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Pontoon Boats; Not Fast, Not Good Looking...But All Out Fun

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On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Lots of boaters these days prefer a pontoon boat over a normal ski/fishing boat. When you look at the price of a normal boat that can handle the whole family comfortably and the versatility to cruise, fish or ski, you have to consider a pontoon boat.What is a Pontoon Boat? The Pontoon Boat - also known as the "Party Barge" has as a hull constructed of round tubes (called sponsons or pontoons).  These pontoons are attached to the outside, bottom edge of a large flat pontoon deck traditionally constructed of sheets of marine grade plywood that are bolted or screwed down to aluminum cross channels that span the width of the pontoon deck and hold the pontoon tubes in place. 

Some pontoon boat manufacturers are beginning to offer an aluminum pontoon deck as an option to 3/4" marine plywood and in some cases a composite plastic material is used in place of plywood or aluminum.  The deck of a pontoon boat is surrounded on all sides by a safety railing referred to as pontoon railing or fence which was originally constructed from 1" square steel tubing.  Today's pontoon boats use extruded larger aluminum square tubing which is either anodized or powder coated and covered by coated aluminum paneling that displays matching stripping and graphics and act as framework for the pontoon furniture.  The interior of the pontoon boat has evolved a great deal since the first pontoon boat was created.  The first pontoon boats were basically platforms with a pontoon console in the center of the deck with lawn furniture for seating or basic bench seats in the rear.

Pontoon boats can be great for a family vacation out on the water, since their flat shaped deck allows more room for small crowds to get around comfortably compared to other types of motorized boats. Pontoon boats can also be made into a great boat for fishing, even in the smaller lakes because of the shallow draft. You can invite your pals out to fish, drink, party, sunbathe, anything your mind could imagine. You can also find pontoon boats that are made for speed to if you would like to engage in some water skiing, or any other water sport you could think of.

Pontoon boats are powered by outboard motors generally between 10 to over 200 hp and some newer pontoons even come with dual outboards. The faster pontoon boats made for speed normally have big engines, about 220 horse power or more, and if you really want to go fast, you might want to look into the boats that have three pontoons for more performance and better handling of your pontoon boat, they are a bit more expensive but you have to pay extra to go fast.

Can you trailer a pontoon boat? Pontoon boats are very easy to trailer though a special pontoon boat trailer is needed, these are available in either bunk styles which support the pontoon tubes on raised bunks or you can purchase an up/down model that supports the pontoon boat underneath the aluminum frame work of the deck. These trailers are very popular if you wish to set the pontoon boat on the ground or move more than a single pontoon.

The degree of customization you can do to a pontoon boat is limitless, because of the flat design there are so many things you could do. The majority of pontoon boats have bimini tops that can be raised up or down, some have built in tops, or sun roofs, so that you can jump or dive off of them, and some might even come with a slide attached to the sun roof.

If you are considering a pontoon boat, do not take my word for it or anyone elses for that matter. Take one out for a day or the whole weekend and make sure that it is right for you. The good thing is that pontoon boat rentals are plentiful and fairly reasonable. A small price to pay to make sure that you and more importantly your family like the pontoon boat before you lay down your hard earned money.

Bottom line is that pontoon boats are great for the family, and are great for friends. The only main downside is, Pontoon boats are NOT good sea boats. You want to be very careful when taking your pontoon boat out on larger bodies of water such as the Ocean, the Gulf and the Great Lakes, so you will not be doing any deep sea fishing in a pontoon boat. There bow is very close to the water, and it is not going to take a big wave to crash over the deck, which could be very dangerous, so if you are into deep sea fishing, then a pontoon boat is not for you.

A pontoon boat is for the pleasure of water activities, with family and friends. To own a pontoon boat is to be able to enjoy pleasant moments on the water in company of your family or friends. With your pontoon boat, you can go fishing, water skiing or boarding, swimming, reach a beach, ride on rivers and lakes and, best of all, you can spend your vacations on your boat. Some people even spend their whole vacations on their pontoon boats. With a camper top covering the whole boat, a sofa bed, a table and storage spaces, the pontoon boat pratically becomes a house boat.

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