How To Mount a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Do you love spending time on the water, but find that your fishing trips are often limited by how fast you can paddle? If you have a pontoon boat, then mounting a trolling motor can help you get to your favorite spot in no time!

In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of how to installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat. We’ll provide tips and advice along the way, so that you can do it yourself with confidence. Let’s get started!

Regardless of the purpose of your pontoon boat, trolling motors are versatile for a smooth trip into the waters. However, not many people know how to mount a trolling motor on a pontoon boat. This article gives you a step-by-step guide to handling the process.

How To Mount a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Things To Consider Before Mounting a Trolling Motor

Before you get into the motor mounting process, you should consider such things as:

The boat’s weight. Your boat’s weight plays a significant role with installing a trolling motor. You can’t just install the motor to your boat and that’s that; instead, you need to calculate the right size that will be able to pull or push the boat forward.

Mode of trolling motor control. Steering control depends on your preference. However, the motor’s mounting location is determined by the control method you settle for. For instance, an engine mount trolling motor will work best if you wish to use remote control.

The boating location and conditions. Another vital factor to consider before installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat is the condition of the water body you spend boating most of the time. Consider the waves or currents you encounter daily. This will help you determine the type of motor suitable for your pontoon.

Where Should a Trolling Motor Be Placed?

Besides trolling your pontoon, trolling motors help position the boat and act as a GBS anchor. Therefore, there are different places you can mount the motor onto it. The following three are mainly used for this purpose;

  • Bow
  • Transom
  • Engine

Bow Mount

Bow mount involves mounting the trolling motor in the front part of the boat. You should mount it close to the boat’s centreline, meaning you should place it in front of the entry gate, which will likely create an obstacle for the people getting in and out of the pontoon. In fact many pontoon boats with a bow mount trolling have a half gate to give room to the motor.

On the other hand, the bow mount is the most popular since it provides the pontoons with reasonable steering control while traversing the waters. This arises because it pulls the boat, unlike the rear mount that pushes it.

Transom Mount

In transom mount trolling, the motor is attached to the stern using a simple clamp, unlike the bow mount, which requires a drilled plate on the boat’s bow. This uncomplicated installation procedure makes it popular among boaters.

Also, this type of mounting takes up less space and is more affordable than the bow mount, adding to its popularity, especially among small boats. However, the transom mount offers less precise boat control and maneuverability due to its pushing action.

Engine Mount

As the name suggests, engine mount involves mounting the motor directly to the boat’s outboard engine- on its cavitation plate. This mounting type is the best option if you have limited space in your pontoon and are unwilling to give the trolling motor extra space.

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What Size of a Trolling Motor Do I Need?

You understand what extra power means for your pontoon boat as fishing, water partying, or sporting enthusiast, right? You will agree with me that you better have extra power that you don’t need than needing it when you don’t have it.

Unlike a regular engine whose power is measured in horsepower, the trolling motor’s power is measured in pounds of thrust. In this regard, the weight of your pontoon plays a crucial role in determining the size of trolling motor you need. But, as a rule of thumb, you require a minimum of 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of boat weight to move it forward.

Therefore, to find out the exact motor size you need for your pontoon using the rule of thumb, you divide your pontoon’s weight by a hundred and multiply it by two. For instance, if your float weighs 3000 pounds, you will calculate the motor size (3000/100×2) to get, 60-meaning you need at least 60-pound thrust trolling motor for your pontoon.

how to installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat

Detailed Steps to Installing a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

The steps involved in installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat differ depending on the location you choose to place it. Below is a detailed installation guide for installing a trolling motor on the three different points we explained earlier.

What You Need

To install a trolling motor on your pontoon, you need the following items regardless of where you wish to mount it;

  • Drill and drill bits
  • A screwdriver
  • Wrench kit
  • pencil

Installing a Bow Mount Trolling Motor

Step 1: The first thing is deciding on the side of the bow you wish to mount the trolling motor. You can mount it on its port or starboard, depending on the side from which you usually steer your pontoon. For instance, if you like steering it from the port, you should consider mounting it on the starboard to allow visibility.

Step 2: Assemble the motor. Trolling motor comes in separate parts that need to be assembled before installation. Attach the motor to the mount base by its shaft and head.

Step 3: Lay the assembled motor on the bow in a stow position, ensuring the shaft is close to the boat’s centerline. This allows you to determine the most appropriate point of the motor’s location. While the motor remains in the stow position, check to ensure the motorhead doesn’t overhang. This prevents breakage if you bump against a vertical surface.

Step 4: Identify the points to be drilled to make holes for bolts on your pontoon’s deck and mark them using a pencil . This should be guided by the holes on the mount base- meaning, you should place the mount base on the deck and mark the points using the holes on the mount base.

Step 5: Drill the mounting bolts holes using a sharp bit. You can remove the earlier attached motor shaft and head to make the drilling easier. Ensure you remove all the debris after drilling.

Step 6: Slip the bolts on the mount base through the holes on the bow. While at it, make sure the base lies evenly against the deck, then fasten the nuts to secure the mount base onto the deck.

Step 7: Re-attach the motor onto the base if you had removed it while drilling the holes

Installing a Transom Mount Trolling Motor

As mentioned earlier, the transom mount is easy to install compared to the bow mount, which is why it is popular among many boaters.

Step 1:Open the mounting bracket clamps by rotating them in an anticlockwise direction. Trolling motors for transom mount usually have two clamps on the brackets to hold the motor in place.

Step 2: Carefully slip the motor over the transom. Ensure you place it as close as possible to the center of the stern. Let the motor go down until the head of the mounting bracket is flush with the top of the stern.

Step 3: Tighten the clamps by rotating them in a clockwise direction until they can no longer move. Ensure they are tight enough to prevent loosening while the motor is operating.

Step 4: Check on the motor’s depth. Ensure that the motor’s center is at least 9 inches underwater to prevent propeller breakage and noise.

How To Mount a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Installing an Engine Mount Trolling Motor

Step 1: Place the motor’s mounting bracket on the engine’s outboard anti-cavitation plate. If you’re wondering, the anti-cavitation plate is the horizontal plate located just above the propeller to prevent it from breaking the water surface while pushing the boat.

Step 2: Using the mount as a template, mark the hole locations on the anti-cavitation plate and drill the holes. Use a drill sharp enough to drill the metal on the plate.

Step 3: Lay an insulating pad on the cavitation plate and place the motor mount on top.

Step 4: Insert the bolts and secure them by rotating them clockwise until they are tight. This will ensure the motor is in place and ready for work.

Does a Trolling Motor Need Its Own Battery

Trolling motors use electricity to generate power-meaning they need batteries to function. While you can use your boat’s battery, getting the motor its batteries is always good since it can quickly deplete the battery’s energy, and the boat won’t start back in the waters.

Therefore, you need to install a high-power battery, especially if your trolling motor is high voltage or you intend to use it for several hours in the water. Multiple deep-cycle batteries can be a good option for your boat’s energy needs.


As you can see, trolling motor installation is not as hard as you thought. However, it would be best to prepare well before embarking on the activity. Ensure you put together all the parts and tools you need for the process. If you’re not confident enough, consider consulting a professional to prevent damaging your pontoon, especially where you must modify your boat.






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