Pontoon Boat Interesting Facts about Maintenance
Picture By: Bennington-Yamaha
Q: Who makes the best pontoon boat?
A: Top manufactures around the world are:
Premier 290 Grandview
Princecraft Vogue 25 XT
Manitou 23 Legacy
Aquapatio 250 Express
Bennington 2575 RCW I/O Sport Tower
Starcraft Magestic 256 Starliner
Sun Tracker Regency 254
Harris Flotbote Solstice 240
G3 Sun Catcher X322 RF
Sylvan being on the toppers they changed the idea of traditional shaped round pontoon to tubes 27” are used. Eventhough few of the higher pontoon models offers smooth handling in sea and speed, there priority seems customer comfort being cushy and diverse. Some of the lower end models can be used as legit tow boats for water skiing and surfing. Shallow nature of pontoons reduces risk of underwater damage and floating around unevenly. Bennington and Starcraft supplies the best pontoon boat transoms for integration and sale as separate module by selected boat dealers.
Q: Where is the pontoon boat’s vin number located?
A: For each boat VIN number stays unique and precise. It’s generally named as HIN (HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER). As per the boat safety act released in 1972, all the boats should have mandatory HIN – 12 characters indicated at the upper right corner without hyphens or space mostly to the rear transom. Moreover they should be continuous. It generally serve as an important indication of Boat Safety.
Q: Where are pontoon boat registration numbers placed?
A: The Registration numbers of a pontoon boat has to be clearly indicated on the forward half of the boat. It should be affixed, painted and embarked on an imported sheet to the bow side. It must be read from left to right on the sides. Contrast colors with bold letters (3”) and should be in block fonts. Other than the registration number and designs the registration number should be 24 inches.
Q: How wide is a pontoon boat?
A: Deck widths are around 8.5 feet for 24 foot long boats, and can be as narrow as 6 feet for 16 foot long pontoon boats.
Q: How much does a pontoon boat weigh?
A: An average pontoon boat weighs around 2,200 pounds (998 kilos), including the motor, and hold around 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of people and gear. The weight of a pontoon boat trailer is approximately 1,200 pounds (550 kilos).
Q: What’s the fastest pontoon boat?
A: The fastest pontoon boat of the world is said to be the one owned by Brad Rowland.
It runs at a pace of 114 miles per hour and has triple Mercury Pro Max 300 HP engines. The default rectangular shape may not help to accelerate the speed but the motors will enhance the speed by increasing the number of motors attached. We can not only see it but hear the boom. Special models have custom designed pontoon boat transoms to alleviate the performance and buoyancy in water. It is said to scream on water!
Q: What are pontoon boat lifting strakes?
A: A little bulge of metal that goes on the bottom and to the side of the pontoon is known as the lifting strake. It helps the boat get up on a plane rather than plowing through the water. Depending on engine selection, addition of lifting strakes decreases splashing 00and increases top speed as much as 4.8 miles per hour. Lifting strakes are recommended for engines rated 115hp or greater and for boats exceeding 30 mph, for optimum performance. They are also recommended for 90 hp or greater on boats with twin elliptical pontoon.
Q: Are boat clubs worth the money?
A: In a situation in which boat ownership is filled with difficulties and expenditure, boat clubs are worth the money. Clubs are more affordable than owning a boat.
Q: Are boat registration fees tax deductible?
A: The fees for registration and tags is only deductible if the vehicle, boat, trailer, etc., is used for business purposes and then they can be deducted as a business expense. This benefit can be availed of only if you have a licensed charter boat or commercial fishing vessel. Auto and boat registration fees are personal property taxes and can be deductible, if they are based on the value of the vehicle. Sales tax can be deducted only in lieu of a state or local income tax deduction, so you should figure it both ways and pick the one that gives you the lowest tax.
Protecting Aluminum Boats From Salt Water Corrosion
By: Boating Magazine
In the last 5 years, boaters have bought over 300K boats.
Aluminum boats require special care to prevent salt water corrosion.
