Jon boat is an excellent small and affordable wood, aluminum, or fiberglass fishing vessel you can use in calm waters. Its length varies from 8 feet (2.4 m) to over 20 feet (6 m), and you should pick out the correct size, depending on your needs.
Since longer models handle a heavier load, a boat’s carrying capacity correlates with its length. The rule of thumb is that Jon boat sizes depend on its purpose, weight capacity, and a number of family members. Experts recommend always purchasing a boat at least 2 to 3 feet (61 – 91.5 cm) longer than your current needs are.
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Jon Boat Size You Need
In most cases, a perfect Jon boat size for you will depend on two primary factors, including:
- Space for passengers and gear
- Weight capacity
Be aware that longer models provide higher speed and better stability. The best solution is to determine your needs before purchasing, like Jon boat purpose and waters where you plan to use it.
8 feet (2.5 m) long Jon boat
This Jon boat has the smallest size with a minimal weight capacity. It is practical for one passenger but unstable, making it inadequate for deep waters.
- Weight capacity – Under 200 pounds (91 kg)
- Max horsepower – 2.5 HP
- Top speed – 5 mph (8 km/h)
- Crew – One adult with light gear; an adult and a kid.
10 feet (3 m) long Jon boat
This 50 inches (1.3 m) wide Jon boat is more stable and with a higher weight capacity than the smallest model on this list. It has two bench seats and can carry more loads.
- Weight capacity – 320 pounds (145 kg)
- Max horsepower – 3.5 to 5 HP
- Top speed – 5 to 10 mph (8 – 16 km/h)
- Crew – One adult with light gear; two adults without equipment; one adult and a kid.
12 feet (3.65 m) long Jon boat
Even though this 50 to 60 inches (1.3 – 1.8 m) wide Jon boat can carry only two passengers, it has better performance than smaller models.
- Weight capacity – 420 pounds (204 kg)
- Max horsepower – 5, 7.5, or rarely 10 HP
- Top speed – 10 to 15 mph (16 – 24 km/h)
- Crew – Two adults with light to medium gear; an adult and two kids with light equipment.
14 feet (4.3 m) long Jon boat
This 60 to 70 inches (1.5 – 1.8 m) wide Jon boat comes with a bow decked area and two bench seats. It is an excellent choice for fishing and recreation with friends. Plus, it is fast enough for enjoying water sports.
- Weight capacity – 610 pounds (277 kg)
- Max horsepower – 15, 20, or rarely 25 HP
- Top speed – 20 to 25 mph (32 – 40 km/h)
- Crew – Two adults with gear; three adults with light gear; four adults without equipment; two adults and a kid with gear; two adults and two kids with light equipment.
16 feet (5 m) long Jon boat
This 80 inches (2 m) wide Jon boat model can carry up to 1,000 pounds (453.5 kg) of weight, but that extra weight capacity often slows down its speed.
With bench seating for four to five passengers, it is an excellent option for fishing, long-distance boat camping, and watersports.
- Weight capacity – 960 pounds (277 kg)
- Max horsepower – 30 to 35 HP
- Top speed – Up to 35 mph (56.5 km/h), depending on the load.
- Crew – Four adults with gear; two adults and four kids with gear; five adults with light equipment.
18 feet (5.5 m) long Jon boat
Since this 60 to 80 inches (1.5 – 2 m) wide Jon boat can take six passengers with the necessary gear, it is ideal for most people. Most models come pre-fabricated, and you get a vessel with completely installed features instead of the bare hull.
- Weight capacity – 1,400 pounds (635 kg)
- Max horsepower – 50 to 60 HP
- Top speed – 35 to 45 mph (56.5 – 72.5 km/h)
- Crew – Six adults with gear; two adults and five kids with gear; eight adults with light equipment.
20 feet (6 m) long Jon boat
It is the longest Jon boat available on the market. Since it is typically 70+ inches (over 1.8 m) wide, it can carry even the biggest families with all necessary gear. The best thing is the possibility to customize seats, depending on your needs.
