The ship has no roundwood and it has a wide helm. The head of the rudder is usually decorated with a sculpture, sometimes in the form of a bird.
Originally, the tjotter was used in Friesland for small-scale transport of goods and people at a time that there were only few roads. A tjotter with the size 4.8 m x 2.4 m in Friesland is called a "fjouwer-yacht". At the wharf of Pier Piersma, fjouwer-yachts are still commonly built.