They’re light, economical, nearly maintenance-free, easy to repair and almost impervious to damage. The Coast Guard and Navy prefer them for small craft, and many commercial boats are aluminum, as are many recreational craft. Their high strength-to-weight ratio means they can be built lighter and therefore can run faster for a given amount of power, and are easier to trailer. If you’re looking for the ideal boat building material, aluminum could be it. The only problem is that it’s the wimp of the electrochemical schoolyard, being beaten up and corroded away by almost every other metal except for zinc and magnesium.
Want to be a saltwater metal head? Aluminum can seemingly dissolve away in salt water when in the presence of other metals. Builders do everything they can to prevent this, but once the boat is in your hands it’s up to you to keep it alive. Here’s how.
How It HappensWe’re talking about galvanic corrosion. Back in science class you’d say that this is where one metal in an electrically conductive solution (such as salt water) gives up atoms when connected to a dissimilar metal in that same solution. Losing atoms means that the metal is falling apart, or corroding. In the slip aboard your aluminum boat, you’d say that this is where your hull becomes pitted because of a bronze through-hull on a neighboring boat.
The rate of corrosion of a metal on its own is determined by how chemically active it becomes when put in salt water. The more active, the more susceptible it is to corrosion. The less active, the more resistant it is to corrosion. When not in contact with anything else, most marine metals such as aluminum, bronze and stainless steel will corrode away at a reasonably slow rate. No danger there. But connect different metals, one active (aluminum) and the other a lot less active (i.e., a copper penny), in water and atoms will start to flow. And the aluminum will start to fall apart.
The Good NewsWhen not in contact with other metals, aluminum can do quite well in both fresh and salt water, needing only bottom paint to prevent fouling. However, to play it safe, the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) recommends that “aluminum vessels shall have a protective paint coating that provides a high [electrical] resistance barrier between the aluminum and the water.”
Above the waterline aluminum does even better. When continuously exposed to oxygen, it develops a film of aluminum oxide so dense and well bonded to the metal that it prevents further corrosion. That’s why many commercial and military craft leave aluminum bare from the waterline up: There’s no need for protective paints, cosmetics aside. As you can see, building an aluminum boat for salt water takes thought. The right alloys must be used, welding must be done just right, and parts must be carefully assembled.
Fiesta, a Florida pontoon builder that bills its boats as “built for use in salt water,” isolates hardware and stainless-steel bolts from the aluminum with nylon washers. Hull compartments have drains with silicone-sealed nylon plugs that can be opened to drain accumulated moisture. They also employ dedicated mounting brackets for sacrificial anodes, and their hulls and extrusions are made from thicker metal.
Better aluminum boat builders don’t allow crevices or joints that collect water, and avoid upturned brackets and channels that trap water. Moisture, including condensation, must drain away, with no sealed or dead air spaces. An emphatic spokesman for Premier Pontoons said, “We are constantly doing pre-emptive detective work to stop corrosion before it starts.”
Zinc or SwimEngine manufacturers, as well as boatbuilders, attempt to save their aluminum products by attaching sacrificial anodes. As long as the anode is electrically connected to the part, either by direct contact or by wire, it stuffs the aluminum with excess electrons so it loses those rather than the aluminum giving up its own electrons. The zinc? It erodes — sacrificing itself for the benefit of the boat or motor.
Unfortunately, there is no formula to tell you how many anodes you will need and what size. In the beginning, it will be a matter of trial and error. A good place to start is the ABYC’s procedure. Inspect the anodes every month. Go with many small ones rather than a few large ones. If you have the right amount, your “zincs” should be about halfway gone by the end of the season, and replaced each spring. If they are not wearing away, they are either too large (rare) or not making good contact with the aluminum (common). Well-made anodes should have cast-in plates and fasteners to maintain good electrical connection throughout their lives, and they should meet military spec Mil-A-18001J (or higher last letter).
Don’t go nuts with zincs everywhere because aluminum won’t tolerate being overprotected. In mild cases, the zinc develops a crust and stops working. But if things get too far out of balance, you can generate an alkaline solution that will start eating away at the aluminum. An early sign of this is the softening or blistering of the bottom paint.
