Pontoon Boats

Considered the most popular boats in the world, these multi-hull craft rely on pontoons, which resemble large tubes, to float. They’re comfortable because of their wide decks and couch-like seating. And while primarily used for leisure trips, pontoons with large and powerful engines can be used to pull skiers.

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And while primarily used for leisure trips, pontoons with large and powerful engines can be used to pull skiers. A pontoon is a flotation device with buoyancy sufficient to float itself as well as a heavy load. A pontoon boat is a flattish boat that relies on pontoons to float. Pontoons may be used on boats, rafts, barges, docks, airboats,

A pontoon boat is a flattish boat that relies on pontoons to float. Pontoons may be used on boats, rafts, barges, docks, airboats, hovercrafts, floatplanes or seaplanes. Pontoons may support a platform, creating a raft. A raft supporting a house-like structure is a houseboat.

A fixed platform can be used as a dock. Common boat designs are a catamaran with two pontoons, or a trimaran with three. Pontoons may be simply constructed from sealed cylinders such as pipes or barrels, or fabricated as boxes from metal or concrete.

Pontoon boat drafts may be as shallow as eight inches, which reduces risk of running aground and underwater damage. The pontoon effect is when a large force applied to the side capsizes a pontoon boat without much warning, particularly a top-heavy boat.

Pontoon boats for pleasure boating and fishing can be low cost for their capacity, and cheaper to insure than other boats, even when equipped with substantial engines. Small inflatable pontoon boats are one or two person, catamaran type boats, designed for leisure and fishing.

Their pontoons are made out of abrasion resistant PVC and nylon with aluminum, steel and/or plastic frames for support. They are powered with paddles, oars and often with electric trolling motors using deep cycle lead batteries.

Commonly they are equipped with motor mount, battery storage area, fishing rod holders, canopy, fishfinder mount, small anchor and other required fishing gear. Such boats are suitable for ponds, lakes, rivers and seas during calm weather.

However, due to light weight, they are susceptible to waves and windy conditions. Nonetheless, such boats are often used even for big game fishing. Pontoon boats are used as small vehicle ferries to cross rivers and lakes in many parts of the world, especially in Africa.

Pontoon ferries may be motorised, such as the Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi River, or powered by another boat, or pulled by cables. A type of ferry known as the cable ferry (“punts” was what they were called in the medieval times and in modern Australia and New Zealand) pull themselves across a river using a motor or human power applied to the cable, which also guides the pontoon.

The flotation tubes of RIB (rigid inflatable boats) are often referred to as pontoons. A raft is any flat structure for support or transportation over water. It is the most basic of boat design, characterized by the absence of a hull.

Although there are cross-over boat types that blur this definition, rafts are usually kept afloat by using any combination of buoyant materials such as wood, sealed barrels, or inflated air chambers (such aspontoons), and are typically not propelled by an engine