do pontoon boats have drain plugs

Do Pontoon Boats Have Drain Plugs? (Plus How to Install)

If you are interested in pontoon boats, you have more than likely wondered to yourself, ‘do pontoon boats have drain plugs?’. What makes this question even more interesting is that depending upon who you ask, you may get a different answer.

This means that the question remains, does your pontoon boat have drain plugs? Here is everything you need to know about your pontoon boat and if it has a drain plug or not.

Does Every Pontoon Boat Have Drain Plugs?

No, not every pontoon boat will have a drain plug. Some of them will have a drain plug, while some of them don’t. If you are wondering why, it just depends upon the manufacturer and if they wanted to (or didn't want to) include one into the pontoon boat design. Typically, the older pontoon boats will have them, while the newer models have evolved and do not require them.

Why Don’t Newer Pontoon Boats Have a Drain Plug?

The main reason that the newer style of pontoon boat does not require a plug is that they have been designed with several chambers in them. These chambers help prevent water from gaining entry into the pontoons incase of damage occurring.  

Essentially, this updated design has made the tubes of the boat waterproof and airtight. So if damage does occur to your pontoon boat, water will not get inside the aluminum tubes and there will be no need for any kind of draining or to use a bilge pump. On a side note, this you'll also find that fixing any damage to your boat’s aluminum pontoons will be much easier to do.

Will the Water Get Inside the Pontoon Tubes and Logs?

The more modern style of boats have been designed to be 'leak proof', meaning that the logs on the new pontoons do not have to worry about any type of leaks.

The older style of pontoon boat (which was made of aluminum) is still susceptible to water getting into the log. This is why older boats will typically have drain plugs already on them. It seems as though most leaking was caused as a result of the weld of the joints in the logs starting to corrode and eventually giving out. When this happened, they would need to be drained so they could be weld repaired.

As pontoon technology has evolved, it seems almost impossible for water to leak into the tube. The only way water would be able to get into the logs or tubes of newer pontoon boats would be due to damage. Other than this particular situation, there really is no need for any kind of drain to get the water out.

Installing Drain Plugs for a Pontoon Boat

drain plugs on pontoon boats

For a pontoon boat that is on the older side and has drain plugs, you'll find that over time they can start to corrode (due to using them in salt water). You will have a very difficult time trying to get them out in order to drain the salt water. This is definitely considered a ‘bad luck situation’ as it will be no quick task to get the plug out. 

While this is not going to be easy, it is something that you can get done with the right plan. Here is how to remove the corroded drain plugs and replace them with new ones.

On a side note, never do this if you do not feel comfortable with the process.

1: Take Out the Old Drain Plug

First, start drilling through the center of the plug until you make it all the way through. Once all the way through, use a larger sized drill bit and repeat the process. Continue increasing the size of the drill bit until there is almost no plug remaining.

When you have completed the drilling, you should have no problem using a blade to slice what last piece is left in the drain hole. Whatever you do, be sure that you are extra careful not to tear any of the tube’s aluminum. This would be the last thing you would want to happen.

2: Clean the Threads

Use a half-inch copper fitting brush to clean the threads in the drain hole. If you find that the threads have gone bad, then it's advised to use a half-inch pipe tap in order to chase them.

3: Install New Plugs

Once you have your drain hole cleaned out and ready for a new plug, it is time to visit the manufacturer of your pontoon (or at least the pontoon manufacturer’s online store) and check with them if it's possible to sell you new drain plugs.

On a side note, if you do not feel comfortable with any of this, you can always find a shop locally who will be able to do this for you. They will more than likely already have the necessary tools to get the job done correctly and your pontoon back on the water as quickly as possible.

How to Get Rid of Water from Pontoons

If you've found that you need to get the water out of your logs, you simply need to drain it out. To remove water, there are a couple of different methods that you can use. Now keep in mind that it will be the same for all pontoon boats and if there is a leak, you will need to do some kind of welding to repair it. And remember, never let anybody ride damaged pontoon boats on the water.

Removing the Water

For this method, you will need to remove the boat completely outside of the lake/water and onto a trailer. Lean the boat to the rear and check that the liquid has pooled up in to backend of the tube. Drill a tiny hole (if you do not have any drain plugs) for everything to leak out. Once done, you will need to repair it by welding over the area that was leaking, as well as welding over the small holes you drilled. Once this seal has been made, you should be good to go.

Pumping it Out

In order to use the 'pump it out with a hose' method, slowly began adding air pressure with a hose. Use a very low pressure (usually 1-2 psi). As the pressure builds from the hose, it will force everything out through the damaged section that it got in at.

Final Thoughts

If you get water in your logs, it can be a very serious situation. By using the built-in drain plugs (or other methods mentioned above for newer pontoon boats), you will have no problem staying afloat and continuing to enjoying your boat!

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