A question many people ask before they head out for the day is: “do Pontoon Boats have electrical outlets?“
Whether you have access to electrical outlets on a pontoon boat will often depend on the age and the model. Also, it will depend on whether it has been customized by a previous owner.
It is unlikely that older pontoon boats will have electrical power. So, don’t expect to get on board and power up all your gadgets.
Some newer toons will have outlets by default, though. In this article, we’ll go over it all. You’ll know what you need to power your devices!
- 1 Do Pontoon Boats Have Electrical Outlets?
- 2 How are pontoon boats powered?
- 3 How can you install power on a pontoon boat?
- 4 How many batteries do you need to run a pontoon boat?
- 5 How do you install electrical outlets on a pontoon boat?
- 6 What are the advantages of solar power on a pontoon boat?
- 7 Conclusion
Do Pontoon Boats Have Electrical Outlets?
If you’re out on a day trip with access to power, you can always carry around a portable usb charger . It can be used for items such as phones and tablets. They’re usually small and light and fit in a pocket or bag.
Many Chargers are compatible with various devices. Although you should check your specific models in case you need to buy a specialist charger for it.
That’s okay for your gadgets, but what about other electrical items?
If you’re on a fishing trip you will most likely want to use a GPS and a fish finder, as well as have lighting at night.
If you’re out for a lengthy time, you might even want the luxury of a low voltage microwave, kettle, and fridge.
How then can you install power into your pontoon boat? First, let’s consider the power used to move your pontoon boat in the water.
How are pontoon boats powered?
Many pontoon boats may be powered with a trolling motor that’s battery powered . Larger crafts will likely have an outboard motor that uses gasoline.
If you’re fitting an outboard motor, do your research to ensure it’s compatible with the size of your craft.
Electrically powered boats are becoming ever popular. And, technology is moving toward modern boats being electrically powered. Whatever means of power your craft uses, it can be utilized to power up more than the engine alone.
How can you install power on a pontoon boat?
You could add electrical power to your pontoon boat by using battery power packs. This is much easier if your boat has an outboard motor.
It means that the battery can be set up to keep charging via the alternator or stator. If you have a trolling motor, then you’ll already have a battery to work with.
If you have no motor fixed to your pontoon boat, then you’ll need a standard battery.
For a boat that doesn’t have an outboard motor, then it’s a good idea to also install a battery charger. Especially so if you want to run various electronics.
Solar panels can also be installed if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Once you have battery power to your boat, how do you connect all the appliances to it?
How many batteries do you need to run a pontoon boat?
The first important point to note here is that you’re better to have a two-battery system.
This is a much better system if you want to use the battery power for more than running the engine alone. It means that your engine battery is used only for powering the boat.
The backup battery is for everything else that needs power.
It’s also important to make sure that you use the right battery for the right application.
How do you install electrical outlets on a pontoon boat?
Getting the power from a battery power source requires a waterproof switch panel .
It’s a good idea to install one with a built-in circuit breaker, for safety reasons. Switch panels come in all sizes. Before you install one, make sure you have the right size according to your usage.
switch panel attaches to positive and negative bus bars that connect to the battery. To run your outlets you’ll need specialist marine wire .
This also comes in different sizes, so make sure you use the right size for your needs.
For example, a smaller boat will need 12AWG cable, while a larger boat will use 10AWG. This is a very basic guide. And any electric wiring must be installed according to the latest electrical guidelines and codes. If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a professional.
Also remember that the more power you use, the quicker it will drain the battery system.
Install solar power panels if you are more conscious about your green footprint. If you boat in an area with plenty of sunlight, you’ve got yourself free power.
What are the advantages of solar power on a pontoon boat?
By installing amarine solar panel you can run your engine much cheaper, greener, and quieter. See our article on the Best Marine Solar Panels for more details.
You can choose to permanently fix them onto mount or poles or use foldable panels for more temporary use.
To give you the right amount of power, you may even need more than one, but they can be connected. Also, you will still need a battery system set up to run the electronics.
Solar power charges up the battery when the engine is switched off. It’s ideal if your boat is being transported on a trailer or standing still in moorage.
If you have a bigger setup of solar panels, all you need to do is add an inexpensive . This ensures a regular flow of power goes into your battery, making sure it doesn’t overheat.
The more electronics you’re wanting to plug in, then the more voltage you’re going to need. As much as possible, keep it as low as you can.
The outlets are usually 15amp 3-pin plugs . So don’t bring along the microwave from home and expect to plug it in.
A battery runs a 12volt DC system, which will give you around 80ah (amp hours). Take that into account when calculating how much power your boat can generate.
Don’t worry, you can still have many luxuries on your boat, such as an Electric Cooler.
Learn the tricks of the trade. Your low voltage refrigerator is going to use around 1-amp per hour.
You can save power elsewhere too, such as using LED bulbs in your lighting.
Make use of the right tools and equipment. Then, there’s no reason why you can’t add the luxury of electrical power to your pontoon boat.