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Types of Paddle Boats

There are various types of paddle boats. These boats have designs that allow for use in waters that are calm such as ponds and even rougher whitewater. A single person can paddle comfortably in calm waters but when in whitewater it’s necessary to have multiple people paddle the boat, unless of course you are using a kayak. Certain paddle boats may have oars fitted with them for one person to use as well. Either way, these boats can be great for fishing, a relaxing ride down the river, or exciting trips down the rapids. These boats are sure to bring lots of fun for you and your family. This Article on types of paddle boats is provided as a community service by Action Donation Services® who processes donations of boats, watercraft of all types, and no longer needed motor homes to benefit non-profit organizations that promote boating safety and protecting the environment.


This paddle boat can be found in both double and single models. Smaller kayaks have been designed for a single person taking on rapid waters and larger kayaks are designed more for expeditions with multiple or single passengers. When kayaking, you use one paddle with blades on each end. Kayaks for multiple passengers can use paddles with single blades, but using paddles with two blades allows you to get maximum control with less work.


Having two passengers in a canoe works the best. Canoes are similar to kayaks, with the exception that a canoe has a V-hull and a high side. They are made of fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. Single bladed paddles are used with canoes and multiple passengers or just one passenger controls it depending on how big or small the boat is. These boats can be used in mild rivers but more expert paddlers might use them in whitewater. Most commonly, canoes are used on ponds and lakes because the V-hull will allow for it to travel quickly.

  • History of Canoeing – This article discusses the history of canoeing and provides a few resources for more information.
  • Canoe Trips: Useful Tips – These are tips providing advice on how to step on and off a canoe, paddle the canoe, turn the canoe, what to do if the canoe capsizes, and more.
  • Canoe Stroke Efficiency – Read about the physics of the stroke and how to stroke the paddle the correct way.


Rafts can be used as paddle boats or they may have oars and oar locks. When a raft is used with paddles, it requires multiple passengers and good coordination in order to keep the boat under control. Rafts can be used in higher classes of whitewater but quick movement through more flat water is not the same as with a kayak or canoe. Passengers use single bladed paddles and typically sit on the sides, back, and front of the boat. The back passenger is the person responsible for cadence control and uses the paddle for a rudder when minor adjustments need to be made.

  • Water Rafting – This article discusses rafts and the six grades of white water rafting difficulty.
  • American Whitewater – This is the American Whitewater Association’s website. The association works to preserve whitewater resources and access to rivers in the United States.
  • Paddling Life – In this online magazine you can find topics on canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and more.
  • International Rafting Association – This is the website of the International Rafting Association which promotes and maintains conditions encouraging rafting practice and development at recreational, competitive, and commercial levels.

The Dory

The dory also uses oars or paddles. Oars control river dories because they are heavier and have high sides. This makes them more difficult to handle using smaller paddles. In flat water, these boats are controlled using paddles, but using oars will increase speed and power as well as provide extra leverage. Traditional dories are made from wood but today these boats are also built using plastic and fiberglass. Due to its stability, this boat is commonly used by fisherman.

  • Dory Fishing Boat – Read a brief history about the dory fleet market and view an interactive photo of a dory boat.
  • Boats and Support Equipment – Here you can read about vessels suitable for diving which includes a flat bottomed dory boat.

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