What is a Gunwale?
Pronounced, “Gunel” it’s the upper edge of a boat.
In most modern saltwater fishing boats such as bay boats, center console boats, flats, or skiffs, gunwales have dual purposes.
The first, they house rod holders but also serve as a walk way for passengers to move from the forward to the aft of the boat without stepping down into the console area. Unlike boats with a rolled edge, extra wide gunwales not only give added storage and structural integrity, but they also help make boarding from above less tricky.
Why does it matter? Simple, when you step down to the side of a boat from a dock (or you’re walking from front to back) it doesn’t take much of a bump or shimmy to be in the water or face down on the deck. If you’re boat shopping, keep in mind that experienced boat buyers avoid a models with “thin” or small gunwales.