A BoatTEST member asks, “Why are modern boats designed to have full or plumped-up shapes? Are these forms as seaworthy as traditional slender designs?”
Many modern boats are “plumped-up” either because builders are trying to enlarge interior volume to create more space in the bow, create a sleeping space or cabin below, or are raising the freeboard to make the cockpit deeper and make the boat dryer and safer in a sloppy seaway.
All boats with an open bow are vulnerable to shipping water over the bow in sloppy offshore conditions. That is why most small sportboats are designed for -- and limited pretty much to -- protected water and inland lakes. But increasingly sportboats and small center consoles and dual consoles are being used in coastal conditions with the whole family aboard. Thus, the boats are becoming more robust.
So to answer the second part of your question: “Plumped-up” boats are generally more seaworthy than the traditional slender designs that you may be used to. Narrow, low-freeboard boats are less expensive to build, are lighter, and will go faster than more robust boats with the same horsepower. Some brands specialize in this design approach and are popular because they are cheap and fast, and they are usually short of amenities.
Take a look at the pictures below and you will see the amenities available in the “plumped-up” boats:
If YOU have a question about a boat, engine, or any aspect of boating, we'll try to answer it… click here.