If you live near a peaceful lake or a sizeable river, then you are one of two types of people: someone who has a pontoon boat or someone who is about to get a brand new boat. Although relatively small and perhaps lacking in weight, speed, and rigidity, the advantages of a pontoon boat far outweigh the negatives by a significant margin.
In this guide, we'll explore through the advantages and disadvantages of a pontoon boat. Whether or not you have one stored in your garage already, this guide would benefit you to identify whether or not a pontoon boat purchase is worthwhile.
If you are ready to know more about the pros and cons of this type of boat, then continue reading!
The Advantages of Pontoon Boats
Below is a comprehensive list of the most salient advantages and highlights of this type of vessel. We suggest taking a look at each and thinking about how a pontoon would fare against other boat options available.
Pontoon Boats are Great for Small Families
If you belong to a family of 5 or fewer, then a pontoon boat is highly ideal, especially if you and your family are looking for casual water-based trips in a lake or river. Whether it be going out to fish or taking a trip to the other side of a peaceful body of water to see the sunrise or the sunset, a pontoon boat would serve your needs perfectly.
See the best pontoon boats for families here.
Pontoon Boats Could Double as Fishing Boats
Speaking of fish and fishing, it does not take a highly sophisticated, heavy-duty vessel to have fun or have the performance of a lifetime when going out fishing. It doesn't matter if it's your first time or if you're a veteran when it comes to fishing. A pontoon can get the job done with no other accessories or modifications needed.
Follow our pontoon boat fishing tips for the ultimate success.
A Pontoon Boat Could Double as a Ski Boat and is Great for Watersports
If you want to engage in exciting boating activities and sports such as skiing and wake boarding, then a pontoon boat fitted with a sufficiently powered outboard engine would be amazing.
Huge waves or extremely fast speeds are not required when you ski or wake board. All you need is an experienced driver/navigator, an appropriate set of clothes, and a consistent, powerful cruise speed to gain the momentum required. Grab your friends and family and consider skiing, wake boarding or tubing using your pontoon boat. You can even add a few pontoon diving boards, so the kids (and adults) can dive off and into the lakes. Some pontoons come with slides, but even if you purchase one without, you can add a pontoon slide kit for slippery enjoyment. Have fun with it!
Owning a Pontoon Boat is Cheaper than Owning Other Types of Boats
To buy a boat is one thing, to maintain a boat is another completely different aspect of the boat life that a majority of boat owners tend to not think about pre-purchase.
Fortunately, another advantage of pontoons is the fact that they are relatively cheap compared to the competition. There are several varieties and models available in the market today, however, you will quickly realize that the cost of ownership is ideal and economical.
A Pontoon Boat has Great Longevity and Durability
It may come as a surprise to many, but pontoon boats are known to have great longevity and durability.
We believe that this is largely due to the fact that pontoons are built by ingenious and simple engineering mechanisms that not only offer a great degree of safety but provide easier opportunities for the owner to clean and maintain.
Some may argue that a ski boat or a deck boat is easier to maintain, but we would still consider pontoons to be one of the easiest in terms of upkeep.
Expect Pontoon Boats to be Deceptively Spacious
Storage space is not exactly the number one highlight when talking about pontoons. However, in terms of space, pontoons nowadays have very cleverly designed and positioned compartments.
Simply flip open one of the seats, cabinets, or cupboards, and you are greeted with deep, roomy space for your clothes, fishing gear, toys for kids, and other pontoon boat-related accessories.
Pontoon Boats are Among the Most Comfortable Water Vessels Today
Aside from good storage space and an overall feeling of being spacious, another major consideration nowadays is comfort.
Although the first generation of pontoon boats were not specifically created with comfortable seats to sit in, the more recent ones have definitely changed the tide.
This is very good for energetic kids (and adults) who tend to be fidgety and bored during boating trips. Comfy seating will knock the energy right out of them and convince them to stay put, relax, and enjoy the view.
Pontoon Boats Fit Any Style or Preference
Pontoons are extremely versatile. If you were to make the rounds and ask owners of pontoons why they decided to stick with such an entry-level model, they would most likely tell you about how they get to play with the hull design, overall speed and performance, and add-ons or hardware such as safety rails or even comfier seating.
If you are keen on adding incremental modifications or upgrades to stuff, then bare-bones boats such as pontoons would definitely fit your preference.
Pontoon Boats are Generally Easier to Dock and Maneuver
You don't need speed when docking or making those tight turns, nor do you need an expensive vessel to get you through challenging pathways in a river. Pontoon boats could do more than enough in these particular scenarios.
Sure, there may be a learning curve to docking and maneuvering pontoon boats, especially given its unique shape and floating capability. You'll need to learn the basics such as how to tie the pontoon to a dock, how to drive the pontoon, etc. However, once you get the hang of it, you and your friends and family will enjoy hopping in and out of the open waters in no time.
