Finding the Right Horsepower For Your Boat | Pontoon-Depot

June 22, 2016

Finding the Right Horsepower For Your Boat | Pontoon-Depot

What is horsepower & why should I care about it?

Horsepower, hp, is a measurement of energy. One unit of horsepower is the same as the amount of energy or power needed to lift 550 lbs. 1 ft. in 1 sec. Usually this is used in regard to engines or motors. In the situation of pontoon boats, it is a measurement on the engine that helps us easily say how powerful specific engines are. The engine on a small metal fishing boat may only be 10 hp to 20 hp while a high quality speedboat may have an engine with 500 hp. Theoretically, the higher the horsepower, the easier it is for your engine to push your boat.

Why is there a horsepower limit on a pontoon boat?

All boats are different, pontoons included. Because of this, each boat has a maximum horsepower limit that cannot be safely exceeded. If you go over the allowed limit, the coast guard or police can stop you from putting your boat in the lake. They DO check! But going over the limit in horsepower may not be necessary. Most boats have a more than generous range in what the horsepower can be handled safely. If you really want more horsepower that your boat says it can handle, than you may want to consider buying a boat that can handle such a heavy duty engine.

When all boats are first made, pontoons included, and are being full scale tested, they are used with a variety of different engines starting from low horsepower engines and then they increase the engine horsepower until they find the limit that the boat cannot handle safely. They also would test to see the boat’s performance with specific engines. Then with an accurate evaluation of each engine, they would decide what hp the boat performed the best at and what it performed the safest at. With those limits set, they choose a limit to rate the boat for.

Here are some examples of the maximum horsepower on specific pontoon boats, for a reference.

  • My 22′ G3 Suncatcher V22RF has a max engine horsepower of 115 hp.

  • A 25′ 6″ Bennington 2372 RCW Windscreen Sport Arch has a max engine of 300 hp.

  • The 2015 Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16′ DLX maxes out at a recommended 40 hp.

  • A 28′ 5″ Bennington  2575 QCW IO Sport Tower has a max engine horsepower of 430 hp.

  • The 24′ 2014 Avalon A Series Catalina DRL has a max engine horsepower of 135 hp.

  • The 25′ 4″ 2015 Regency 220 DL3 has a max engine horsepower of 250 hp.

  • The 26′ 2” 2015 Sun Tracker Fishin’ Barge 24 DLX has a max engine horsepower of 150 hp.

  • A 20′ Sweetwater SW 2080 BF has a max engine horsepower of 90 hp.

  • A 25′ Windjammer Rear J Lounge has a max engine horsepower of 135 hp.

  • An Avalon 16′ Eagle Quad Fish has a max engine horsepower of 50 hp.

  • An Avalon 14′ Eagle Quad Fish has a max engine horsepower of 40 hp.

  • A 24’ Avalon LSZ Quad Lounger has a max engine horsepower of 125 hp.

  • A 26’ Avalon LSZ Quad Lounger has a max engine horsepower of 135 hp.

  • A 27′ Suntracker Regency 254 XP3 Pontoon Boat has a max engine horsepower of 300 hp.

  • A Lowe SS210 20′ Pontoon Boat has a max engine horsepower of 115 hp.

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