for those who plan to use their skiff for fishing or other activities that involve standing up.

Lightweight Materials

Skiffs are often made from lightweight materials such as fiberglass or aluminum, which makes them easy to transport and quick to maneuver. Furthermore, their bottoms are often made from wood.

Auxiliary motor

Skiffs can be outfitted with an auxiliary motor to provide more power when needed. This is perfect for those who plan to use their skiff for fishing or other activities that require more horsepower.


Skiffs are one of the most versatile small boats on the market. They can be used for a variety of activities, including fishing, cruising, and racing.

Disadvantages of Skiff boat

Skiffs typically have less storage space than larger boats, which can be a disadvantage for those who plan to use their skiff for long trips or extended stays on the water.

Skiffs offer less wind protection than larger boats, which can be a problem for those who plan to use their skiff in cold weather conditions.

Skiffs typically do not have a cabin, which can be a disadvantage for those who plan to use their skiff for long trips or extended stays on the water.

Skiffs are not as seaworthy as other small boats and can be more prone to capsizing in rough seas. This is something to consider if you plan to use your skiff in open waters.

It takes some time to get used to the tiller steering system of the skiff boat, as it is extra responsive. Furthermore, a left tilt of the tiller will turn the boat right, which can be confusing at first.

What are Jon Boats?

skiff boat

A Jon boat is a small, flat-bottom boat that is often used for fishing or hunting. They can also be used for transportation or work in shallow water.

These boats are named after their inventor, Jonboat Smith, and are popular in the southern United States.

They are characterized by their flat bottom and shallow draft, which makes them ideal for navigating through shallow waters.

Jon boats can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. They are popular among anglers because they are easy to transport and relatively affordable.

These boats are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Jon boats are typically made of aluminum or fiberglass, and range in size from 10 to 20 feet long.

Some models include a built-in motor mount, while others require an outboard engine. Jon boats are available in both new and used models, and prices vary depending on the size and features of the boat.

Advantages of Jon Boat

Lightweight and Easy to Maneuver

Jon boats are light and easy to move around, making them ideal for fishing and hunting in tight spaces. They are also great for calm rides to explore things. You can row, punt, and paddle with the Job boat.

Shallow Draft

Jon boats have a very shallow draft, which allows them to navigate through shallow waters with ease.


Jon boats are relatively affordable, making them a popular choice among anglers. They are available at a lower price than skiffs.

Built-in Motor Mount

Some Jon boat models include a built-in motor mount, making it easier to transport and use the boat.

Disadvantages of Jon Boat

Jon boats typically have a low carrying capacity, which can limit the amount of gear you can bring with you.

Limited speed: Jon boats are not the fastest vessels on the water and can be difficult to maneuver in windy conditions.

Not ideal for long trips: Jon boats are best used for short trips on calm waters. They are not ideal for long trips or rough seas.

Skiff vs Jon boat: Which one is Right for You?

jon boat


The skiff is the faster of the two boats. It can reach speeds of up to 80 mph, while the Jon boat maxes out at around 25-30mp.

Furthermore, when paired with a high horsepower engine, skiffs can roll sideways very impressively.


The Jon boat is also cheaper than the skiff. The average price for a new Jon boat is around $1,500, while the average for a new skiff is around $3,000.


The Jon boat has more storage space than the skiff. It can hold up to 500 pounds of gear, while the skiff can only hold around 300 pounds. The Jon boat is a better option if you need to store a lot of gear on your boat.


The first thing to consider when choosing a small fishing boat is safety. The skiff and the Jon boat are safe options, but the skiff may be safer.

It is because the Jon boat has a flat bottom, making it difficult to stay upright in rough water. The skiff has a more rounded bottom, which makes it less likely to flip over.


When it comes to mobility, the Jon boat definitely has the edge. It’s lighter than the skiff and can be easily transported by car or truck. The skiff is a bit heavier and takes longer to transport.


The construction material is the main difference between a skiff and a Jon boat. Skiffs are typically made of fiberglass or wood, while Jon boats are made of aluminum. This means that skiffs are often more expensive, but they also tend to be lighter and faster. Jon boats are more durable and easier to repair, but they can also be quite heavy.


Skiffs usually have more seating options than Jon boats, which is great if you plan on taking a lot of people out on the water.


The skiff is typically a more slender boat, while the Jon boat is boxier. This can be an important consideration if you’re looking for a boat that will handle well in rough water. The skiff is going to be more agile and able to move around better, while the Jon boat will be more stable.


The skiff is typically designed with a shallow draft, which makes it a good choice for navigating tight spots and shallow water. It also has a sleek, aerodynamic design that helps it move through the water quickly.

The Jon boat also runs great in shallow water, however, at a lower speed. But maneuvering it is easier than a skiff.


Both the skiff and the Jon boat have their pros and cons. The bottom line is that it depends on what you plan to use the boat for. You will want the skiff if you intend to go at high speed, enjoy a wild ride, and go hunting and exploring.

Meanwhile, the Jon boat offers a more calm and enjoyable fishing experience for beginners who love easy-to-drive boats. Hopefully, this article has helped you make an informed decision about which shallow-water boat is right for you. Thanks for reading!

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