The boat is the only still life with 5 cells and was discovered by the JHC group in 1970. It can be thought of as a tub with an extra cell in one of the corners, or a ship with one of the corner cells removed. Like the tub and the ship, it is infinitely extensible (see long boat).
The boat can be hit by a glider to cleanly produce another glider, travelling perpendicular to the direction of the input glider. It is thus a one-time reflector.
In the orientation shown in the infobox, moving the leftmost cell up one cell turns it back into a boat in one generation. This property allows it to be used as a catalyst in certain situations, such as the p21 B-heptomino hassler, p22 lumps of muck hassler, p35 honey farm hassler, the still life form of diuresis, the loaf spin reaction found in the p130 shuttle, and more. See Tutorials/Catalyses for more examples.
A glider hitting a snake or similar still life can produce a boat; another glider in the same lane will cleanly destroy the boat. This is called a boat-bit.
The boat is the fourth most common still life in Achim Flammenkamp's census, being slightly less common than loaf and over four times as common as tub. It is also the sixth most common object on Adam P. Goucher's Catagolue.