Pros & Cons Of Pontoon Boats – Why Other Boats Don’t Come Close.
Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite subjects, the pros, and cons of pontoon boats.
Boating was definitely something that I did not grow up doing. In fact, I grew up in a town that had no lakes or rivers that were big enough for a dingo.
Well, I guess you could use a dingo but you would be doing it at your own risk. River Bosnia, as you guessed it, in Bosnia, was not very friendly for swimmers, let alone boaters. It is filled with underwater plates that create whirlpools and take lives annually.
But my passion for boats, I believe, comes from my genes and ancestors that lived on Croatian coastline and the islands. Also, the fact that I spend every other summer of my life there. Also, the honeymoon.
By the way, if you have not visited Croatia you don’t know what you are missing, the country is amazing. Living there for a few years made me love it even more.
When we moved to the states a couple of decades ago, we came to Boston. And as you may know, Boston has plenty of water.
There are rivers, like Mystic and Charles, countless lakes, and of course the ocean. I know you are not supposed to touch Charles River for its pollution but boating is safe. Right?!
When I started looking at boats I always thought about Croatian coastline and its beauty. Deep blue sea, rocky beaches, and crystal-clear water. I imagined having a small yacht that I could use to take my family out for some island hopping. Enjoy the sunset while sipping a homemade wine and authentic seafood.
But then I woke up and I realize there are no such things here.
The Atlantic Ocean is not The Adriatic Sea. There are no rocky beaches, crystal-clear water or islands that you could go visit. Well, there are a few but there is nothing exciting about it, nothing that I would want to go see and enjoy.
What you can find here are large waves and the smell of rotten algae during the low tide.
At that point, I decided that the ocean sailing is not something that we would enjoy.
Yet, I did not want to give up on my dream of owning a boat. And I knew how awesome that would be for our daughter and the memories we could create.
So, I kept on researching my options.
Massachusetts has a lot of lakes, and so does New Hampshire, which is only an hour away. So, I figured, why not explore that option.
I’ve talked to friends about their vacation spots and a lot of them mentioned Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Everyone said they loved it.
So, I decided to take my family there on vacation for the firsthand experience.
We loved it!!
There was so much we could do there. There are beaches everywhere and to my surprise, a lot of boats.
The First Encounter
There I saw, for the first time, a pontoon boat.
I must admit I was not overly excited about it. I had this idea in my head that boat should be V-shaped and I was sticking to it. I am not buying that thing on those 2-round things. No Way.
However, it looked very comfortable.
So that night, thanks to Google, I found out what that thing was. It was a pontoon boat.
I have never heard of one before but looking at some pictures it piqued my interest. And the more I was looking at it the more I liked it. And the most important part is, my wife thought it was great. She loved it.
Every year Boston hosts many different shows in its Convention Center. Among others, there is a boat show. We usually only see the car show and sometimes the RV show, but this year we decided to check out the boat show. We have decided to buy a boat after all.
I must tell you if I knew the boat show was this great I would have spent my money on this rather than cars. It was amazing. The selection is insane and you can find just about anything that you are interested in.
Walking around we stumbled upon pontoon boat. It was beautiful, shiny, almost glowing in well-lit convention hangar. I wanted to say something to my wife but she was already getting up there and talking to one of the hostesses. (Is that what you call them?)
Anyhow to make the story short, my wife loved it, I had no say in it, and we now own a pontoon boat. Isn’t that a story of us guys?
But here is the thing. I loved it too. I just pretended I was interested in something else while adding extra accessories to this boat. It works every time, you should try it with your significant other.
Here are some pros and cons of pontoon boats that I looked at when making the final decision.
Advantages Of Having A Pontoon Boat
There are so many pros of getting a pontoon boat that I don’t know where to start. I loved my boat from the first day I got it.
The most important advantage of the pontoon boat, for me, is that it is perfect for family and kids. It is safe, spacious, and you can do many things on the pontoon that you can’t do on a regular V-shaped boat. You could install a portable boat toilet or a nice pontoon enclosure to keep you warm and dry.
Great For Fishing And Skiing
I’m not a big fisherman but I like to cast a line from time to time and fishing from a pontoon boat is as good as it gets. Having so much space, and a chair, in the back of the boat makes that even more enjoyable. I don’t think you can get more comfortable than that.
