5 Best RC Boats for Rough Water Expeditions

by Josh | Last Updated:   3 months ago
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

If you’re wanting to find the best RC boat for rough waters then you’ve come to the right place. Below the reviews, you’ll see more information on the type of RC boats that exist and things to look out for before buying. 

People of all ages enjoy RC boating as a hobby that allows them to get out of the house and enjoy some nature and good old fashion play. 

Simply finding the best RC boat isn’t easy, this is why I’ve spent hours assembling this information to help the RC crowd out, so what is the best RC boat for rough water?

After a vast amount of time was spent searching for the best boats for the open water, I hope the list below will help you make the best choice. 

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Let’s take a deeper look into this list of radio controlled boats and start to dig into each and why I chose them to be the list of the best options for you.

Each one of these RC boats will perform well in rough moving water and many actually feature anti-capsize technology to either auto flip or use the remote to flip them from the shore.

Best RC Boats for Rough Water

We are covering five beds t featured RC boats that will race well on rougher water than the standard pool or lake would give you. The overall purpose is to allow you to find the best match to fit your needs along with best rc boat hull for rough water.

Best Overall – Altair AA Wave RC Boat

This is the best overall as it has all the perfect features for any person to use quickly and without lots of learning.

The Altair has an alarm to make you aware if you are heading out of range and it also features anti-capsize technology to ensure it doesn’t get stuck upside down.

The Altair also uses a 2.4GHz radio controller which gives it a solid range of around 390 feet without losing control along with cutting down on interference issues.

The last thing that many people want to have is a high top speed on their rc vehicles and the Altair has a very high top end at speeds of up to 25 km/h.

Altair MidSize AA Wave RC Remote Control Boat For Pools & Lakes - FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING - Child Safe Propeller System for Kids, Self Righting, 2 Batteries, 23 km/h Speed, 2.4gHz (Lincoln, NE Company)

Altair AA Wave Features

  • Anti-Capsize Hull System – If you find that the AA Wave has taken a jump or a corner that left it upside down in the water there’s no need to send a rescue party. Instead, the Anti-Capsize Hull System allows you to flip the boat back upright – right from your radio controller!
  • High Speed Boat Can Reach Speeds Up to 18 MPH – The AA Wave is able to reach speeds of up to 18 MPH which means more racing fun for you and your friends.
  • 2.4GHz Allows You to Easily Race with Friends – The AA Wave comes with a specially designed 2.4GHz Radio Controller so you won’t experience any RC interference when racing your friends and family.
  • Coverage to Allow You to Go Long – Take the AA Wave out deep and come racing back to shore. With a 100 Meter control range you can stretch the limits of any small pond, lake or pool!

Check out more details and reviews from users here.

Buy on Amazon

Best Intermediate – Pro Boat Miss Geico 17″ Catamaran

This boat deviates from the standard shaped hulls in this list, this rc model is a catamaran body type which means it handles and needs to be driven differently than the other mono-hull models.

Therefore, catamarans are not the best choice for a beginner. However, they are ideal for an intermediate driver wanting to practice their skills.

The GEICO vessel is designed for a 380-size brushed motor. Moreover, its transmitter has a pistol grip, uses 2.4 GHz, and requires four AA batteries.

Another cool feature of this RC boat is the electronic speed control embedded in its system, allowing users to gain proper control over the throttle.

The 17-inch model arrives with a Dynamite charger and a battery from Ni-MH SpeedPack of 7.2 volts. This boat is full featured, built well, and ready to run.

Pro Boat Miss Geico 17

Miss Geico Catamaran RTR Features

  • Full RTR with battery & charger
  • Includes Dynamite charger and 6-cell 7.2V Ni-MH Speedpack battery with EC3 connector
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Includes Dynamite 380-size motor that provides high torque and surprisingly fast speeds
  • ABS hull provides superb rigidity and durability
  • Breakaway rudder system protects drivetrain in case model runs ashore

Check out more details and reviews from users here.

Buy on Amazon

High Top Speed – ALTAIR AA Tide

This boat is amazingly fast making it one of the best rc boat for waves that come with rough waters, If you are looking for a high end top speed at a good cost look no further.

