There’s going to come a point in time where you’re going to need to know the weight of your boat. Whether it be because you need to figure out just how much fishing equipment, accessories, and people you can load on the boat, or if you’re planning on towing your pontoon for the first time its weight is important.
If you’ve made a lot of modifications to your boat over time, or if you bought it second hand from a private seller, you may not have a clear idea of the boat’s actual weight. In this article, I’ll go over pontoon boat weights and why you should know them.
THE AVERAGE PONTOON BOAT WEIGHT
It’s safe to say that the average pontoon boat weight is approximately 2,200 pounds with everything on board. This is obviously excluding the premium party boats that can seat 18 to 20 people, as well as the top-of-the-line pontoons with angler packages that come with extra equipment like fishing stations, fishing rod holders, and livewells.
When we talk about the average pontoon, we’re talking about your baseline Suncatcher, Lowe, or Avalon that seats you and a handful of your closest companions. These models can generally hold an additional 2,000 pounds of equipment and people, giving the boat an overall weight of 4,200 when fully loaded.
Because people weigh differently, most companies have a recommended number of passengers allowed on board, and for your average pontoon that’s probably between eight to ten people.
WHY WEIGHT MATTERS
In case you’re wondering, it’s good to have an idea of how much your boat weighs in the following capacities:
- Dry weight – the amount the boat weighs with an empty gas tank.
- The weight with furniture and passengers aboard.
- The boat and trailer’s weight combined.
These things are useful to know for a few reasons:
For starters, the dry weight, as well as your boat and trailer’s weight combined, are both good to know when towing your boat. After all, you want to know if your truck is capable of safely towing your boat before you take it on the road.
Safety & Performance
Another reason why you should consider your boat’s weight is for safety and performance. You want to have a good idea of how much weight that your boat’s carrying at all times in order to ensure that it operates in the water safely, which means never exceeding the vessel’s safety rating.
Furthermore, depending on the engine you’re using to power your pontoon boat, a fully-loaded will be more sluggish when towing. This is why a lot of pontooners who don’t have the expensive sporting pontoon boats tend to tow passengers in batches, while leaving the rest on the shore.
How to Determine How Much Your Pontoon Boat Weighs
If you’re struggling to come up with a weight for your pontoon boat, consider the following: most pontoons weigh 100 pounds per foot. While this is a general rule rather than a strict guideline, it’s a good way to determine how much your boat weighs with furniture.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the gas tank. Gasoline weighs 6.183 pounds per gallon; for the sake of convenience, let’s round it up to 6.2 pounds. If you have a 30 gallon tank that’s filled to the top, that’s an extra 186 pounds that your boat is carrying. And yes, that factors into the maximum amount of weight allowed on board.
TOWING YOUR PONTOON
Now that you have an idea how much your pontoon weighs, it’s time to learn how to safely tow the pontoon boat. Remember that your standard pontoon trailer weighs around 1,200 pounds. Combine that with the average pontoon weight of 2,200 pounds and you have an overall weight of 3,400 pounds, boat and trailer.
If this is your first time hauling a pontoon boat, you must double check the towing capacity on your truck before taking the boat to the marina. To play it safe and ensure that you always have control over your boat, regardless of how steep a hill is or windy the road is, you should have a towing capacity greater than the weight you’re towing – in this scenario, 3,400 pounds.
To maximize safety, I recommend using a vehicle that offers roughly 2,500 pounds more than what you’re towing. So, if your boat and trailer are 3,400 pounds, a truck with a towing capacity of 5,500 is sufficient. As a rule, 5,500 towing capacity is generally enough for all but your extra large pontoon boats. Here's a great guide on which trucks to use for towing pontoons.
EXAMPLES FOR REFERENCE
If you’re looking for some references to put things into perspective, have a look at the following examples:
- A 115 horsepower Yamaha motor weighs slightly less than 400 pounds.
- A compact 16’ Avalon Eagle is about 1,350 pounds of dry weight.
- The 26’9” Harris Crowne SL 250 luxury pontoon has a dry weight of 3,859 pounds. It weights nearly 4,020 with a full tank of gas.
- The G3 Suncatcher 22’X22RF and trailer have combined weight of 3,600 pounds, including the motor.
- The massive Marker One ML4 party pontoon has a dry weight of 4,600 pounds.
As you can see, there’s no reliable way to standardize the weight of a pontoon boat. The G3 Suncatcher is a good example of why the 100 pounds per foot of boat estimation also isn’t always accurate. With that said, it’s safe to assume that the average mid-sized boat weighs between 2,000 and 2,400 pounds.
THE BOTTOM LINE ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF YOUR BOAT
On a serious note, overloading your boat in the water is not only dangerous, it can also cause you serious problems if caught by the Coast Guard or other law enforcement officials. For this reason, it’s essential that you respect your pontoon’s weight distribution and limitations at all times.
The same applies when towing your boat on the road. Towing a boat heavier than your truck’s allowed to pull place you and everyone around you at risk. It can also land you in hot water if stopped by a police officer.
In this article, I’ve covered a number of important reasons why pontoon boat weights matters, as well as why you should always have an idea of its dry and fully-loaded weight. If you’re someone who likes to use your pontoon for sporting, you probably know that the lighter your boat is, the easier it is to pull tubes, skis, and wakeboards.