If you get a strong enough engine it is great for watersports like skiing. Yes, you can actually do that with a pontoon boat.
Simple To Use And Maintain
So far I never had any problems maintaining my boat. I was listening to many stories about how it will be hard, but, with a little bit of patience, it is a smooth ride.
If you are boating at a lake or river you can expect that you will have dents and holes sooner or later. Pontoon boats reduce chances of those situations because they sit high in the water, not as deep as V-shaped boats, so damaging your boat is not very common. This also allows you to go into much shallower waters.
Also, the big plus is that fixing of a pontoon boat is cheaper in case it gets damaged.
One more thing that I consider as the big advantage of a pontoon boat is that they are very easy to clean. Now I don’t know how hard it is to clean V-shaped boats but I’ve heard some horror stories.
Pontoon Boat Last Longer
Longevity is one of the main reasons why I bought a pontoon boat. When we are talking about longevity, there is no better boat.
If you own a boat for many years or you bought used pontoon, you might have holes in furniture and carpets may be faded. It is very simple to replace those things in a pontoon boat. Imagine that you have to replace cushions on your ski boat. Good luck with that.
You don’t have to be very handy to renovate your boat. I usually do everything I know, and after that, I just take my boat to a mechanic where professionals finish the rest of the work. Many other boats have problems with getting on and off the boat on a beach. That problem is “v” shaped edge. With pontoon that is not a problem at all.
People who have ski boats are trying to replace it every few years with a new boat. Having a pontoon boat there is no need for that.
Pontoon Boat Is Really Comfortable
Comfort is one more important reason why I choose the pontoon boat. It is spacious and very comfortable. One person can lie down and take the whole couch, while there is enough room for 7 more people. The comfort of the pontoon boat is unbeatable.
It is so comfortable that sometimes we have a problem leaving the boat for the whole day.
Opportunities are endless on a pontoon boat. You can swim the whole day with your friends, changeup in a little handmade cabin. After that, you can make a barbecue right on the boat. A pontoon boat can really make you feel like a millionaire, without spending a lot of money on a boat.
They are also very comfortable during the ride. If there are no strong winds, the ride will be very smooth.
Pontoon Boat Is Very Safe
Especially for people who have kids, this is a very important segment. Pontoon boats are much safer than others because there are less “don’t go there” parts on the boat. Fence with high rails on a boat reduces chances of falling over into the water.
The weight of pontoon boats makes them extra safe. They are easy to drive, and chances of pontoon boat flipping are not very high.
Since the turning radius is not very tight, and the speed of the pontoon boat is around 30mph you can make full speed turns with ease. You can look this up in US Coast Guard statistics. It shows how pontoon boats are much safer than regular boats.
Perfect For Storage
In case you are a new to the boating world you won’t make a big deal out of this. But if you are more experienced with boats you will know how important this is.
If you have many guests on your boat and everyone brings something like blankets, food, cooler, clothes, on the ordinary boat you wouldn’t have enough space. A good thing about the pontoon boat is that you will have plenty of free space for everyone. That is a great thing, especially if you are staying outside for more than just a day.
Disadvantages Of Having A Pontoon Boat
There are not many disadvantages to pontoon boats in my opinion. Below I have described my biggest issues. If you are first time buyer you have to be unbiased and you got to know what you are looking for.
So here we go.
I’ve seen some fast pontoon boats, but those are very rare and hard to find. They are also very expensive.
Pontoon boats are great for water sports, but if you want to impress someone with speed, you will not. My boat has a top speed of about 30mph I believe. Typical speed of pontoon boats is around 28-35 mph. As you may notice, they are not speeding devils.
Some of the newest models of pontoon boats have larger engines with three tubes which improves speed.
Pontoon Boat On A Rough Water
The pontoon boat is very safe when the waves are small but when the waves get bigger, watch out. During the storm or heavy rain, pontoon boats are more dangerous than ordinary “V” boats.
Large waves cause problems because pontoon boats are diving into the wave, and not go over them. That can cause capsizing but on very extreme occasions.
The best thing to do during the storm is to get out of the water.
For me personally, the wake on my boat wasn’t something I was thinking about when I bought it. But, I understand that for some people this is important.
The wake behind pontoons outboard is very similar to ordinary ski boat, but the difference is that pontoons have wake on both side. Which means that pontoon boats wake is much wider than normal boats.
