Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats have gained popularity in recent years as versatile vessels catering to various recreational activities, from leisurely cruising to adrenaline-pumping water sports. They are known for their stability, making them the perfect choice for families and groups looking for a relaxing day out on the water. Pontoons come in different styles and sizes, each offering unique features and capabilities to suit a wide range of preferences and needs. These boats consist of a large, flat deck mounted on hollow, cylindrical tubes called pontoons, which provide buoyancy and stability. This Show More

Pontoon boats have gained popularity in recent years as versatile vessels catering to various recreational activities, from leisurely cruising to adrenaline-pumping water sports. They are known for their stability, making them the perfect choice for families and groups looking for a relaxing day out on the water. Pontoons come in different styles and sizes, each offering unique features and capabilities to suit a wide range of preferences and needs.

These boats consist of a large, flat deck mounted on hollow, cylindrical tubes called pontoons, which provide buoyancy and stability. This design allows for ample room onboard, perfect for entertaining, fishing, or simply lounging in the sun. The pontoons are also constructed with durable materials, ensuring longevity and low maintenance.

With a variety of sizes, layouts, and engine options available, pontoon boats can cater to different performance needs, from sedate cruising speeds for a peaceful day on the water to impressive power for thrill-seekers. When considering purchasing a pontoon boat, be sure to explore the various features and options to find the perfect fit for your boating lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • Pontoon boats offer versatility and stability for various recreational activities.
  • The unique design of pontoons provides ample space and durability for onboard activities.
  • Performance options vary within pontoon boats, catering to different preferences and needs.

What is a Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat is a unique type of vessel that relies on its distinctive design for buoyancy and performance. The boat is composed of a flat deck which is mounted on top of two or more large, hollow tubes, known as pontoons. These pontoons are traditionally constructed from aluminum, providing stability and buoyancy to the boat 1.

Pontoon boats come in a variety of sizes and designs, with some featuring only two pontoons, while others may incorporate three or more in a configuration known as a tritoon2. This particular design offers further stability and improved performance when compared to the more common two-pontoon structure.

One of the many advantages of pontoon boats is their shallow draft, which is often as minimal as 8 inches3. This characteristic allows them to navigate and access areas that other boats might struggle with, such as shallow water or narrow channels. The flat and spacious deck also offers ample room for passengers, lounge areas, and other amenities, making pontoon boats ideal for leisure and entertainment purposes4.

In addition to their functional benefits, pontoon boats also offer a wide range of customizable options, including seating configurations, bars, sun pads, and more5. This versatility has made pontoon boats increasingly popular among boating enthusiasts who are seeking a personalized and comfortable experience on the water.

Overall, a pontoon boat's unique design, featuring both flat deck and buoyant pontoons, offers boaters an unparalleled combination of stability, versatility, and comfort. Whether it's a scenic cruise with friends and family or a lively party on the water, a pontoon boat is a reliable and highly customizable choice for boating enthusiasts of all levels6.


  1. What is a Pontoon Boat and How is it Used?

  2. Pontoon Boat Basics 101: A Comprehensive Beginners Guide

  3. Pontoon Boats: A Comprehensive Guide - Boat Trader Blog

  4. Pontoon boat - Wikipedia

  5. Pontoon Boats: The Ultimate Guide - boats.com

  6. What is a Pontoon Boat and How is it Used?

Types of Pontoon Boats

Fishing Pontoons

Fishing pontoons are specifically designed to cater to the needs of anglers. These boats often feature swiveling fishing seats, rod holders, and tackle storage boxes on deck to create a comfortable and efficient fishing experience. Fish-finding electronics can also be added to enhance the angling experience. Some popular fishing pontoon brands include Harris and Sun Tracker.

Luxury Pontoons

Luxury pontoons offer both style and comfort for those who want to enjoy a premium boating experience. These boats are equipped with high-quality seating, advanced audio systems, and aesthetically pleasing designs. They are perfect for those looking to entertain guests or spend a day relaxing on the water in style. Brands like Bennington and Premier are known for their luxury pontoon offerings.

Cruising Pontoons

Cruising pontoons are designed for boaters who want a versatile vessel that can handle various activities, from leisurely cruises to towing water skiers. Though not as specialized as fishing or luxury pontoons, cruising pontoons still provide ample seating, storage, and entertainment options. They are often powered by higher horsepower engines, allowing them to reach faster speeds and provide an exciting ride. Harris and Bennington are two popular producers of cruising pontoons.

