10 Essentials of a Big-Water Duck Boat

Duck hunters are notorious for running boats that are too small or too overloaded, and it's a recipe for tragedy on big water. A rig like this War Eagle 860 LDV is big enough for most freshwater use, but light enough to push across a sandbar if needed.

duck hunting boat
The War Eagle 860 LDV.Jeff Newton

1 | Material Aluminum has an outstanding weight-to-strength ratio, and it'll stand up to abuse better than fiberglass.

2 | Length Go with a 16-footer, minimum. This one is 18 feet 4 inches.

3 | Width Wider hulls are more stable. This one is 60 inches across.

4 | Transom A high transom keeps water from spilling into the rear of the boat when in reverse. This one is 21 inches.

5 | Side Depth More metal is a good thing when waves are crashing against the hull. This boat has 24-inch sides.

6 | Storage Keep guns and gear dry and out of the way on long rides. Life jackets don't go here, however. You should be wearing them.

7 | Open Floor Plan Tiller steering gives you more room for decoys and dogs.

8 | Flotation Pods Extra flotation in the transom allows better shallow-water utility and offsets the weight of the motor and batteries.

9 | Bilge Pump Consider installing it on a stand just over the drain plug, which prevents the pump from sucking in too much dirt and grime.

10 | Accessories Most boat makers will customize your rig with accessories you want such as dog steps (shown), running lights, and extra storage.