Pros and Cons of Pontoon Boats [That You Should Know!]

As you may know if you’ve been on my blog for a while.

Pontoons boats are my favorite type of boats.

Despite owning many different types of boats from kayaks to deck boats to sailboats.

I’ve always had a strong passion for pontoon boats ever since I was young.

There’s something about pontoon boats that really resonate with me.

Because of my extensive history with them, I’d consider myself somewhat of a pontoon boat expert.

Any type of problem or issue you can run into, I’ve been through multiple times already. Likewise, I’ve also had every great experience you can possibly have with a boat.

Most of the articles I’ve written on BoatCrunch are about pontoon boats and that’s simply because I have the most experience with pontoons than any other type of boat.

I know their insides and outs, I’d be surprised if someone could ask me a question about a pontoon boat and I’m unable to provide a detailed helpful response.

Enough about me now.

So more than likely you’re interested in purchasing or renting a pontoon boat, but you’re stuck in two minds about it?

You want to know about the pros and cons of pontoon boats so that you can decide on whether the boat is a good fit for you or not.

I did the exact same thing when I purchased my first pontoon many years ago.

Lucky for you, you’re now reading the most extensive guide on the pros and cons of pontoon boats.

In this guide, I’ll be explaining the advantages of and the drawbacks to pontoon boats, I’ll be comparing the pontoon boat to other types of boats when appropriate to help you gauge a better idea of how they compare to other boats.

Advantages of Pontoon Boats

Let’s start with the advantages. They are literally so many positives of owning a pontoon boat, I don’t even know where to begin! There are so many reasons as to why pontoons are my favourite type of boat. I’ll try my best to inform you of all the great aspects of a pontoon.

  • Family Boating Trips
  • Modifications and Accessories
  • Watersports and Fishing
  • Maintenance
  • Longevity
  • Comfortability
  • Safety
  • Storage

Family Boating Trips

My family are the most important thing to me in the world, therefore I value family boating trips very highly. Pontoon boats are perfect for family activities. This is because they’re very spacious boats, they’re not cramped like a dingy or a kayak. Pontoons boats are also very safe, which is exactly what you want to hear when putting your family onboard.

I have an article in which I explain some amazing family boating trip ideas. You can find that guide by Clicking Here. It’s full of some amazing ideas that’ll make your boating trips 100x better.

Modifications and Accessories

I really do like how versatile pontoon boats are. There are so many things that you can do with them.

I love customizing my boats to my liking and I can do exactly that with my pontoon boat. There are a wide range of pontoon boat gadgets and accessories available. There are so many neat modifications you can make to make your boat exactly how you want it. For example, I’ve purchased a grill for my pontoon which allows me to host the best boat parties!

If you prefer a bit more privacy and don’t like how open your boat feels, you can also purchase a pontoon boat enclosure. I have an article dedicated to showcasing the best enclosures available, you can find that guide by Clicking Here.

I could go on forever about how you can make your pontoon a home.

Water sports and Fishing

Pontoon boats are popular picks for family water sports.

Many pontoons have more than enough power to make them suitable for different water sport activities. Though, this doesn’t apply to all pontoons so it’s important that if you’re interested in sports that you do your research to make sure you get a boat with enough a strong enough engine.

The ideal engine would be 115hp. With this sort of engine power, you shouldn’t have any problems hitting high speeds. You’ll also be able to carry as many passengers as you like.

I’d recommend a pontoon with a 90hp engine minimum for skiing and tubing. This will be enough to comfortably take part in water sports with up to 5 passengers.

Though, 70hp may be enough for the pure essentials if you limit your number of passengers and don’t expect to be hitting high speeds at all.

Me and my family absolutely love taking the pontoon out for some towable tubing.

Overall, pontoon boats work great for watersports if you make sure you get a powerful enough boat. I’ve never had a problem having fun on the water with my boats.

Pontoons boats also make for great fishing boats.

They’re very spacious so you have more than enough room for all your equipment and family. You can use your railings to attach rod holders to your boat which make fishing even easier.

Easy Maintenance

I’ve owned many different types of boats and I must say that pontoon boats are one of the easiest to maintain. I’ve had so many problems with other boats, from leaky engines, to holes in hulls. Though, I have not experienced many problems with my pontoon at all.

