Pontoon boats are often seen in calm sunny days on lakes and large bodies of inland water. The people who use them range from college-age party-goers to retired couples. But with such a high price tag, and with their uses being limited to calm inland waters, why are pontoon boats so popular?
Pontoon boats are popular because they are versatile vessels that can be used for a wide range of inland water-based activities from fishing to cruising. These boats are well-suited to water-sports, such as water-skiing and tubing, and they can be fitted with water slides making them fun and family-friendly. The large deck area also makes a pontoon boat ideal for socializing in small or large groups. They are often called the party barge.
12 Reasons pontoon boats are so popular
Although the following list is far from exhaustive I have included the top 10 reasons for the growing popularity of pontoon boats.
Top 12 reasons pontoon boats are so popular.
- Have superior stability on calm water.
- Are capable of shallow water navigation.
- Are great for fly fishing and bow fishing.
- Have a lot of deck space for passengers and equipment.
- Offer luxury on the water.
- Give a fast, smooth ride on calm water.
- Are great for water sports like water skiing and tubing.
- Are very family-friendly.
- Offer incredible comfort for cruising.
- Are the ultimate party boat.
- Are the perfect boat for all age groups.
- Are easy to maintain.
Let’s take a closer look at these 12 benefits.
A pontoon boat has great primary stability. The boat literally sits on top of the water and in calm conditions walking about on one feels as stable as walking on land.
This superior stability makes the pontoon boat very popular with people who want to enjoy time on the water but who are not that keen on the rocking back and forth associated with a traditional boat.
A pontoon boat’s superior stability also means that certain activities that are not usually associated with boating, such as barbecuing or dancing on deck, are available to the pontooners.
Although you will occasionally see a pontoon boat in ocean bay areas or just off coastal shorelines on very calm days, this type of boat excels on inland waters.
A pontoon boat will not perform at its best in rough water because it is a shallow draft, calm-water boat. However, this shallow draft hull design means that a pontoon boat can access some very shallow waters.
A pontoon boat can even be beached if you fancy having a picnic by the water or want to do some land exploration off your boat.
Pontoon boat fishing
Pontoon boats are the ultimate inland waterway fishing vessel.
Due to its superior stability and its capacity for shallow water use, a pontoon boat offers the angler, not only a stable platform to fish from but also, the ability to catch shallow water fish.
Large deck space
The large deck space that a pontoon boat has, offers a lot of room to move.
The type of recreational deck space available on a pontoon boat can only really be matched by expensive deck boats or luxury yachts.
This sort of open space is what makes a pontoon boat an ideal vessel for socializing because there is so much room for passengers to move around. However, the large deck space also means there is plenty of space to store gear and equipment.
Whether you need deck space for fishing equipment and your catch or just enough room to place some coolers or extra seats a pontoon boat gives you that.
Pontoon boats offer luxury on the water
Just as the extra deck space is only matched by expensive yachts so too is the degree of luxury a pontoon boat offers.
Early versions of the pontoon boat were basically square-shaped barges which were slow, clumsy, floating platforms that were used for parties or to supply basic water transportation. Things have changed a lot since those early boats.
Modern pontoon boats are luxurious vessels with modern conveniences and a high level of comfort. Unfortunately though luxury does come at a cost but you do get every penny’s worth.
You can expect the same level of comfort from a modern pontoon boat that you would get from a high-end motor yacht.
The fast and the furious
Long gone are the days when pontoon boats were laboring, clumsy barges that crawled on the water.
Modern pontoon boats are fast!
Reaching speeds of 25 mph is possible on some pontoon boats and on the water this feels much faster than it does on land.
You no longer need a speed boat to enjoy water sports. Pontoon boats can reach speeds that are fast enough to pull water skiers and water tubes.
On inland waters a pontoon boat is preferable over a speed boat for water sports because the pontoon boat’s shallow draft means it can be used at speed even in shallow water areas without worrying about snagging the bottom of the boat.
Pontoon boats are very family-friendly vessels. As well as being great for pulling water skis they can pull a range of towables from large tubes to kid’s tubes.
Fitting a slide to a pontoon boat is also easy and offers hours of fun for both kids and adults.
Pontoon boats are not just great for fast boating activities. Cruising on a pontoon boat is the ultimate in relaxation.
Although pontoon boats can reach fast speeds of up to 25 mph they are just as at-home cruising slowly on the water.
The stability of the boat, and its ability to get on plane quickly, means that at slow and fast cruising speeds a pontoon boat is incredible comfortable to ride in.
The ultimate party boat
Pontoon boats have been known as the “party barge” for a long time and for good reason.
Although modern pontoon boats are so much more than mere partying platforms on the water they can still serve that function very well. However, these days they offer much more than just a platform to party on. Partying on a modern pontoon boat means partying in style and comfort.
Along with the large open deck space for coolers, food storage and passengers, a pontoon boat can be fitted with a barbecue for cooking onboard.
Marine speakers can be easily mounted onboard and connected to a range of devices from a fully functional stereo system to a small iPod or smart phone for unlimited music on the water.
When you add in towables and water slides, a pontoon boat starts to look like the ultimate in partying. Beverages, music, friends and all on the water – what else could you need for the ultimate party?!
Perfect for all ages
Most people know that a pontoon boat is a great party barge. With its large open deck space it can accommodate a group of people and a set of coolers for beverages of all types. And, setting up marine speakers and pumping out music on the water with enough space to dance means a pontoon boat is the first choice for inland waterway partying.
This makes a pontoon boat a great choice for young adults.
Because a pontoon boat can move fast and pull towables it can be a fun boat for people of all ages.
With the aid of a water slide and the ability to carry all the family it is the perfect boat for kids and adults to enjoy water sports and water games.
But a pontoon boat is much more than just a fun party barge.
The socializing on a pontoon boat is not restricted to partying. Many pontoon boat owners will host dinner parties and quiet get-togethers on their vessel as the large open deck offers more than enough space for a meal to be served on a table.
Modern pontoon boats are state-of-the-art luxury vessels that are also very popular with an older generation. Cruising on the water in a luxurious setting is attractive to all age groups but the stability and comfort offered by a pontoon boat means it is very beneficial to more elderly boaters.
Truly pontoon boats are perfect for all age groups because they are versatile shallow water boats that excel on calm inland waters.
Pontoon boats are manufactured using high quality marine grade aluminum. Aluminum requires very little maintenance making these boats fairly cheap to maintain. This makes the pontoon boat an attractive vessel for boaters who wish to buy their own boat rather than renting one.
The only drawback to aluminum is that it corrodes fast in saltwater. If you intend to use your boat in saltwater environments then you will need to take additional precautions to protect the aluminum from galvanic corrosion.
Pontoon boats are easy to store if they are trailered and stored out of the water. All that is needed is a secure location with adequate space to park the trailer and a cover for the boat.
Docking a pontoon boat at a marina or permanent dock is obviously more expensive but modern pontoon boat lifts means the boat can be lifted completely out of the water thus avoiding potential damage due to water level changes, strong winds etc., and this also protects the boat against corrosion.