Last updated on October 14th, 2023
How Fast Will a Pontoon Boat Go?
If you’re the kind of speed demon who gets a kick out of watching the world blur past you, then strap in because we’re about to discuss pontoon boat speed. Now, a pontoon boat isn’t exactly your go-to ride for a high-speed chase.
These aquatic chariots, known for their stability and spaciousness, are more about the leisurely cruise than the breakneck race. So, how fast will a pontoon boat go? Well, if you’re expecting to rival a speedboat, you might want to sit down for this.
But hey, who needs speed when you have a floating party platform?
If you think that pontoon boats are the same low-speed simple sailing boats that they were twenty years ago, you should definitely think again.
Over the years, countless innovations have improved the boats’ design and upgraded their comfort and overall speed.
But the question remains, how fast will a pontoon boat go?
Since pontoon boats are designed mainly for luxury purposes and accommodate a massive crowd, it is no wonder that speed is not their strong point. Despite this, manufacturers have enhanced their speed by tweaking the pontoon boat’s design, engine, and horsepower.
As a result, these boats offer an incredible combination of comfort and speed, allowing you to even ski or tube across the water.
However, is their speed fast enough for you? Can the boat compete with other known fast sailing boats?
All the answers to your questions are discussed in detail in the following article. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about speeding on a pontoon boat.
Why Do You Need a Fast Pontoon Boat?
Although pontoon boats were only meant for leisure cruise trips with friends and family, many people also consider water sports with them.
As a result, they want to opt for speedier models that are the best of both worlds.
To put things into perspective, you only require a maximum of 25mph for most water sports, which is the average speed for a large number of pontoon boats. For example, water-skiing and pulling inflatable tubes require a maximum of 26mph only.
Besides this, some people are adrenaline junkies and prefer top speeds on open seas. Fortunately, there are many pontoon boat models that can curb their thirst for speed. However, they will have to pay a generous amount of money for their interests.
What Makes a Pontoon Boat Fast?
As I mentioned above, manufacturers make many modifications to pontoon boats to increase their speed over large water bodies. Even though these boats are bulky, advanced technologies and tricks can add several mph to your speedometer.
Without further due, let us check out all the significant factors that have a massive impact on your boat’s speed and performance.
Your engine horsepower plays a significant role when it comes to giving your boat a massive speed boost. If you want to drift over the water at high speeds, you should reconsider a better engine.
Although a powerful motor is much more expensive than a smaller one, it is undoubtedly a smart investment when you start thinking long-term. If this was not enough, it would cost you more to remove the motor and install the other one.
To give you a better idea, a 40HP motor will help you reach a top speed of just 15mph. Meanwhile, using a 75HP engine can boost it up to almost 21mph.
Besides all this, there are many tricks to improving your speed with your current engine too. For instance, trimming your engine helps to change the angle of the engine thrust by tilting it out of the water.
As a result, the front of the pontoon lifts from the water and reduces the drag on the boat. A simple trick can go a long way.
Most pontoon boats come with a regular propeller that will only allow you to operate it in steady conditions. However, people tend to switch it with an upgraded prop to boost the speed of their pontoon.
Smaller, preferably stainless steel propellers will push your RPM to over 5000, improving your top speed depending on your engine power.
Besides this, you can choose your prop for different activities too. If you are interested in skiing, the right prop has a noticeably different pitch to help you get on the plane quickly. Unfortunately, this prop will affect your speed on the water.
Since pontoon boats have a relatively heavyweight construction, it is one of the significant factors that affect their speeds. All the luxurious furniture, accessories, and comfortable couches add up to the final weight of the boat.
Besides this, pontoon boats are quite large to accommodate more people. If you plan to sail at high speed, you will need to reduce the weight. Either invest in a comparatively lightweight model with limited accessories or invite fewer people on your boat.
Alternatively, you can even concentrate the load at the back of your pontoon boat. This trick will help to tilt the boat from the front and allow you to reach higher speeds.
Adding a Third Tube
A traditional pontoon features just two tubes at its bottom to cruise on the sea at intermediate speeds.
However, you have the option to add another tube in the middle. Also called tri-toons, they offer more stability and allow the boat to flow on top of the water. Therefore, your boat meets less resistance and reaches higher speeds than the traditional two-tube design.
What’s more, some manufacturers even take advantage of the three-tube design to create a V-shaped hull at the bottom. By installing a slightly larger tube in the middle, the boat lifts out of the water, giving you faster acceleration than other models.
