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 in the midst of the lake, it’s possible! You just lower it when you’re ready to return home.

They’re a wonderful option for pontooners to standard boat lifts or storage devices found on docks. Because, as you’ll soon discover, pontoon sea legs follow you and your boat wherever they go.

You may not even require a boat trailer to transport your pontoon to storage.

How Pontoon Sea Legs Work

Sea legs, which are 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, which is tucked away and fitted behind a seat compartment.

They require at least a 750 cold cranking amp battery, such as this Optima Deep Cycle Marine, to function correctly (check price on Amazon).

Check Latest Price

Strong Pontoon Sea Legs Materials

Sea legs are often made of extruded aluminum alloy tubing that is bent at an angle to give strength for a hefty pontoon boat. Aluminum 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 larger pontoons.

Pontoon Sea Leg Manufacturers

Two respectable Minnesota firms are now producing sea legs. Here’s a quick rundown of each:

Hewitt

 

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

The brand Sea-Legs has sold over 10,000 pairs in the United States and Canada. To avoid becoming trapped, their device has 3,000 pounds of extraction and retracting force. 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

Depending on the model you choose, the cost of installing sea legs on a pontoon might vary. However, here’s a quick rundown:

Sea legs will set you back about $4,300 for a two-tube pontoon boat. That’s only for the legs.

An extra $700 was spent on installation, for a total of $5,000.

Sea legs cost about $6500 for a tritoon pontoon boat, plus $1000 for installation, for a total of $7500.

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 use them incorrectly 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-mold protection for pontoon tubes
  • Without the need of wires or pulleys, it may be quickly deployed anyplace.
  • 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 have an impact on 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. The pricing is one of the most significant issues. If you don’t want to spend money on sea legs, lifts, or even a dock, there are other options 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 useful, Houdini-esque nautical knots.

What’s the drawback? The pontoons will not be protected from mold 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.

To be fair, 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 a smart 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 own dock right now. Sea legs are not cheap. Docks are the same way. Our budgets don’t always allow for them… Some people are simply more cost-conscious than others.

How Many Sea Legs Your Pontoon Needs

The number of sea legs you need is determined on the overall length and weight of your pontoon. Keep in mind, 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. Obviously, 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

Despite the fact that sea legs have been supporting pontoons since 1996, they are nevertheless a new and increasing trend.

Check with your state and local governments to see what permissions are required. It’s likely that sea legs 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 you’re not sure 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 a 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.

If you have any questions, you can seek advice from United Marine Underwriters.

Conclusion

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 certain: they’ll not only preserve your pontoon, but they’ll also be a wonderful talking point!

ponboatponboatponboatponboat