Top Pontoon Boat Tips, Tricks, and More

Pontoon boats are versatile and great for both leisure and entertainment. Whether you are into water sports like skiing, or just want to hang out with the family, a pontoon boat is there to suit your needs. 

Pontoon Boat Handling

You’ve got a new boat and you are ready to get onto the water. We get that. Let’s go over the basics to help make your first outing on your pontoon boat a success. Then, you’ll be ready for the water.

Launching Your Pontoon Boat

Lots of practice and proper preparation are the keys to launching your pontoon boat alone. You can practice in your driveway, the street, or in an empty parking lot.

Before you launch your boat into the water, be sure to disconnect outlets and light bulb plugs, stow equipment inside the boat, check the drain plug, and gather mooring lines and fenders.

Now, you're ready to start launching your boat.

Approaching the launch ramp can be tricky without someone to guide you. But that is what you practiced for in the previous step.

Line your vehicle and pontoon trailer as straight as you can and stop once there is about a trailer’s length to go.

To get close to the water’s edge, you will need to drive slowly and adjust in small increments.

Apply the brake and park once the water reaches just above the trailer wheels. Now, you will want to unhook safety chains and straps before securing the anchor rope.

With an extra line available and secure hold of the rope, pass the rope through the driver's window.

Back your vehicle up, loosening the rope as you go, and time the brake just right to give momentum to the pontoon.

Securely tie the rope to the dock to keep the boat in place while you go back and park your vehicle.

Driving Your Pontoon Boat

Once you and your passengers are properly outfitted with personal floatation devices (PFD), you will want to ensure that your fuel tank is full, and your radio is operational.

If you use your phone for communication back at shore, make sure that it has a full charge to its battery. Secure loose and heavy equipment on the boat deck to avoid injury.

Now that you have followed safety measures, it is time to start your pontoon boat. Turn the ignition or motor to the “on” position and wait about 1-5 minutes for the engine to warm up.

Once you are ready to take off, trim the pontoon motor so that the boat is sitting in the water at a shallow level. Next, untie the ropes that are connecting the boat to the dock. Once everyone is seated, you are ready for takeoff.

As you take off, remember to use small throttle bursts and reverse slowly. Like driving a car, pointing the boat towards the direction you want to go will guide you that way.

Once free from the launching dock and headed the correct way, shift into “forward” mode and gently push on the throttle.

First Time on the Water

Pontoon boats are versatile and great as a first boat. While it is an investment, you can choose a boat that is built for power or one that is great for all activities. Tubing, fishing, or just relaxing will make your time on a pontoon boat marvelous.

Pontoon Boat on Rough Water

Pontoons handle themselves well on choppy water. However, tipping over can still happen. One way to prevent flipping is to make sure that your cargo load’s weight is dispersed evenly.

Adjust your course if you’re heading into rough water and cruise at a 30-45-degree angle to the waves. Always keep an eye out on the weather and prioritize safety.

Docking a Pontoon Boat

Practice, practice, practice. Like most things in life, if you want to succeed, you will need to practice. Observing someone more experienced can also help you learn.

Momentum and speed are things you should not confuse. You need momentum to dock, but not much speed – especially if it is windy, with strong currents.

You want to gently shift into position and not fight the wind or currents. If you are struggling, you can always enlist the assistance of a crew member or get professional lessons.

Loading a Pontoon Boat

Once your boat is docked, you will need to retrieve your vehicle.

Pro tip: Always keep your car keys in your pocket to avoid losing them.

Back your trailer into the water until about two-thirds of it is underwater. Untie your boat and pull it to the trailer, aligning it with the trailer as you go. Snap the winch line on the bow and the crank the winch to move the boat onto the trailer.

As quick as you can, get to your vehicle and pull the boat up further by driving into the parking lot. Remove the drain plug and put the tie-downs on your boat. Remember to rinse your boat before leaving.