How Fast Will a Pontoon Boat Go?
Let’s look at actual numbers to get a better idea. Keep in mind that the speed varies from model to model, along with their length and horsepower.
Overall, traditional or classic pontoons give an average speed ranging from 18 to 25 mph. However, these are only the baseline numbers.
Speedier models can support larger motors with almost 300HP, giving you a top speed of 50mph. From brands like Manitou and South Bay, some boats can even reach speeds upwards of 50mph by installing 350 to 600HP engines.
However, the latter comes at a steep price range for this luxury.
Examples of Top Pontoon Boats
Now that you know how fast will a pontoon boat go, I have listed some of the best pontoon boats in the following section, along with their respective horsepower and top speed. Keep reading to learn more about their features.
The Bass Buggy 18 DLX from Sun Tracker ranks among the top-selling pontoon boats in the industry owing to its superior design and performance.
It has a 20-foot length and accommodates around eight people on its spacious deck.
Along with this, the Bass Buggy comes with all the most sought-after fishing equipment. These include rod holders, two aerated live wells, pre-wiring for trolling motors, and three casting chairs.
As for its speed, the pontoon boat supports a maximum of 75HP engine and gives you a top speed of 21mph on open seas.
Premium Pontoons 290
Premium Pontoons 290 is a well-known name when there’s talk about the best luxurious boats offering high speeds. The 36-inch triton includes PTX technology, accommodates 22 people, and provides the most comfortable upholstery.
Besides its incredible design and a long list of innovations, the boat boasts a powerful 300HP Yamaha four-stroke outboard motor. As a result, people can enjoy all its luxury at a high speed of 52.8mph.
However, keep in mind that all these features and top speed come with a hefty price tag.
The JC Marine 25 pontoon boat features three robust, Aluminum tube hulls, comfortable furniture, stainless steel bow, powerful speakers, and a 200HP engine to boast. Hence, the triton boat can reach a speed of around 40mph with ease.
What’s more, you can opt for a 250HP engine to go even faster on your luxury pontoon boat.
The Manitou RF Encore is a great luxury sports pontoon that gives you enough space for 13 people, comfortable upholstery, and all the latest innovations to make every trip memorable.
When tested for its speed, the pontoon delivered an incredible 45mph with a 250HP engine. Since it can support a motor with up to 300HP, you can achieve even higher speeds on the Encore.
Bennington is not a new name in the pontoon industry at all. Instead, it is one of the most luxurious brands that gives you excellent performance mixed with high comfort levels.
Hence, it is not surprising that their Bennington QR27 offers great upholstery, innovative technologies, and high-speeds to boast. When tested with a powerful Yamaha 250HP four-stroke engine, the pontoon boat quickly reached a top speed of 51.3mph.
In conclusion, let’s put all the speed myths and legends to rest. The jaw-dropping, mind-boggling pontoon boat speed is much like a sloth in the water – fast, but only for a sloth. The average pontoon boat, you see, isn’t exactly designed to break the sound barrier.
It’s more like a floating patio, best for leisurely cruises and slow rides around the lake. With an average speed of around 15-30 mph, it’s not going to win any drag races.
However, don’t let this dampen your speed-demon dreams just yet. If you’re a thrill-seeker wanting to feel the wind in your hair and the adrenaline in your veins, there are high-performance pontoons out there. These bad boys can reach up to 60 mph!
Although, it’s essential to remember that with great speed comes great responsibility. You wouldn’t want to cause a waterborne version of “Fast & Furious,” would you?
So, how fast does a pontoon boat go? Well, it’s like asking how quickly a turtle can run. It’s not about the speed; it’s about the journey and what you make of it.
Sure, your pontoon might not move with the velocity of a speedboat, but it provides plenty of time for savoring the moment, catching up with friends, or just enjoying the tranquility of the water. In the end, remember that no matter how fast your pontoon boat goes, it’s all about taking life one buoy at a time.
To answer how fast a pontoon boat will go, well, it is fast enough for its size. Since these are recreational cruising boats for larger crowds, high-speed is not their real forte.
What’s more, these boats are easily customizable for enhanced performance and speed. You can opt for a powerful engine with higher horsepower or even select a tri-toon model.
Although they have a higher price tag, these boats offer you a true adrenaline rush and luxury.