Pontoon Boat Construction

Hull Design

The hull design of a pontoon boat is essential for its performance and stability. Traditional pontoon boats use two parallel, cylindrical floats called pontoons that support the boat's deck. These pontoons provide buoyancy and help the boat glide smoothly over the water. Some modern pontoon boats have incorporated a third pontoon, creating a tri-toon boat that offers better performance and additional stability1.

Interior Layouts

The interior layout of a pontoon boat can vary greatly depending on the intended purpose and design preferences. Common layouts include open floor plans with plenty of seating and entertaining areas, versatile arrangements that allow for fishing, lounging, or water sports, and luxury options that feature elevated amenities such as bar areas and built-in grills2. Ultimately, the choice of interior layout depends on the owner's lifestyle and how they intend to use the boat.

Materials Used

In pontoon boat construction, materials play a significant role in determining the boat's durability and overall quality. Aluminum is a popular choice for pontoon construction due to its lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and long-lasting properties3. This material is often used for both the pontoons and the boat's frame, with some variations in thickness and strength depending on the design.

Plywood is commonly used for the decking material in pontoon boats, as it offers a durable and cost-effective option4. It's important, however, to choose marine-grade plywood that's specifically designed for use in aquatic environments. For added protection against the elements, some pontoon manufacturers also use vinyl or other waterproof coverings on top of the plywood decking5.


  1. American Pontoon Co. LLC

  2. Cypress Cay Pontoons

  3. Godfrey Pontoon Boats

  4. Starcraft Marine

  5. Sunchaser Boats

Features of a Pontoon Boat

Comfort and Style

Pontoon boats are known for their comfort and style, making them ideal for a relaxing day on the water. These boats often feature plush seating with plenty of space to accommodate a group of people. The design of pontoon boats has evolved over time, resulting in improved materials and overall aesthetics. Many models are available with luxurious upholstery, flooring, and even customizable options to suit your preferences.

Entertainment Options

When it comes to entertainment, pontoon boats have a variety of options to keep everyone onboard engaged and entertained. A popular feature is the addition of fishing chairs for anglers, providing comfortable seating and convenient access to fishing gear. For those looking to enjoy water sports, some pontoon boats are equipped to handle towing activities such as wakeboarding or tubing.

For family-friendly fun, a waterslide can be installed, providing endless hours of excitement for kids and adults alike. Many pontoon boats also come with built-in stereo systems and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for easy musical entertainment while you cruise the waters.

Storage and Functionality

Pontoon boats prioritize storage and functionality to ensure everyone on board can bring their gear and belongings for a day out on the water. These boats often feature ample storage compartments under seating and in designated storage lockers. In addition, the innovative layout of a pontoon boat allows for flexible floor plans, enabling customization based on the needs of the owner or the specific outing planned.

Functionality is a key aspect that sets pontoon boats apart from other watercraft. With a variety of features and customizable options, these boats can cater to specific needs or preferences. From fishing gear holders to extra seating, pontoon boats provide a versatile platform for a range of aquatic activities.

Power and Performance

Engine Types

There are different engine types available for pontoon boats that can affect its performance. The most common are outboard engines, which are mounted outside the boat and often use gasoline as fuel. Outboard engines come in various sizes and horsepower ratings, providing options for different levels of performance. Another engine type for pontoon boats is electric engines, which offer a more environmentally friendly and quiet option. Electric engines usually provide lower power output compared to outboard engines, but they are suitable for those looking for a relaxing, eco-conscious boating experience.

Horsepower and Speed

Pontoon boats can come with a wide range of horsepower ratings, which directly affects their speed capabilities. Traditionally, pontoon boats were considered slow and leisurely. However, several modern pontoons now offer high-performance packages that can significantly increase their top speeds. For instance, innovative designs from companies like Bennington and Manitou demonstrate how pontoons can achieve higher speeds and impressive performance capabilities. Boaters looking for faster and more powerful pontoon boats can opt for models with higher horsepower engines, ensuring a thrilling ride on the water.

