A pontoon boat is one with a flat bottom and is often used for maximum comfort rather than speed. Pontoon boats are often called party boats since they can accommodate a crowd, and they make it easy to access the water for when you want to swim off your boat. Since pontoon boats are different than standard boats, you want to ensure you know what to look for before you make a purchase. Note a few factors to consider when buying a new pontoon boat.
1. Number of tubes
Because a pontoon boat has a flat bottom, it will be equipped with tubes on either side and even along the bottom. These tubes are hollow and they are what actually keep the boat afloat. Pontoons usually come with two tubes on the side and some will have a third tube in the middle of the boat. If you want to go skiing with your boat or want it to go faster for any reason, you'll want to invest in three tubes. This will mean more flotation and less drag, and in turn, more speed for your boat. Pontoons with two tubes are usually more affordable and they work for standard boating and even for towing an inflatable, so consider your budget versus your plans for your boat.
2. Water access
Since the pontoon boat is flat and wide, it's usually easier to access the water with this type of boat than it is with a regular boat, which may tip every time you step off the side. However, if you want to access the water constantly with your pontoon, be sure it offers a side ladder or at least a side step. A rear deck can also mean added space for lounging; swimmers can also dry off on the back deck before they get back on the boat. Look for these features if you want to use your pontoon for swimming once you're on the water.
And to make sure you can even get on your boat, your jetty or pier will need to be in good condition. Contact a company like Coastal Pontoon & Jetty Repairs if your access point needs to be totally rebuilt or repaired.
3. Features for your activities
You can always outfit your pontoon with features you need for your water activities, but it's usually best to ensure they're already installed, so you know they'll fit the boat and to avoid added work and cost once you own your new pontoon. This can mean rear access and a ski tow bar for water skiing or fishing pole holders along the sides of the boat and fishing seating. If you want to use your pontoon for cruising, choose an engine with maximum fuel storage so you can spend as much time as you want on the water without having to return to shore to refuel.