If you think you can tow your pontoon boat just like any typical monohull boat, I hate to burst your bubble.
You see, pontoon boats weigh more than other monohull boats from their league. So, how much does a pontoon boat weigh after all? Well, the answer is case sensitive and depends on the size, model, and accessibility of your boat.
Roughly, a pontoon boat can weigh 100-150 pounds per foot, but there are many other aspects that you should take into account before you start towing it with another vehicle. Factors such as the dry weight, accessibility, trailer weight, motor weight, and fuel tank capacity play an important role in a pontoon boat’s actual weight.
Confused? Don’t worry. I’ve compiled a complete guide for how much a pontoon boat weighs so you can figure out how much towing capacity it’ll require.
How Much Does a Pontoon Boat Weigh?
A standard pontoon boat comprises a flat deck constructed upon a hollow tube structure. While all pontoon boats follow the same design, their total weight can range from 2000-4000 pounds.
Why the difference? Weighing a pontoon boat is not just about the main structure. The weight includes its size, style, and quality of accessories used in the boat.
While most pontoon boats have single motors, some have double motors or even more than that. This means that even if two boats appear to have the same size, they are still likely to differ in weight.
That does not mean you can’t figure out the exact weight of the boat you’re planning to purchase. All you have to do is assess multiple factors at once to come towards a rough estimate, which will help you find an excellent truck to tow your boat.
Below, I have listed down the components that make up your pontoon boat’s weight, followed by some aspects that might cause the weight to fluctuate to help you understand the technicalities involved.
What Makes Up the Total Weight of a Pontoon Boat?
Pontoon boats get their name from the long hollow tubes or pontoons, which is an essential part of their construction.
A typical pontoon boat has either two or three of these pontoons. The pontoons are held together with aluminum cross members, which add further weight to the boat.
On top of that, there’s a deck usually made out of durable marine-grade plywood. After that, the deck is covered with a waterproof material, normally fiberglass.
Finally, the deck is accentuated with a light marine-grade carpet that resists UV-rays and mildew accumulation.
Along with that, the deck has aluminum rails, a bimini top, an outboard motor, and other deck fittings required to make your boating experience a pleasant one.
Out of all these parts and components, the boat’s main weight resides in its hull, rails, motor, deck, and other extra fittings.
Pontoon Boat Weight Consideration
Now that you know your pontoon boat’s weight with all its main parts, you know the exact weight, right?
Not really. The actual weight depends on the extra load and items you place onto the boat.
Let me put things into perspective. Whether your fuel tank is full or empty will have quite an impact on your boat’s weight. Similarly, the weight of the items you want to carry, such as water, food, and other amenities, will add their own weight as well.
Here’s a list of the essential items you’ll need to take along, which will increase your pontoon boat weight considerably.
Life Jackets are necessary boating gear, especially if you’re setting out in the water with children. There are strict laws against children and teenagers without life jackets on speed or pontoon boats in some boating areas.
Life jackets are lightweight; each one adds about one or two pounds to your boat’s weight. This isn’t much, but if you’re holding a party on your pontoon boat, the weight can considerably increase.
There’s nothing like cooking up a fresh meal onboard your favorite boat. However, if you’re planning to cook there, you’ll need fire safety gear. One fire extinguisher weighs about 5-6 pounds, and you’ll need only one or two on your boat in case of emergencies.
Ice Boxes and Coolers
What’s a boating trip without some drinks. However, anything worse than no drinks are warm drinks. That’s why you’ll need multiple coolers to store your drinks, some extra ice, and food that needs refrigerating onboard with you.
Depending on the size, each cooler can add about 50-100 pounds to your total boat weight.
Anchor and Chain
If you’re planning to stop in the water for some relaxation, an anchor with a chain is essential to take along with you. Otherwise, your boat will drift away in no particular direction and create a nuisance for you.
Anchors can weigh anywhere from around 5 to 50 pounds, as different boats need different types of anchors. Compared to other equipment, an anchor will add considerably to your boat’s overall weight and take up quite a lot of space as well.
Why Should You Know Much a Pontoon Boat Weighs?