If you find yourself boating on a river or lake often then your boat will likely eventually suffer from holes and dents. However, due to how high pontoons sit on the water, you’re a lot less likely to sustain a lot of damage.

V-shaped boats sit a lot deeper in the water, so they take a lot more damage than pontoon boats.

Because of this, in a pontoon boat you can boat in a lot shallower waters than you would be able to in another type of boat.

In the case that you do damage your boat, you’ll be glad to know that pontoon boats are cheap to repair. I find that fixing my pontoon for similar repairs as my other is significantly cheaper.

Pontoon boats are also very easy to clean. I have several guides in which I explain how to clean your pontoon thoroughly. From cleaning the interior of your pontoon, to cleaning the exterior of your pontoon.

Longevity

A huge pro of pontoons boats is their longevity. These things are like turtles, they simply don’t die. This is a huge reason behind why I decided to purchase my first pontoon boat.

Pontoons are a great investment as you know that it will last you many years. In fact, depending on how often you use it and how you maintain it, your pontoon boat can last you a life-time.

As mentioned previously, pontoon boats are easy to maintain. Their maintenance costs are very low, and you don’t have to be a professional to do a lot of the maintenance yourself. In fact, I have a heap of articles on this blog which help you carry out a lot of maintenance tasks yourself.

Things such as your carpet and seating are eventually going to fade away without doubt, but these are very easy to replace. You don’t need to bring your boat to a professional. You can do it yourself with the right video or instructions. Replacing your seating in another boat such as a ski boat is a whole nother level, and something which you’d want to bring to a professional.

You don’t even have to be a DIY person to do basic renovations to your pontoon boat. Even as a boating novice I still done as much as I could myself. When you do get stuck you can always take it to a mechanic to have a professional do the job.

Some boats you must completely replace after a few years, with pontoon boats all they need is a little renovation and maintenance.

Comfortability

Comfort Is a very important factor when it comes to which type of boat you decide to purchase. More than likely you’re going to be end up sitting on your boat for hours on hours, especially on long boat trips, so you’re going to want to be comfortable.

I’ll say straight away that pontoon boats are extremely comfortable. They’re spacious enough that you shouldn’t feel cramped unless you’re carrying an unreasonable number of passengers.

Pontoon boat seats tend to be cushioned and very comfortable. If for some reason you’re not a fan of your seats, you can always purchase new ones and have them installed. There are a wide range of different pontoon boat seats available. In fact, I have a guide in which I review the best pontoon seats. You can find that guide by Clicking Here.

The only other boat I’ve been on that’s been as comfortable as my pontoon was a yacht. When it comes to affordable family boats, the pontoon is one of the most comfortable, hands down.

As mentioned previously, there are so many modifications you can make to your pontoon that will further increase its comfort factor.

I’ve installed a BBQ grill to my boat as well as a solid pair of marine speakers. As you can tell I throw the best boat parties.

I’ve also got my own changing room on my pontoon boat. This allows me and the family to quickly turn a relaxing family cruise into a fun-filled day swimming in the water with a quick outfit change. Checkout my article on setting up your own pontoon boat changing room, to see how it’s done.

Pontoon boats also sail very smoothly, assuming the winds aren’t very strong, and the water is calm.

Safety

There is a reason why pontoon boats are popular picks for families with kids. I’m sure you’ve already heard about how safe they are, but how you may ask? I’ll tell you why.

Pontoons boats are fenced with high railings which help prevent passengers from falling over-board.

Pros and Cons of Pontoon Boats
High Railings On Pontoon Boat

As you can see, the railings on this pontoon boat would make it very difficult for someone to fall off. It’d be near to impossible for a toddler or a smaller passenger to fall out of the boat.

For this reason alone, pontoons boats are one of the safest boats.

But can a pontoon flip over?

Yea, it’s definitely happened to someone before however it’s so unlikely that anyone would laugh if you asked them this question in person.

You must drive very irresponsibly and be unlucky enough to have the forces of nature against you.

Storage

Because of how spacious pontoon boats are, there’s a fair amount of storage space onboard. With a normal amount of people onboard you shouldn’t run into any problems with storage.

