The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat being the best

When it comes to having gatherings on a boat, fishing, or  just hanging out with your friends and family a pontoon boat is one of the best boats to own. This is because of the versatility of pontoon boats and is a great recreational vessel, especially for families. But, this boat also has a few drawbacks.  

The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Pontoon Boat

Pros of owning a pontoon boat (overview)

  • Pontoon boats are Luxury leisure crafts.
  • They make great party boats.
  • Beginner & family friendly.
  • Safe to operate in calm waters.
  • Pontoon boats have fairly low insurance rates.
  • They offer lots of onboard storage space & walking area.
  • They are also perfect for inland fishing and shallow water cruising.
  • A pontoon boat is also easy to maintain.
  • A pontoon is a versatile vessel.
  • These boats have lots of customization options

Cons of owning a pontoon boat (overview)

  • A pontoon boat has low speeds compared to other boats in the same price bracket.
  • They are unsuitable for choppy water & only good in calm weather.
  • A pontoon boat is an expensive purchase.
  • A pontoon boat is also expensive to maintain.
  • Running costs can be substantial higher than other boats.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these points listed above, starting with the advantages that owning a pontoon boat gives you.

The 11 Pros Of Owning A Pontoon Boat

Below are some of the main advantages that you can benefit from when you purchase a pontoon boat:

Pontoon boats are on-the-water luxury leisure at its finest

A pontoon boat is a luxury leisure craft designed for comfort and fun.

Compared to other motorized vessels a pontoon is the Rolls Royce of the water – not build for speed or functionality but built for luxury and cruising.

You can also think of a pontoon boat as a scaled down inland waterway version of a yacht.

Although not as spacious or versatile as a yacht, and certainly not seaworthy, a pontoon boat offers a similar type of luxury and is designed to do on smaller inland waters what a luxury yacht does at sea.

Pontoon boats are the ultimate party boat

Okay, so I had to add that a pontoon boat is the best party boat on the water.

Whether you are eating a fresh catch or barbecuing vegetables on a grill, a pontoon boat is big enough to let you cook whatever you want onboard. And, there is enough space to feed the whole family or a bunch of friends.

Multiple coolers can be stored on deck, filled with beer or soda, while leaving more than enough room to dance to the music coming from onboard speakers. You can really party on a pontoon!

You get plenty of storage space for gear & room for passengers

Compared to speed boats or motorboats, pontoon boats offer a lot more storage because they tend to be designed with larger decks.

They also have ample storage space under the seats for gear and personal items. You can even store tubes for floating or inflatable slides to attach to each side of the boat.

Pontoon decks even offer more than enough room for multiple coolers and barbecues without taking up “people space”.

Pontoon boats also usually have a lot more seating compared to other boats. You could very well accommodate 10 people and have them sit comfortably on a standard sized pontoon boat.

Pontoon boats are both beginner friendly and family friendly

Aside from having an ample amount of space for the party crew to join you onboard, a pontoon boat is also very family friendly. If you have kids on the boat, there are less dangerous spots for them to fall off the boat than on other watercraft because of the high side rails and clear line of sight the boat offers.

Pontoon boats are also easy to drive as we outlined in this article and even a complete novice can quickly learn how to steer and dock the boat.

A pontoon boat is easy to tow on land and water

A pontoon boat is easy to tow both on the water and on land.

See our definitive guide to towing a pontoon boat.

Pontoon boats are incredibly safe when they are used correctly

Pontoon boats are very safe to use and have a very good safety record.

When it comes to pontoon boat accidents there is almost always only one culprit – excessive alcohol intake by the boaters onboard. If you stay sober and sensible and have the necessary emergency items onboard (like PFDS) you will stay safe.

Just be aware that pontoon boats can sink if you do not respect the boat and the water by handling the boat correctly and in under the right conditions.

Pontoon boats have lower insurance costs compared to many other luxury vessels

Because pontoon boats are so safe they are fairly cheap to insure.

