You have just come across a winning lottery ticket or you want to finally spend a couple of thousands from your savings in order to get a vehicle for your entertainment. You’ve looked into the car and motorcycle offer, as well as some small airplanes you know you’ll probably never pilot, and finally decided to get a boat. It seems like the really rational decision here: the ultimate way of relaxing and wasting time which can, if necessary, become the engine of an entire extreme sports festival. What’s more, unlike the other land- and air- vehicles, boats don’t necessarily require your immediate attention when driving: you can just take it to your favorite place on a lake or sea, and then let it drift slowly while you’re enjoying a nice cocktail and an even nicer barbecue.
However, as you may imagine, there are dozens of types of boats you can buy, ranging from a couple hundred dollars to exorbitant amounts which are much better left to the imagination. You can buy a simple raft as well as a canoe, kayak, fishing boat, ski boat, catboat or cutter, or even a small yacht if your finances allow it. The palette of options is, therefore, quite wide, a lot wider than what the land and air offer. What’s more, it has plenty of specialized options for different purposes and environments, all designed to make the most out of whatever type of water they’re placed on.
Then again, you want to relax, don’t you? You want to take your sweet time and enjoy every bit of your free time with your friends and family. For this purpose, there really is nothing better than a good pontoon boat. A pontoon boat is designed to do what so many other boats can’t. On a platform small enough to be pulled to the nearest lake by your average towing truck, you can organize a full-on party, you can hitch a couple of water ski ropes and skid across the water, bring your portable grill for the ultimate barbecue or simply chill and teach your kids how to fish. Here are a couple of things which could make you consider buying a pontoon boat:
1. Great versatility
Out of all kinds of boats, there probably isn’t a single one serving more possible purposes than a pontoon boat. As said above, this kind of boat is generally easy to tow and can be thus moved to some most surprising locations – in fact, should the road condition allow it, you could bring your pontoon boat with you from your favorite gulf to your favorite mountain lake. And that’s just for the transportation part. As far as utility is concerned, a pontoon boat goes a lot further.
It’s true that you compromise a lot when buying such a boat. It’s not amazingly maneuverable and it doesn’t fare very well in shallow waters and generally tight places, so at a first glance you’d say that fishing and water skiing are out of the question. However, that’s far from being the case. In fact, if water skiing is what you’re planning, you better be glad that your boat can accommodate at least 10 people who can easily take turns, and has enough speed to make it fun. If you’re going for a fishing trip, there’s nothing easier than turning it into a first-class fishing boat by simply replacing the couches with some comfortable chairs and adding whatever fishing gear you want. As a plus, a pontoon boat’s amazing stability makes for a great fishing platform which will definitely not capsize when you’re dragging a bigger prey.
Don’t forget about all the other types of activities you’ll never have on a fishing or ski boat. You can install a grill and have the supreme barbecue. You can bring over a couple of friends and friends of your friends and have an awesome party. You can invite the love of your life and watch the stars together while floating gently on the moonlit lake. Or you can simply enjoy your time alone, lying on a comfy armchair with a pack of your favorite beer or a cup of your best tea and a good book. All these and whatever else your imagination can come up with are made available to you by a pontoon boat.
2. Safety and stability
As you can imagine, it’s not particularly safe to only have an unstable platform between you and a couple hundred feet of water you can drown in. However, if that’s your number one concern related to boats, you’re pretty much safe with a pontoon boat.
Due to its dual hull or even triple hull construction (as a catamaran or trimaran), a pontoon boat is about the most stable thing on water, besides a rock. In fact, the larger the surface in contact with water, the better the stability – which is why a raft is a lot more difficult to capsize than a kayak. As a result, you can literally have people dance on it without anyone or anything falling off. Additionally, pontoon boats have a couple of other extra safety elements as well. This includes railing, which protects your furniture and children from slipping off the boat, as well as foam-filled hulls which will not sink even when they’re pierced by a rock or something similar. What’s more, a feature that rafts and pontoon boats share is that it doesn’t matter if you get water on the platform, since it is entirely above water. By contrast, a fishing boat will make your life hard if you get water in, since its concave shape will retain water.
