A cutter is typically a small, but in some cases a medium-sized, watercraft designed for speed rather than for capacity. Traditionally a cutter sailing vessel is a small single-masted boat, fore-and-aft rigged, with two or more headsails and often a bowsprit. The cutter's mast may be set farther back than on a sloop.
In modern usage, a cutter can be either a small- or medium-sized vessel whose occupants exercise official authority. Examples are harbor pilots' cutters and cutters of the U.S. Coast Guard or UK Border Force.
Cutters can also be a small boat serving a larger one to ferry passengers or light stores between larger boats and the shore. This type of cutter may be powered by oars, sails or a motor.