There are many inexpensive insurance policies available for pontoon boat owners because these boats are considerably safer to use than alternatives, like motorboats. Insurers also realise that most pontoon boat owners are responsible adults that don’t take silly risks on the water.

A pontoon boat is durable

Pontoon boats are durable enough to outlive other types of motorboat.

Unlike owners of speed boats and other types of motorboat, who often strive to get the newest model, pontoon boat owners are much more likely to keep their boats for a longer period of time because, they are so long-lasting.

You get lots of customization options on a pontoon boat

There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to customizing a pontoon boat. From mounting LED deck lights, to installing additional seating, adding an entertainment system and attaching fun items such as inflatable water slides there are a vast amount of simple and complex modifications you can make to a pontoon boat.

Adding personalizations to your boat and adding super fun things to it, like tubing, is perfect for family trips.

Renovating pontoon boats is also a great DIY project that can allow you to make the type of modifications to your boat that you want done in your own way.

A pontoon is a very versatile vessel

Pontoon boats are shallow water boats that are only safe to use on inland waters, bays or very calm shoreline waters. Although they have a shallow draft they are very versatile boats on inland waters.

Although they do not fair well in rough water, due to their flat bottom and shallow draft, they excel in calm water areas, even on large inland lakes.

Pontoon boats can be used for partying, family getaways, quite cruises on lakes and large rivers and they make excellent freshwater fishing vessels.

If you purchase the right type of pontoon then you will be able to pull inner tubes and floaties, which is always a fun activity to do with your friends and family.

There are a ton of pontoon boat party ideas any one of which can make your vessel a super fun place to be.

On the water pontoon boat fun (video)

For people who like to fish, a pontoon boat sits firm on the water and offers a stable platform to fish from. You also have a lot of room to walk about the boat and fish from different areas.

For people who just want to hold get-togethers for friends or family, this is also a great boat because you have a lot of space for storage as well as seating for a large group of people.

Pontoon boats are low maintenance vessels

Pontoon boats are the best because they come in different types to suit all boaters and all pockets. The biggest maintenance concern on a pontoon boat are the outboard motors.

Pontoons are usually made from aluminum, but they can also be made from fiberglass, foam, and steel. Whatever material the boat is made from it requires much less maintenance that other types of boat.

The 5 Cons Of Owning A Pontoon Boat

Of course, there are also disadvantages that come with pontoon boats.

Below are some of the disadvantages that come with owning a pontoon boat.

A pontoon boat offers lower speeds compared to other vessels in its price bracket

If you are someone who likes the adrenaline rush that high speed boats give you, then a pontoon boat might not be for you.

There are options for the type and power of the motors you get with a pontoon boat but this watercraft is really not built for speed.

However, although pontoon boat is not the fastest vessel on the water you can still get a respectable 20+ MPH from one.

Pontoon boats are restricted to good weather use

Pontoon boats are safe when there are relatively small waves and they are as stable as land ion calm water but when the waves get bigger then things tend to become problematic.

Large waves cause problems for pontoon boats because they dive into the waves rather than going over them which ocean-going deep draft vessels are designed to do.

Read more about using a pontoon in rough water and how to stay safe here.

Pontoon boats are expensive to buy

Purchasing a pontoon boat is not a small task – at least as far as your pocket book goes!

For the price of a high end pontoon boat you could buy a small airplane (of course you’d have to learn how to fly it).

I covered the cost of a pontoon boat previously

A pontoon boat may be easy to maintain but that doesn’t mean it’s always cheap

Maintenance costs of pontoon boats can be high.

For the most part yearly maintenance is fairly low but every now and then you will get a large bill for something the needs doing or fixing on your pontoon boat.

You may go a fairly long time without needing any large maintenance jobs done on your pontoon boat but when the time comes for a major repair it can be costly.

Running costs on a pontoon boat are higher than many other vessels

You can also expect to fork out quite a bit on the running costs of your vessel.

Luxury doesn’t come cheap and keeping it luxurious isn’t cheap either.