- Weight capacity – 1,600 pounds (726 kg)
- Max horsepower – 75 to 115, sometimes 120 HP
- Top speed – 35 to 45 mph (56.5 – 72.5 km/h)
- Crew – Seven adults with gear; four adults and four kids with gear; eight adults with light equipment.
Factors Affecting the Jon Boat Length You Need
A type is a crucial factor when deciding to buy a Jon boat since the vessel of a particular length is made for a certain number of people. However, different models won’t be equally comfortable although they are the same size.
You can find two Jon boat types on the market for different environments that come in the same size ranges.
Flat bottomed Jon boat – This traditional Jon boat is stable and perfect for sailing through calm and shallow, a few inches deep water. Its design allows riding waves instead of cutting through them, making it ideal for marshes and waters near river banks.
Semi-V Jon boat – This Jon boat has a modified-V hull, making it stable and convenient for challenging weather conditions and rough waters. You should avoid this vessel with a deep draft if you plan to sail in calm waters.
You should have your family in mind while deciding what Jon boat to buy. For instance, a 12 feet (3.65 m) long model is ideal for a family of three, but you need 20 feet (6 m) long vessel for six people.
Average Jon boat size per family sizes
|Family size||Recommended Jon boat length||Jon boat length range|
|3 members||12+ feet (3.65 m)||10 to 15 feet (3 – 4.6 m)|
|4 members||15+ feet (4.6 m)||13 to 18 feet (4 – 5.5 m)|
|5 members||18+ feet (5.5 m)||16 to 20 feet (5 – 6 m)|
|6 members||20+ feet (6 m)||17 to 23 feet (5.2 – 7 m)|
Be careful before purchasing a Jon boat, and always pick out the length that fits a particular purpose you intended for it. For example, boat length will be different for relaxed fishing, practicing water sports, or family sailing.
- Off-shore fishing and sailing – 25 to 30+ feet (7.6 – 9 m)
- Inshore fishing – 10 to 20+ feet (3 – 6 m)
- Watersports – 15 to 25 feet (4.6 – 7.6 m)
- Cruising – 15 to 30+ feet (4.6 – 9 m)
Weight Capacity Based on Jon Boat Size
Knowing the Jon boat size is the quickest way to determine its weight capacity. A longer Jon boat will handle a heavier load since flat-bottomed models float when they are lighter than the displacing water. Exact weight capacity makes your vessel:
- Compliant with the state and federal law
- Safe without fear of overloading
The only way to fulfill both requirements is to know the maximum people number and the load weight your boat can safely handle without a risk of an accident.
Jon boat size characteristics
|Boat size||Weight capacity||Price|
|10 feet (3 m)||320 to 325 pounds (145 – 147.5 kg)||$800 to $2,500|
|12 feet (3.65 m)||425 to 450 pounds (193 – 204 kg)||$800 to $4,000|
|14 feet (4.3 m)||610 pounds (277 kg)||$900 to $4,000|
|16 feet (5 m)||960 to 990 pounds (435.5 – 450 kg)||3,000+|
|18 feet (5.5 m)||1,400 (635 kg)||$4,000+|
|20 feet (6 m)||1,600 to 1,800 pounds (726 – 816.5 kg)||$10,000+|
In most cases, the Jon boat weight capacity will increase with its size. The max gross load (a total weight the boat can carry while sailing) includes:
- Load in water tanks
You can calculate the maximum passenger number your Jon boat can handle by the formula the US Coast Guard recommends:
(Jon boat length x Jon boat width) / 15 = passengers number
Remember that you can apply this formula to no more than 20 feet (6 m) long Jon boats. The calculation will be accurate only when passengers are not heavier than 150 pounds (68 kg).
When planning to use your Jon boat for people of different weights, you can calculate its precise weight capacity by using the formula:
average passenger weight x passenger capacity = Jon boat weight capacity
Since this calculation is an estimate, it is better to check the exact data with the manufacturer.
Jon boat is a small fishing vessel of an average length of 8 to 20+ feet (2.4 – 6 m). Its size will vary, depending on your vessel’s purpose and the weight it should carry. Determining the right boat length and width correlate with your needs and budget. The best option is to buy a model a bit longer than your current needs.