Once the duck hunting season starts, you’ll want to set yourself up for success. One of the best ways to do that is to get a good duck hunting boat. With so many kinds of duck boats out there, you should make an informed decision so you can choose a boat that’ll keep you afloat in your favorite hunting spot. Do you need a duck boat to keep you moving in shallow water, or one that doesn’t get swamped in deep areas?

This guide will give you some information about what kind of boat will suit your desires best. After giving some thought to the different kinds of boats available, come down to Norfolk Marine near Chesapeake Bay, VA, so that our staff can help you find the duck boat that meets your needs.

Select The Hull

Hull type is the first important aspect you should consider when purchasing a duck boat. There are three different types of hulls that each have their own strengths. Keep in mind that these kinds of hulls are very broadly defined, as some brands use different materials in the same hull type than other brands use, which slightly changes the performance.

Flat-Bottom Hull

A flat-bottom boat, also called a jon boat, is the perfect choice for shallow water. If you intend to do your hunting close to the bank, equip your boat with a mud motor and you’ll have no problem navigating the shallows. Unfortunately, these hulls aren’t very versatile, so if you try taking it into deeper water, you’re asking for trouble. The low sides dip into water easily owing to the shallow draft, so it’ll fill up with water pretty quick if you try taking it out into deep or choppy water.

V-Bottom Hull

Usually made from aluminum or fiberglass, V-bottom boats are great for getting out in deeper water. These stable, heavyweight boats are great for holding steady even in choppy conditions. However, just like you don’t want to take a flat-bottom too far from the bank, don’t try hanging around in the shallows with a V-bottom. The heavier weight will make it sink into the water, and you’ll be more likely to run aground along the shore or riverbank.

Semi-V Hull

If you need something a little more versatile, the semi-V boat can give you decent performance in any depth of water. With shallow water flexibility and deep water resistance, these boats can handle anything that a flat-bottom or V-bottom can. Since these boats are designed specifically for waterfowl hunting, this hull is usually your safest choice.

Choose The Motor

Another important factor to think about when getting a duck boat is the motor. Certain motors are great for shallow waters, and others are better to generate power for traveling through waves and strong currents. Also, keep in mind the noise and weight, as these will affect both where you’re able to hunt and how sneaky you can be.

Mud Motor

If you need to get to the duck blind, mud motors are always your best bet. They don’t perform as great out on the open water, but they can navigate the shallows well. You can choose between two styles: long-tail or surface-drive. The long-tail motors are great for getting around areas with weeds, branches and other obstructions, while surface-drives are better for hunting from open areas.


Simple yet versatile, a 2-stroke motor can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go on the water. They’re light, portable, and respond better than 4-strokes, which is why duck hunters tend to use them a lot. However, one drawback they have is high noise levels, as 2-strokes are usually louder than other motors, meaning you might frighten away your game.


For a quieter, more efficient motor, a 4-stroke is your best bet. Unfortunately, they’re more expensive than 2-strokes or mud motors, and also require oil changes and other maintenance more frequently than other engine types.

With this guide, you should have a pretty good idea of which motor/hull combination will work best for your duck hunting season. We have all the options you need available at Norfolk Marine, so come talk to our experts about which kind of boat you think will suit your needs.