How Much Zinc?
Use too few anodes, and the fittings are not protected. Use too many, and the anodes erode quickly and may blister paint. A multimeter and a reference electrode help to nail down the right amount.
1. Place a silver/silver chloride electrode in the water near the item that is to be protected.
2. Touch the positive probe to the fitting. Note the meter’s reading in DC millivolts.
3. Connect a sacrificial zinc of the proposed size to the metal part to be protected. Put the zinc in the water and note the new meter reading.
4. Protection is adequate when the new voltage is 200 millivolts (0.20 volts) more negative than the reading noted without the zinc.
The Trouble with Tanks
Even if you don’t have an aluminum boat, you probably have aluminum fuel tanks. While these can be perfectly safe, the U.S. Coast Guard noticed a recurring problem with leaking tanks. So it asked Underwriters Laboratory to see why. Not surprisingly, UL found that corrosion caused 92 percent of the failures. Most of it was caused by how the tanks were installed.
In general, aluminum tanks should be left bare. Paint can help. But if it’s not properly applied, it wears away, scratches or peels off, and moisture gets under the paint, concentrating and accelerating corrosion.
The most common fittings used in fuel systems are usually made from brass. Screw one of these directly into an aluminum tank and add some moisture, and you’ve got serious galvanic corrosion. Isolate these fittings from the tank by using 300-series stainless-steel washers or adapters.
The tank’s supports must not be moisture-absorbent, such as carpeting is. Suitable materials are stiff neoprene, Teflon or any high-density plastic. Water should drain from all tank surfaces when the boat is at rest; the bottom of the tank must be at least a quarter-inch above the hull to let air circulate and above the level normally reached by bilge water. The European standard says “no less than 25 mm [1 inch] above the top of the bilge pump inlet or the bilge pump automatic float switch.”
A fuel tank should be accessible for relatively easy inspection via a screwed-down, caulked hatch, but that is often not the case. Many builders install tanks so that a saw is needed for inspection or replacement. Too bad.
13 Ways to Prevent Galvanic Corrosion
1. Don’t mix metals, or at least use metals as close to each other as possible in the galvanic series.
2. Bolts should be less active than fittings; they’re small, so loss of metal is more serious.
3. Take all measures to electrically isolate fittings from each other, even on small craft.
4. Securely fasten anodes, and ensure there is firm contact with the metal to be protected.
5. Never paint an anode. Be sure the metal to which it is fastened is free of paint, scale and dirt.
6. Impressed current voltage should never exceed 1,300 millivolts when protecting aluminum.
7. Always repair paint chips and scratches that expose bare metal as soon as possible.
8. Avoid using any lubricant made with graphite aboard a boat made from aluminum.
9. Employ an isolation transformer whenever the boat’s connected to AC shore power.
10. Don’t use an automotive battery charger aboard a boat, especially an aluminum boat.
11. Paint only with primers and coatings specifically designed for aluminum.
12. Wash the aluminum boat down with fresh water after every use to remove built-up salts.
13. Keep hooks, sinkers, bottle caps and other metal debris out of the bilge lest they wreak havoc.
DIY the Right Way
Protecting your aluminum boat and equipment from the rigors of the marine environment.
Ideally, you’d use aluminum fittings and fasteners, minimizing the chance of galvanic corrosion, but these are hard to find. Instead use 300-series stainless steel. This works fine if you isolate the fitting with plastic washers or pads and keep the water out with a polysulfide or polyether bedding compound like Star brite polyether Boat Caulk.
Interlux and Pettit sell copper-free, aluminum-compatible paint systems backed by excellent application instructions and tech support. It takes lots of prep, plus attention to detail, to do this right.
Ditch Your Carpet
To prevent hull pitting caused by trapped moisture, replace carpeted trailer bunks with vinyl with DeckRite.
Tiki Bar Inspires Couple to Go Afloat on a Pontoon Houseboat
Sitting lakeside at your own private tiki bar, sharing drinks and steaks with your loved ones.
