- This article concentrates on the history and development of punts and punting in England; for other usages see Norfolk punt and the general disambiguation pages at punt (disambiguation) and punter.
A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. A punt should not be confused with a gondola, a shallow draft vessel that is structurally different, and which is propelled by an oar rather than a pole.
Punts were originally built as cargo boats or platforms for fowling and angling, but in modern times their use is almost exclusively confined to pleasure trips with passengers.
The term "punt" has also been used to indicate a smaller version of a regional type of long shore working boat, for example the Deal Galley Punt. This derives from the wide usage in coastal communities of the name "punt" for any small clinker-built open-stem general purpose boat.
In Canada, the term punt can also refer to any small flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, regardless of purpose, building material, or propulsion source.
In Australia, cable ferries are commonly referred to as punts.