Pontoon boats are a popular hull type among boaters in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. While the vessels are used on the ocean, they are most widely used in lakes, rivers, and inland coastal waters. These family-friendly watercraft are touted for both their versatility, smooth and stable ride. New and experienced boaters frequently ask the question. Can a pontoon boat sink? Here is what you need to know. 

How Is A Pontoon Boat Designed

Compared to the vast majority of boats, pontoons incorporate the most straightforward design. A flat platform sits atop two or three aluminum pontoons that exceed or match the length of the watercraft. 

The distance between the pontoons is significant. As a result of the space between, the boat remains stable while exposed to boat wakes and waves. Above the flat deck is ample and comfortable seating, raised aluminum framed sides to prevent passengers from falling overboard, and most often a bimini style top to deflect the sun’s rays. 

Why Do Pontoon Boats Sink

Despite the stability, pontoon boats, like any other vessel, are susceptible to sinking. The likelihood of sinking a pontoon boat is rare, but it does occur.

There are few causes when it comes to pontoon boats sinking. Each is avoidable. Take measures to prevent subjecting the vessel and its passengers to dangerous conditions. 

Improper Handling Of The Boat

During weekends, local waterways are jam-packed with boaters. As a result, the water becomes turbulent. 

When faced with large wakes, remember to enter the wake at a 45-degree angle. Additionally, reduce speed to avoid unnecessary strain on the vessel and prevent your passengers from falling onto the deck or overboard. Without the proper angle and speed, the operator may lose control resulting in the inundation of water. 

It is hard to imagine, but watercraft collide. A damaged pontoon as a result of a collision is catastrophic. The influx of water into a pontoon causes the pontoon boat to become submerged in short order. 

Improper Loading Of The Vessel 

The improper loading of a pontoon boat is a primary reason pontoon boats sink. A boat functions properly at cruising speed when the bow lifts out of the water to reduce drag, increase speed, and break waves. 

Due to stowing gear or an excessive number of people on the bow, front heavy boats prevent the watercraft from planing. The inability to plane causes water to rush over the bow, particularly in rough conditions. The rapid flow of water onto the deck causes instability and puts the vessel at risk of sinking. 

Operating A Boat In Rough Seas

Whether you’re boating on lakes or the open ocean, never subject you, the passengers, and the boat to rough sea conditions.

Unlike the deck boat, which is similar in design, the pontoon boat cannot withstand large breaking waves. No matter how slow or fast the vessel moves, a pontoon boat will not tolerate significant wave heights. Return the boat to the dock immediately under these types of circumstances. 

Can A Pontoon Boat Capsize

Although unlikely, pontoon boats do succumb to capsizing. Pontoons are most prone to capsizing in offshore ocean waters or while transversing inlets. 

As the wind and tide oppose each other while navigating inlets, waves stack high into the air. A pontoon boat is prone to stuffing the bow due to its inability to carve through water. A stuffed bow puts the vessel at risk of catapulting the stern up and over. As a result, the boat comes to rest in an inverted position. The pontoons are up, and the deck is down. 

Read The Marine Forcast Before Pontoon Boating

We can’t stress enough the importance of reading a marine forecast before heading out on a river, lake, intercoastal waterway, or ocean.

When the forecast calls for rough sea conditions, keep the family safe and remain secured to the dock. We highly recommend Windfinder. Windfinder provides wind speed, wave height, wind direction information, and more. 

Can A Pontoon Boat Sink: Now You Know

We have determined that there are numerous causes to the sinking of a pontoon boat. Keep in mind, sinking is rare and is easily avoidable by remaining smart. Always keep Coast Guard required safety equipment onboard the vessel at all times. The gear is designed to help you should the unthinkable happen.