Few activities are as relaxing as sitting in the middle of the water with a cold beer and some good friends to surround yourself. Getting your own boat is a great way to spend some extra time on the weekend to just sit back and have a good time. Although there are many different types of boats to choose from, let’s focus on two popular options: the deck boat and the pontoon boat.
There are various reasons why you might choose either one of these excellent boats. In the end, both of them will prove to be a great investment for recreation. However, it is important that you understand fully what each of these boats is capable of so that you can make an informed decision before simply buying the first boat you see in your budget. Additionally, there are many different features for each of these boats which you need to be aware of.
Design Differences: The Basics
When we take a look at these two different boat models, we can see some obvious design differences. Deck boats have a smoother design all the way around the top and bottom, whereas the bottom hull of a pontoon boat has round pontoon tubes attached to the bottom for floating.
Deck designs provide you with the look of a speedboat and can reach fast speeds if you attach the right motor (more on this later). They have a hull which is smooth from top to bottom, with no jagged edges or loose ends. This is very different than what we see with the pontoon boat. Deck boats are designed to make full use of the deck space, thus the name.
Pontoon boats can be very affordable if you get a design with small deck space. They can either come in one or two seat designs if you like the ability to see the water below you. A pontoon boat is easy to spot out. All you need to do is look at the bottom hull and see if it floats using buoyant pontoon flotation devices. Make sure to keep in mind that there are also pontoon boat designs which place a hard surface on top of the pontoons so that you can have some space for standing up and walking around.
This is an area of high concern for many potential buyers. After all, it is important that you have more than enough space for just yourself so that you can bring friends and family along with you for the ride. Although either a deck boat or pontoon boat will likely provide enough space if you purchase the right model, there are some key factors to be aware of.
Unlike some of the best inflatable pontoon boat models, deck boats take full advantage of the top of the boat, providing plenty of space for you and your family to sit on. They are great for taking lots of people since most models provide plenty of space for everybody. Deck boats typically are directly connected to the hull, without any space to see the water below your feet. Since deck boats make great use of the deck space, they will normally have more seats than pontoon boats.
Although there are many pontoon boats that only have space for one or two people, don’t be confused here. Pontoon boats can also have plenty of space if you purchase the right one, or are willing to install a cover over the pontoons, which are the buoyant balloon-like flotation devices which sit on the water.
Typically, pontoon boats will have less sitting space than deck boats, but this doesn’t have to be this way if you choose the right model. In fact, with the right model, you can make much more efficient use of your space with a pontoon boat than you can with a deck boat. Instead of having everybody sit down facing forward, you can easily adapt your boat to make it suitable for walking and standing.
Hull Materials and Durability
The hull material is important if you want to prepare for the worst. If you ever happen to hit a sharp object, it is important that the hull is strong enough to take the impact without breaking. The same idea holds true for waves and other natural forces. After all, there is no point in purchasing a boat if it isn’t able to withstand some minor bumps and waves.
The bottom hull of a typical deck boat normally stretches all the way up the sitting space, making it difficult for small waves to splash you. They also typically use the same (or similar) materials all the way up to the top and may have a coating made of fiberglass, aluminum, or other similar materials. If you want the most durable hull possible, a deck boat is probably the right choice for you.
Although the top of a pontoon boat may be built with aluminum, steel, or another hard material, the pontoon flotation devices are normally a lot more fragile then deck boats. Since they are essentially a giant flotation device normally made with PVC and/or nylon with a hard frame put on top, it is important to only use a pontoon boat in the deep water so that you don’t risk scratching a rock or another hard object on the pontoons. After all, they can tear.
Boat Handling and Acceleration
How easy it is to control and accelerate the boat are important factors when determining which one is best for your needs. In this category, we are dealing with two very different boats. If this category is important to you, be sure to note which of the design has the specifications you are looking for.
In short, deck boats have a smoother ride on average at all speeds, and can also turn pretty efficiently at high speeds. Due to the nature of their design, the boat will typically stay seated on the water as it is being accelerated, allowing a smooth ride with few bumps.
Pontoon boats stand apart from deck boats in the category of handling. They are very easy to turn and maneuver with at most speeds. However, they also can plane a lot easier than a deck boat when you accelerate fast. After all, they don’t have the long smooth hull that a deck boat does.
Methods of Use
Whether you want to use your boat for fishing, waterskiing, camping, or a simple ride on the water, both of these types of boats are a great option for you to choose from. They both can be successfully used for a wide array of recreational activities and will provide countless days of enjoyment. However, here is what makes each of them stand out for their versatility.
Since deck boats can accelerate much quicker without planning, they are great for activities like waterskiing, which require you to reach high speeds pretty quickly. Their design also tends to look more attractive than pontoon boats, making them great for taking for taking friends out on the water. However, since they typically don’t have much walking space, you will have to plan accordingly.
Pontoon boats are the real deal if you want to customize your boat and allow for plenty of space for sleeping, fishing, and social gatherings. Since you can purchase a pontoon boat with a flat surface that extends all the way across the pontoons, they are great for sleeping. They can also easily be used for cooking with a pontoon grill, and allow you to fish (literally) right beneath your feet if you get a model which leaves the space underneath your chair open.
Where to Use Them
Neither of these boats is designed to be used out in deep ocean waters, don’t get confused here. Don’t expect to take your deck or pontoon boat across the Pacific Ocean. You would need a much larger and powerful boat to be able to handle the potentially dangerous conditions of the ocean. However, both of these models are very great if you simply want to go out for recreational activity on a lake, large river, or reservoir.
Just don’t risk your investment because you wanted to be adventurous. You spent good money for your boat, so be sure to use it where it will thrive. Remember that some rivers and lakes have water levels that are too low to support your boat. If you would swim across it (assuming you’re not an Olympic swimmer), you probably shouldn’t boat across it.
Deck Boat vs Pontoon Boat: Benefits of Both
Remember that the deck boat and the pontoon boat are both high-quality models which are heavily worth considering if you want a boat for recreational activity. Now that we have discussed what makes both of these boats worth considering, let’s now break down the major details so that you are knowledgeable enough to choose which type of boat that you like the best.
Why You Should Purchase a Deck Boat
Deck boats are great for people who want to have the smoothest ride possible while accelerating at fast speeds. They also have a very elegant design that is great for people who want the look of a yacht from afar without the size, expensive features, or space. They will normally come with nice chairs that arranged for everybody to have a nice view of what’s in front of the boat.
Why You Should Purchase a Pontoon Boat
Pontoon boats are for the person who wants to make full use of the space. As long as you get a design which has an extended flat deck placed on top of the pontoon floating devices, you will be left with plenty of space for adding in a pontoon grill, some chairs, fishing poles, a cooler, standing space and some good friends.
Deck Boat vs Pontoon Boat: Summary
Purchase a deck boat if you want to have an attractive look on the exterior and a smooth ride. Get a pontoon boat if you want plenty of space for standing and activities such as grilling. However, this isn’t to stay that each type of boat can’t have all of these features. If you are careful with your research and budget planning, it is always possible to get a deck or pontoon boat which has a nice balance of all the features mentioned above.