Handling and Ride Quality

The handling and ride quality of pontoon boats can be influenced by various factors, such as the overall design, the size and shape of the pontoons, and the construction techniques. High-performance pontoon boats often incorporate features like elliptical pontoons, lifting strakes, and triple tube designs, which can improve stability, speed, and handling. For example, the GTP™ Triple Tube technology from Godfrey Pontoon uses oversized, 6-inch lifting strakes, which enhance the boat's performance and help to provide a smooth ride even on choppy waters.

The choice of engine type, horsepower, and design features play an essential role in determining the power and performance of pontoon boats. It is crucial for potential boat owners to assess their preferences and requirements to ensure they select a boat that suits their needs, whether it's for leisurely cruising or adrenaline-pumping speedy rides.

Buying Tips for Pontoon Boats

Evaluating Price and Value

When looking to purchase a pontoon boat, it's essential to consider both the price and the value you will be receiving for the cost. It's important to research and compare different makes and models to gain insight into their overall performance and durability. One should also take note of any additional features and accessories that come with the boat. Ultimately, making informed decisions based on these factors can help you find the perfect pontoon boat for your needs and budget.

Understanding Warranties

Warranties play a crucial role when purchasing a pontoon boat. A warranty can help protect the buyer from potential issues that may arise with the boat in the future. While researching different pontoon boats, make sure to review the manufacturer's warranty as they differ from one brand to another. Some warranties cover the boat's structure, while others include specific components like the motor or electrical system. Having a clear understanding of the warranty terms and scope will provide confidence and peace of mind in your purchase.

Considering Floor Plans

Floor plans for pontoon boats vary significantly and largely depend on the intended use and personal preferences of the buyer. For instance, some boats are designed for fishing, while others cater to leisure and relaxation. When choosing a floor plan, consider factors such as seating capacity, storage options, and the overall functionality of the boat's layout. Remember that a well-thought-out floor plan can enhance the overall enjoyment of the pontoon boat experience for both the owner and their guests.

With these factors in mind, the process of buying a pontoon boat should be more manageable and tailored to your specific needs and preferences. By thoroughly evaluating price and value, understanding warranties, and carefully considering floor plans, you will be better prepared to make a confident decision in your pontoon boat purchase.

Fun with Pontoon Boats


Pontoon boats are great for enjoying various watersports, such as tubing, wakeboarding, and skiing. Their spacious layout and stable design make them ideal for towing water enthusiasts behind the boat. Many pontoon boats come equipped with features like ski tow bars and swim platforms, further enhancing the watersport experience. Remember to always prioritize safety by providing proper life jackets and equipment for participants.

Creating Memories

Spending time on a pontoon boat offers numerous opportunities for creating unforgettable memories with friends and family. Whether it's taking part in a waterfront picnic, embarking on a scenic cruise, or participating in pontoon boat games, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy. For those looking to make the most of their time on the water, consider bringing along a waterproof camera to capture the highlights of your outings.

Boating with Friends and Family

One of the main attractions of pontoon boats is the ability to accommodate larger groups comfortably. The spacious decks and abundant seating areas make it easy for families and friends to relax, socialize, and enjoy their time on the water together. Pontoons can also be customized with features such as grills, coolers, and audio systems, providing endless entertainment options.

In addition to being ideal for day trips and special occasions, pontoon boats offer a unique setting for family vacations. Activities like fishing and overnight camping can be enjoyed by all ages, making them an excellent choice for creating lasting memories and bonding moments with loved ones.

Exploring with Pontoon Boats

Boating in Lakes and Rivers

Pontoon boats are a popular choice for boating enthusiasts looking for a stable and spacious platform to enjoy lakes and rivers. With their flat decks and two tubes, these versatile watercraft can accommodate a variety of activities, ranging from leisurely cruises to more adventurous watersports 1.

One appealing aspect of pontoon boats is their suitability for fishing. Anglers can cast their lines from the spacious deck, providing plenty of room to move around and access their gear.

Swimming is another popular activity enjoyed by pontoon boat users. The boats' stability and easy access to the water make them an ideal choice for taking a refreshing dip in a lake or river.

When it comes to watersports, pontoon boats don't disappoint. With enough speed and power, they can easily tow tubers, wakeboarders, and water skiers, providing endless fun for the whole family.

