There are a lot of things we need to know about our boats in order to make use of them properly. Among these things is the weight of our boat. For example, how much does a pontoon boat weigh?
In this article, we’ll go over the expected weight of pontoon boats, including general estimates of how much weight is contributed by certain parts of the boat. We’ll also cover other important aspects that pertain to a pontoon boat’s weight, so keep reading to learn more.
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Weight of a Pontoon Boat
Pontoon boats are highly customizable, which makes them ideal for activities that may not be easily done on other boats of a similar size.
What is the same for all boats is that it is important for us to know their weight. This information is important for towing the boat, for determining its passenger or carrying capacity, for measuring performance, and for safety.
The capacity plate is the most reliable source of information for a boat’s capacity. On it, you can find not only the passenger limit and weight limit but the horsepower limit of the boat as well so that you do not end up overpowering it. This plate can usually be found near the captain’s console or on the transom.
If your pontoon boat has a capacity plate, it is best to refer to it. However, there are many instances where there may not be a capacity plate on the boat.
If you don’t have the capacity plate, the best thing to do is to weigh the pontoon boat on a commercial scale. Since you will have to weigh the boat with the trailer, just subtract the trailer’s weight to get the weight of the pontoon boat. But even if weighing the pontoon boat is not an option, we still need to have an idea of how much it weighs.
While there are exceptions, we can expect pontoon boats to be somewhere around 1300 to over 6000 lbs. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you if there are pontoon boats that reach this maximum weight, especially those large enough for use out at sea. Boats weighing over 5000 lbs are usually those over 30 feet in length, but this would still depend on what you have on the boat.
The average weight of a pontoon boat would be somewhere around 2000 to 2500 lbs at medium length, which would be around 18 to 22 feet. We can settle on 2200 lbs if we want a more specific average pontoon boat weight, but this weight refers to a basic pontoon boat with only standard installations on board.
It is also important to remember that pontoon boat weight will vary depending on the boat. This includes what is installed on the boat, but bare pontoon boats with similar sizes will still differ from one another because of other factors such as the materials used for the boat and other parts.
Estimating Pontoon Boat Weight
Since it can be difficult to accurately measure the weight of a pontoon boat without using a commercial scale, we make use of estimates in order to at least have an idea of the weight we’re dealing with.
While it is better to have a more accurate figure, there are times when an estimate is all we’ll be able to have, so it makes sense to know how to come up with such a figure.
In order to make a rough estimate of a pontoon boat’s weight, we can use a measurement of 100 to 150 pounds for every foot. Using this calculation, a 20-foot pontoon boat would have a weight of 2000 to 3000 lbs, but since this range is too wide we can make use of an average. If we use 120 lbs per foot, we end up with 2400 lbs.
It’s a good idea to give yourself a margin of error, though. For example, if you’re calculating the weight of your boat for towing, don’t use 100 lbs per foot. Even if the estimated weight turns out wrong and is much heavier than the actual weight, at least you won’t run the risk of a mishap due to weak towing capacity.
The maximum weight capacity of a pontoon boat includes everything on the boat like accessories, gear, carry-ons, and passengers. Exceeding this limit severely impacts a boat’s performance. However, slowing down a boat is not the worst-case scenario.
Many capsizing incidents are due to boat overload. A boat that is overloaded will not be able to perform well and faces an increased risk of capsizing in turbulent waters. While pontoon boats are usually used in calm waters exclusively, this is not an assurance that the pontoon boat will not sink.
In any boating activity, we should always prioritize our safety. Since lives are at stake, we should remember that any exception may lead to a fatal situation. This is something that every boat owner should keep in mind.
The number of passengers a boat can carry varies from boat to boat, but it is important to remember that the number indicated on a capacity plate is not absolute. A 20-foot pontoon boat with a passenger capacity of 9 and a weight capacity of 1200 lbs must take into consideration the total weight of all passengers. A group of 9 adults will likely exceed the specified limit of 1200 lbs.
The method of estimating average pontoon boat weight mentioned earlier only refers to dry weight, which is the weight of a boat without any fuel. Since any weight calculation needs to account for everything on the boat, it is also important to add the weight of fuel as well.
Gasoline weighs at around 6 lbs per gallon. If you have a pontoon boat with a 30-gallon tank, that comes down to a total of 180 lbs of fuel. As a reminder though, do not fill your gas tank to the brim to allow enough space for the fuel to expand and avoid any spills.
The engine of any boat makes up a large portion of its weight. Even if we exclude the fuel tank and fuel or battery, the engine is still quite hefty. While it should go without saying that bigger engines are heavier, the weight of bigger and more powerful engines can be rather surprising.
For comparison, an engine with 50 HP is enough for a pontoon boat up to 20 feet long. Such engines would weigh around 250 lbs. Longer pontoon boats around 25 feet may need up to 300 HP for decent performance, and such engines would be well over 500 lbs in weight.
Some models may be outfitted with high-capacity motors capable of a 450 HP output. Expect such engines to weigh up to 1000 lbs, especially since these may be twin-engine models.
Towing a Pontoon Boat
As mentioned above, one of the reasons we need to know the weight of the pontoon boat is for towing. The weight of the pontoon boat itself along with the weight of the boat trailer needs to be considered for transportation.
Different vehicles have differing towing capacities. This capacity is usually found at the driver’s side door of a vehicle. If the total weight of the pontoon boat and trailer exceeds the towing vehicle’s towing capacity, it may result in an accident, so it’s better to take note of this when towing.
Now you have a better idea of how heavy is a pontoon boat. Generally, there is no surefire way to determine the weight of a pontoon boat other than weighing it on a scale, but now you know how to get an estimate along with what is important to consider.
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Remember to boat safely.
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