You may have everything you’ve ever wanted in a pontoon boat, but something is tugging at the back of your head that you’d like to know, and that is how fast will a 115 hp pontoon boat go. Or you may be curious prior to purchasing that much horsepower.
Pontoon boats have motors and these motors are rated in horsepower commonly written as hp, and provide propulsion to your boat.
Now common sense dictates that more horsepower means more speed right?
Well not exactly, but before we dive into what gives a pontoon boat its speed, first we’ll answer how fast will a 115 hp pontoon boat go.
The Short Answer
In a nutshell, the answer is 15-30 miles per hour.
That’s the realistic answer, but why the huge discrepancy you ask?
That’s because although horsepower matters in how fast a pontoon boat will go, it is not the only factor at play and can be affected by other variables which may increase or decrease your pontoon boat’s speed.
Factors that Influence Speed
Now we discuss those factors that influence speed so that you’ll have a better understanding of why the answer you’re looking for isn’t a fixed number.
We’ll start with horsepower as this is the most common denominator when it comes to a pontoon boat’s speed. Horsepower is what allows a boat to reach a certain speed. With all factors being equal, the boat with the most horsepower will travel the fastest.
However, not all factors are equal. They vary from boat to boat, and even to how you use your boat and what purpose they serve.
Horsepower isn’t the end all be all by any means. A more powerful boat can be slowed down by other factors and exhibit similar speeds to a less powerful boat but isn’t slowed down by the other factors as much.
Another factor that you should consider is the pontoon boat weight.
Weight is a factor in any boat or vehicle for that matter when it comes to speed. More weight on the boat means that the engine has to exert more effort to push the boat to speed. Weight distribution can also affect handling and stability which also affects your overall top speed on the speedometer.
The size is not the same as weight, as a larger boat can be lighter and a smaller boat can be heavier but with the topic of speed in mind, a smaller boat is faster than a larger one.
This is due to a smaller surface area with the water and the air, less drag means that more power is going into the speed rather than counteracting these forces.
Previously mentioned are major factors that have a huge direct impact on the speed of your boat, but here are a few subtler ones, whose effect does add up in the grand scheme of things.
Aerodynamic drag can cause a significant decrease in speed, thus some boats with large roofs/bimini tops, flags everywhere, etc. will be slower.
A common factor in this category to consider will be tritoons vs pontoons which we will not be covering in this guide. But some boats will be faster or slower due to their design, and by having less or more contact with water, will affect speed.
A lot of thought goes into the engineering of propellers and for the purposes of this guide, propeller design is a factor. Some propellers are designed for acceleration, which means you have a lower top speed, but you get that speed faster while other propellers are designed with having a higher top speed but at the cost of acceleration.
High octane fuel can add a few horsepowers to your engine compared to low octane fuel thus increasing speed somewhat.
Moving upwind is harder and thus slower than moving downwind regardless of all other factors.
115 HP vs 90 HP Pontoons
If budget is a concern a 90hp pontoon may be suitable for your needs as a 115 hp one offers roughly only a 10% increase on your speed.
However, if money isn’t too much of an issue, a 115hp pontoon can offer more maneuverability and flexibility. On that note, with a bigger engine, you can always drive slower but with a smaller engine, you can’t drive any faster.
How to Speed Up a 115 HP Boat
By taking into account the factors that influence the speed, we can do a few things to speed up a 115 hp boat.
Keep it lightweight, don’t keep a full tank (see the best pontoon gas caddies), keep the accessories onboard to a minimum and carry only the bare necessities. Also make sure that the weight is distributed evenly.
Use a smaller pontoon if you can, trim the engine, use a different propeller, add skids and maybe even convert to a tritoon.
For a comprehensive guide on speeding things up check this out: How to Speed Up a Slow Pontoon
Although horsepower is a major factor in how fast will a 115 hp pontoon boat go, it isn’t everything. A slew of different factors can have a direct or an indirect influence on a pontoon boat’s speed.