Nov 8

choosing engine for pontoonThe requirements of power and size of pontoon boats are increasing as fast as the popularity of this watercraft throughout the world. Available in lengths ranging from a bit less than 15 feet to over 30 feet and having double- or triple-tube design, small pontoon boats are at present “hot” with anglers and casual boaters. To know what you should exactly look for while repowering your current pontoon or purchasing a new one with outboard power, you should read these valuable tips shared by industry experts about powering your pontoons.

Six Major Challenges for Powering Pontoons

You should remember these six major concerns while repowering your existing boat or buying a new one.

  1. Choosing the correct propeller
  2. Offering directional control
  3. Deciding upon optimum mounting height
  4. Offering low-speed thrust
  5. Diminishing vibration
  6. Stopping prop ventilation while the crew is sitting forward

Special Requirements

What is it that makes the powering of pontoon special? Actually every boat type has some subtleties when powering it is concerned. It also depends on how various types of boats are normally used. Another thing to consider is the boat’s design. For example, a pontoon has a hugely different structure than that of a runabout. Experts say that with a monohull you get strakes and deadrise and chines to assist the boat get up the plane and carve the water. In a pontoon on the other hand you get 2-3 round surfaces to run with, therefore you need to depend largely on motor to have the watercraft atop the water, and to direct and point it. In case of pontoon, the engine does more work as compared to a monohull. Thus choosing and mounting an outboard correctly is even more critical for a pontoon than for a regular boat.

choosing engine for pontoon

Of course, several pontoons come with specially structured tubes sporting flatter sections. Several of them even feature tubes that have running strakes. Such features offer lift; therefore it differs with the particular boat that how much performance is boat-dependent and how much is engine-dependent. But according to experts, pontoon power cannot be treated as a commodity.

Experts emphasize on the importance of tallying the horsepower with the expected load and action the angler is expecting to decide the correct power match for a specific pontoon to enjoy aboard. Several anglers trade up just after a year as they normally underestimate their need of horsepower. It is necessary before buying the engine to discuss with the dealer on how they are planning to use their pontoon, on points like how many people will be on board, whether you want to pull water skiers or wakeboarders, if you are going to use it on other waters than your local ones, and so on.

Mounting Issues

After you make a correct purchase with the help of a good dealer, your enjoyment may be spoiled if mounting of the engine is not correctly done. Following are some issues you may come across.

Just like any other boat, height to which engine is to be installed is critical in a pontoon. To decide the sweet spot, you should ensure about the anti-ventilation plate under the waterline so as to eliminate prop ventilation, but not that deep to enable gear case to generate extra drag. You also have to test the setting of height with loads or passengers where they will be positioned when the boat is being used.

This type of powering quirk is seemingly exclusive to pontoons, and it associates not only to the usage of boat but also to the layout of boat and the number of people you take out.

Selecting the propeller is just as important as the mounting height. You are even limited to some extent by gear ratio and gear case size, but plenty of expertise exists that goes into propping the boat correctly. Experts are of opinion that choosing propeller for pontoon boats is especially critical. While considering a usual “two-leg” pontoon, the choice becomes totally different from choosing one for a same-sized V-hull boat.

mounting the engine

Sterndrive Option

A popular choice of pontoon boats is outboards, but sterndrives are an option for power on some bigger models. Pontoon boats are constructed with aluminum trim and frames, and wood or composite decks, thus you get more vibration resonating across the boat than you would get in a fiberglass monohull. When you put a sterndrive in a section that is welded to the frame of the boat, you have to have a truly good mounts to segregate the vibration within that section. If an outboard is hanging off the transom, there is not a big problem but in case of a sterndrive, dealing with vibrations is key.

When it is about pushing pontoons, what is important is power. Ensure that you are equipped with complete information to ask right questions to the dealer while choosing power for your pontoon.