A Complete Guide to Pontoon Boat Sea Legs
What are pontoon sea legs, and how do you get them?
When engaged, sea legs are two portable hydraulic systems that connect to the underside of a pontoon boat and elevate it roughly six feet above water. Even amid the lake, it’s possible! You lower it when you’re ready to return home.
They’re an excellent option for pontooners to standard boat lifts or storage devices on docks. Because, as you’ll soon discover, pontoon sea legs follow you and your boat wherever they go.
You may not require a boat trailer to transport your pontoon to storage.
How Pontoon Sea Legs Work
Sea legs, attached to the bottom of your pontoon and driven by a battery, pull the boat out of the water and into a holding position.
A one-horsepower, 12-volt pump activates the sea legs’ hydraulic system, tucked away and fitted behind a seat compartment.
They require a 750 cold cranking amp battery to function correctly, such as this Optima Deep Cycle Marine(check price on Amazon).
Strong Pontoon Sea Legs Materials
Sea legs are often made of extruded aluminium alloy tubing bent at an angle to strengthen a hefty pontoon boat. Aluminium is also effective in preventing erosion. A 48 x 18 pad foot at the end of each sea leg maintains the construction along the lake bottom.
Steel alloy piston rods support the four hydraulic cylinders, which have a lift capability of about 6,500 pounds, which should be enough to carry most oversized pontoons.
Pontoon Sea Leg Manufacturers
Two respectable Minnesota firms are now producing sea legs. Here’s a quick rundown of each:
Pontoons are available in a variety of models from Hewitt. One variant features a broad base for enhanced stability in the wind and on the water. There are also electric and hydraulic variants of sea legs.
Sea-Legs has sold over 10,000 pairs in the United States and Canada. Their device has 3,000 pounds of extraction and retracting force to avoid becoming trapped. This is ideal if your lake’s substrate has sand, rock, or mucky sections where the legs might become caught.
The Cost of Pontoon Sea Legs
The cost of installing sea legs on a pontoon might vary depending on your chosen model. However, here’s a quick rundown:
Sea legs will cost you about $4,300 for a two-tube pontoon boat. That’s only for the legs.
An extra $700 was spent on installation, for $5,000.
Sea legs cost about $ 6,500 for a tritoon pontoon boat, plus $ 1,000 for installation, for a total of $ 7,500.
Expect to pay roughly $4500 for a standard 26-foot lift canopy, which does not include setup or installation.
Then there’s the gimmicks and frills! Do you want to manage your pontoon’s sea legs using a remote? It will cost between $300 and $400.
The warranty “You will discover a warranty with your sea legs. However, they may differ and range from a one-year to a two-year warranty. Inquire about the specifics of your warranty with your dealer, and read the tiny print! The guarantee on your sea legs may be invalidated if you misuse them after they’ve been fitted.
Pontoon Sea Legs vs. Traditional Hydraulic Lifts
Traditional hydraulic lifts are not the same as sea legs. The most noticeable distinction is that sea legs are attached to the pontoon’s bottom. Traditional hydraulic lifts, on the other hand, are seen on docks and in storage facilities.
Consider the following extra benefits and drawbacks before purchasing either sea legs or hydraulic lifts:
Advantages of Sea Legs Over Lifts
- It eliminates the need to tow your boat to docks or lifts.
- Stops a pontoon from crashing onto the dock.
- Activated with a simple push of a button
- Anti-algae and anti-mould protection for pontoon tubes
- It may be quickly deployed anywhere without the need for wires or pulleys.
- Most pontoons require installation.
- Drifting is avoided, and anchors are not required.
Disadvantages of Sea Legs Over Lifts
- As they add 350 pounds to your pontoon, they impact its performance and towing capabilities.
- Only pontoons between 18 and 30 feet will fit.
- The weight of the pontoon has an impact on sea legs. (The weight cannot exceed 5,800 pounds for optimal performance.)
- The cost of sea legs is not inexpensive.
Alternatives to Sea Legs and Lifts
For some pontoon owners, sea legs aren’t a suitable match. Pricing is one of the most significant issues. If you don’t want to spend money on sea legs, lifts, or even a dock, other options exist for protecting and securing your boat.
There are a few alternatives available to you:
1) Anchor your boat to a dock or a deck. To begin, master some of those practical, Houdini-esque nautical knots.
What’s the drawback? The pontoons will not be protected from mould or algae using this procedure. It’s also possible that it won’t protect you from injuries caused by bashing your head against the dock’s side. Make sure you have a solid pontoon cover to safeguard your boat if you go this way.
While utilizing sea legs, you’ll probably want to protect your pontoon as well. Because it will still be exposed to the weather, a decent cover, such as this Pyle UV protection cover (see price on Amazon) that is mildew resistant and waterproof, is an intelligent option.
2) Use a trailer. “Tow your boat to and from the water by loading it onto your trailer.
These are fantastic solutions if you can’t afford sea legs or your dock. Sea legs are not cheap. Docks are the same way. Our budgets don’t always allow for them… Some people are more cost-conscious than others.
How Many Sea Legs Your Pontoon Needs
Your pontoon’s overall length and weight determine the sea legs you need. Remember, however, that your pontoon may not be suited for sea legs if it is longer than 30 feet or shorter than 18 feet.
In most situations, though, each end of the boat is equipped with a set of sea legs. Longer pontoons will necessitate more. To learn what your pontoon’s make and model requires, consult your dealer and installer.
Sea Leg Safety and Stability
There have been reports of pontoons turning over while on their sea legs. But don’t be put off by this. All you have to do is utilize them in the correct circumstances.
The stability of a sea leg is affected by muddy underwater silt and even heavy winds; therefore, double-check these circumstances before installing.
They also won’t work in water with a rough bottom. It compromises the sea legs’ safety and stability.
Laws and Permits for Sea Legs
Although sea legs have been supporting pontoons since 1996, they are a new and increasing trend.
Check with your state and local governments to see what permissions are required. Likely, sealegs aren’t even allowed where you live. Avoid spending a lot of money or having to get rid of them!
It’s always a good idea to double-check everything. If unsure where to begin, consult the United States Coast Guard for further information on laws and regulations. If you’re still not sure, get in touch with someone in your region.
Sea Leg Insurance
Nowadays, insurance is required for almost everything. You’ll also want insurance to protect your pontoon sea legs. They are not permanent construction and may require a separate form of insurance because they are attached to the bottom of your pontoon.
While you’re at it, double-check your pontoon coverage. With these additions, your existing coverage may vary. In addition, your insurance provider may want information on how your boat is housed.
You can seek advice from United Marine Underwriters if you have any questions.
Even though they’re odd and make your pontoon appear to walk on water, pontoon sea legs are a viable alternative to regular lifts.
They might not be suitable for all pontoon owners. But if they do, one thing is sure: they’ll not only preserve your pontoon, but they’ll also be a fantastic talking point!