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The 3 Basic Shapes of Pontoons Designs - Their Pros & Cons

The 3 Basic Shapes of Pontoons Designs - Their Pros & Cons

Pontoon Design: There are three primary types of pontoon designs used on current pontoon boats. One is the foam filled (U) shaped pontoon, another is the round baffled single chambered pontoon, and then there is the single round pontoon with several airtight individual compartments. Each and every dealer will have a reason or explanation why the style on their perspective boats is the best. But a better definition of the best could be a lower cost of production, more efficient to operate, easier to repair if necessary, or maybe even the safest. However all the above designs have their own unique advantages and disadvantages..

U shaped foam filled pontoons: The advantage of foam filled logs is primarily the inherent safety of a redundant flotation system that it provides. Foam filled logs also offer manufactures a cost savings in the production of them. For the U shaped pontoons are inherently easier for them to produce and manufacture. Many manufactures also use a thinner gauge material because the foam inserted within reduces or prevents canning that would usually occur with the thin walled U shape. The inserted foam flotation makes it difficult to use baffles in the pontoons so they are not generally used which will also lower costs of manufacturing. Other disadvantages of the U shaped pontoons are the fact that they are generally fairly narrow in width. The width of the pontoon has a direct affect on how it will displace the water and therefore how high above the water it will float. The narrower pontoons along with the additional weight of the foam results in the pontoons that are sitting lower in the water. The additional draft of the pontoons results in more drag and can reduce fuel economy and increased occurrences of hitting underwater obstructions.And should you ever hull the boat and take in water and it remains there over time the foam has a tendency to absorb it and becomes waterlogged. This condition is nearly impossible to repair effectively and poses a serious problem. Though most pontoons have a drain plug on each pontoon to drain accumulated condensation and water intrusion it also means you have to remove the boat from the water. And finally should you ever need to repair a hulled pontoon the most common and best repair, welding is very difficult to achieve because of the inserted insulation and associated heat from the process.

Single Chambered Baffled Round Pontoons: In general round pontoons offer some significant advantages for geometrically a cylinder is the strongest shape that aluminum can be formed into. The symmetrical design means the diameter stays the same regardless where you measure it. The larger the tube is in diameter the more weight it can carry and the more water it can displace. Baffles are usually put in at specific intervals down the length of the pontoon. At the bottom of each baffle there is a void or pass-through purposely left in place which allows them to pressurize equally throughout. Many pontoons of this design also have a drain plug at the back rear bottom to allow drainage of condensation or accumulated water. The repair-ability of this style pontoon is simplified by the fact that once drained it is a relatively simple routine welding repair. The downside of this design however is should you hull a pontoon you'll accumulate water along the entire length of the pontoon. The baffles somewhat limit water accumulation because each section pressurizes individually until it disallows any more water infiltration.

Round Pontoons with Airtight Individual Chambers: These usually feature at least three often more distinct individual chambers per pontoon. They offer all the efficiently and most of the moat repairable of the above baffled style pontoon. The airtight chambers should they be hulled only allow water into the individual chamber that received the damage. The airtight chambers offer outstanding safety due to this compartmentalized design. However this may be the most labor intensive design to produce and manufacture and often reflects accordingly. The only real drawback to this design is should there be water infiltration into the pontoon. The only way to remove or drain it is through a usually small plug at the top of the individual affected chamber usually by siphoning though small hose. It is a slow cumbersome process should a substantial amount of water be involved.

This excerpt is taken from a longer article on

What Size & Type of Pontoon Boat Will Fit Your Needs?

What Size & Type of Pontoon Boat Will Fit Your Needs?

What size pontoon will fit your needs best? Here are some good suggestions based on your needs.

Most trips out how many people will usually accompany you on your boat?

For 2 to 6 people a 18 to 20ft. pontoon boat should work

For 6 to 10 people a 22 to 24ft. pontoon boat

For 10 or more people only consider 24ft. and larger pontoon boat

What percentage of time will be spent fishing on your pontoon boat?

70 to 100% should consider dedicated fishing model pontoon

10 to 70% a fish and cruise model pontoon

Under 10% probably should consider dedicated cruising pontoon

Will you want to cruise and pull water toys, or wish to pull adult skiers?

Don't consider anything under 90hp. and a bit more motor would be even better yet.

Are you planning any long cruises on your pontoon? Are you going to want camping capability? Are you or any family members sensitive to sunlight or burn readily?