Experience the Sea-Doo

The Sea-Doo, a type of personal watercraft (PWC), offers a more thrilling, fast-paced experience on the water. While not specifically a pontoon boat, the Sea-Doo can complement your pontoon adventures or serve as an alternative when seeking more adrenaline-pumping activities. It is perfect for those who crave speed and agility while exploring lakes and rivers.

Taking a Sea-Doo out for a spin is sure to give you a memorable experience. Riders can swiftly weave in and out of the water on the compact, lightweight vehicle, reaching impressive speeds and performing eye-catching tricks if they choose. Venturing from calm waters into more challenging conditions, the Sea-Doo will continually impress with its agile performance and handling.

While pontoon boats and Sea-Doos offer different experiences, both watercraft provide countless opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and enjoyment on lakes and rivers. Choose the vessel that best suits your mood and desired activities, or combine both for a truly unforgettable day on the water.


  1. https://www.godfreypontoonboats.com/en-us/articles/buying-a-pontoon-boat/

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top manufacturers of pontoon boats?

There are several reputable manufacturers in the pontoon boat industry. Some of the top players include Harris Pontoon Boats, Barletta Pontoon Boats, and Avalon Pontoons. However, choosing the best manufacturer for your needs largely depends on your specific requirements and preferences.

What are the pros and cons of owning pontoon boats?

Pontoon boats offer several advantages, such as spacious platforms, stability, and versatility for various activities such as fishing, leisure, and water sports. They are ideal for family outings and group gatherings. Yet, they also have some limitations: their large size may cause difficulty in maneuvering, and they are not as fast as other types of boats.

What factors should I consider when purchasing a used pontoon boat?

When buying a used pontoon boat, it's crucial to inspect elements such as the boat's condition, engine performance, and the condition of the tubes or pontoons. Also, consider checking the boat's accessories, upholstery, and electronics. It's essential to test the boat on water before making a final decision.

How much do new pontoon boats typically cost?

The cost of a new pontoon boat can greatly vary depending on its size, features, and manufacturing company. Prices can range from around $15,000 for a basic entry-level boat to over $50,000 for premium models with advanced features and larger layouts. It is essential to research and compare different manufacturers and models to find the best value for your budget.

What are the recommended sizes of pontoon boats for families?

When looking for a pontoon boat suitable for a family, it's crucial to consider factors such as the number of family members, preferred activities, and required storage space. Typically, a pontoon boat with a deck length of around 16 to 25 feet and a beam of 8 to 10 feet can accommodate family outings comfortably, providing enough space and stability. However, the necessary size may vary depending on individual preferences and requirements.

Which pontoon boat models are best for fishing and leisure?

Several pontoon boat models are designed specifically for fishing and leisure activities. Some top models for such purposes include the Bass Buggy 16 DLX and the Princecraft Sportfisher Series. It's essential to research and compare various models to find the one that best suits your fishing and leisure needs. Remember to consider factors such as storage space, seating arrangements, and additional features like live wells, fishing rod holders, and swim platforms.

Q&A With Pontoon Manufacturers Association

Charlie: Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. Our readers are quite excited about the latest in pontoon boats. Let's start with the basics. How would you define a pontoon boat for our readers?

PMA Rep: Good morning, Charlie. A pontoon boat is essentially a flattish boat that relies on pontoons to float. These pontoons, also known as tubes, provide buoyancy and a stable platform, making them perfect for leisure activities on the lake.

Charlie: Speaking of leisure, our readers often ask about comfort. How does the design of pontoon boats cater to comfortable seating and entertainment?

PMA Rep: Comfort is key in pontoon boat design. We focus on spacious and luxurious seating arrangements. Think of plush cushions and layouts that encourage relaxation and socializing. Some models even include lounges and stern areas designed for entertainment.

Charlie: Interesting! And what about those interested in watersports like tubing or wakeboarding?

PMA Rep: Pontoon boats are increasingly versatile. Many now come with powerful motors and are designed to pull tubes or wakeboarders. We've seen a rise in tritoon boats – which have three hulls – offering more power and stability for such sports.

Charlie: That's a fantastic evolution. What about fishing enthusiasts? Are there pontoon boats designed with them in mind?

PMA Rep: Absolutely. Many pontoon boats come equipped with rod holders, storage for fishing gear, and even live wells. They offer a stable platform for anglers, making them a popular choice for fishing on lakes or calm waters.