How can life get any better?
Jeff and Julia Kloeckner of Laingsburg, Michigan asked themselves that exact question one afternoon, and Jeff decided what the tiki bar needed was a houseboat.
I sat down one sunny afternoon recently to talk to the Kloeckners, my friends and neighbors. We sat on their back deck and enjoyed the view of the lake and their pontoon.
Jeff proudly talked about his pontoon and the story behind it, while Julia grabbed her photo album and displayed all the pictures documenting her husband’s boat creation.
The Pontoon Houseboat JourneyThe 1987 Manitou Pontoon was built at the original Delta Township factory, not far from Kloeckner’s home. It was sold to a family who took it up north to Gaylord, and they enjoyed it for many years, until the Kloeckners bought it from them in 2009.
When the Kloeckners purchased their pontoon, the recession was affecting gas prices so much that they soon found they used the boat less and less.
Their 18-foot, ’87 Manitou Pontoon had been sitting idle at the dock throughout the summer. The more it sat, the more Jeff pondered over what he could do with it.
He wanted to be able to use his pontoon for fishing and floating. Better yet, to turn it into a houseboat to enjoy at their location on Round Lake and take it to other lakes too.
Round Lake is known as Al Capone’s hideaway spot. The current Lakeview Banquet Center on the lake used to be a dance hall with big bands and bootleg booze.
Today Lakeview is a busy reception hall for weddings and other gatherings. Locals on the lake boat out near the hall to watch wedding ceremonies, listen to the music and take in the occasional evening firework displays.
Fireworks, beautiful sunsets and star-filled nights are just a few more good reasons a houseboat would be fitting on Round Lake.
Not only that, but Michigan has over 11,000 lakes to explore. There are so many different things to do in and around Michigan lakes. You can check out the “Lake Effect” at Pure Michigan.org and discover the endless opportunities of fun things to do and enjoy.
If you’re looking to camp on your pontoon or conversion pontoon, check out this pontoon camping guide.
The Kloeckner’s have known firsthand what lake life is all about and were ready to discover new adventures with their houseboat on Round Lake and other lakes up north. Thus, they began their own DIY pontoon houseboat project.
How to DIY Your Own Pontoon HouseboatLuckily, Jeff had the capability to configure his own houseboat design and structure.
His 30-plus years of construction experience and a jack-of-all-trades know-how gave him the confidence and skill to tackle this type of DIY project.
Less experienced DIY folks may want to use a kit to transform their pontoon. There are hundreds of ideas—some crazy!—that you can find online.
However, you really need to sit down and decide what you want for your houseboat, what will work for the size of your boat frame and the budget that you have to work with.
The possibilities can be endless!
What about adding a bathroom? Or a hot tub? Or even a second deck with a slide down into the water? The sky truly is the limit for just about anything you can imagine for your own houseboat.
Need some ideas? Go to Pinterest, type “conversion pontoons” in the search bar and you’ll discover an endless stream of pictures of the most amazing pontoon houseboats, and houseboats from around the world.
Once you choose your style, whether it’s simple or a floating Jimmy Buffet theme, build it with passion and keep safety in mind.
Some Takeaways: Consider Safety, Weight, Capacity and Insurance
Conversion projects like this bring up a number of questions on transforming a pontoon into a houseboat. One question for converting into a houseboat would be the framing structure and weight distribution.
The Manitou pontoon’s initial construction is ideal for strength and dependability. When you’re adding weight and height to the framework, you’ll just need some guidelines to keep it safe. The United States Coast Guard has a booklet to calculate your precise weight and capacity limits.
Manufacturers place a weight and capacity limit sticker on the boat at the factory. I called a Manitou dealer in Michigan and they recommended staying within the limitation that’s posted on the boat, for safety. Adding weight and height to a boat frame can make the boat unstable.
Another question would be insurance. Do you keep the same coverage for your boat as you would for a houseboat? I highly recommend contacting your own insurance agent to make sure you have the best coverage suited for your needs.
