Can A Pontoon Boat Be A Deck Boat?

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 21, 2022
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A pontoon boat cannot be a deck boat because of the difference in the hull design. Usually, deck boats have a V-shaped hull while pontoon boat has a flat hull. Therefore, you can’t use a pontoon boat as a deck boat.

Key Takeaways

  • Due to the flat hull design, a pontoon boat is slower than a deck boat but it is more stable
  • A pontoon boat has more space and capacity than a deck boat
  • Handling and maneuvering a deck boat through the waters and waves is much more convenient than a pontoon boat
  • A pontoon boat can comfortably carry between 10-20 people while a deck boat can carry between 8-12 people comfortably
  • Deck boats are powered by outboard engines or inboard-outboard (IO) engines; on the other hand, a pontoon boat is only powered by an outboard engine

Differences Between A Pontoon Boat And A Deck Boat

 Pontoon Boat vs Deck Boat

When you want to invest in a boat, you have to make a wise decision by hiring or buying. You have to be sure what you want, between a deck and a pontoon boat. We have put together some of the main differences between these two boats that will help you decide which one is good for you and the activities you intend to use it for.

1. Hull Design

This is the first difference that these boats have. A deck boat has a v-shaped hull design that is streamlined and enables it to go at higher speeds. Unlike the big, slow pontoon boats, they can easily maneuver and take quick turns. On the other hand, a pontoon boat sits on two or three aluminum tubes called pontoons. One with three tubes is called a tritoon and is usually more significant than a pontoon. This makes the pontoon boat flat and slower than the deck boat.

The way a pontoon boat sits on two tubes makes it stable compared to a deck boat. The deck boat has a central axis which causes it to rock with the winds and waves, thus instability. At this point, you decide which favorite you can forego depending on the activities you’ll be doing on your boat. If you want a calm, slow ride with family and friends, then a deck boat will be better. If you want a boat that will be fast and give you a thrilling experience, then a deck boat will do.

2. Space 

The other significant difference between the two boats is the size and space available. If this is your deciding point, then a pontoon boat will most likely take the trophy. A pontoon boat has seats facing different directions, and you will have the option of rearranging the seats to your preferred view. Pontoon boats also have enough storage space for your luggage and any gear you may want to carry. Storage is more compared to that of a deck boat. A pontoon boat is made for pounding and socializing because of the design of the seats. The rails also give additional secure storage for items like paddleboards. On the other hand, Deck boats are made for speeding and not socializing.

3. Style

Pontoon boats are designed with seats facing each other promoting socialization with family and friends. Deck boats, however, have seats facing the front, so there will be no time for socializing. Deck boats are great for sports like wakeboarding. 

4. Handling 

Handling a deck boat is more manageable than handling a pontoon boat. A deck boat can quickly turn and maneuver its way through the waters and waves. Your passengers will be comfortable even at high speed. Handling a pontoon boat feels like handling a big bus, and comfort is not guaranteed at high speed. However, you can easily handle it boat whether you are an amateur or an expert, especially because it is raised.

5. Number Of People 

When deciding which boats you will invest in, the number of people who can fit in is also significant. As mentioned above, pontoon boats are more spacious than deck boats. Their carrying capacity is also higher, meaning that they can comfortably carry between 10-20 people. A pontoon boat will not strain, and you can easily have a party or camp on board. On the other hand, Deck boats can carry between 8-12 people comfortably. This can limit you if you want more people on your boat. 

6. Engine 

Deck boats are powered by outboard engines or inboard-outboard (IO) engines. This gives you more options to choose from. On the other hand, pontoon boats are powered by only one type of engine: outboard. These will tie you and leave no option but outboard engines. Outboard engines in a pontoon boat use less horsepower than deck boats. 

7. Activity To Be Carried Out

This is one of the most critical factors you have to consider when choosing between a pontoon boat and a deck boat. These boats are versatile, and you could do almost anything with them. But one thing differentiates them, which can make a massive difference for some people. Speed is the issue at this point. A deck boat is faster and can accelerate faster and cut through the water without making your passengers uncomfortable. The speed also makes it thrilling for rugged adventurers like water boarders and skiers. You will have air catching your face how you like it when using a deck boat for such sporting activities.

On the other hand, a pontoon boat is slow and may not give you the experience that you may want with such sports. It does not cut through water well at high speed and may make your passengers uncomfortable. Pontoon boats are meant to bond with family and friends, while a deck boat is made for watersports.

Other Factors To Consider

deck boats

Above, we have seen the significant factors you consider in the differences between pontoon and deck boats. Now, let us look at some other factors that you should consider before settling on one boat.

1. Price 

When you want to purchase anything, you have to consider how much money you are willing to spend. You cannot spend what you don’t have or go for a product you cannot afford, no matter how much you like it. A pontoon boat is cheaper than a deck boat; unless you want to go for a luxurious pontoon boat, you will buy it at a price almost that of a deck boat.

3. Maintenance 

Pontoon boats and deck boats both require DIY knowledge as it is needed to maintain your boat and make your time in the water fun. If you don’t know, you should be willing to learn; this will make your ride worthwhile. 

A pontoon boat is easier to maintain because the aluminum tubes are easier to clean when compared to the fiberglass hull of a deck boat. Fiberglass requires cleaning after every use in the water, or else when you decide to clean, it will be a difficult task.   

4. Favourite Boating Spot 

Where you will be boating will also be one factor that influences your buying decision. However, for this part, these two boats are similar because they are good with smaller bodies of water like lakes and bays. You cannot head out with a deck or pontoon boat in the ocean. You will, however, have more confidence when you have a pontoon boat in shallow water because of its stability. 

Take Away

A deck boat and pontoon have several similarities, like enough space and is suitable for many people. However, they also have differences that make them unique, like the hull shape. When choosing which one to buy, the hull will influence you a lot. Whichever you choose, you should ensure that it is the best for you and your friends. It would be best to do sufficient research to get the best deal you could get in the market.


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