Charlie: Let's talk about the materials used. Is aluminum still the primary material for pontoons?

PMA Rep: Yes, aluminum remains a popular choice due to its durability and light weight. It's ideal for both the pontoons themselves and the frame of the boat, providing a great balance of stability and efficiency.

Charlie: For our readers looking to purchase or rent a pontoon boat, is there an easy way to search for options in their area?

PMA Rep: Many manufacturers and dealers offer a zip code search on their websites. This tool allows customers to find their current selection and pricing within their city or nearby locations. It's a convenient way to discover what's available nearby.

Charlie: Speaking of pricing, what range are we looking at for a standard pontoon boat?

PMA Rep: Pricing can vary significantly based on size, luxury features, and the model. For instance, a Bennington pontoon boat, known for its quality and luxury, might be on the higher end. But generally, there's a wide range of options to fit various budgets.

Charlie: How about safety features? What should potential buyers look for?

PMA Rep: Safety is paramount. Look for boats with stable platforms, reliable safety rails, and adequate storage for safety gear. Also, check for certifications and build quality that meet industry standards.

Charlie: Lastly, for our readers who dream of owning a pontoon boat, what advice would you give?

PMA Rep: Owning a pontoon boat is about creating memories with friends and family. It's a blend of relaxation, fun, and connection with nature. My advice would be to consider how you plan to use the boat – whether it's for cruising, fishing, or watersports – and then find a model that fits those needs. And of course, always prioritize safety and quality.

Charlie: Now, moving on to the performance aspects. How important is the engine and motor choice in a pontoon boat?

PMA Rep: The engine and motor are crucial. They define the boat's power and capabilities, especially for activities like skiing or cruising at speed. A well-powered pontoon boat can elevate the experience, whether it’s for leisurely lake cruises or more adventurous watersports.

Charlie: Many of our readers are families with kids. What should they look for in a pontoon boat?

PMA Rep: Families should look for boats with features that cater to safety and entertainment. This includes stable designs for safe swimming and relaxing at the edge of the boat, as well as comfortable seating and plenty of storage. Also, pontoons with a spacious bow and stern area are great for kids to play and relax.

Charlie: In terms of location, where do you see the most growth in pontoon boat usage?

PMA Rep: Pontoon boats have seen a rise in popularity across various locations. Lakes remain the prime spot, but we're also seeing interest in coastal areas where the water is calm. The key is to match the boat's design and capabilities with the water conditions of the location.

Charlie: Could you speak about the technological advancements in pontoon boats?

PMA Rep: Over the past decades, we've seen significant advancements. From digital helm controls to more advanced engines and sustainable materials, the pontoon boat industry is constantly evolving. Designers pay great attention to detail, ensuring each model meets the rising expectations of customers.

Charlie: How do the costs compare when considering all these advanced features?

PMA Rep: The cost can vary widely based on features and build quality. However, there's a range to fit different budgets. You can find basic models for casual use, but if you're looking for something with advanced features, the price will be higher. It’s all about finding the right balance between cost and the features you desire.

Charlie: Speaking of features, how important is the charting and navigation equipment on a pontoon boat?

PMA Rep: It's becoming increasingly important, especially for those who love to explore new waters. Advanced charting systems and GPS can enhance safety and convenience. It’s a good idea to have these, especially if you plan to cruise in unfamiliar waters.

Charlie: For someone new to pontoon boats, what's a good way to start?

PMA Rep: A good start would be to visit boat shows or dealerships to get a feel of different models. You can also sign up for boat trials to experience it firsthand. This way, you have all the information at your fingertips to make an informed decision.

Charlie: Finally, what message do you have for our readers who are contemplating getting a pontoon boat?

PMA Rep: A pontoon boat isn’t just a purchase; it's an investment in a lifestyle. It's about spending quality time with family and friends, relaxing on the water, and making memories. Our advice is to consider how you plan to use the boat and choose a model that fits those needs and your budget.

Charlie: Thank you for sharing these insights with us. It’s clear that owning a pontoon boat can be an enriching experience, combining comfort, fun, and adventure.

PMA Rep: Absolutely, Charlie. It's about bringing that sense of adventure and relaxation to the water. Thanks for having me!


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