5 Cons Of Pontoon Boats You Should Know About

Pontoon boats are fantastic, but it’s essential to pick a boat that you can buy with your eyes wide open, understanding both the benefits and drawbacks of having one.

I wouldn’t dissuade someone from having a close look at pontoon boats, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of boats. To assist you in making an educated selection, consider the following drawbacks.

1. Speed

In extreme conditions, pontoon boats may reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour), although most pontoon boats cruise at roughly 28 to 35 miles per hour if they have a 90 horsepower engine or more and a length of less than 24 feet. That’s quite quick for just about any towing water sport, but pontoons aren’t speed demons.

You’re barking up the wrong tree if you want to race, impress people, or traverse a large lake rapidly.

Newer pontoon boats, on the other hand, are beginning to include bigger motors and three tubes, or tritoons, which may give extremely quick performances.

2. Rough Water

Most of the time, pontoon boats provide a very stable and wobble-free ride; but, in strong storms with a lot of chop on the water, a pontoon boat is more risky than a typical V-hull boat.

When big, ocean-sized waves reach the front of a pontoon boat, the pontoons have the option of diving into the wave rather than riding over it. This can result in capsizing in severe conditions.

When a storm is approaching, get off the water! This is true for any boat, but it is especially true for pontoons. Not only may the waves be dangerous, but a pontoon’s high profile can make trailering or tying down impractical during a windstorm.

This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and a guy almost lost his life attempting to help me. I was enjoying an evening in my boat (on its second voyage) on my small local lake, which is about 2 minutes from my house. A storm was approaching, and I figured we’d receive a light shower soon enough—no big problem.

When the first showers fell, we made our way to the dock. The winds picked up to nearly 30 mph in a couple of seconds, and the waves smashed the boat. We arrived at the port, but the gusts were so strong that we were afraid the boat would be battered, so we stood on the dock and pushed it out.

Another boater noticed us and came over to assist us. He dove into the water (wet from riding a jet ski) to push the boat away from the dock–in between the boat and the dock. We couldn’t keep the boat away from the dock because of an unexpected burst of wind (I was standing on the dock with my passenger, and the jet ski guy was in the water). The boat pressed hard against the pier, virtually trapping the jet ski rider between the 2,500-pound boat and the dock. We probably would have killed him if we hadn’t pushed with all our might and gotten him out.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll have to deal with fate. You should already be off the water if a storm is approaching!

3. Wake Shape

My pontoon boat’s wake is probably the last thing I’d consider when buying a boat, yet wake form is quite significant to certain people.

The wake created by a pontoon’s outboard is similar to that of a regular ski boat, but there is also a wake created by the pontoons on each side. As a result, the wake of the boat is less “humped” and significantly wider than that of a regular boat.

When being pulled behind the boat, this makes it difficult to catch much air, but you can still catch a bit, and you’re surely traveling fast enough to enjoy an amazing ride.

4. Handling

A pontoon boat’s turning radius is approximately as good as your pickup hauling a boat—not good. A pontoon boat is a poor choice for making hairpin bends and getting performance handling.

This is vital not only for serious tow watersports enthusiasts, but also for anglers who want to capture some fish in a small canal or cove.

My 22-foot pontoon boat’s turning radius is estimated to be roughly 25 feet (7.8 meters).

5. Outboard Noise

Older outboard engines are noisy, whereas contemporary outboard engines are quiet. In fact, I can’t tell if my Yamaha 115hp engine is running or not at idle. The motor is audible at wide open throttle (WOT), and it is loud, but not unbearably so.

In fact, if you’re a serious angler, you might want to consider investing in a quieter pontoon trolling engine.

A pontoon’s outboard motor is definitely noisier than an inboard, but current outboards are extremely beautiful and the difference isn’t noticeable.

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