How Fast Does A Pontoon Boat Go? Choosing A Pontoon Boat

Choosing A Pontoon Boat

How fast does a pontoon boat go and why do you need a fast pontoon boat?

Well, I would say same reason why Jack Sparrow loved his ship the Black Pearl, because she could outrun the Flying Dutchman. Actually, she was the only ship in the Caribbean Sea that could outrun the Flying Dutchman.

Usually, the speed of a pontoon boat can be anywhere between 22mph/36kmh for a 90HP engine, and 37mph/60kmh for the fastest one.

The speed of your boat depends on the size of the engine, the load, that is, number of people you are carrying and so on.

It also depends on the type of pontoon boat that you buy. Some are inflatable, some are rigid hulled/pontooned. Inflatable pontoon boats are the best choice for many people as they cost much less, mostly less than $1000. The rigid pontoon boats are bigger, more equipped and can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

In East Africa, they say that if you want to eat pork, choose the fattest pig. If you want a pontoon boat, go for a fast pontoon boat. But only if it will suit your needs.

For one, two, three or four-person boat, just choose an inflatable pontoon boat from

But first things first …

What is a pontoon boat?

What is a pontoon boat

Perhaps the first question to begin with would be; what is a pontoon? A pontoon is a tube filled with air for floatation. Without going into fancy physics, that is what a pontoon means. Thus, after you know what is a pontoon, you can then deduce what is a pontoon boat.

A pontoon boat is as the name suggests, a boat with a flat hull that is mounted on, or fixed with pontoons that help with floatation. Most fast pontoon boats come with two or three pontoons. Some are small, some are big.

Some are extravagant and some are just so-so… just basic like. Again, buying your slow or fast pontoon boat depends really on your needs. If you need a boat for speed, then you will be looking for the fastest pontoon boat out there. If you want a fishing pontoon boat, then you want a moderately slow one lest you scare the fish away. An angler does not scare his fish!

You need a fast pontoon boat because life is too short to spend it on the slow lane. Sometimes, you have to break the boundaries and say, to heck with it, I am gonna milk all the horsepower from this motor. And then you go right ahead and kick the hell out of her (the boat I mean). If you gotta kick ass in the water, you gotta do it with style then and the fastest pontoon boat is going to help you do that.

How fast does a pontoon boat go? Crunching the numbers

Here is where rubber meets road. So just how fast does a fast pontoon boat go? Well, this depends on many things among them size of the boat, the motor, intended use of the boat and so on.

Water sport enthusiasts love pontoon boats. If you have ridden in one, it is easy to see why. This is possibly the easiest boat to maintain, and to operate.

Pontoon boats can provide a means for you and your family or friends to enjoy adventurous moments in the ocean. This includes hair-raising water sports like water skiing, fishing or any other activity. They can also be used as a scuba diving platform. Pack your scuba diving gloves, water shoes and scuba tank inside. You will need a boat with enough room for your gear.

When you go to buy a pontoon boat, one of the main factors most people consider is their desired top speed.

For a pontoon boat to achieve your preferred maximum speed, you must take care of various things that include the engine that you choose for your boat and the weight that you load on the boat, among other things.

Selecting the right engine for your pontoon boat can be quite difficult. If you are new to how these boats work and how an engine can influence its overall speed, you may need to do some groundwork.

You need to know all the factors that you need to consider if you want to increase the speed of your pontoon boat. Now that you know what is a pontoon boat, you want to know how you can choose the right engine for your boat.

You also want to find out how you can increase the speed if you have an engine already. Here is all the information that your require to know about a fast a pontoon boat can go.

Possible pontoon boat speed range

A pontoon boat’s engine is able to achieve various levels of speed that range from 10 to 35 miles per hour. If you want a fast pontoon boat, go for one with the biggest engine, and with double or triple pontoons.

For your pontoon boat to achieve the highest speed range, you will have to maximize on the positioning of the engine. You must also be able to distribute the weight evenly in the boat. Perhaps you can even have it fitted with a new engine.