Admittedly, a pontoon boat tends to go head-first and plow into the waves, something that results in capsizing. The thing is, you have to be out in the storm for that to happen – in which case, you’re probably out of luck regardless of the type of boat. At any rate, pontoon boats are classified as some of the safest and most stable boats around.
3. Comfort and accessories
You want to go fishing, but you also kinda want to stay on the couch and have some tea? Not a problem! On a pontoon boat, you can easily fit the content of the average living room, complete with fireplace and all (just kidding, please leave the fireplace at home). You can and you should add some comfortable couches and armchairs, a table, a sound system, a grill, and generally whatever you can think of. You can even fit a lamp post somewhere, if that’s what tickles your fancy. What’s more, you can change your furniture whenever you want, pretty much the same way you’d do at home, as there is a wide array of options available on the market for pontoon boats.
It’s also important that a pontoon boat can usually accommodate 10-20 people, depending on the size, something that is out of question when it comes to anything else but a ferryboat. You can have a proper party on it, complete with all of the accessories mentioned above, and entertain everyone a lot better than a simple club ever could. The inherent stability also plays a great role when it comes to comfort – after all, you don’t want people to spill their drinks when you start the engine and even less to have the boat capsize when everybody starts dancing.
4. Ease of use, towing, and maintenance
Simply put, steering a pontoon boat is not exactly rocket science. Of course, it does take practice and a certain level of qualification, but it’s nowhere near as difficult to work with as a sailboat. It’s not as maneuverable as a simple fishing boat, not to mention a kayak or something similar, but it still leaves you with plenty of options to move. What’s more, you can even drag it sideways using another boat, if it’s really necessary, without much risk of it capsizing – something you can’t say about other common types of boats. You also don’t have to bother raising the mast and furling the sails, nor do you need the strength of six men to paddle. All you need to do is sit comfortably on your captain’s seat and drive around.
As far as towing is concerned, you can be at ease: the pontoon boat stays as high on a trailer as it stays on water. This means there’s very little risk of damage to your lower engine parts when driving up a ramp. Of course, it’s always a good idea to trim up a bit when towing your boat, as you can never be too much on the safe side, but it’s not a crime if you’re just too tired to do it after a day of relaxing.
Maintenance is, in every aspect, piece of cake. If any piece of furniture is degraded, it’s really easy to find replacements and the replacing process is pretty much similar to replacing the furniture at home. If the hull gets bent or dented, you don’t have to worry about sinking and it can be fairly easily repaired by a specialist. What’s more, when you get out of the water, you don’t have to bother removing all the water from the hull, as the aluminum will get dry by itself anyway. By contrast, water must be carefully removed from the gel coat paint of a ski, otherwise, it will cause stains.
Don’t forget to buy and use a cover! You can get a good one for only $200 or so and it will spare thousands of dollars in maintenance later on.
5. Longevity and customization
When you buy a pontoon boat, you better be sure it’s going to become a long-term relationship. When people buy boats for speed and whatnot, they always want to upgrade to the latest model – which is not the case with a pontoon boat. Buying a fairly recent model will ensure you many years or proper functioning and you will most likely fall in love with “her” too much to want something else. As such, it’s nothing uncommon for people to have 20-25-year-old pontoon boats.
There’s also another thing to long-term projects: they don’t reach completion upon purchase of the boat. Whenever you have the time and the money, you can change the furniture, install a better sound system, get a better grill, a couple of fishing poles, and many other things you could use on a boat. You can even get hardwood floor, table, and railing if that’s what floats your boat (hehe). You can even do a mechanical/electrical renovation if your skills allow it. All in all, a pontoon boat is a completely customizable piece and it’d be a shame to leave it as you bought it.
These are only a few of the advantages you get with a pontoon boat. There are many others which we leave to your imagination as we advise you to get the leisure vehicle of your dreams!