A typical smuggling go-fast is built of solid, dark-colored fiberglass, wide of beam and with a deep "V" offshore racing hull form usually 30-50 feet long. It commonly carries a ton or more of cargo, several fuel drums, a handheld global positioning system, perhaps a cellular telephone, and a small crew. With several 250-plus horsepower engines, they travel at top speeds of 35-50 knots, slowing little in light chop and still maintaining 25 or more knots in the average five- to seven-foot Caribbean seas. They are heavy enough to cut through higher waves, although at a slower pace. With no metallic fittings, go-fasts are rarely detected by radar except in a flat calm or at close range.
The US Coast Guard finds them to be stealthy, fast, seaworthy, and very difficult to intercept using conventional craft. Because of this Coast Guards are developing their own high-speed craft and also using helicopters.