Four Tips for Pontoon Boating on Saltwater

Ahoy, pontoon boaters! As poontons become increasingly popular in saltwater, knowing the tips and tricks for operating safely and keeping your boat in good condition is crucial.   

Let’s dive into some key considerations when pontoon boating on saltwater.   

If the responsibilities that come with boat ownership are weighing you down, it may be time to sell.

Big water, no problem.

Big water, large waves, and lots of chop are no problem for today’s performance pontoon boats.   

 Pontoons are excellent for the intercoastal, bays, rivers, etc. They are not made to go 30-40 miles offshore. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you can always see the shore and boat in waves no larger than three to four feet. Anything higher, and you could run into issues.    

Know your hull.

Pontoon boats have a transom at the back, which is where the engine attaches for power.      

Unlike other hull types, which generally have a V-shape that helps them cut through waves and chop, pontoons are flat-bottom vessels that ride on top of waves rather than slice through them. This flatness also makes them stable but can cause some drag. To reduce this drag, use wakeboarding or an inflatable towable behind your boat; they will help lift your hull out of the water while still providing stability.   

Watch your fuel consumption.

Saltwater has a much higher oxygen concentration than freshwater, meaning engines burn through fuel quicker when running in saltwater environments.   

For this reason, watch how much fuel you’re using when pontooning and plan accordingly for longer trips or day excursions.   

Keep up with maintenance.

When boating in saltwater, maintenance is critical!   

Salt deposits can damage any boat, but the aluminum tubes on a pontoon boat are even more susceptible to corrosion, which is why there are specific maintenance tasks you will need to follow.  

Saltwater is harsh on metal or electronic parts; corrosion and rust can set in quickly if left unchecked. The best way to prevent decay is to follow these steps:   

  • Rinse your boat after each use with fresh water—especially for metal components such as cleats or fasteners.  
  • Give it a good scrub once a month with soap and water.   
  • Check exposed electrical connections regularly for any signs of wear or damage caused by exposure to saltwater.   
  • Store pontoon boats out of salt water, but if in-water storage is chosen, the tubes and lower unit must be painted with special paint that’s both anti-fouling and anti-corrosive.  

Pontoon boats are great for cruising around freshwater lakes. Still, many don’t realize that they can be taken into saltwater with the proper precautions taken into account. While taking your pontoon out onto saltwater may require extra effort in terms of maintenance and fuel consumption considerations, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience if done properly.      

If you’re considering a pontoon boat don’t let the body of water hold you back. Start by exploring our hundreds of pontoons for sale, and begin your boating journey today! Don’t wait – take your pontoon out onto the open seas and enjoy all that nature has to offer.