If you're in the market for a new boat, there are several key aspects to consider. Many individuals find themselves choosing between a pontoon and a deck boat. Choosing the best one for you depends on your specific boating preferences.
Factors to consider:
1. Cost: Typically, deck boats come with a higher price tag compared to pontoons. However, as you explore more luxurious pontoon models, the price can resemble that of a deck boat. Additionally, the choice of engine can significantly impact the overall cost, sometimes accounting for up to 50% of the boat's price. While both styles vary in price, in most cases, deck boats tend to be more expensive.
2. Size and Space: The physical dimensions of deck and pontoon boats can be quite similar. Your decision should revolve around the intended purpose of your boat. Deck boats generally accommodate up to 12 people, whereas the spacious layout of pontoon boats can comfortably and safely accommodate up to 16 people on larger models. Pontoon boats have been known for offering exceptional value by providing ample space for a favorable price point.
Deck boats can entertain a dozen people as well, but your choice should depend on the type of space you desire. Most deck boats feature forward-facing seating, which is enjoyable at high cruising speeds. In contrast, pontoons offer the flexibility for passengers to face any direction, even allowing you to rearrange furniture while entertaining friends or family. Both boat types provide a fair amount of storage space, but generally speaking, pontoon boats offer more storage.
3. Hull, Stability, and Ride: Pontoon boats have flat decks that extend across two pontoons, known as a multi-hull design. This design is ideal for socializing, providing stability both when moving and at rest on the water. On the flipside, deck boats use V-hulls that cut through the water for quicker acceleration compared to traditional pontoons. However, if a pontoon aims to reach the same speed as a deck boat, it will require more fuel to do so.
Nevertheless, pontoons tend to be more fuel-efficient overall. The downside of the fiberglass V-hull lies in its central axis, making the boat more susceptible to rocking from wind, waves, or passenger movement. Innovations like Manitou's V-Toon Technology offer a solution, mimicking a traditional V-hull shape while maintaining the stability of traditional pontoons. In essence, deck boats excel in slicing through the water, while pontoon boats offer a steady ride whether in motion or at rest.
4. Activities: Recent power increases in pontoon boats, contingent on the engine choice, have narrowed the gap between what you can do on a deck boat compared to a pontoon boat, especially with V-Toon performance. For example, a pontoon boat equipped with a 150-horsepower engine is sufficient for tubing or water skiing.
However, experienced tubers or skiers may not achieve the same level of air as on a deck boat, which generates more wake. If fishing is your preferred water activity, a pontoon boat is the superior choice. While it's possible to fish from a deck boat, the stable platform and additional room on a pontoon boat provide a distinct advantage when reeling in your catch.
5. Maintenance: Proper boat maintenance is crucial for both deck and pontoon boats. However, the most noticeable difference lies in hull maintenance. Aluminum pontoons are significantly easier to clean and maintain compared to the fiberglass hull of a deck boat. Deck boat hulls require regular wiping down after each day on the water to prevent water spots, which can become difficult to remove if not addressed promptly.
Which Is Right for You?
In summary, pontoon boats remain a great value on the water, continuously advancing in style and power without sacrificing the essential spaciousness ideal for socializing and entertaining. Deck boats offer a bit less space for social activities but often provide quicker water traversal, even if it entails sacrificing some stability and necessitating diligent maintenance. If you desire the best of both worlds, consider exploring Manitou's performance pontoons.