If you’re hosting a little boat party and everyone’s brought a bunch of stuff, then you may start to run out of space. In this case you’ll just have to manage your storage a bit better.

You can always get accessories such as clothes pegs to hang up clothing. Some pontoon owners have also modified their seating to be able to open and act as storage.

I have created a guide in which I explain some pontoon boat storage solutions and ideas. You might find this useful if you decide to purchase a pontoon boat – though it may also be intriguing for you to read either way.

Disadvantages of Pontoon Boats

Now it’s time to talk about the drawbacks and negative points to pontoon boats. I don’t think there are as many disadvantages to pontoon boat boats as there are advantages. Also, personally I don’t think that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages though everyone’s opinions vary and other may priorities different things.

Let’s get started:

  • Speed
  • Rough Water
  • Wake shape
  • Handing
  • Outboard Noise

Speed

Yea, pontoon boats work great for watersports. However, they’re not exactly speed demons. This means that you won’t be impressing anyone who has a need for speed. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find a pontoon boat that goes over 35 mph.

I’ve created a guide which explains the average pontoon boats speed. It includes top speeds and examples of some popular boats. If you’re interested, you can find that guide by Clicking Here.

I’d recommend that you check out the guide above if you’re interested to know what kind of speeds you can expect from a pontoon boat.

Though, the ponton boat has evolved and there is now a ‘Tritoon’ which resembles a pontoon boat, but it features three toon logs instead of two! The Tritoon is larger and has a significantly more powerful engine. So if you’re liking the looks of a pontoon boat but power is important to you, Check out my guide on Tritoons vs Pontoons!

Rough Water

Pontoon boats a very safe when it comes to smaller waves and calm water. They’re very stable and don’t wobble at all most of the time.

However, when it comes to rough waters, pontoon boats struggle.

Larger waves punish pontoon boat severely as they don’t have a ‘V-shaped hull’ and therefore instead of going over waves, they dive into them. In severe circumstances, this could lead to your boat capsizing (overturning).

This means you must be very careful when it comes to the weather. You want to do everything you can to avoid boating in heavy rain or storms. If you think there’s a chance of a storm, don’t risk it. This is the case for any boat really, but this especially applies to pontoons.

If you happen to be on the water when a storm begins to erupt, you should get off the water as soon as possible.

Wake Shape

For most people the shape of the wake that your boat creates is completely irrelevant. Personally, this isn’t a make or break – though it’s nice to know, it would never be significant enough of a factor to make me rethink a purchase.

For those who don’t know, the ‘wake’ is the disturbed flow of water that follows behind a boat.

Pontoon boats have a wake like a regular ski boat, however they will also have a wake on either side due to their two toons. This causes pontoons to leave behind a wide wake which is significantly less ‘humped’.

This makes it more difficult to catch air whilst towing behind. This would have an effect on watersports activities such as towable tubing and skiing. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but experienced tubers may notice this.

Handling

Pontoons boats have a very wide turning radius. Their handling isn’t great, and the difference is noticeable compared to a typical boat.

This makes them unpopular with those who require performance handling.

This also means that they’re not great for tight waters, so if your water channels are limited then a pontoon may not be the best choice.

Outboard Noise

Though it’s not extremely bad, pontoons boats do omit a lot of outboard engine noise.

Because of this, I’d avoid an outboard engine look for an inboard engine instead.

Despite this, newer model outboard engines are nowhere near as bad as the older models.

Conclusion

And there you have it, all the pros and cons of pontoon boats.

I’ve tried to include every advantage and disadvantage I could think of, regardless of how insignificant to give you the best insight into pontoon boats.

I’m hoping that this has helped you decide whether pontoon boats are a good fit for you or not.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of good times as well as bad times with my pontoon boat however I’ll always say that the positives outweigh the negatives.

The most impactful disadvantage of a pontoon boat is how it handles rough waters. Though, if you’re diligent then you shouldn’t be caught up in a dangerous situation.  I’d say this is the only truly impactful negative in my eyes.

I’m always open for feedback and would love your help to improve this guide. If you have any thoughts, you’d like to share then feel free to leave a comment down below.

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