On average, a pontoon boat will travel between 18 to 25 miles per hour tops. So you can’t really expect them to go too fast. But if you were hoping to tweak the numbers and make your pontoon just a little speedier than it is, you might want to consider an underpinning kit.
Exactly what is a pontoon boat underpinning kit and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about this simple yet effective pontoon boat modification.
What’s an Underpinning Kit for Pontoons?
Basic physics will tell you that anything that creates drag will cause your boat to move slower through the water. Essentially, drag is the resistance that opposes your movement. So anything under the deck, submerged in the water, and resisting the forward propulsion of your boat will create drag.
And that’s what the underpinning kit hopes to resolve. This ingeniously simple addition is just a sheet that covers all the little studs and divots underneath your pontoon. By creating a sleeker, smoother surface, it reduces drag and allows your boat to glide more effortlessly through the water.
What Does Underskinning/Underpinning Mean?
Underskinning and underpinning are essentially the same, just that the Sun Tracker brand decided to mix things up, thus coming up with the latter term. The process happens by covering up the underside of the deck with a clean sheet of metal. That said, when water splashes up against the bottom of your deck, it won’t push into little crevices and nooks, thus creating a smoother ride.
The project is relatively affordable, and you can actually do it on your own. But if you decide to take your boat into the shop to have it underpinned, expect to pay an average of about $500 for materials and labor.
In terms of its benefits on speed, a lot of those who have had them installed will say that it’s not all it’s chalked up to be. Increasing speed by around 1-2mph, underskinning results can be underwhelming if you were hoping for a drastic change.
But hey, if you’re looking for ways to ease the burden on your engine and motor and you combine underpinning with a variety of other fuel efficiency hacks, then it might add up to a more significant change.
What’s more, underpinning has also been found to protect the underside of the deck and reduce vibration on board. So it might not be quite as pointless as some boaters might paint it out to be. Just manage your expectations and it might be well worth the cost.
Should You Underpin Your Pontoon?
If you ever wondered what is a pontoon boat underpinning kit and whether it’s worth buying into, it’s really all about your expectations. While it might be able to improve speed and fuel economy, it’s not going to produce staggering results on its own.
Combining it with other boat modifications that are intended to improve speed might improve the outcomes in terms of how fast you can go. Plus, it also works well to reduce vibration and protect your deck, so it might just be more than you bargained for.