I know what’s on your mind. Why should you take every aspect into account to determine your pontoon boat’s weight correctly?
Firstly, knowing your boat’s weight accurately helps you stay safe in the water. That’s because you can relate the overall weight with the additional weight you’re loading into your boat and avoid overloading.
Secondly, maintaining your boat’s ideal weight level makes it perform well when you’re in the water. While pontoon boats are not known for moving fast, keeping your boat to its minimum loading weight will help you handle it smoothly.
Thirdly and most importantly, knowing your boat’s weight is essential to decide which vehicle to use for towing. Furthermore, you can find out how fast your boat can go by checking the weight. The heavier your boat, the slower it will move on water.
Similarly, you can also determine the number of people you can accommodate into your boat if you intend to host a party.
Finding the Pontoon Boat’s Weight
Here’s a trick to find out your boat’s weight easily.
Count a hundred pounds for every foot of your boat’s length. Add the weight of the bulky essentials you’ve loaded onto it. These include coolers, fuel, anchors, and other accessories.
This weight, combined with 150 pounds of every person on board, is your boat’s total weight.
Hull Weight and Towing Weight
Your boat’s weight without any loadings, accessories, or fuel is known as the dry hull weight.
The weight of your boat loaded with accessories, combined with the weight of your trailer, is your boat’s combined or towing weight. Knowing all three figures will help you determine your boat’s speed, capacity, and towing weight, respectively.
6 Pontoon Boat Weight Examples
Now that you understood how important it is to know your pontoon boat’s weight correctly, you’ll need to evaluate the accurate weight of the boat you’re willing to purchase. Each pontoon boat has a different design, style, engine size, and construction.
This means the weight will vary from model to model. Therefore, I’ve cited a few examples of popular pontoon boat models below.
The following will give you an insight into how much typical pontoon boats weigh.
The 18 DLX is one of the most lightweight pontoon boat models by Sun Tracker. Without a motor attached to its standard engine, its dry weight is only 1500 pounds.
However, don’t get deceived by its low weight. The party barge is 20 feet long. With a 17-foot deck length, it is enough to accommodate a small family or a group of friends.
The boat does not come with a standard engine, which means it is not included in the dry weight. The brand recommends buyers pair the boat up with a 75 HP motor, which can add considerably to the weight.
Along with the motor and the luxurious seating accessories, this model weighs roughly around 3000 pounds.
Not to forget, the barge has an estimated capacity of 9 people on board. That makes about 1300 pounds of additional weight.
Additionally, the dry weight does not take the fuel weight into account. With a tank of about 32 gallons, fuel can add several hundred pounds to your total boat weight.
You could easily tow this boat with an SUV or a minivan when it isn’t loaded. Afterward, you can load in your essentials when you’ve reached your boating destination.
Another relatively lightweight model by Sun Tracker. The 22 DLX has the same fuel tank capacity as the 18 DLX, which means the additional fuel weight remains the same.
But, this boat is larger than the previous, with a 24-foot length and a 22 foot-long deck. This adds several hundred pounds more weight to this model in comparison.
Its basic dry weight is around 1900 pounds, but this includes a 150 HP motor, which means you don’t have to add on extra motor weight afterward.
The interior of this party barge is quite luxurious. It has plush seating benches on either side at the rear of the boat.
The driver’s seat remains in the center, while there’s a second seating area at the front. The whole set up makes up for a few hundred pounds of weight more than the 18 DLX.
Additionally, it is complete with a bimini top and a cutting-edge stereo system. But, there’s a glitch. Its maximum passenger capacity is only 1500 pounds after loading weight.
This means, even though it says you can accommodate 11 people on board, the weight will exceed 1500 pounds if all 11 people are adults.
Also, this boat can’t be towed with your family car. You’ll need a large truck or SUV to tow this pontoon boat to your destination.
The 230 RFL Retreat is one of the smaller and shorter models by Lowe. This pontoon boat is 23’ long and 25’ wide.
Depending on the horsepower you need, you can pair this pontoon boat up with a 150, 200, or 250 horsepower engine.
The fuel tank capacity will vary according to the engine you choose, which will eventually affect the overall weight. Apart from the engine, the hull weight is about 3000 pounds.
