How Do Lifting Strakes Work?

When you want your pontoon boat to go faster, or ride smoother in rough waters, you would benefit from having lifting strakes. But what are lifting strakes? What do they do? And do you have them already?

Chances are, if you’ve purchased a 3 tube pontoon boat in the last several years (and certainly if you bought it from us), lifting strakes were already installed and are doing their job.

Lifting strake on a Manitou 25 Legacy LT SHP
Example of a lifting strake on a Manitou 25 Legacy LT SHP

The Basics

As pontoon boats continue to get more versatile, allowing for owners to leisurely float, casually cruise, or play water sports like skiing and tubing at high speeds, outboard motors are getting bigger.

With bigger outboards, the pontoons need some help generating lift. Without lift, the boat would be limited to floating and slow cruising. That’s where lifting strakes come in. The strakes, welded directly onto the pontoons, produce lift at the bow by displacing water, allowing the boat to, in essence, glide above the water rather than lumber through it.

Many lifting strakes use negative angles, which can generate lift, but can hurt the quality of the ride due to increased slamming loads.

Manitou’s lifting strakes work to not only create lift, but also to make the ride smoother.

Lifting Strakes on Manitou's V-Toon Design

Manitou V-Toon Lifting Strake Design

Instead of using negative-angle strakes, we designed strakes that work in concert with our V-Toon technology to give boaters the speed—and the smooth ride—they want. The key is creating and maintaining balance.

Because our V-Toon tritoon boats are the most agile and predictable at high speeds on the water, we attached strakes to the inside and outside of all three pontoons of our SHP (sports handling package) hulls, enhancing the agility and predictability to keep you moving exactly as you want, whether you’re skiing, cruising, or anchoring.

Benefits of Lifting Strakes

When your strakes are installed properly and working effectively, you get several tangible benefits:

  • More speed. When you’re above the water rather than trying to plow through it, you can generate significantly more speed.
  • Smoother ride. Especially with V-Toon technology, the balance and lift you get from the strakes keep your ride smooth.
  • Better fuel efficiency. Simple: when it’s easier for your boat to move, it requires less fuel to do so.

Lifting strakes can be retrofitted to your pontoons, but as mentioned earlier, most new models will come equipped with them. If you decide to add them to your current model, you’ll of course want to make sure they are expertly positioned and that the welding is top-notch to get the true benefits of the modification.

Are you in the market for a new (or new to you) pontoon? Strakes are a feature you’ll want for an optimal experience on the water.

If you’re curious about other features of our pontoon and tritoon boats, check out our current Buying Guide, or learn more about our patented V-Toon technology.