The pontoon boat has got to be one of the most popular water vessels out there, thanks to its inherent safety and maneuverability. It is also a common preference for boat builders, regardless of their budget and skill level. After all, there are further subtypes of pontoon boats that can be built with a milieu of materials (even scraps) in whatever size you may require.
What is a pontoon boat, anyway? It is a type of boat with dual hulls, also known as tubes, that are filled with air for added buoyancy. A flatboat or deck is then built on top of these hulls to accommodate passengers according to one’s particular requirements.
What Is a Pontoon Boat Used For?
Pontoon boats are generally categorized according to the purpose that they serve.
Fishing Pontoon Boats
These are units specifically built and designed to be used for fishing. They are equipped with related features, like rod holders and built-in tackle storage compartments.
Freshwater or Saltwater?
A common misconception about fishing pontoon boats is that they can only be used on freshwater. While using a pontoon boat on freshwater certainly is a charm, that doesn’t mean that it can’t function as good on saltwater, too. It all depends on your chosen saltwater environment.
Pontoons won’t survive in the open ocean, but they are pretty reliable to use in shallow coastal bays. Just make sure that your unit was designed and intended to be used in briny conditions.
It’s easy to install expansive lounge areas and standing bars atop a pontoon, so there’s no wonder pontoon boats are pretty popular among the party crowd. These types of pontoons are commonly referred to as party barges, and they come with a variety of related features, such as stereo systems, electric grills, built-in refrigerators, and more.
You can always purchase a readymade party barge, but nothing beats the customizability of designing and building one on your own.
Sport Pontoon Boats
Party barges are pretty mellow when it comes to speed, though. If you want something that can sail fast enough for various watersports and wakeboarding, a sport pontoon boat is the one to get.
In this light, you can expect a sport pontoon boat to come with features like observation seats and spacious storage compartments that can accommodate wakeboards, water skis, and other watersports gear.
Luxury Pontoon Boats
Finally, for those who are looking into getting or building a pontoon boat for their absolute pleasure and entertainment, you better be ready to invest in a luxury pontoon boat. It’s got all the features that a regular party barge would have and more. These pontoon boats are usually outfitted with recliners, high-end entertainment systems, and even beds!
Powering a Pontoon Boat
Aside from their main purpose, pontoon boats may also be categorized according to how they are powered. Smaller vessels can be powered by using paddles and oars, while heavier units run on electric motors and deep cycle lead batteries.
Finally, there are certain locations that tow their units using a separate motorized watercraft, with the pontoon boat attached to the other vessel via a cable. This is particularly practiced in Africa.
Pontoons vs. Tritoons
We definitely recommend you try your hand at building your own pontoon boat. After all, this will allow you to incorporate all the features you’ll ever need for whatever purpose you intend it for. Just keep this tip in mind: According to Boat Diaries, the number of tubular hulls will dictate the stability and buoyancy of your craft.
Those who only intend to build a pontoon boat as a one-man transport can make do with only two tubular hulls. If you’re planning a heavier vessel intended to accommodate several passengers at a time, you’ll fare better in building a pontoon with three tubular hulls instead, which is sometimes referred to as a “tritoon”.
Having an extra, central hull can provide more balance and stability. Increasing the diameter of your hulls will also work since it will add to the overall buoyancy of your vessel.
Pontoon Boat, the Ultimate Family Vessel
Pontoon boats are also used as vessels for bonding with the family. It’s actually one of the few boat models that we’d recommend for families with small kids.
Pontoon boats can be equipped with higher rails to prevent the likelihood of someone falling off by accident. As a rule of thumb, bigger and heavier boats are also safer compared to more flimsy watercraft out there.
To Sum Up
Pontoon boats are very popular, thanks to their reliability and functionality. They can be used for fishing, partying, lounging, and as a means of transportation. They can also be equipped with a wide variety of features, allowing boat builders to custom build units that can accommodate their specific needs and preferences.
Should you wish to build your pontoon boat, make sure to account for the number of passengers that you’re planning to take on. After all, this can help you determine the number of hulls to include in your boat design. Finally, extending the diameter of your tubular hulls and installing higher rails can also make your vessel safer and more family-friendly.