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The Ultimate First Time Buyers Guide To Pontoon Boats


With so many different types of pontoon boats on the market with a wide range of sizes, styles, and price-points, that choosing the best one for your lifestyle may be a tough decision. Pontoon Planet has made your task a little bit easier – to give you an indepth first time buyers guide to pontoon boats that you can wisely research, choose, and then find the right pontoon boat for you.

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What Is A Pontoon Boat?

According to Wikipedia pontoon is a flattish boat that relies on floats to remain buoyant. These pontoons (also called tubes) contain much reserve buoyancy and allow designers to create massive deck plans fitted with all sorts of accommodations such as expansive lounge areas, stand-up bars, and sun pads. Better tube design has also allowed builders to put ever-increasing amounts of horsepower on the stern from a trolling motor or outboard . Pontoon boat drafts may be as shallow as eight inches, which reduces risk of running aground and underwater damage.

Types of Pontoon Boats

The best pontoon manufacturers produce a wide range of makes and models that accommodate many boaters. Manufacturers will start with a stock hull and then add performance and equipment packages to make a model more specific to certain activities, such as fishing, watersports or leisure.

Pontoon Planet will break down these types of pontoon into two main categories: party barges, and fishing pontoons. Among these, there are also several categories, including:

  • Fishing pontoon
  • Party barges (Or family pontoon )
  • Watersports pontoon boats
  • Luxury pontoons
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Fishing Pontoon Boats

Fishing is one of the most famous things to do among boaters, so naturally, there’s a slew of fishing pontoon boats on the market. In fact, most manufacturers provide fishing variations of their pontoons, and there are even a few builders targeted fully on growing serious fishing pontoons.

First Time Buyer's Guide To Pontoon Boats
Fishing Pontoon Boat

Fishing pontoon boats can usually be tailored from the different models in a builder’s line-up. Couches bow and =stern can be removed in want of swiveling fishing seats, and fishing-specific modules with matters like livewells, rod holders, and tackle and bait storage containers can be added. It’s additionally effortless to add some serious fish-hunting electronics to a pontoon boat. And storage booths that would possibly in any other case be used for wakeboards and water skis can be geared up with fishing rod racks so you can haul hundreds of equipment.

Party Pontoon Barges

Anybody would agree that pontoon boats are simply the best boats to throw a party on. Their wide open decks, copious seating, and various accent preferences make them best for large numbers of party goers. Many pontoon boat builders provide built-in wet-bars, waterproof bluetooth speakers , built-in fridges and/or ice makers,  grills, enclosed head compartments, and all the matters you want to make a superb birthday celebration into an epic one.

First Time Buyer's Guide To Pontoon Boats
Party Pontoon Boat

Go Fast Pontoon Boats For Watersporting

Some pontoon boats are modified for fast speeds some even twin engines. In a few uncommon instances you’ll see pontoon boats rigged with three outboards slung throughout the transom. Just how sporty can a go fast pontoon boat get? In this day and age, go fast pontoon boats that can exceed 60-mph are no longer all that unusual and are ideal for wake boarding and the use of fun water tubes.

Luxury Pontoon Boats

Luxury pontoon boats are designed for a really enjoyable day on the water. They devote a large amount of deck area to loungers, recliners and even beds. Many even have barbecue grills, high-end sound systems, flat screen smart tv’s and fire pit tables. Furniture style can vary a bit from one pontoon boat to another. These boats are superb for sight-seeing, sandbar events and household gatherings on the water.

Things To Consider When Purchasing A Pontoon Boat

As you shop for a pontoon boat, there are a few key features aside from the boat’s overall design which you’ll want to check out. No matter what type of pontoon perks your interest, look for these 10 key features:

  1. Sufficient power to meet your expectations. Consider cruising speeds in the 3500 to 4500 rpm range, as well as top-end speed.
  2. Sufficient fuel capacity to go as far afield as you’d like.
  3. Quality vinyls and fabrics. Both are measured in ounces per square yard, and more is always better. Give bonus points to those that come pre-treated with anti-microbial coatings to fight mold and mildew.
  4. Good ventilation and drainage in stowage compartments is critical, particularly under seat bases and inside consoles.
  5. Well-loomed and supported wiring. Give bonus points to wiring that’s protected and contained by rigging tubes.
  6. Make sure the boat can accommodate the maximum number of people you plan on taking out. Check the capacity plate (it’s a yellow and black sticker or plate required by the Coast Guard) to see just how many people a boat is capable of holding.
  7. Consider pontoon diameter. As a general rule of thumb, pontoons with a larger diameter have more buoyancy and tend to handle better.
  8. Sun protection is a key consideration on the water. Most pontoon boats come with a Bimini top, so make sure it’s large and sturdy enough to meet expectations.
  9. Flooring is another big variable. You may be fine with basic outdoor carpet, but many people consider vinyl flooring or “sea grass” weaves a significant upgrade.
  10. Seakeeping abilities; obviously, this is a critical feature which may be more or less important to you, personally, depending on where and when you go boating. But no matter what, you should take a sea trial prior to purchase to make sure the boat handles waves in a manner that’s up to your expectations.
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FAQS About Pontoon Boats

Are pontoon boats dangerous?

In short, pontoon boats are safe boats. Pontoon boats have many upsides the truth is there’s no one perfect type of boat and there are some flaws and limitations. The key is to know what they are and see if that still works for you, that way you can make a smart purchase decision and see if it’s right for your friends and family.

Pontoon Boat Handling

Ironically it is easier and harder to handle around the dock. It is very susceptible to wind because it’s a large side. If a breeze comes up it can throw you off course. Conversely it’s also harder to make drift in and out of parallel parking when docking along a shore wall. So sometimes its benefits can be its drawbacks at the end of the day it just takes a little time to learn.

Pontoon boats are extremely safe and particularly the newer ones with triple pontoons and larger diameter will feel very buoyant and very stable however one of the things that happens is when you head into a crosswind and the waves are coming at an angle to the bow they will tend to spray up over in very rough conditions so you’ll be safe. 

Is it worth buying a pontoon boat?

By and large pontoon boats are the lowest depreciation of any boat market segment and that’s great news. It makes owning them very inexpensive however the highest end of that market. the ultra luxury pontoon boats are more like a luxury car and they do depreciate faster they’re not as quick as a car by any means and yet a low value pontoon boat will depreciate way slower than a high value pontoon boat. 

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