I covered both the maintenance costs and running costs of a pontoon boat previously

The pros & cons of pontoon boat construction materials

Below are the materials used to make pontoon boats along with their advantages.

Fiberglass pontoon boats are lightweight but expensive

Fiberglass is used as a construction material for the hulls of pontoon boats. This material is very lightweight and durable.

Pontoon boats made from fiberglass have good performance on the water. Fiberglass is also not susceptible to rusting which makes it a great for a pontoon boat because you do not need to spend a lot of money on maintenance.

The cost to repair a fiberglass pontoon boat is not as expensive compared to other types of pontoon boats.

Foam-filled pontoon boats are cheap but far from luxurious

Foam-filled pontoon boats are not hollow and therefore do not need a thick shell to protect a hollow interior. They usually have a plastic exterior which is filled with foam.

These pontoon boats usually have a narrower deck to decrease drag, increase speed and improve fuel economy.

The wider the deck is, the lower the boat sits in the water. The lower a boat sinks in the water, the greater the drag.

The greater the drag, the slower the boat will be and this also leads to poor fuel economy.

Steel pontoon boats look great & are lightweight, but they rust easily

Steel looks great and is fairly lightweight.

The only real disadvantage of steel pontoon boats is that the steel used to construct them is a corrosive type of material. This means that it will rust over time when it is constantly exposed to moisture and air.

Maintenance for steel pontoon boats must be regular otherwise the corrosion might cause the material to become weak and eventually break or crack leading to costly repairs.

Aluminum pontoon boats

Aluminum is the most common material made to make pontoon boats. Unlike steel, aluminum is a non-corrosive type of material and will not rust over time even when exposed to water and air for a long period of time.

Aluminum does corrode in saltwater though. However, as pontoon boats are not designed for ocean use, and are used almost exclusively used on inland waters, it is unlikely you will take a pontoon boat into saltwater.

An aluminum pontoon boat is very durable and does not cost a lot of money for maintenance. Repairs are also usually inexpensive.

Although it is relatively inexpensive when it comes to maintenance and repairs, aluminum pontoon boats are a more expensive type of pontoon boat to buy, but this initial purchase cost is worth the money because of its durability and savings on maintenance costs.

Why I think pontoon boats are great

To have a better understanding as to why pontoon boats are great watercraft, we have to learn a little more about what a pontoon boat is.

Generally speaking, a pontoon boat is a shallow water, inland waterway, boat with a large flat bottom deck that sits atop two tubes called pontoons.

Sometimes there are boats that have three tubes which are called tri-toons.

The pontoons, or tubes, have a lot of reserve buoyancy that gives enough support for creating massive decks and thus pontoon boats have large decking areas. A good tube design also allows for better and faster engines to be mounted on the boat.

For a better understanding of the pontoon boat and its history read this article.

Why you should get a pontoon boat

Pontoon boats are a popular choice for many inland waterway boaters because of the many advantages that you get from buying one.

Although pontoon boats have a reputation of offering the best way to party on the water they are much more than just a party boat.

Conclusion: The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat is the best recreational boat because of its versatility and how it allows you to host parties and get-togethers. It is possible to have lots of people onboard without worrying if they will have a comfortable ride or not.

Pontoon boats also have a good amount of storage space for gear, equipment and supplies whether that be storage of floaties, tubes, packed food or drinks, blankets or even fishing equipment and catch.

Registering your pontoon boat for insurance does not cost much because it is a safe boat that does not run at high speeds.

The maintenance of the boat is also relatively inexpensive because the materials used to make pontoon boats are durable and most of the repairs can be completed  by yourself.

Pontoon boats also easily lend themselves to modifications and outfitting. You can add a music system complete with marine speakers along with additional seating to accommodate more people or even add a table for dining along with a host of other potential modifications.

There are also a lot of pontoon boat accessories available that make the boat even better.

The only downside to owning a pontoon boat is the slower speeds and the inability to boat in more challenging weather.

Overall, the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages of having a pontoon boat. This is why pontoon boats are quite a popular type of boat and in our opinion they are simply the best!

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