10 Most Common Problems With Pontoon Boats – Avoid Them

The versatile, futuristic, and innovative pontoon boat has undergone remarkable development over the last ten years. Once a simple boat, today, it can offer everything from a relaxing day of fishing to invigorating trips on the lake. 

Modern pontoon boats, used for various water activities such as day trips, fishing, and water sports, have a new design, new boatbuilding materials, and outboard engines.

Despite all improvements, new pontoon boats are still boats, and like other water vehicles, are prone to a variety of problems and issues.

Most Common Problems With Pontoon Boats

I have selected the ten most common problems with pontoon boats and divided them into three main groups: 

  • engine problems
  • body problems
  • navigation problems

Here are some tips for detecting, preventing, and solving pontoon boat problems and avoiding frustration.

Engine Problems

The most common and frustrating problem is a pontoon boat motor that will not start. This is an electronic problem that occurs on many pontoon boats. 

To solve the problem, start by checking your starter switch. If your pontoon boat’s engine roams but does not start, it could be due to poor connection or a weak battery issue. 

Always check your battery power and all connections before leaving the marine. Check all the engine components and make sure all the cables are correctly connected and not covered with rust or dirt.

It is a real nightmare when you are navigating on the water, and suddenly the engine dies off. It is also an alarming situation. Nothing turns off the fun onboard and ruins a relaxed journey quicker than a dead engine. 

If you are sure that your gas tank is ok and the electronic part is working, then maybe the corrosion is your problem. It may be that a simple cleaning is required in one place, or in the worst case, you may need to consult a professional engine cleaner.

Overheated engines are not uncommon in pontoon boats, either. You are outside in the water, and the cooling circuit is slightly lacking water. A sign that the engine of your pontoon boat is overheated. This can be due to the insects and debris in the water. Fortunately, they can be easily cleaned off. 

Occasionally, the reasons are more serious engine problems. To avoid such an unpleasant experience, check if you have a noticeable backwater flow that comes out of the engine when you start it. 

Another preventive task for a co-captain is to keep the engine water indicator free of deposits and insects in the water.

Mechanical parts of the motor can be damaged too. Most vibration problems are due to the propulsion of the pontoon boats. 

Various factors can cause vibrations of the ship’s propulsion system:

  • the engine propeller is out of balance
  • the engine propeller has a worn hub
  • the engine propeller has a small blade area

The damaged propellers cause vibrations when accelerating your pontoon boat’s speed through the water. Check the motor drive for the last problem. 

You can do this when the propeller is underwater. Please switch off the engine, and stay away from the drive when it is spinning. 

You can do this in a marine when the water is clear enough, or you can bring your pontoon boat into clear water and then check the drive underwater. 

Another solution is to remove the propeller from the engine and then run the engine to full power. If the vibrations disappear, it is time to turn your propeller into your propeller workshop and ask for help.

The best way to avoid engine problems is to rinse the engine after every trip involving salt or shallow water. 

Further, after each use, check the battery and connections, make sure they are clean and tight. 

If you do not use your pontoon boat frequently, trickle charge the battery to keep it ready for future trips. 

Remember to clean the engine seasonally with a liquid household detergent. Remove any waste accumulated in the motor pan and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water after cleaning to remove any cleaning solution. 

When winters are harsh, always winterize the engine to prevent damage that could result from freezing.

Due to technical progress, today’s pontoon boat engines are more reliable than ever before. However, it is still not unusual to be out in the water and have problems with the motor, electronics, or propulsion.

Maintenance and Body Problems

Supervise the maintenance of your pontoon boat yourself. Many of the maintenance and service tasks can be carried out by yourself or accompanied by a friend. 

A well-maintained pontoon boat is the best way to reduce your costs and ensure your boat’s safety. So try to solve any physical problem as soon as it arises.

Pontoon boats can heal minor damage, such as fractures, simply by regular use. Smaller breaks and cracks can lead to leaks caused by hitting a rock or debris. They may not be visible first and can seriously damage your pontoon boat and even float it into the water.

The pipes of pontoon boats can be damaged by the bottom of rivers, lakes, or even docks. If you hit something in shallow water, the pipes can tear and be missing.

Another problem is corrosion. If you are not cruising with your pontoon boat, take it ashore. You will protect it from breakage and corrosion damage.

If you notice that your pontoon boat is deeper in the water, it is time to act. Call an authorized repair service to repair the leak and its surface.

Navigation Problems 

To avoid navigational problems, avoid navigating a pontoon boat on the oceans, maintain an even weight load, and always make sure that you have double-checked the forecast before leaving the marine. If you see a storm approaching while navigating, go ashore immediately or get to safety.

Pontoon boats are manufactured for inland waters: rivers, ponds, small and medium-sized lakes. Do not try your pontoon boat on oceanic voyages; waves and wind can be stronger than a pontoon boat can handle.

Cruising a pontoon boat in rough waters can be dangerous. Their shallow deck is more stable than other boats in calm waters, but they are not built for the open sea and choppy ocean. 

It is unlikely that a pontoon boat will overturn or capsize, but that does not mean that it is impossible. 

Big waves in rough seas can cause a pontoon boat to go under the wave instead of riding it on top. They can also cause a pontoon boat to capsize and tip over. 

To avoid the risk of going under the wave, you should not slow down when approaching big waves but ride them at an angle from the center of the pontoon boat. Also, make sure that you carry an even weight load in rough weather. Pontoon boat weight includes:

  • you, the captain
  • your equipment
  • your cargo
  • your passengers

Pontoon boats are light, so it is essential to maintain the correct weight balance. 

Docking in rough seas and stormy weather can also be dangerous. If the waters are rough and threatening to go ashore and dock, you should safely anchor where you are.

All passengers should be aware that cruising on a boat requires order and rules. Teach your passengers the rules on board and tell them that they must maintain the correct weight balance. 

Please do not allow them all to be in the same specific part of the boat at the same time that they are crushed on parts of the deck from which they can easily fall into the water. 

Overloading a pontoon boat means destroying the watercraft’s balance, but it also means that you put unsafe pressure on the pontoon boat frame.


Like any other vehicle, Boats are prone to all kinds of issues, both cosmetic and mechanical. The most common problems with pontoon boats are caused by inadequate care for your boat.

Being proactive is the best way to solve the problem before it arises. Make sure that your boat is in perfect working condition every time you go for a ride. Doing this will reduce your problems significantly.

One thought on “10 Most Common Problems With Pontoon Boats – Avoid Them

  1. Goran, What a wonderful and informative blog on Pontoon Boats. I am on my second used Bennington with a 60 horse Yamaha. Susie and I are in our sunshine years and do not need speed. We love cruising Seneca Lake with friends, To get to the point, our aging pontoon is in need of some face-lifting where seat seams are starting to part. I would appreciate any comments you might have on repairs and replacement parts.

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