How to Expertly Use Recycled MaterialJeff created his houseboat using recycled material. Lansing’s Cooley Law Stadium, home of the minor league baseball team the Lugnuts, had just undergone major updates and Jeff was able to use the steel sides from the outfield storage unit.
The steel sheets were used as the sides of his 8′ x 10′ houseboat construction. He used steel studs for the framework to keep costs and weight down on the pontoon.
He also wanted the boat to be self sufficient, so he designed a way to use solar energy to power a Minn Kota Electric 55-lb thrust trolling motor. Jeff added a ceiling fan to the interior for cooling, installed sunglass material for the roof and placed house windows on the sides to also allow light and air flow.
A screen door in the front adds to the charm! And the inside has room for their queen-size air mattress (for when the fish aren’t biting) and storage for fishing equipment.
On the front of the boat, Jeff has two spots to insert fishing seats. He and his wife can comfortably sit, dangle their feet in the cool lake water and fish to their heart’s content!
What’s in a Name?
On the side of the boat Jeff added the boat’s name, Lily pad.
Fitting for floating on their small lake like… a lily pad! Jeff cut and designed lily pads from a steel metal sheet, painted the boat’s name on them and then attached them to the side of their houseboat.
When I asked them what they love best about the boat, they both replied that “it’s one of a kind!” Jeff loved working from his own ideas and how the solar unit helps keep their Lily pad self sufficient.
If you’re looking for recycled building material for your pontoon conversion, check out Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great place to look for recycled items for your project and help your community at the same time. Habitat stores are filled with building material, cabinets, furniture and so much more.
Think outside the box and find new treasures to go afloat!
- Amy Cabanas
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11 Essential Items to Be Prepared When Boating
There is nothing–not one thing–worse than marking a boat day on the calendar for a month, packing the car, launching the pontoon boat in the lake, and hearing the engine sputter and stop. Nobody wants boat trouble on the lake, but boats are finicky and can have many issues. The real question is how to be ready for problems that come up like this. I have had frustrating issues out on the boat plenty of times. Often you just have to find a way to fix problems as soon as they come up. It is difficult knowing what you need to be ready for anything, but, after a while I learned that there are a few very basic items that can prevent about 90% of the problems you’ll encounter that could derail your boating trip. Here they are…
#1 – A Portable Utility Battery
When you are out in the middle of a lake, you don’t have a wall outlet to plug your electronics into, such as a GPS or fishfinder. So, being able to charge it anywhere – like out on a toon – is invaluable. That is why I recommend a portable power bank. The one I recommend has two USB outlets, a DC power outlet, an LED light, and it can also jump car batteries. Click Here to see what it is selling for on Amazon.
However, seeing as some toons do not have an outlet to charge your phone, you may be simply wanting to charge your phone while you are spending the day on the lake. In this case, you may not a battery so powerful or big, you can also get smaller portable chargers that just charge via USB. These are almost always just used to charge cell phones or small devices, but the small size and much cheaper price makes them very versatile and easy to keep with you. Click Here to see our recommended single USB portable charger on Amazon, or Click Here for a double USB port charger on Amazon.
#2 – An Extra Prop and Prop Wrench
You never know what could happen when you are out boating, this includes damaging a prop. It can be extremely difficult if a prop gives out mid-trip. So it could be very handy to have an extra prop stowed away for such situations. It is also helpful as you will always have your spare right with your boat. You won’t need to store it in the garage and have to find it again later. When dealing with a malfunctioning prop, you are definitely going to want to be able to be able to get something done. You may have to readjust, tighten, or remove the prop. In a crunch, you aren’t going to want to have to cancel your day due to a lack of tools. A Prop Wrench can also help you untangle grass, reeds, or other plants that tangle up on your boat.
#3 – Toiletries
It is always a good idea to be ready for personal emergencies. Guys and ladies alike. While you should always be personalizing your preparations, it is good to have items such as bandages, a good first aid kit, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and other such items.
