Your Knowlege Hunting Companion

Wild ducks swimming on lake water at bright sunset. Birdwatching concept

Hunting FAQs: Maintaining Stability when Hunting from a Boat

Share this information

If you’re like me and my family, you love duck hunting from a boat. It is a great and fun experience that combines angling and hunting in a beautiful and creative manner, and greatly shakes up the hunting trip experience in the best way possible.

When people ask me how to switch up their hunting styles, I always recommend trying duck hunting from a boat.

Hunting from bodies of water offers some of the most spectacular natural beauty our world is blessed with, and if you enjoy sniping down some waterfowl there are few more satisfying activities on this planet than coming at your prey from where they least expect it: the water surface.

Combining firearms and unpredictable animals with cold and ruthless water and a notoriously unstable boat definitely poses some extra dangers, however. That is why I have collected the three most asked questions regarding boat hunting and safety to inform you on how to best approach this form of hunting.

Learn the best ways on maintaining stability when hunting from a boat today.

Let’s get it!

Bear Lake, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA.

Question 1: When Hunting From a Boat, What Is The Best Way To Maintain The Boat’s Stability?

Stability is your #1 concern when in a boat, especially if there’s more than one hunter on board.

Ensure that all equipment, hunting gear, and passengers are balanced on all sides of the boat. If the boat is even slightly uneven, you risk causing the boat to list or even capsize.

We typically place all the heavy equipment with us in the middle, the rest of the equipment balancing on either side of the boat, and hunters in back-to-back. I also recommend placing more weight towards the back, so that the bow is slightly higher than the stern.

Make sure that you always stay low and centered. When moving around the boat, maintain as low of a center of gravity as possible by always crouching or kneeling. You want to minimize sudden shifts in weight that’ll affect stability.

When you’re in stance and ready to fire the weapon make sure that you’re not leaning excessively to one side, which is an easy habit to fall into if you’re used to stalking.

A Wood Duck in Autumn

Question 2: What Are Small, Flat-Bottom Boats, Such As Duck Hunting Boats, Prone To Do?

Capsize. And swamp.

Small, flat-bottom boats, like those commonly used for duck hunting, unfortunately, come with a whole different set of challenges when it comes to stability compared to your average speed or sailboat.

Since they’re designed to navigate shallow waters, which means that their bottom is flat creating difficulty and instability.

I’m really emphasizing this, because if you feel like you have great sealegs with other boats – a lot of those skills don’t transfer too well to flat-bottomed boats. They are significantly more sensitive to weight shift, which makes stability a lot spookier.

So what does this mean?

Stability. See question 1.

Maintaining Stability when Hunting from a Boat

Question 3: Two Hunters Are Duck Hunting In A Boat. What Is The Safest Position?


You want both hunters sitting relatively close with their backs facing inwards.

This arrangement makes sure that you maintain as balanced weight distribution as possible, keeping the boat from becoming unstable and tipping.

More importantly, it ensures that both hunters have a clear line of sight and a field of fire. It is beyond crucial that there is no risk your hunting partners could ever be in the line of fire.

Remember, in this position, you cannot see each other – so you also have to make sure you have consistent and clear communication with your partner to avoid accidental mishaps. Never move around or lean without letting your buddy know, and always communicate anything that seems important or relevant in your field of vision!

zone of fire orange pfd

Maintaining Stability When Hunting From a Boat: A Question of Safety

The most important things you need to keep in mind when hunting from a boat are simply being aware of your surroundings, maintaining stability, and not shooting your buddy.

Sit back-to-back, distribute the weight evenly, and be aware that duck-hunting boats are more prone to capsize or swamp.

Of course, there are many other safety precautions that you need to keep in mind: such as wearing a lifejacket and communicating where you are. You can read all about boat hunting safety in my article: “What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From A Boat?

5 Tips To Keep You Safe On The Water!

Have fun and happy hunting!

Looking for more hunting-related content? Check out our extensive library of articles here!

A Wood Duck in Autumn
Share now and improve your hunting karma!
Stay safe while hunting by keeping the four main causes of hunting incidents in the back of your mind at all times. Happy hunting!...

Read the article about The Four Main Causes of Hunting Incidents

What is the Main Difference Between Centerfire and Rimfire Ammunition? Great question, that's easy to answer! Learn about it here....

Read the article about What is the Main Difference Between Centerfire and Rimfire Ammunition?

Deer Hunting With Rifle? Walk through my mental check list before every deer hunting adventure in this article covering 10 must-know tips! ...

Read the article about Deer Hunting with Rifle: 10 Must-Know Deer Hunting Tips!

How Much Wind Is Too Much For Deer Hunting? Great questions! This article will go deep into how wind affect your deer hunting adventures....

Read the article about How Much Wind is too Much for Deer Hunting: Mastering Wind Conditions for Successful Deer Hunting