As a Result of Reliance on Tubes, Pontoon Boats are Safe, Stable, and Unlikely to Flip
A common fear among both adults and kids is the risk of boats flipping or capsizing. Fortunately, due to how pontoon boats are designed, flipping is almost an impossibility as it would take a tremendously powerful wave or ferocious winds to tip over boats such as pontoons.
As an added safety precaution, however, we advise installing your pontoons with safety rails and to sit properly during turbulent portions of the trip.
Pontoon Boats can be Used in Shallow Bodies of Water
As a continuation of how pontoons float, it is also worth noting that pontoons can handle shallow regions of water. Just make sure to know the dimensions of your boat before testing this out. This includes working out the length, width and weight of the pontoon.
Think about how a barge is able to float if you would like to have a visualization of how the mechanics of a pontoon are.
There are a Variety of Pontoon Boat Sizes from Small to Huge
Pontoons can go from as small as 12 feet to as large as 60 feet. This goes to show how accommodating the pontoon segment can be.
We would recommend going with pontoon boats within the range of 16 to 30 feet for first-time owners.
The Disadvantages of Pontoon Boats
To give you a more objective perspective, let us also talk about the negatives of utilizing a pontoon.
Pontoon Boats are Not Ideal for a Large Family or Group of Friends
Despite the variety in size or dimensions, these vessels are not exactly ideal for groups of 10 or more. Therefore, be careful and always consider the maximum weight capacity a pontoon boat can accommodate safely.
Pontoon Boats Do Not Offer as Much Safety and Stability in Large Bodies of Water
When pontoon boats are faced with rough waters and/or rough weather, the ride will not be as pleasant. Always remember this and check out the weather forecast for the day before setting out on a long boating trip or expedition.
Traditional Pontoon Boat Storage Space and Room Do Not Allow for Extras and Add-ons
Sure, we talked about the deceptive storage room of pontoon boats, but do not think that it would surpass the storage capacity of bigger boats. Temper your expectations and only bring the absolute necessities when going out on a pontoon boat trip.
The Hull of a Traditional Pontoon Boat is Not as Aerodynamic as the More Expensive Types of Boats
It doesn't take an engineer or rocket scientist to identify this type of boat as not as aerodynamic as the other types of boats.
The shape of the boat contributes to the stability but severely negatively impacts the speed and acceleration department, so if you are in a high-speed boat chase, do not think to catch (or outrun) your competitor.
A Pontoon Boat Usually Cruises at Relatively Slower Speeds
Compared to the other boat types, an outboard engine pontoon boat honestly is at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to a speedy ride. Even if you were to fit the boat with an auxiliary outboard engine, the max horsepower of a pontoon boat would be insufficient to match the other high-performance vessels.
Of course there are many things you can do to speed up a slow pontoon, but in general they still won't compare to faster boats. Learn more about how fast a pontoon will go and the fastest pontoon boat ever..
Pontoon Boats May Suffer in Terms of Performance When the Boat Load is Too Heavy
This is true for all boats in reality, but for pontoon boats, it is a major consideration to think of. Whether it be in terms of the number of people aboard a pontoon or the overall weight of the watersports or fishing gear, never forget to run some calculations to see if the boat load is too heavy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding pontoon vessels.
Is a pontoon boat worth it?
A pontoon boat is definitely worth its fair market pricing as an entry-level water-based vessel. If you are unable to decide on your level of commitment to the waves and the sea and would like to spend less on your first trip into water-based fun and play, a pontoon boat should be on top of your list of candidates for a boat model.
What is good about a pontoon boat?
There are so many good things to say about a pontoon boat, but what is worth highlighting as the main advantage is the fact that this is an extremely user-friendly boat that is great for friends, family, kids, adults, men, women, and most especially, people who live near a relatively small and peaceful body of water like a lake or river.
Why are pontoon boats so popular?
Compared to deck boats, pontoon boats maintain traction and popularity in the market because of the value it provides and the relatively low costs of purchase and subsequent upkeep and maintenance costs. A lot of people are interested in going on a personal boating trip with family or kids, but are unsure if the investment is worth the experience. Fortunately, most people can expect great memories, from watersports to fishing, at a relatively low price point.
What are the pros and cons of pontoon boats?
Pontoon boats have a lot of positives and negatives, but as we have said, the benefits far outweigh the problems and issues encountered. A few worth mentioning again are cost, longevity, safety, space (or room), ski potential, and comfortable seating.
Why buy a pontoon boat? Are pontoon boats worth the money? Well, as can be easily observed, the advantages of a pontoon boat clearly minimize a few of the concerns or problems you may encounter when in water, specifically a lake or a river. The comfortable ride, the cheaper components, the aluminum tubing engineering, and all the entertaining activities that can be done with friends and families will be what you will remember at the end of the day with pontoon boats. Gear up for one of the most value-adding modes of transportation in your life.