Possible pontoon boat speed range

However, pontoon boats are not designed for speed. Just as the best standup paddle boards, they are built for fun in the water.

Here are different pontoon boat speeds for different sports:

Water Sport Estimated Required Speed in MPH
Wakeboarding 10 to 25 mph
Waterskiing 20 to 25 mph
Kneeboarding 12 to 20 mph
Water tubing 15 to 25 mph
For teenagers 10 to 20 mph
For kids 5 to 10 mph

Please note these are just estimates, so even speeds higher or lower than these are acceptable.

What is your preferred pontoon speed?

Some people want a fast pontoon boat. Other want a pontoon boat for relaxation with family or with friends. At the same time, others want a simple, one person inflatable pontoon boat for lazing and dilly-dallying in water.

The good thing is that no matter what kind of pontoon boat you are looking for, there is one for you.

What do you want to use a pontoon boat for?

Your main reason for buying a pontoon boat is a possible indicator of how fast you would want your boat to go.

If you buy a pontoon boat for water sports such as water skiing or water tubing, then you would want it to move it a very swift speed.

For a pontoon boat for fishing, you would prefer one that moves at a slow speed, and one that is a bit quiet lest you scare your catch away.

If you want a luxury pontoon boat, you can buy the biggest one, padded and with enough room for sitting.

Choosing an ideal engine for your pontoon boat

The kind of an engine that you will select will be determined by what you want to do with your pontoon boat. A fishing pontoon boat cannot have the same engine as a racing pontoon boat. A luxury pontoon boat is bigger, so it will need a bigger engine.

The efficiency of your pontoon engine depends on the following on horsepower, engine placement, thrusting ability and directional control to name but just a few of them.

Best engine for water sports or for fishing

If you have decided to use your pontoon boat for various water sports, the most important factors to consider in an engine should be directional control and the engine’s horsepower. Do not go for an engine with less than 70HP.

If you are going to use your pontoon boat for fishing, speed is the last factor that you should consider. A quieter boat would be better. With that, consider trolling motor engine since it is engineered to operate quietly on water.

How to increase the speed of your pontoon boat

Before we look at how you can increase the speed of your pontoon boat, let us first look at the main factors that affect how fast pontoon boat moves.

They include:

  • Amount of load
  • How the engine is placed
  • The direction of the wind
  • The condition of the pontoons and propellers

Weight on the boat

This is an important factor to consider when you want to increase the speed of your pontoon boat. The more weight you load on your pontoon boat, the slower it will move. Basically, you can assume that for every 1000 lbs of weight, you can lose 15 to 20% of your speed.

If you want to increase the speed of your boat, start by getting rid of every unnecessary weight in the boat. Also, ensure that you distribute the remaining load evenly on every point of the boat.

How the engine is placed

How the engine is placed

The way you place your engine can slow your fast pontoon boat down. If your boat’s bow is never above the water level, the engine is probably positioned wrongly. Use a hydraulic motor to tilt the engine higher. However, do not tilt it too high because doing that can be counterproductive.

The direction of the wind

Sailing against the wind automatically slows your pontoon boat. If you want to increase your pontoon boat speed, sail in the wind’s direction.

But perhaps you are not sure of the direction in which the wind is moving or you do not know how to observe it. It is simple. Like an old school sailor, just dip your palm inside the water, lift it up and the side that becomes cold first tells you the direction of wind.

The status of the pontoons and the propellers

The cleanliness of the pontoons and the propellers can affect the speed of your boat. The two should be cleaned regularly. They will naturally collect some sea life such as algae, which accumulates and starts to slow down your boat. A clean boat can run faster. Also, keeping your props, hull and pontoons clean prolongs the life of your boat too.


How fast does a pontoon boat go? As you have seen here, it is about 35 mph maximum. However, that is an estimate. Some people have had their fast pontoon boat go much faster than that. You can now buy a pontoon boat in confidence, knowing that you are not ordering one blindly. Buy pontoon boat now – life is too short to live it slow.