A pontoon boat is a popular type of flattish boat that relies on two, or even three floats to stay on top of the water.
But can pontoon boats handle rough water? Generally speaking, yes, pontoon boats can handle rough water, even when it’s choppy from heavy waves. What makes these boats capable of handling rough water are the pontoons, or tubes, beneath the boat. They are used for balance and maneuvering.
There are different types of pontoons with various types of conditions that keep them afloat while in the water. So in this article, we’ll discuss characteristics of pontoon boats and conditions for handling rough water.
Are Pontoon Boats Safe?
Pontoon boats are typically safe vehicles; usually more safe than your average V-hulled vessel. What makes them safe boats to use while out on the water are the two hulls, or two giant tubes, that sit under the boat and on top of the water.
These hulls are meant to keep enough air inside of themselves to protect the boat from hitting the water and crashing. The size of the pontoon boat is another factor that makes it safe.
They can be small, medium, or large; and the more space there is, the more security the pontoon boat has to keep the passengers within it safe.
How To Drive A Pontoon Boat In Rough Water?
While driving your pontoon boat through rough water, here are some helpful instructions:
- Always keep your eyes on the sky and determine if heavy winds are approaching. This keeps your boat out of bad weather and structurally safe.
- If you notice any bad weather such as heavy winds, thunder/lightning, or big waves, leave the water as soon as possible to avoid any potential risks that could occur.
- Slightly speed up when approaching a heavy wave. This will make the platoon boat go above the wave instead of under it.
- Go with the wind, not against it.
Optimal Water Conditions for Pontoon Boats
Pontoon boats do well in protected, or closed shore, waters. These bodies of water are generally calmer than the open ocean, and have less animals and weather changes than the ocean as well.
You’ll also want to make sure that the weather is nice on the day you plan to go out. The weather plays a major part in how bodies of water create waves, so if the weather is nice, then the water conditions will most likely be fine.
Additionally, make sure that the water is clear of debris and large animals that swim towards the surface.
Does The Weather Affect A Pontoon Boat?
Typical weather such as a sunny day and a nice breeze does not have an affect on a pontoon boat. This type of weather won’t sway the boat off course, nor will it make it go beneath the surface of the water.
The type of weather that does affect a pontoon boat is extreme weather.
Extreme weather such as a tsunami, hurricane, or an ocean storm can affect the pontoon boat by causing massive waves in the open water, which could possibly go above the boat and make it tip over or capsize.
Can Tritoon Help In Rough Water?
Tritoons do very well in rough water! The reason for this is because of the extra pontoon. A third pontoon creates even more balance from the bow, stern, and sides of the boat.
Tritoons also sit higher on the water, which means there will be less of a chance of the boat submerging beneath the open water. Let’s also add that tritoon boats are better at going over and through bigger waves, which makes them safer and stronger than the average pontoon.
Tritoons are readily available and are necessary for going out into larger bodies of water, such as the ocean.
Modifications For Driving Through Rough Water
Breaching or mooring the boat is great for driving through rough water. Start slow when you hit shallow water and speed up as the water becomes more open and still. Always check your surroundings while turning and handling the pontoon when the waters are rough.
Also, pay attention to the manufacturer top speed recommendations so that you aren’t going to face to maneuver properly. Trimming is another modification that will help you while driving through rough water. Simply reduce your speed and turn the boat slowly so that you reduce any chances of noseconing.
How Do You Keep A Pontoon Boat Stable?
To keep a pontoon boat stable in rough waters, first, you’ll want to keep the pontoons above the water to avoid the risk of them nose diving into the water.
Also, if you come up against a large wave, it’s best to speed up just before hitting the wave; this will keep the boat on top of the wave which will allow you to go further and stay on the water.
Additionally, adjusting your course on a consistent basis when approaching a wave will keep the boat stable. Adjusting the course will allow you to maneuver around and through waves.
Can You Capsize A Pontoon Boat?
In most cases, pontoon boats will not capsize based on simple or easy waves within protected waters. Typically, the pontoons do a great job at keeping the boat fully intact.
In extreme cases, yes, a pontoon boat can capsize. Some of these extreme cases include thunderstorms, excessive winds, or even hurricanes.
When large waves -like that in the ocean- hit the front of a pontoon boat, the pontoons could possibly dive into the wave instead of riding on top or over the wave. This incidence is the beginning of the capsize of a pontoon boat.
Tips For Keeping A Pontoon Boat Balanced
To keep a pontoon boat balanced while out in open water primarily comes down to two factors: weight distribution and safe loading.
The weight of the items that are kept on the boat should be distributed evenly throughout the boat to ensure that the boat does not lean over towards one side, or completely tip over.
Safe loading includes that the items on the boat are loaded properly with even distribution as well. Also, keeping the items away from the tubes and closer to the inside of the boat keeps the pontoon balanced as well.
Can Pontoon Boats Go Offshore?
Pontoon boats were created and designed for use in protected waters, or waters that have a boundary close enough to another shore. In protected waters, the sea state is usually flat, wide, and calm. This allows for the bow of the pontoon boat to stay above the water when a major wave hits, versus it falling into the water and potentially sinking.
Overall, pontoon boats were not designed to go offshore, but many captains and boat sailors will attempt to take it to open waters at their own risk.
How Fast Can A Pontoon Boat Go?
For the average pontoon boat, it can ride between 18 and 25 miles per hour, and about 28 miles per hour at top speed.
You may not think this is a very fast speed, but it is more than fast enough for you to engage in many different water sports such as water skiing or tubing. You should also know different pontoon boats have different speed limits.
The higher the HP, the faster the pontoon boat can go, the further it can go, and the less gas it will need to go its top distance.
Do Pontoon Boats Have Loud Outboard Noise?
Outboard noise is a fancy term for engine noise from the outside motor. Pontoon boats are not very fast, which makes people want to overcompensate with larger motors, or even more than one engine!
The fact that there is more than one engine, or a motor that may be too big, a pontoon boat could express a loud outboard noise. Another trait that could cause outboard noise is an older engine.
They are typically more rusted due to consistent and significant water exposure, which causes them to work harder, thus, making more noise.