Pontoon Trailering

We will move onto trailering your boat, which can be tricky for some. Limiting the risk of damaging your boat is a priority, as repairs can be costly.

How to Trailer a Pontoon Boat

There are lots of tips available to help you trailer your boat. You can also get a trailer with guide rails to assist further.

Scissor Trailer

These trailers are designed for pontoon boats, making them easier to use. Scissor trailers work better in shallow waters.

Shallow Trailer

You do not want to submerge your rear tires on your vehicle as wet tires will create a slick surface. You will lose traction.

Instead, make sure that your trailer is set into the water deep enough that the boat will float onto it, not hover above it.

Enjoying Your Pontoon Boat

There are so many activities that you can do on your new boat. Here are some fun ideas to get you started.

Entertaining

With ample seating and plenty of room to move around, these boats are suitable for dining and other boat parties. Finger foods and sandwiches are perfect, since you can prepare these ahead of time. Or, store them separately and assemble when ready.

Fishing

We know – there are some downsides to fishing in a pontoon boat. However, there are some wonderful advantages that you should be aware of before scoffing.

You will have plenty of room to fish in comfort along with friends. The stability of the boat means that kids can safely fish. On top of fishing with friends and family, you can purchase fishing accessories for your boat.

These boats are best for fishing in less choppy freshwater environments during calm, sunny days. It is great for a relaxing day of fishing.

How to Pull a Tube Behind a Pontoon Boat

Tubing on a pontoon boat is incredibly fun and a great joy for the whole family. A pontoon with a powerful motor is suggested for activities like this, but most will do just fine.

Depending on your boat's power, you can make tubing be a slow, leisurely thing or have the speed to glide your friends along the water. Make sure everyone is wearing their PFD.

Hook a tow rope to the U-Bolts or eyelets at the end of the pontoon. The tow rope or rope designed for tubing will be strong enough to resist snapping.

Tube responsibly. Stay away from other boats and always follow local and state boating laws.

Tubing on a pontoon boat is incredibly fun and a great joy for the whole family. A pontoon with a powerful motor is suggested for activities like this, but most will do just fine.

Depending on your boat's power, you can make tubing be a slow, leisurely thing or have the speed to glide your friends along the water. Make sure everyone is wearing their PFD.

Hook a tow rope to the U-Bolts or eyelets at the end of the pontoon. The tow rope or rope designed for tubing will be strong enough to resist snapping.

Tube responsibly. Stay away from other boats and always follow local and state boating laws.

Maintaining Your Pontoon Boat

With an investment like a pontoon boat, you will want to take proper care of it to increase its lifespan.

How to Clean a Pontoon Boat

Before leaving the parking lot, make sure that you clean any dirt off of your boat. You do not want flying river debris to hit other vehicles on the road.

Use mold and mildew stain removers to clean the boat seats and other fabrics. Do this after each adventure.

There are multipurpose cleaners that can clean the boat deck, hardwood floors, metal, brick, marble, and many other surfaces. Cleaners for the stainless-steel ladders, cup holders, and other areas will help reduce build-up on them.

How to Store a Pontoon Boat

Before dry-docking, it is recommended to winterize your boat. You will need to thoroughly clean the boat inside and out, applying for protection against mildew and rust.

Remove all accessories to prevent a build-up of moisture. Once your boat is completely dried, shrink-wrap and cover the boat to lock out moisture and prevent sagging from ice or snow accumulation.

For the outside of the boat, treat for rodents and insects. Change and replace oil filters as well as fill up the gas tank and engine coolant.

Winterizing your boat is essential to keep it in optimum shape for the next warm season.

CONCLUSION

To sum up, a pontoon boat is a worthwhile investment that will make the hot summer months much more enjoyable for the whole family. You can throw parties, fish, or simply have small dining. In short, you all can get together, all on the same boat, with maximum comfort.

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Raechelle

Raechelle loves the outdoors, especially time on the water. She and her husband enjoy going on nature trips and both have love and respect for wildlife.