The Pros and Cons of a Pontoon Boat

Pontoon Boat

Boat buyers are sometimes overwhelmed with the number of options available. With so many brands, styles, and models to choose from, it can be a bit intimidating.

Pontoon boats might seem like a great purchase, but are they worth the money? And are they a good fit for your needs?

What Is a Pontoon Boat?

You may not be able to accurately describe what makes a pontoon boat a pontoon boat – but you’ll probably know one if you see one. It’s a flat boat that uses buoyant “float” structures to remain on the water. Because of this structure, pontoon boats can afford to be large and flat, with plenty of deck space. Higher end pontoon boats are loaded with extra accommodations to take advantage of this design, including lounge areas, sun pads, and even stand-up bars. Of course, smaller and less expensive pontoon boats are also available.

Pontoon boats have been around since 1951 and have since undergone waves of evolution – thanks in large part to better float technology. Today, most pontoon boats are motorised, though it’s still possible to find traditional pontoon boats that function via mechanical power.

There are several ways to use a pontoon boat, but some of the most common pontoon-related activities include fishing, exploring, and relaxing.

Benefits of Pontoon Boats

What are the best benefits of pontoon boats?

  • Ample space. The large, flat deck of a pontoon boat provides you with ample space, and you can use that space for almost anything you want. You can walk around. You can host a party with ample room for socialising. You can bring your entire family and make sure everyone has plenty of space to walk around. You can stretch out and sunbathe at your leisure. If you're considering entertaining a group of people, or if you just like extra room, this is a huge plus.
  • Relaxation and comfort. Pontoon boats were practically designed with relaxation and comfort in mind. If you like the idea of a slow cruise on still waters, lying down or reading a book on the water, a pontoon boat may be exactly what you need.
  • High profile (and drier conditions). Pontoon boats tend to have a higher profile than other types of boats, setting them higher over the water. This is an advantage for a few reasons, but one of the most notable benefits is drier conditions. If you don't like getting splashed when you're on the water, or if you're planning on activities that require you to remain dry, this might be a major selling point.
  • Smooth riding. People appreciate pontoon boats because of the smooth rides. Fast, powerful boats certainly have their place, but they can be rough to operate and even rougher for passengers. If you want a smooth, consistent experience, pontoon boats are the answer.
  • Easy maintenance. If you’re on a budget, or if you just don’t like the hassle of ongoing boat maintenance, you should know that pontoon boats are relatively easy to keep in good condition. Compared to more powerful boats with more complex internal moving parts, pontoon boats are a breeze.
  • Versatility. Some boat owners love pontoon boats just because of how versatile they truly are. You may not be able to practice certain types of water sports, but pontoon boats are friendly for a wide variety of different activities. If you're not sure what you're looking for in a boat, pontoon boats are reasonable to consider.

Drawbacks of Pontoon Boats

There are some drawbacks to pontoon boats, however:

  • Activity limitations. Because pontoon boats are large and not very powerful, there are certain activity limitations you'll need to deal with. It's possible to wakeboard and water ski with a pontoon boat, but this isn't the ideal vessel for these hobbies. If you're looking for an exciting thrill on the water, you're probably better off looking for a different type of vessel entirely.
  • Sleeping limitations. Pontoon boats are wide and flat, giving them little room for accommodations like sleeping facilities. Taking an overnight trip is certainly possible, but it may not be comfortable on this type of vessel. If you're going to be spending the night regularly, it's in your best interest to look for something else.
  • Weaknesses compared to other fishing boats. Pontoon boats work well for fishing, but not as well as other boats that are designed specifically for this activity. If you're enthusiastic about fishing, and you plan on doing it regularly, a pontoon boat may not be your first choice.
  • Transportation issues. Your pontoon boat is going to be large, heavy, and somewhat cumbersome compared to other types of boats – which means transporting it can be a significant challenge.

Is a Pontoon Boat Right for You?

So, is a pontoon boat right for you?

If you love the idea of going fast and practicing extreme water sports, you probably shouldn't get a pontoon boat. The same is true if you want to take overnight trips on your boat regularly or if you're a diehard angler. But if you want a large, flat, affordable boat that can accommodate large groups of people, or if your primary motivation in purchasing a boat is finding a way to relax, a pontoon boat could be a perfect fit.

If you're not convinced by this, or if you're just having trouble conceptualising whether a pontoon boat is a good fit for you, one of your best options is renting a pontoon boat. This way, you'll get first-hand experience driving and enjoying a pontoon boat – and you can decide for yourself whether or not this is the fit for you. Alternatively, you can head to the marina and ask pontoon boat owners how satisfied they are with their purchases.

Are you in the market for a pontoon boat or another type of boat? TheYachtMarket is a great place to start. We have thousands of new and used boats for sale, covering almost any need you can imagine – so check out our vast selection today!

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