- The floor of a boat is called the sole.
- Boat flooring can be made of hardwood, vinyl, and fiberglass, among other materials.
- Custom marine flooring companies like SeaDek and HydroDeck offer high-quality.
- DIY boat floors are a great option to save time and money.
- The Starboard side is the right side; the port side is the left side.
You might not think much about the floor of your boat, but it actually has an important name and function. Learn more about the parts of your vessel here!
The floor of a boat is called the sole. It forms the bottom surface of the hull, and it runs all the way from bow to stern. The sole can be made from various materials such as wood, fiberglass, or metal, depending on the type of boat you own.
As avid boat people and maritime enthusiasts, we're here to share all the different components of a boat with you.
What Is the Floor of a Boat Made Of?
The floor of a boat, otherwise known as the sole, can be crafted from a variety of materials depending on the type of vessel, price point, and intended type of boating.
Boat makers use a wide variety of materials for the boat’s sole.
Vinyl or Linoleum
Vinyl flooring or linoleum is often used in small boats due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of cleaning. It is typically easy to install and maintain.
This type of boat flooring is perfect for creating a cozy cabin atmosphere but isn't seen on the deck of the boat very often.
Pros of Vinyl and Linoleum
- Durable and water-resistant
- Inexpensive compared to most other materials
Wood flooring is a timeless classic, often seen both in homes and on the deck of boats.
From traditional hardwoods to composite planks, there's an array of styles available that require varying levels of care.
This natural material can deliver character and charm while providing long-lasting durability - making it an ideal choice for marine environments as well as residences alike!
Pros of this Material
- Timeless, elegant look
- Easy to repair and replace
- Can be customized
- Many different varieties, colors, and durabilities
- Different price points available
Fiberglass is a popular choice for boat flooring due to its durability and lightweight properties.
Plus, it provides users with an easy-to-clean non-slip surface--making it ideal in areas of high traffic.
An added bonus? Boat owners looking for personalization can do so easily by painting their fiberglass floors!
Pros of Fiberglass
- Lightweight and durable
- Widely available
What Exactly Is Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a composite material made of tiny glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix--it's stronger than steel (by weight) and more resistant to weathering than plastic.
It's not as expensive as some other materials and is easy to repair. It's pretty beginner-friendly, too, if you want to work on your boat yourself.
Tons of other things have seen their materials get replaced with fiberglass, including cars and furniture.
Aluminum flooring is popular in small boats.
On average, boats with aluminum floors will remain corrosion-resistant for up to 45 years - making them a smart investment that’s likely to retain value over time.
However, as anyone who owns an aluminum boat can tell you - freshwater lakes only.
Pros of Aluminum
- Rust-free for decades
- Lightweight and strong
- Easy to maintain
What Are the Sections of a Fishing Boat Called?
All of the different parts of the structure of a boat have their own terms. Depending on the size and type of boat, there can be anywhere from one to multiple decks.
From the bottom up, the most common sections of a boat in boating terminology are:
- Hull – The hull is the bottom portion of a boat; it makes up the outer body of your vessel. The hull sides house all mechanical components like engines, bilge pumps, and steering systems.
- Deck – This is the top level of your boat where passengers can stand or sit, as well as store items such as life jackets and lines. Decks can be made from fiberglass or other materials depending on their purpose (fishing boats often have non-slip surfaces for safety).
- Deckhouses – Deckhouses, also referred to as accommodations, are enclosed areas that can be used as living or storage space. They are often found on larger boats and can be open, partially closed, or fully enclosed.
- Flybridge/Flying Bridge – Flybridges are parts of a boat located at the highest level of your boat, above the lower deck, and serve as glorious vantage points for taking in scenery or surrounding decks. This deck can be on the roof of cabins or deckhouses. On higher-end boats, you may find a full second set of nav equipment.
- Cockpit – The cockpit is where the main controls, engine controls, and steering station are housed. These used to be all open-air, but in some of the more modern, high-end boats, the cockpit is another fully-enclosed room.
- Starboard Side: The right-hand side of the boat, facing forward.
- Port Side: The left-hand side of the boat, facing the forward end.
Bonus Boating Terms
- Anchor Line: A tether that connects a boat to its anchor.
- Nautical Mile: One nautical mile is 2025 yards.
- Dock Line: Ropes that attach to parts of a boat and the nearby dock.
- Mast: A long pole to mount the sails and rigging of a ship.
- Cuddy Cabin: A smaller boat, sometimes with an enclosed space.
What Are the Three Different Hull Shapes?
The three basic hull shapes for a boat include the following:
- Round bottom
- Flat bottom
V-shaped and round-bottomed hulls are known as displacement hulls because they displace a volume of water, resulting in a minimum depth, as the hull sides push forward.
Flat hulls are called planing hulls. They are designed to lift out of the water and move along its surface while moving forward when they reach a certain speed.
No matter what type of hull shape you prefer, it’s important to understand its characteristics and how they affect the performance of your boat.
Why Is it Called a Boat’s Hull?
In general, the word 'hull' means the outer shell of something, be it a grain or a boat.
It's called the boat’s hull because it protects and houses the rest of the boat’s structure, from the engine and fuel tanks to the cabins, decks, and other amenities.
What Are the Best Products for My Pontoon Boat Floor?
We've gathered a few of our favorite products to help you decide which type of flooring is best for your boat.
SeaDek Marine Flooring
If you're looking for something that's easy to clean and maintain, look no further than SeaDek Marine Flooring.
SeaDek has streamlined the way people customize their vessels, offering a great selection of textures, thicknesses, and colors.
Their high-bond pressure-sensitive adhesive is easily installed with no hardware required - ideal for those who like DIY projects!
Plus SeaDek also offers additional customization options, including triple lamination, custom routing, or even custom laser logos if you're looking for something more unique.
SeaDek also manufactures one of our favorite deck cleaners, Dek Magic.
HydroDeck offers the perfect combination of convenience and customizability for all your boat's sole needs.
They use a UV-resistant foam material that is designed to resist staining while providing exceptional traction even in wet conditions - no need to worry about slipping accidents!
HydroDeck also offers unparalleled comfort when standing or leaning on boat surfaces, thanks to its shock absorption capability that decreases fatigue.
DIY Boat Flooring
For those boat owners that are looking to save some time and money, there are plenty of good DIY options for boat flooring.
This roll-out deck sheeting offers waterproof adhesion, the stylish look of teak hardwood slats, and the convenience and price of a product you buy and apply yourself.
Real teak flooring is also an option, but it can cost an eye-watering amount for the materials and installation. This could class-up the steering station or maybe an open deck on your boat.
Swim Platform/Casting Platform
A swim platform is one of those boat parts that takes most boats to the next level. People love a boat designed to go straight from the deck to the water.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson