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Deck Boat vs. Pontoon Boat

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Deck boat Vs. pontoon boat: these two have been a popular choice for boating families who want to have a comfortable stay on the waters. Known for their versatility, large seating, and storage capacity it’s hard to choose between these 2 rivals. To help you narrow down your choice let’s talk about the similarities and differences between these two awesome boats so hopefully, you’ll be able to choose the best one that suits you. 

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deck boats vs pontoon boats

What is a Deck Boat?

Deck Boats Are known for putting function before form and are designed for maximum open space and speed ideal for different water activities. These boats come with large decks, hence the name, and are typically made with a deep-V design with a flared hull at the bow. Most deck boats have length sizes ranging from 18-25 feet long and the most common being 22-foot long. 

What Are Pontoon Boats? 

Pontoon boats on the other hand are characterized by their flat appearance and rely on tubes(pontoons) to remain buoyant. These tubes give the designers the ability to create massive combinations of deck plans suited to all sorts of accommodations.

What’s The Difference Between A Deck Boat And A Pontoon?

Over the years, deck boats and pontoon boats, although similar, have developed their own style and distinctive features which differentiate them from one another. Let’s explore their differences in the following key factors.

Build & Physique

Although pontoon boats and deck boats come with many similarities they still have distinct physical features that separate them from the other. 

Deck boats are known for their sleek and aerodynamic appearances similar to other sport boats which others find to be more aesthetically pleasing. They also come with a fiberglass V hull body style that holds up well on saltwater.

Pontoon Boats are known for their boxy and flattish appearance. These boats have aluminum tubes also called “pontoons” that allow the boat to float on water. Originally lacking in style, pontoon boats became sleeker and more appealing over time. 

Space

Deck boats and pontoon boats have always won the favor of many for their large space. Deck boats can offer quite a large seating capacity of up to 12 people, but with its V hull constructions, it comes a bit short in walking space. Most deck boats have all seating facing forward which makes it a great boat for cruising. 

In terms of space, Pontoon boats have quite the advantage, these boats can fit 10 to 20 people depending on the model. Due to their unique construction, pontoon boats have a larger seating capacity and offer more walking space. Pontoons also offer more freedom to move around and face any direction which is great for entertaining family and friends.

Engine 

Another feature that differs these two boats from one another is their engine types. Almost all types of pontoon boats today come with outboard engines that offer about 25 horsepower all the way up to 450 horsepower. Its engine horsepower can also be dependent on the length of these pontoon boats. On the other hand, deck boats offer two engine options; an outboard and I/O or, inboard/outboard. Unlike pontoon boats, the size of deck boats is not much of an issue, even small-sized deck boats can facilitate larger engines. 

Ride

The flattish design and construction of pontoon boats keep the boat steady in the water even if it’s in motion or not. For these reasons, pontoon boots are ideal for socializing and entertaining. Because they’re already sitting on top of the water, you’ll feel stable on the flat deck above even when waves run back and forth. 

Similarly, deck boats also plane out quite quickly because of their V-style bow and flat stern hull. With their unique shape deck boats cut through the water while moving, accelerating more quickly than traditional pontoons. Due to its central axis, decks have more tendency to rock with wind, waves, and movement of people on board.

Speed

Deck boats have the upper hand when it comes to speed and maneuverability. They can zip through waves at a faster rate and can change direction in an instant. Generally, deck boats are quicker to take off and reach a higher speed in a shorter time. 

Pontoon boats are slower and tend to be limited regarding maneuverability. But manufacturers have gone their own ways to improve this feature, they introduced tritoons which have three tubes that distribute weight more evenly, allow for better maneuverability and run at a higher speed. 

Activities

Both offering plenty of space, these two boats are excellent in the entertainment section. Pontoon boat manufacturers offer various floor plans that can accommodate different types of boaters and their boating styles.

Pontoons are also more flexible when it comes to arranging furniture for a more relaxed and comfortable ride. They are also fit for several recreational water activities like tubing or water skiing. In comparison, Deck boats are superior in that respect, due to their V hull design and powerful engine, they can slice through the water at a higher speed which is great for tow watersports.

Cost

In general, it’s cheaper to acquire a pontoon boat than a deck boat. But some luxury pontoon boat models can come close to the prices of deck boats. Also, keep in mind that the engine can contribute up to 50 percent of the total price for either boat. 

Maintenance

Just the same with all watercraft, maintenance is always important so your boats will last for more years to come. In this aspect, deck boats can be a bit more challenging to clean and maintain since the fiberglass hull of a deck boat needs to be wiped down after every use. Since pontoons sit on top of the water and are made of aluminum they are easier to clean and maintain. 

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