Pontoon boat in rough water? Are they safe? With the hottest days of summer yet to come, there are many families still gearing up for what the season has to offer. Whether it is fishing that is your family’s thing or just lounging in the sun out on the open water, there is no better option than a pontoon boat.
These boats are not only one of the most affordable options available today, but they are one of the most widely available. Due to COVID, some items have become harder and harder to procure, causing the prices to rapidly increase. This won’t be the case with pontoon boats because of their popularity.
Pontoon Boat In Rough Water
That being said, pontoon boats are not impervious to dangers. Even with proper life jackets and water safety in hand, your family could be put in danger while venturing on a pontoon boat.
This is why it is imperative to know and understand the dangers you face when heading out on the open waters. One such danger will be rough water.
How do pontoon boats handle rough water and how should you react when exposed to such conditions? That’s exactly what you are going to learn so you’ll be prepared for a whole summer full of bright sun, laughs, and family fun.
Read More: How to drive a Pontoon Boat.
The Two-Hulled Boat
The one thing that you need to know about pontoon boats, and this is one of the reasons that many people opt for these boats over others, is that they have two hulls. Generally speaking, the two hulls will allow the boats to handle much better in choppy and rough water conditions.
Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still dangers. It just means that these boats, due to their design, are likely to handle and maneuver better. The two hulls provide more stability.
The two hulls in combination with a little common sense and you shouldn’t have a problem keeping your family safe on the open water. Along with ignoring common sense, you can end up in trouble not knowing and understanding how to handle the two hulled machines, especially when the water gets rough.
Pontoons Can Flip
Before you start learning too much more about pontoons and how to handle them, you’ll need to understand that these two hulled boats are not impervious to flipping. Most people think because these boats have two hulls that they can’t be flipped. This is not the case at all.
While they are much harder to flip, they are not completely impervious to the action. Just think of a car or truck. How many of these vehicles have you seen flipped upside down on their tops sitting aside the road? Probably more than you care to mention.
Flipping a pontoon boat is possible, but it’s highly unlikely when applying proper responsibility. That being said, forces of nature cannot be controlled.
You might be put in some situations that are just out of your control, but knowing the right steps and actions to take can go a long way. Knowing these very things can take you from boat owner to boat captain.
Read More: What is the Major Danger of Anchoring a Fishing Boat from the Stern?
Maintaining An Even Load Abroad
Given that pontoon boats are social vehicles, it is likely that you won’t be heading into the open water on one of these devices by yourself. It’s also likely that you’ll be taking a load of gear with you as well.
Whether it be fishing gear, swimming gear, or a whole load of passengers, you’ll want to make sure that everything is always evenly distributed throughout the hulls. Weight distribution can play a major factor in choppy waters.
This is something that you’ll not only need to be aware of, but your passengers will need to be aware of. You always have the option of informing them before heading out for the day or you can inform them when you suspect that rough waters are ahead.
Just stress to them the importance of maintaining an even weight distribution. You always want an equal number of weights on each side of the pontoons.
Modifications are something else to keep in mind. A lot of pontoons get modified, and if such modifications have been applied to your boat, you’ll want to factor them in when heading into choppy waters. For instance, double Decker pontoon boats or boats with a second level are more prone to tipping.
Watching Your Trim
When in rough waters, you always have to be careful with the nosecones of your boat. You’ll always want to avoid burying these sections of the pontoon and keeping them above water. One of the best ways to do just this is by considering the trim of the boat.
When boat owners refer to trim or trimming up the boat, they are referring to the position of the propeller shaft. The angled shaft relative to the boat. When most bots are stationary the shaft will be parallel with the surface of the water. This is neutral trim.
Trimming the engine down will force the bow deeper into the water. If you trim too much, it’ll force the bow that much higher into the air. The trick here is to trim the boat to the point where the wakes from the side of the boat are minimized.
Just be careful about trimming the engine too much, as it will start sucking in air. In addition, when lifting the bow, it means that your boat will be less likely to take on water from the incoming waves hitting the front of the boat.
Watch The Wind
Going back to Mother Nature and natural events, there are some situations you just can’t do anything about. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of these occurrences. This is especially true when it comes to the wind. You might not have any control over the wind, but it always pays to know exactly where the wind is coming from.
Knowing this will allow you to perform turns in the right directions, minimizing the risks of flips. Turning into high winds only increases the chances of a flip, especially if you have a Double Decker.
Always Remember Your Fuel
As a new boat owner or captain, you might think it’s common sense to keep an eye on your fuel gauges. You might also think this is something that needs to be done before heading out on the water.
Of course, it is something you’ll want to do before heading out, but it’s just as important to keep an eye on your fuel when you are battling through windy conditions. Why you might ask? This is because battling against winds and challenging weather can cause one to consume more fuel.
If you see bad weather ahead or choppy conditions, you’ll want to know that you’ll have enough fuel to make it back to the dock. Never assume just because you have enough fuel to reach the docks under normal conditions that you’ll be able to make it back under high winds.
This might not be the case at all. You’ll want to think about what it takes to make it back under normal conditions and double that consumption. This will ensure that you make it back without any problems. You don’t want your family’s first experience on the new pontoon to be one of you running out of fuel.
Continue Reading: What should you do to Reduce the Risk of Capsizing or Swamping your Boat in Rough Water?
Consider Special Handling Packages
If you are going to be in a lot of high winds or live in areas where there are constant storms, you might want to consider investing a little bit of money into some additional equipment. Additional equipment like a special handling package can go a long way.
Some of these packages offer higher horsepower along with assisted steering, positive angle lifting strakes, and barracuda nosecones. All these items will help your pontoon handle the rough waters much better. A little extra money for a little extra safety will be well worth the investment.
Ever wondered how you can have a cruising boat without getting into financial problems? The answer is here. That is the reason why we set up this blog to share with you, safety tips, answers to questions that have to do with fishing and hunting. You are going to love it!
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