Handling Might Be Challenging
Handling may be tougher than traditional boats. Pontoon is wider and heavier than your typical “V” boat.
My boat turning radius is approximately 25′.
Outboard Engine Noise
If you are buying a pontoon boat for the first time, try to avoid outboard engines. They can be very loud, much louder than inboard engines definitely.
The newer models of outboard engines are improved in that aspect so if you are buying an outboard engine, make sure that you are buying a new model.
So there you are. Those are my thought on the pros and cons of pontoon boats. If you agree or disagree with my views make sure to let me know by commenting below. I promise I will take your critique with a smile 🙂
If you want to know how Pontoon stacks against Deck Boat make sure you read Pontoon vs. Deck Boat Comparison.
For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon-Depot's Shop Site.
The 2585 Catalina Elite Mixes Stylish Looks with a Comfortable Ride.
2019 Avalon 2585 Catalina Elite
LOA: 26'6" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (max): 1'3" | Dry Weight: 2,650 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 13/1,770 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 38 gal.Bill Doster
With its bold, two-tone, retro-inspired exterior panels, elegant vinyl coverings, and interior composite wall covering, the 2585 Catalina Elite definitely stands out from the crowd.
Those exterior panels are uninterrupted by traditional pontoon fencing, giving the Catalina’s exterior a sleek, clean appearance. The optional Blackout package covered the pontoon tops in an attractive matte coating, a choice that tied in well with the boat’s matte finish Suzuki outboard. External forward vents add more style points while providing air flow to the storage below the bow passenger lounges. LED docking lights, set into black trim pieces, complete the exterior.
Within the confines of that sleek perimeter, find a versatile mix of seating. Forward, traditional bow lounges stretch a full 6 feet 6 inches. Opposite the helm, a loveseat awaits with an additional rear-facing backrest. Aft, an inviting, 3-by-3-foot L-lounge provides space for multiple passengers to gather around the kidney-shaped pedestal table. Seatbacks feature unique, pillow-top inserts with a contrasting texture and finish. Abundant stowage is found below nearly every seat cushion. Lift one of those cushions and note seat bases aren’t the roto-molded plastic norm, but instead welded aluminum frames which Avalon notes increase storage space and offer superior drainage and ventilation.Settle into the helm seat and you’ll find an attractive black dash, with dual multi-purpose gauges on center and sound system head unit and optional Garmin 53cv GPS flanking the steering wheel. Below, two useful nooks feature padding for cell phones and other items.
Pushing the throttle forward engaged our test boat’s Suzuki 200 and resulted in an almost instantaneous plane. The 30-mph threshold was reached in under 8 seconds; top speed edged just over the 39-mph mark. Below deck, Avalon’s Sport Performance package featured triple 25-inch pontoons with inboard lifting fins that gave the boat a touch of inside lean. In addition, the package includes a full-length wave shield, integrated motor pod and fuel tank, and SeaStar hydraulic steering.
Ensign II fiberglass helm with soft-touch dash and removable windshield.
Infinity PRV315 sound system with Bluetooth, four Infinity chrome-grilled speakers, USB and auxiliary input.
Quick-release Bimini top with anodized aluminum frame.
Extended 2-foot 6-inch rear deck area with four-step, stainless-steel boarding ladder.
For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon-Depot's Shop Site.
Pontoon Boat Brands to Avoid – Read This Before You Buy
A question I’ve been asked a few times over the last year is if there are any pontoon boat brands to avoid. It’s understandable, as even a used pontoon boat is going to cost you a fair whack, so you don’t want to end up making a mistake.
But here’s the thing; I personally would not avoid any of the current pontoon boat brands.
Virtually anything that has been manufactured in the last couple of decades will have been engineered to the highest standards and passed the relevant safety ratings.
Where pontoon boats will truly tend to differ will be the quality of the fixtures and fittings plus how they have been constructed overall.
It’s very easy to get distracted by all the shiny functionality you see on the deck. When looking at a pontoon boat, don’t just take in the seating, carpets, accessories, tech, and gear that gets thrown in.
You need to do your own due diligence by looking under the console and deck to see what the workmanship is like.
As an example, some pontoon boats will have rails and decks that have been screwed in. Other will be bolted through. Through bolting will give you a much better boat that’s going to last a lot longer, possibly with a reduction in overall maintenance costs.