ALTAIR Brushless RC Boat | AA Tide Remote Control High Speed Boat 40+ KM/h | Auto Self-Righting Capability | 1500 mAh Rechargeable Battery Included | Fun RC Boat for All Ages (Lincoln, NE Company)

ALTAIR AA Tide Features

  • 𝗙𝗔𝗦𝗧 & 𝗙𝗨𝗡 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗔𝗚𝗘𝗦: The Altair Tide RC Boat Can Reach Speeds of up to 40 km/h with a Powerful Brushless Motor. The AA Tide is Great for Lakes and Rivers or Even in the Pool!
  • 𝗡𝗢 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗥𝗬 𝗢𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡: The Anti-Capsize Hull System Can Flip the AA Tide Safely from Shore! With the Included Out of Range Alarm and Low Battery Alarm, You’ll Never Have to Worry About Losing Your Ship Out to Sea.
  • 𝗛𝗜𝗚𝗛 𝗤𝗨𝗔𝗟𝗜𝗧𝗬 𝗕𝗨𝗜𝗟𝗗: The Altair Tide Brushless RC Boat is Built to Last and Designed for Longer Play! Each RC Boat Comes with a 11.1 V 1500mAH Li-Po Battery and Best of All, this Boat is Ready to Go Right Out of the Box!
  • 𝗔𝗟𝗧𝗔𝗜𝗥 𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗠𝗜𝗦𝗘: The Altair Brand Stands for High-Quality Products That are Designed With Our Customers in Mind. We Care About the Details that Make Our RC Products Easy and Fun to Enjoy. As a Consumer, We Promise to Treat You the Way That We Want to be Treated While Creating Innovative Products that We Know You’ll Love.

Check out more details and reviews from users here.

Buy on Amazon

Best Beginner – Cheerwing Venom

The Venom high speed electronic remote control boat with impressive features, which is suitable for kids and adults to play indoors and outdoors.

Cheerwing RC Racing Boat for Adults - High Speed Electronic Remote Control Boat for Kids

Cheerwing Venom Features

  • Sleek Design – The boat’s streamlined hull and compact design provide impressive handling & ability to run in relatively small bodies of water.
  • RC Boat with Display Stand – Used for displaying your electronic remote control boat & quicker drying not only protect the engine and shorten the next racing time .
  • High Speed Electronic Racing Boat – Speed of 15 MPH will stand out your RC boat while racing .
  • Low Battery Alarm – Your RC boat’s controller will beep when the battery is about to be depleted.
  • More Features – Self-Righting Hull, Auto-Corrects Yaw, Waterproof & Watercooled System, Poor Signal Alarm.

Check out more details and reviews from users here.

Buy on Amazon

Budget Option – AlphaRev R208 Shadowstorm

Perfect for those wanting to get the experience without dropping the huge dollars, the Shadowstorm hits on all needs while maintaining a good performance and keeping fun up!

RC Boat- AlphaRev R208 20+ MPH Fast Remote Control Boat for Pools and Lakes, RC Boats for Adults and Kids

AlphaRev R208 Shadowstorm Features

  • High Speed Jet Boat – A large-prop motor pushes AlphaRev R208 RC boat to 20+ MPH!
  • Motor Cooling Tech – This powerful single-prop motor is made even more efficient with technology that uses the freshwater(lake pool river water) or saltwater to cool the engine while racing.
  • Double Battery Capacity Double Playing Time – The RC boat is packed with a 7.4V 1200mAh battery, extends the playing time to 17+ minutes.
  • Stainless Steel Metal Parts – The outer metal parts of the ship are made of stainless steel, which can avoid rust even when used in salt water.
  • Anti-Capsize Hull Design – Anti-Capsize hull design can flip the R/C boat automatically, let you playing in the waves without interruption.
  • Low Battery and Weak Signal Alarm – Your remote transmitter emits a alarm when your boat with low battery or weak signal.

Check out more details and reviews from users here.

Buy on Amazon

RC Boat Buyers Guide

RC boats come in a tremendous variety of different shapes and sizes. All you need to begin is to find water where you can run your RC boat and you’re set!

There are so many different boats to choose from, such as small or big, it’s up to you to find which one you prefer. 

The top of the line TraXXas boats are able to go even faster if you are interested in a more high end top speed and best in class construction.

PRICE

One area that has a super wide variance is within price, you can find an RC boat for as little as $20-30 on many stores, but these will typically be in the limited speed, limited radio frequency, and similar.

As you move up the costs you get much better and more reliable functionality along with better controller frequencies to race more boats at the same time.

There are options almost as high as you are willing to purchase with many on Amazon coming in at $120 or more.

BOAT TYPE

When looking to choose a RC boat you can divide almost all of the performance boats into one of these three categories: deep-V monohull, cata­maran, and hydroplane.

As when you look at other RC vehicles, deciding which hull type is the right one for you is tied to your most common “terrain” and then based on the preferred styling you want.

Deep-V Monohull

This style gets its name from the shape of its hull, which is pretty much a deep V shape when viewed from the front or rear.

The benefit to a V shape is that it can slice deeply into the water, providing a RC boat plenty of stability in rough water conditions, making this the most versatile and forgiving boat for all skill levels to drive.