Besides that, the deck has multiple accessories, including the reclining chairs, driver’s seat, lounge seating, and the stereo system.
This model can accommodate 7-8 adults with a maximum weight capacity of 2500 pounds. Meaning, if you’re taking heavy objects along with you, make sure not to exceed the maximum weight capacity.
This model is relatively lightweight, so you can tow it with an SUV or a small minivan.
The 250 RFL Retreat is one of the larger pontoon boat models offered by Lowe. This spacious beauty can accommodate up to 12-14 people at once.
The company restricts the additional loading weight to about 2700-3000 pounds. With an overall length of 25 feet and a deck of 24 feet, this boat has a dry weight of about 3500 pounds.
Additionally, this pontoon boat is compatible with both 150 hp and 300 hp motors. Both of these engines have fuel tanks of different capacities, 30 and 50 gallons, respectively. This means the type of engine you choose will determine how many people you can take along with you on your boating trip.
Furthermore, the boat’s interior is accentuated with a durable boarding ladder, luxurious seating arrangements, the latest stereo system, and a bimini top, all of which make up its total and combined weight.
As the boat is on the heavier side, you’ll need a heavy-duty truck to tow it to your destination.
This luxury pontoon boat by Sweetwater has a dry weight of about 2500 pounds. It is an affordable pontoon boat with all the amenities and features you’ll need in an ideal family fishing boat.
These luxurious features contribute to the total weight of the boat as well. It measures 22 feet in length, which means its weight can be calculated at 100-120 pounds per foot.
If you want your pontoon boat to glide faster in the water, I suggest you pair it up with a high-power engine. However, an engine with high horsepower would need a larger fuel tank, which would ultimately add to your pontoon boat’s wet weight.
Furthermore, if you want to take fishing essentials along with you, including equipment, ice boxes, and coolers, make sure you manage the weight according to the boat’s maximum capacity to ensure smooth performance.
This luxury pontoon boat by Starcraft has a dry weight of about 1900 pounds. It measures approximately 20 feet long with a pontoon diameter of 25 feet.
Apart from the posh seating arrangements, the boat also includes a small dining area with an L-shaped bench. Additionally, its deck is embellished with a marine-grade UV carpet, a durable boarding ladder, and a bimini top.
Besides that, it has a 20-gallon tank for its 125 Hp engine, which adds up to the boat’s total combined weight.
Considering its wet weight before loading it up with your accessories and essentials, you’ll have to tow the boat using a high-power truck or SUV. However, a small SUV will work if you tow it with an empty fuel tank.
How to Tow Your Pontoon Boat?
Finally, you have all the information you need about the weight of a pontoon boat.
Most importantly, you know why you need to accurately determine your boat’s weight to ensure a flawless boating session. Now, you’ll need to learn how to use your knowledge about your boat’s weight to tow it safely. For that, you will have to add the weight of your trailer to the total combined weight of your boat.
Let’s suppose, your pontoon boat’s dry weight is about 2500 pounds. A typical trailer can weigh anywhere from 1000 to 1500 pounds.
So, even if your boat isn’t loaded, you’re looking at about 4000 pounds of weight. Also, be sure to add around 1000 pounds for your motor and accessories, and 500 pounds just in case. This means, for a boat with 2500 pounds of dry weight, you’ll need a car with a towing capacity of 5000 pounds in total.
While you’re towing your boat, drive slowly and make sure your brake system is intact.
Remember: use strong straps to secure your bow and transom, and regulate the central weight as much as possible. It helps if you cover or wrap your pontoon boat before towing it so that it doesn’t get damaged on the way.
That concludes my take on everything you need to know about how much does a pontoon boat weigh. In a nutshell, a pontoon boat’s weight varies according to its size, accessories, amenities, and capacity. But, without knowing the weight of your pontoon boat, you won’t be able to tow, maintain, or drive it properly.
That’s why I’ve mentioned all the factors you should consider, along with examples from real pontoon boat models, to help you determine your boat’s correct weight. Make sure you assess all these aspects before you set out to tow your boat along with its trailer.