Another thing to look at is the brackets on the pontoon tubes. The M shaped brackets are much better. But don’t stop there, also look at how the welding has been done, and on used boats, look for signs of damage and patching.
These are just a couple of tips; there’s a lot more to it.
You will need to do a lot of research before deciding whether a certain pontoon boat brand and model is one that you avoid or choose to go with. That includes talking to other pontoon boat owners.
To help you with your decision-making process, I’d like to refer you to some of the more in-depth content on Pontoonopedia that I encourage you to read in full before you pull the trigger on a purchase.
Must-read buyers guide for buying a new pontoon boat
If you are looking to buy new, and don’t know what pontoon boat brands to avoid, then this buyer’s guide won’t tell you that, as all brands make great models. What it will do is give you some insight into:
- What to avoid when buying new.
- Size and capacity considerations.
- Pros and cons to buying a new pontoon versus used.
- How you know if it’s a good pontoon boat or not.
- Which factory options you should choose for you.
I suggest reading the entire buyer’s guide in full before you start your search this year.
What to look for when buying a used pontoon boat
I’ve put together a checklist of questions and things to avoid when buying in the used market. This includes aspects such as:
- What will you be using the boat for?
- How much deck space will you need?
- How to search for great deals and prices.
- What elements on the pontoon boat you need to check out.
- What state the engine is in and how many hours it’s done.
- What the fixtures and fittings are like.
- What additional features will you need.
- How to compare prices and get better price.
- Whether a manufacturer warranty is important or not.
- How to ensure you get a log of receipts and work done.
- Taking a used pontoon boat for a test drive.
- Asking for proof of ownership and the seller’s reputation.
- What you need from a survey and insurance.
To read the guide in full so you know what pontoon boats to avoid when buying used, read the full used buyer’s guide.
Some pontoon boat basics
If you’re still undecided on whether to take the plunge, you might want to get to grips with some pontoon boat basics. I have listed advice on:
- Passenger capacity.
- Launching and driving.
- Beaching and anchoring.
- Parking in slips and marinas.
- Safety basics and tips.
- Trailer and towing basics.
- Fishing set-ups and layouts.
For more detailed information on each point, go check out my pontoon boat basics 101.
Making your final selection on a pontoon boat
There’s also a lot more information you need to get to grips with on how to make your final selection. This selection guide includes advice on:
- How to choose the right pontoon boat for your needs.
- What size you need depending on your plans.
- Whether you will need a fishing set-up, or just leisure, or both.
- How much your ideal pontoon boat should cost.
- What makes a good quality pontoon boat design.
- Question to ask the boat dealers before you buy.
Selecting the right pontoon boat for a family
And finally, if you are family-focussed, and looking for something to suit your and your brood, I’ve put together a guide specifically for this market. Tips include:
- Why plenty of seating is of paramount importance.
- How a pop-up changing room will be needed.
- The protection a decent Bimini will offer.
- How storage space should be a huge consideration.
- Why vinyl flooring might be better than carpeting.
- How watersports might change which boat you buy.
- The types of inflatables you can buy.
- What safety gear you will need for your family.
- Why a boarding ladder will be essential for kids.
Read my family-friendly guide to choosing a pontoon boat if you have kids.
The last word…
So there you have it. If you’ve read through all those guides you will now be in a far better position to choosing the best boat and brand to suit your needs. As mentioned, currently I wouldn’t say there were any pontoon boat brands to avoid. It all comes down to suitability, budget, and your individual needs.
For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon-Depot's Shop Site.
Welcome to Catamaran Coaches | Fishing and Diving!
Catamaran Coaches manufacturers Custom Fiberglass Pontoon Boats, Trimarans, Fish/Dive Boats to fit your lifestyle. Whether you want to enjoy weekends with the family at the sandbar, or run offshore to fish and dive, we have the pontoon boat for you! These boats are stable, have plenty of room for family and friends and are pet friendly! With the rear platform getting on and off at the sandbar is a breeze.
Catamaran Coaches is a family owned and operated manufacturer of Quality Custom Fiberglass Pontoon Boats, TriToons, Fiberglass Fish/Dive boats, Work/Party Boats and more. These boats are custom built to your lifestyle and there are no two boats alike.
For All Your Accessories and/or Vinyl Flooring Visit Pontoon- Depot's Shop Site.
- Amy Cabanas
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