When you’re deciding on a new ‘toon, you want to know how many people it can hold! How many people can fit in a pontoon boat, anyway?
Most pontoon boats will have capacity sticker plates telling recommended capacities. But we have some general calculations here as well.
Pontoon boats come in different sizes, build-outs, and configurations. In general, the larger they are, the more people they will hold.
But the good thing about a pontoon boat is that it can carry more people than smaller pleasure vessels.
They are used for different activities like fishing, water sports, and exploratory activities. Some are even designed to host mini parties or do search and rescue operations.
How Many People Can Fit In A Pontoon Boat?
Most pontoon boats have capacity sticker plates attached to the board. This plate will tell you how many individuals the boat can accommodate. You should start there, and with your manufacturer’s recommendations!
In a situation where the boat does not have a capacity sticker plate, you can still find out how many people it can take.
If the pontoon boat you are examining has a patio-like space onboard, just know it has a large deck space. A large patio space is larger than the space you will find on a conventional V-shaped powerboat.
This extra space allows the boat owner to fit more people, but you still need to pay attention to the maximum weight limit.
Most pontoon boats have capacity sticker plates attached to the board. This plate will tell you how many individuals the boat can accommodate.
Conventional Pontoon Boat Capacities
Pontoon boat manufacturers design their pontoon boats in different sizes. Each size has a different weight capacity. It’s usually quickly available if you simply Google your boat name and size.
In general, here are the different pontoon boat weight capacity sizes you will find in the market.
- 16ft and under – 6 people max
- 17ft-19ft – 8 people max
- 20ft-22ft – 13 people max
- 23ft-28ft – 15 people max
These right guidelines provide buyers with a fair idea of how many people they can carry on their boats. This is especially helpful if you bought a used boat without a capacity sticker plate.
By simply measuring the length, you’ll have a general idea of how many people you’ll fit on a pontoon boat. Of course, always check with your manufacturer!
But, you should know that this measurement may not work for all pontoon boats. You still need to take into account the overall weight capacity.
Dangers Of Overloading Your Pontoon Boat
Now you know how to calculate the maximum number of people a pontoon boat can take. Let us address the dangers of overloading it.
1. It May Capsize
Overloading a pontoon boat for fun or out of necessity is a big risk because it may capsize. Pontoon boat capsizing is uncommon, but when it happens it’s usually due to Operator Error and poor decision making.
The risk is amplified if the weather is rough and unstable.
2. Breaking The Law
There are laws governing the use of pontoon boats across state and federal lines. The law states that all boaters are to abide by the laid down laws regarding weight capacity. Exceeding the number is a violation and will attract legal consequences.
The laws differ from state to state. So, be sure to avoid carrying more people in your pontoon boat than required.
The law states that all boaters are to abide by the laid down laws regarding weight capacity. Exceeding the number is a violation and will attract legal consequences.
3. It Will Invalidate Your Insurance
All pontoon boats tend to be insured, just like cars. And insurance covers serve to provide financial indemnity in the case of an accident.
In a situation where an accident occurs, and it leads to injuries, damages, and even death, the insurer will want to know how many people were on board.
If they find out that you exceeded the required capacity you will not get any compensation. And may even be prosecuted for claiming in the first place.
That will be a classic case of bad to worse.
4. Reduced Performance
You risk everyone when you overload your boat. But there is also the issue of reduced performance due to weight capacity. Having too many people onboard will place a great burden on your motor and reduce your speed.
The more people you have onboard, the slower the vessel will become. If you want your pontoon to go fast (for skiing or watersports), you should even few people onboard. This will lighten the boat and give it more oomph.
5. Maneuvering Difficulty
An overcrowded boat is shower and harder to maneuver.
Even in the best of circumstances, ‘toons make wide turns and have not-great maneuverability. But when overcrowded, this maneuvering becomes even more difficult. The last thing you want is to travel at a snail’s pace!
How many people can fit in a pontoon boat? That will depend on the size and length of the boat.
This can range from one-man pontoon boats, to small toons with 4-8 people, and larger boats with capacity for 13 or more people.
Check with your manufacturer and model for certainty, but our guide should provide enough general information. Also, consider your overall weight capacity before you head out on the water!