What Is A Pontoon Boat?

There may have been a time when you visited the local lake and came across a boat that resembles a floating deck with a motor fixed to the back. If you are fortunate enough, you may have even perhaps enjoyed a beautiful dinner on one of these vessels.

This innovative creation is what we call a Pontoon boat.

Pontoon Boats: An Overview

In 1951, a farmer from the United States named Ambrose Weerus decided to throw a wooden platform on top of a set of steel barrels. He used this DIY boat to explore the Horseshoe chain of lakes where he lived. Weerus saw potential in his invention, and he decided to build and sell a few of these boats with the help of dealers, naming his first boat model "The Empress." The feedback was positive, and it would encourage him to start Weerus Industries to meet the growing demand. Ambrose Weerus, famously known as "Mr. Pontoon," would go on to be elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame.

Now that we have our Pontoon history out of the way, it is time to break down precisely what a pontoon boat is. For a clear understanding, this article will answer some common questions surrounding the topic of pontoon boats, as mentioned below:

  • What Is a Pontoon Boat?
  • How Are They different?
  • What Are Their Advantages?
  • How Much Do They Cost?

If you plan to build your very own Pontoon boat, make sure to wear safety equipment and avoid using any faulty equipment. Be aware of the surroundings of your working area and eliminate any potential hazards. If you are planning to make an outright purchase, make sure to keep an eye on the weather app!

What Is A Pontoon Boat?

Before we can answer that, let us figure out what a pontoon is. A pontoon is a type of floating device usually in the shape of a tube. These tubes are hollow and airtight, making them water-resistant and practically unsinkable. A completed pontoon boat is typically between 15 ft. and 30 ft. long. It consists of a flat and spacious deck with two or more pontoons attached to the bottom, making it highly buoyant and comfortable to travel in. This buoyancy and spaciousness allow pontoons to accommodate a large number of people at a time, making it the ideal boat for entertaining and holding private events. This factor gave the pontoon a reputation as the “ultimate party boat.”

Additionally, Pontoon boats are used in many countries globally as small vessel ferries used to carry goods and even vehicles across lakes and rivers — a practice commonly done in many parts of Africa.

How Are They Different?

As mentioned before, the most distinctive feature of pontoon boats is their flat-top deck with two floating devices that we call pontoons attached to the underside. The airtight pontoons under the boat make it extremely buoyant, giving the boat the ability to be large and carry a heavy load. Some pontoon boats are also infamous for their over-the-top customizations, including built-in sound systems, tables for dining, built-in coolers, and the comfort to walk around as if you were on floating land. In addition, their slower speeds and ability to be personalized make them ideal for outdoor activities such as fishing and sunbathing.

What Are Their Advantages?

Without a doubt, the most significant advantage offered by a pontoon boat is its level of safety. Slow speeds and excellent steadiness make it the ultimate family/visitor-friendly boat in the market. The design of a pontoon boat enables it to sit high on the water, making it less likely for you to encounter damage to the underside of your boat in lakes or rivers that contain rocks or shallow waters. Even if you are left facing damage, it is usually much cheaper to repair than a hull on a standard boat.

Another significant advantage of owning a pontoon boat is its longevity. You see, unlike most other boats that are constantly being outdone by newer and more effective models, pontoon boats have a vast and continuously evolving market of custom accessories that allow you to modify your boat and keep it up to date.

How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of a pontoon boat depends mainly on two main factors. The first one is pretty straightforward, and it will depend on the overall length of the boat. The second, however, depends on what you opt for based on an endless list of upgrades that you can choose to your liking. You can expect a standard, brand-new pontoon boat to set you back anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000, but you should anticipate that the price will climb after you select a few add-ons. 

Make sure to keep in mind that some pontoon brands start with a high Nationally Advertised Pricing (NAP), so make sure to do your homework and come up with a realistic budget if you are planning to invest in one.

Summary

Pontoons are one of the most adaptable and fun boats to explore the open waters. Their limitless potential to be customized will allow you to sail a boat that suits your needs and personality. Once again, remember to prioritize safety and always sail responsibly without putting yourself or others in danger. If you are new to sailing, make sure you do extensive research and have an experienced individual tag along until you gain some experience on the open waters.