Pontoon Boats with Aluminum Decks USA UK 2023
Pontoon boats are your vessels of fun which are ideal for day cruising, fishing or simply camping overnight. They are also great for partying and spending quality time with your loved ones! But, from partying to fishing down to a simple soiree, you need a solid, good deck that can hold and withstand your celebrations. Most pontoon boats are made of aluminum frames with a base on top of the frame. This base is what we call a deck, flat support that holds every component of your vessel, including passengers.
What is the purpose of a pontoon boat deck?
A boat deck serves a number of purposes, including providing an attaching surface for fittings and furniture on the boat or providing structure and support to the vessel.
The deck is a fixed structure that covers the lower compartment or hull and also the pontoon logs. As decks provide structural reinforcement, they should be strong enough to withstand storms, waves, and high speeds.
A strong boat means a strong deck, and so as a boater, you should know ways to protect, maintain or repair the deck.
A deck also has several things attached to it like ladders, railings, motors, sidelights, etc. More than these essentials, the deck on your pontoon boat also houses other things such as food, drinks, chairs, speakers, etc.
Attaching deck to the pontoon logs
Pontoon boat decks are attached to the pontoon logs which are either fastened by bolts or screws.
While many boat makers prefer bolting, it may not be the best choice here. Bolts have to be inserted into pre-drilled holes that are slightly bigger than the bolt. Over time, the bolts might start loosening up and water can breach through that slight gap. There are also good chances that the bolt might break after a few years which is also a cause for worry.
Another option here would be screwed! Screws can be inserted in self-supporting holes that do not require any pre-drilling. Adhesive strips are also used for self-sealing protection that prevents any movement of the screw or leaks.
A pontoon boat is made to withstand tremendous pressure when waves crash against them. This is why having a strong deck structure is pivotal. Over time, the quality of your boat is subject to wear and tear and having a high-quality deck and structure increases the life of your boat.
So if you are using bolts for the pontoon deck, make sure to check them regularly and replace them if they start to loosen up.
Length of the pontoon deck
The length of the deck on your pontoon boat would really depend on the purpose you use your vessel for the most!
Now pontoon boats are perfect for almost every water activity, and as a boat owner, you can go fishing, cruising, sun-bathing, swimming, camping or towing water skiers. Knowing the purpose of your boat will help you determine the size of your vessel.
Pontoon decks come in different sizes. For proper balance, the deck would be longer than the pontoon themselves. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of a few pontoon deck sizes:
- Up to 19 feet
This is the range of pontoon decks available in the smallest size. They are not meant for heavy-duty usage and work best in calm waters like a lake and can withstand a capacity of 6-8 people.
- 20-22 feet
This mid-range pontoon deck size can accommodate up to 12 people and is also meant for smooth sailing. They work best in lakes and rivers with mild currents.
- Over 22 feet
These decks are the largest ones available and require longer logs for support. They can accommodate up to 15 people, but make sure that you check the manufacturer’s weight recommendation before inviting 15 people.
Now that you have a hang of the purpose and length of pontoon decks, let us have a look at aluminum as a decking material.
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Aluminum pontoon boat decks
Boaters have many options when it comes to pontoon boat decks, which include plywoods, aluminum, composite boards, and vinyl boards.
Out of all of these, aluminum serves as arguably the best choice decking material, even if it is a bit on the expensive side.
A major benefit of aluminum is that unlike wood and other similar materials, it does not decay. They are also lightweight, easy to install and maintain, rust and stain resistant, and also do not need covering.
But aluminum has its drawbacks too. It has poor panel span length and has to be custom-made in most cases, they may undergo stress and wear due to additional seams which are caused by self-tapping screws used by manufacturers for fastening. Aluminum also has very poor insulation against heat.
But all considered, it is still one of the top choices of boaters due to its non-decay feature.
It should be worth mentioning that as mentioned above, although aluminum may be costly, you can save money on the cover as they do not require any covering.
But if you want, you can install carpets or artificial grass to cover up the deck, just for aesthetic’s sake!
Before getting a deck for your boat, consider what you use it for and what do you need? You might as well want to throw safety and maintenance in the mix!
And in terms of safety and low maintenance, aluminum is the perfect decking choice.