Are you looking to hire or buy a pontoon boat but you aren’t sure if one made of aluminum is good enough? Well, guess what? Most pontoon boats are made of aluminum and they are as safe as can be.
What Are Pontoon Boats Made Of?
Most pontoon boats are made of aluminum because it doesn’t easily corrode for exposure to moisture, unlike steel. 6061-T6 is a common type of aluminum that is used for marine applications. It does not corrode easily, it is inexpensive to repair. Pontoon boats made of aluminum can last up to 20 years if well taken care of. This is also possible because of the ease of repair in case of a dent.
Are Pontoon Boats Good For Saltwater?
Pontoon boats are not good for saltwater especially since most of them are made of aluminum. You could however use them responsibly to ensure that they are safe for you and also to protect your pontoon boat. Protected saltwater areas like bays are better compared to oceans.
Aluminum reacts with saltwater causing galvanic corrosion. This corrosion eats away aluminum fast and can easily destroy your pontoon boat unless you take precautions. Some precautions you can take if you want to sail in saltwater include:
1. Use Of Sacrificial Anodes
As the name suggests, sacrificial anodes are anodes used to protect aluminum from corrosion. Instead of aluminum corroding, they are the ones that will corrode, for you to understand how this works you should understand first how galvanic corrosion works. Instead of getting into saltwater with your pontoon boat unprotected, you should place zinc as the sacrificial anode, this will give your pontoon a longer lifespan. When the zinc is completely corroded, you should replace it before the corrosion gets to your aluminum pontoon. Zinc is relatively cheap and easy to attach and detach from your boat.
2. Use Aluminum Paint
Using aluminum paint is an excellent choice when it comes to finding a way to protect your pontoon boat. Aluminum paint helps minimize corrosion caused by saltwater on aluminum. You should get the marine-grade kind of paint that has been made with you in mind. If you paint your aluminum and use sacrificial nodes, you will not have to fear getting into saltwater with your pontoon boat.
Pontoon boats are meant for freshwater and it is not only corrosion that is harmful to your boat. When you go out to sea into saltwater, you may face other challenges. This is because pontoon boats are made for calm inland water bodies, with the shallow draft and hull shape. if you want to use it on saltwater, then apart from the precautions above, you will have to know the weather, stay close to the shoreline avoid large waves, and take it slow.
What Are The Advantages Of Using An Aluminum Pontoon Boat?
Using an aluminum pontoon boat may seem like a bad idea if you don’t have the right information. However, from what we have seen above using aluminum is not bad at all and there are several advantages. Let’s get right to it.
1. High Resale Value
Aluminum is a strong material that does not wear out easily. it is also easy to repair and with just a few pounds and paint here and there you get yourself a boat looking as good as new. This makes it have a high resale value. If you own an aluminum pontoon boat, you will sell it at a higher price than that of other materials.
An aluminum boat is safe to use because it is lightweight. It is up to 30% lighter than a steel pontoon boat making it easier to maneuver. This ensures that you can easily turn your boat in case an emergency turn is needed. This material does not catch fire easily and in case of a collision with another vessel, you will just get a few dents that you can hammer.
If you want a pontoon boat that you can use and leave behind for your son, then why not buy one made of aluminum? Aluminum is a robust material meaning that it will not have any serious rapture even during a collision. It sustains just but a few dents that you can easily repair. This makes it easy to maintain and cheap. The material will also make your pontoon boat last a lifetime because the robustness makes it durable. Aluminum pontoon boats have the longest lifespan, lasting between 30-40 years with good maintenance.
Aluminum pontoon boats are more easily customizable in comparison to fiberglass and steel ones. Aluminum is more elastic than steel and therefore, adapting to the new shape is easy. Hulls made of fiberglass are standard and predetermined and changing the shape of your pontoon may not be possible.
Factors To Consider Before Purchasing An Aluminum Pontoon Boat
Buying a satisfying aluminum pontoon boat is what every kayaker would wish to do, to ensure that your penny won’t go to waste and your needs are fully catered for. Let’s have a look at some of the important factors that you shouldn’t fail to check if you want a superb and satisfactory aluminum pontoon boat;
1. Engine Performance
This is one of the critical elements in any pontoon boat. At some point, mechanical defects may happen, but some of these failures can be avoided when you choose an aluminum pontoon boat that has an excellent engine. If not keen, you may buy a pontoon boat that does not match its engine, therefore, the horsepower of such will be minimal than expected, more so when the engine is too small than the pontoon.
Your seller/dealer has to give detailed information about the performance of an engine that is in the boat you have decided to purchase. Apart from that, it’s good to ensure that the size engine you choose matches the steering selection. For example, you may want your boat to steer like a car, what you have to do is to consider steering with hydraulic, and/ power steering. If you have the wrong steering vs horsepower combo, then you will be putting your life in danger. It’s recommendable to consult your dealer, to give you extensive information about the engine, and if possible, test it to see if it satisfies you before you decide to buy. Ensure to check the propeller if it is correctly fixed, and your dealer should tell you to sort this out.
Pontoon boats have several electronics that include; a fish finder, audio system, speedometer, and other have depth finder. Before purchasing any pontoon boat, ensure that there is no sign of malfunctioning of any of the named above electronics. On an audio system, sometimes you may boat in water where you’ll lose radio signals, with this, ensure that you buy a pontoon boat that has a radio with XM compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. We also have aftermarket antennas for FM/AM that will increase your chances of receiving signals.
For the speed readings and depth finder, they work very closely, and they are read by a transducer, that is found at the bottom of the toon. It’s advisable not to hit above 20MPH because you may get false depth reading. Remember to have a look at how strong is the battery. It should be able to work as required, without struggles. Look at its capacity, if it can support those pontoon electronics that depend on it for them to function after buying, make sure that the battery is well maintained to increase its longevity. Keep it away from freezing conditions, and switch the lights off when not in use.
It is one of the most considerable elements in a pontoon. Recommended furniture in a pontoon boat is made from marine-grade vinyl because of its ability to withstand occasionally spilled cocktails and hold wet bathing suits. Take good care of this furniture, immediately after you own this pontoon boat to prevent it from fading, tearing, ripping, and getting mildew spots. Wipe your furniture with mild soap and water, by using a non-abrasive cloth to make it look new and stain-free. Keep your seat backs free from moisture, by opening the seat cushions for 1-2 hours, to allow the circulation of air.
What makes a pontoon boat is the tubes that are the pontoons. They are made of aluminum and filled with air keeping the boat afloat. When shopping for your pontoon boat you should ensure that you get it from manufacturers who use the sectioning technique and do pressure testing. This will minimize the possibility of sinking. In such a scenario, you will be in a position to get to safety in case leaking starts.
You should also take care of the tubes so that they give you maximum performance, for instance, by cleaning off marine growth. Too much buildup of marine growth may cost you some speed.
If you are thinking about whether or not an aluminum pontoon boat is worth your money, we have seen above that it is worth every coin. They are durable as long as you take good care of them and the maintenance cost is little. They can also be used in saltwater with the appropriate techniques. Now that you know, have fun and take care
NUS is a kayaking enthusiast who has been kayaking with a local group for the last five years. He loves using kayaks while out on outings on the water or camping when the friends want to have a BBQ party somewhere on the bank of a local lake.
Based on his experiences with the different types of kayaks, he is sharing his opinion about kayaking tricks and required gears so that a beginner can get started right away.
Find his team on Twitter here. Happy reading!