#4 – Duct Tape or Electrical Tape
If you can’t fix something with duct tape, you aren’t using enough duct tape. Duct tape can be extremely helpful when in a pinch. Duct Tape was originally invented by Johnson & Johnson’s Permacel division during WWII. The US Military wanted a strong, WATERPROOF tape that could keep moisture out of ammunition boxes. This is exactly the kind of resource you are going to want at your disposal on a pontoon. Such a versatile and effective tool can be more helpful than most realize. If an item breaks, duct tape can usually keep it working long enough that you can have time to get it repaired. It is also helpful for repairing wear and tear on life jackets or your vinyl seats, a small rip can be disastrous if no taken care of.
#5 – Assorted Tools
Aside from a prop wrench, you may need a few more tools every now and then. Such tools might include a few screwdrivers or a wrench. While these obviously won’t fix major boat repairs, they could fix a few small tune-ups needed on board. If you find a loose screw or bolt somewhere, you will want to tighten it quickly. If it falls out, it can be a pain to find or replace.
#6 – Power Snacks
Despite assuming that you will bring snacks with you when you go boating each time, we are still human, and we still forget. Having a few granola bars or nonperishable snacks stowed away might come in handy if you don’t bring enough food or end up staying longer than you planned. Just remember that sugary snacks will give you energy for a while, but you will also have an energy crash soon after that can leave you sleepy, hungry, cranky, and unable to concentrate. Healthier snacks will give you more energy throughout the day.
#7 – Water, Water, Water
Even if you are out of the sun, dehydration can be a serious danger. Also, if you are swimming around and playing in the water, your body is exerting energy and is perspiring. You won’t feel it as easily because most water you go boating on is much colder than our body temperature. This means that while you are cooling off in the water, your body is trying to keep up the internal body temperature so that you don’t get hypothermia. Because you feel cool in the water, you are tricked into thinking that you don’t need to drink. The wind will also evaporate sweat off of your body, which also dulls your sense of water loss. In all actuality, you need water more than usual. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you are thirsty, you actually are already dehydrated. Bring water with you when you go boating. Just in case you finish of that water, keep a few gallons of fresh water on board. Try to cycle the water out for fresh water every few weeks though.
#8 – A Blanket and/or An Extra Jacket
This one isn’t so much a necessity as it is convenient. If you are out fishing early, it could get brisk. You may want to toss on that extra layer to keep warm. Remember to check what the blanket is made of. Cotton will soak through quickly and will just be cold. Wool will still soak, but will keep you warm even if wet. A fleece blanket would do fine, but can get heavy when wet. If you get a lot of spray while boating, you may want to use a waterproofing spray like Scotchgard on your jacket, blanket, or even your shoes. Click Here to see what Scotchgard is going for on Amazon.
#9 – A Trash Bag
If you are eating granola bars or other packaged snacks, you don’t want to drop them on the ground in your boat. They could fly out and end up polluting the wonderful environment you are enjoying. Keep a bag on the boat to put trash in. Remember to have no trace left behind when you leave – this keeps nature clean for everyone else and for you when you go next. Trash Bags are also helpful for putting items in that you would like to keep dry. Extra changes of clothes, or an extra jacket could easily be stored in one.
#10 – A Map
No matter how much of a man you are, you may still need a map. Being able to see and know where you are at is a good way to be safe. Maps of the water you are boating on also help you know where there may be no wake zones or speed limit zones. Not to mention that looking at a map could help you know where the fish might be if you are fishing. While a paper map can always be helpful, there are many other options. You can also use other methods such as a GPS you put on your dash or even something as simple as your phone.
#11 – A Spotlight
Were you to find yourself still out on the water when it begins to get dark, you can find yourself blinded and lost. In the event that you do end up getting caught in that situation, you will want to have a good spotlight to get you back to the shore safely. While there are some spotlights you can attach to your boat, you can also get a large handheld one that can also work well.
Now obviously, there are more things that could be added to this list, based on where you live, what kind of boat you have, what you are boating for, and when you are out. You will have to modify this list. Feel free to add, remove, or change things on the list to suit what you need. If I missed something major, or if you have another helpful suggestion, comment about it. Everyone can benefit from more ideas.