If yes is the answer things such as a changing room with a Porta Potti, double Biminis with side kits, a grill and sink, plus seating that pulls out to make beds may all be important for you to be happy and satisfied with your pontoon boat purchase or renovation.

Measure Twice, Order Once - Tips for Measuring Your Pontoon Boat for New Furniture

Measure Twice, Order Once - Tips for Measuring Your Pontoon Boat for New Furniture

When ordering your furniture, there are some very specific methods used in measuring for your new pontoon boat seats and other pontoon boat accessories. You'll want to take these measurements with the rails on your pontoon boat. The rails provide consistent guides for your measurements and give a more accurate view on how much actual seating room is available on your pontoon boat.

While older pontoon boats had a single standard layout, pontoon boat designs have changed quite a bit in recent years, and these measuring steps are not applicable for all pontoon boats manufactured. For older pontoon boats, you can get accurate measurements by following the steps below:

  • Rear Width . You'll first want to find out how much space for pontoon furniture is available in the rear of your pontoon boat. To determine this, measure from the inside rail on one side of the pontoon boat across the width of the pontoon boat to the opposite inside rail on the other side. This will allow you to get an idea as to the general seating arrangements available. 
  • Rear Length . Measure from inside of the rail that runs across the rear width of the pontoon boat to the beginning of a middle gate on either side of your pontoon boat.
  • Front Length . Measure from the beginning of a center gate closest to the front of the boat to the inside of the rail that runs across the front width.
  • Front Width . This final step is actually two separate measurements due to the gate at the front of the pontoon boat. Starting on the left side, measure from the inside of the rail on the left corner to the closest corner on the left side of the gate. Repeat this process on the right side so that you'll have two measurements that do not include the width of the gate.

Finally, you'll want to factor in rail bracings attached to the rails in your pontoon boat. These bracings can impede placement of pontoon furniture and you'll want to have a clear and realistic image in your mind of how you will arrange your new pontoon boat furniture. Remember measure twice and order once.

Cleaning Tips from Wise Manufacturer for the Care of Your Pontoon Boat Vinyl Seats

Cleaning Tips from Wise Manufacturer for the Care of Your Pontoon Boat Vinyl Seats carries a wide selection of seating to give you all the options you want to create the seating environment perfect for your life. works with the Wise Company which is the largest manufacturer of pleasure boat seating and interiors in the country with manufacturing facilities in Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mexico, as well as our corporate office in Memphis, TN. As the world's leading supplier of all types of seating, Wise has earned a reputation for high-quality products and service. Wise offers the following tips regarding the care and upkeep of your vinyl seats. 

The upholstery on your seat is made to withstand the effects of sun heat rain and soiling under normal conditions. While your vinyl is made to withstand the elements it is important to care for it by keeping it clean at all times. Many substances may stain if left over a period of time. Remember to remove any contaminant and clean vinyl immediately.

Keep your seats in like new condition with quality mooring and/or seat covers. They’ll keep your furniture dry, protect against UV sunlight degradation, leaf stains, pollen stains, and dramatically reduce your cleaning time. Remember that winter storage in snow and ice areas requires additional protection. Also note plastic tarps don't provide ventilation and may promote mold and mildew or pink staining of your seats. This potential damage is not covered under your warranty. An important thing to remember is that house detergents, abrasives with bleach and solvents can cause permanent damage to vinyl upholstery.

DO NOT USE the following list of cleaners on your vinyl: Formula 409, Murphy's Oil Soap, Simple Green, DC Plus, Armor All, Fantastik, Orange 88 Degreaser, Roll Off, Bleach/Baking Soda, Turtle Wax/Tar Remover, Top Kote Sealant, Son-of-a-Gun, APCO, Harbor Mate. Do not use kerosene gasoline or acetone they will remove the protective marine marine topcoat do not use any silicone-based protectants. They will extract the plasticizer leaving vinyl hard and brittle, and eventually cracking will occur. Certain household cleaners powdered abrasives steel wool and industrial cleaners can cause damage and discoloration and not recommended. Dry cleaning fluids and lacquer solvents should not be used as they will remove printed patterns and gloss. Waxes should be used with caution as they may contain dyes or solvents that can permanently damaged protective coating.


We recommend that you use 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner or a mild dish soap such as Dawn or Ivory to clean your seats. Rinse with clean warm water to remove any residue when your are finished.

All information provided by Wise Manufacturer -!marine/c53v