If you were to drive on smooth water and skim you could trim it to go fast on smooth water, this will help give more speed but it will still be slower than a catamaran or a hydrofoil.

Catamaran

A cata­maran looks like two individual v shaped hulls connected by a small center bridge. This tunnel reduces the amount of surface touching the water and helps lift the boat up out of the water, AKA “getting up on plane”, further reducing friction.

A catamaran doesn’t handle as well in rough water like a deep-V hull will, but it does turns better. It is very forgiving due to the two outer hull sections, which are called sponsons.

These sponsons which are set wide apart help to enhance the overall stability of the boat. A catamarans large benefit is that is pretty good on a variety of surfaces allowing more flexibility.

Hydroplane

Lets be totally honest, hydroplanes look like futuristic cars and are, by far, the fastest RC boat hull type. This comes at the cost though of being the most sensitive to disturbances, so you’ll want super smooth water to get the most performance.

It is sometimes referred to as a “three-point hydro” due to the fact that when you trim it out correctly, it appears to glide over the water. Seeming to then balance the boat only on three points: the back edge of the two sponsons and the prop itself.

Getting this all right requires careful work through tuning to get it balanced, so it tends to be better suited to boaters with some experience.

HULL MATERIALS

RC boats are made out of a variety of materials, but they generally fall into three groups: plastic and composites, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Plastic

Plastic, most often ABS, hulls are the most common type for RTR boats and perform well along as well as being lightweight, durable, and way more cost friendly than a fiberglass boat.

For general fun racing and boating an ABS hull will work out great. Note that some of the fastest RTR boats on the market (such as the Traxxas Spartan and M41 catamaran) have plastic hulls.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is strong and provides the best-quality finish for paint, and it holds up the best against fuel spills, which are inevitable when running nitro or gas.

Fiberglass can range in thickness, thin is light but can flex, and multilayer fiberglass is stronger and more rigid but can be somewhat heavy.

An additional benefit to the use of fiberglass is that it has the ability to be repaired should the inevitable occurrence of damage happen.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber is incredibly strong while being very lightweight, this comes at the cost of being incredibly expensive.

It’s best to use when racing boats, this is because this is where lightweight but strong materials are critical, but can be found on high-end RTRs.

POWER SYSTEM TYPES

Just as with RC cars, when it comes to powering your boat, you’ve got three choices: electric, nitro, and gasoline.

Electric

  • By far the simplest and most affordable type of power system
  • Reverse capable—adds maneuverability, which is even more important when you cannot walk over to your vehicle like you can with an RC car
  • Power density—the fastest boats on the planet are electric
  • Run time is limited even with large-capacity batteries
  • Electricity and water don’t play well together, so careful waterproofing is more important than with RC cars and trucks

Nitro

  • Screaming sound to go with screaming speed
  • As powerful/fast as electrics in many RTR applications
  • Run time exceeds that of electrics
  • Proper tuning is essential—a flameout on the water can require complicated retrieval
  • Nitro boats don’t like to idle—coolant flow requires velocity; a stationary nitro boat can overheat quickly

Gas

  • Tried and true—boat pioneers have been running ultra-reliable 23–30cc “weed-whacker” gas engines for decades
  • Easier to tune than nitro, and fuel is much less expensive
  • Sheer size, deep-throated sound, and low-rpm grunt make gas boats the most realistic driving experience
  • Big boats = big $$
  • You need a big pond to get the most out of a gas boat

TUNING TIPS

Just like a car, many boats can be adjusted to handle better according to water conditions and driver preference. In general, when water is smooth, you want the boat to run at a flatter angle for maximum speed.

When water is rough, you want to run a little nose-high to add stability and help the boat bound over waves and chop. There are three basic adjustments to achieve that

BATTERY PLACEMENT

This obviously applies to electric boats, but shifting the weight balance by moving batteries fore or aft is one of the easiest ways to adjust ride angle: Forward brings the nose down; back brings the nose up.

TRIM TABS

Think of these as spoilers for the water—except in reverse. Mounted on the bottom edge of the hull’s rear end (transom), they push down on the water to raise the back of the boat and drop the nose, causing the boat to ride at a flatter angle.

A little goes a long way, so make small, progressive adjustments until the boat rides like you want it to for the conditions.

PROP ANGLE

Some boats allow you to change the angle of the prop itself. This can be in combination with, or in lieu of, other tuning methods, and changes to the prop angle have an effect similar to the trim-tab angle.

It is generally better to keep the prop angle as straight as possible to minimize stress on the driveline, so do minor adjustments first with the trim tabs or battery placement.

If the handling is way off, a subtle adjustment to the prop angle may help.