Skiffs vs. Pontoons

Fueling the Boat Buying Debate
Sundance Skiff with Bimini Top & Hand Rails
Uh Oh

You’re in quite a pickle. The better half has wholeheartedly decided on a pontoon but you want a skiff. With the die cast, you need facts to help your cause and fast.

As fuel for your debate, share these common complaints of pontoon owners with your significant other before you buy.

It Sure Is Windy

Wind and chop are always a consideration for any boat but with a pontoon you’ll need to use extreme caution. The reason, pontoons are very susceptible to wind making them very rough in less than favorable conditions. If you’re drifting or trying to stick to the shorelines for a little fishing, a pontoon is going to prove very frustrating. One other consideration, with just a mild wind, putting the boat on a trailer can prove to be quite an unfavorable experience.

Ahead Full…I Think I Can

Pontoons aren’t known for speed. Speaking purely of averages, a pontoon is going to top out around 35 mph. Compared to a skiff, there’s really not much contest as top speeds will reach 46 mph using less fuel while achieving greater range and better maneuverability. But why is speed important? If you ever need to outrun a storm or cover a significant distance in a hurry, you’ll be hard-pressed to do so in a pontoon.


Considering a Bay Boat?

If you’re interested in big water you may find a bay boat more suitable to your needs. Check out 2014’s Most Requested Bay Boat Features and Best Bay Boats – Top 5 Must Haves.

Big Wide Turns

If you’ve ever seen a cargo ship making a turn you know it’s not a quick decision but more of a process. On a smaller scale, turning a pontoon must be very deliberate versus other boat types. While in a turn, a pontoon won’t bank like a skiff so passengers can be thrown to the deck or overboard. For this reason alone, safety should always be a huge consideration while underway. A good rule of thumb for the pontoon, your family and friends should take a seat until the boat has stopped.

One Trick Pony

Skiff boats are going to offer considerably more versatility as they can typically navigate skinny waters and narrow canals while also handling larger waters. From back bays and inlets, pontoons are limited to fairly calm conditions which make them preferred for lakes. If you are thinking inland seas or larger lakes, you’ll want to opt for the most favorable weather conditions. Understanding this, it’s is important that you identify how you plan to use your boat prior to purchase. If you have any thoughts of running on coastal waters or during moderate chop, you’ll probably favor a skiff or bay boat over a pontoon.

Crash Into It

Unlike skiffs, pontoons will often plow into the waters ahead as opposed to rising. As you might imagine, this can lead to water surging over the deck which can push gear, children, or pets overboard. Knowing the potential dangers, when in a pontoon, slow down, avoid wind and rough waters

If you’re still undecided, we invite you to take a look at our related post, “The Best Boats for Your Needs” in an effort to help you finalize your thoughts.

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