How Wide Are Pontoon Boats? Learn How Width Can Impact Your Dream Pontoon Experience

how wide are pontoon boats

Are you wondering how wide are pontoon boats? Look no further, as I’m here to guide you through the vast world of these versatile vessels. 

With over 20 years of boating experience, I’ve seen and used many boats out there, and I’m happy to share my knowledge with fellow enthusiasts like you. 

In this article, we’ll explore pontoon boat basics, common widths, and performance implications.  Also, I’ll touch on other considerations, and tips for choosing the right width to suit your needs. 

So, hop aboard, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of pontoon boats together!

Pontoon Boat Basics

Ahoy, fellow boating enthusiasts! If you’re looking to learn about pontoon boats, you’ve come to the right place. With years of experience on the water, I’m here to share my knowledge and help you understand the ins and outs of these versatile vessels.

Pontoon boats are essentially flat-decked boats supported by two or more air-tight tubes called pontoons. These pontoons or “hulls” are usually made of aluminum and provide excellent buoyancy. This structure is what makes these boats incredibly stable and spacious.

One of the numerous advantages of owning a pontoon boat is its versatility. You can employ them for activities like fishing or simply for relishing a leisurely day on the water with loved ones.

In addition, their capacity for entertainment, facilitated by features like audio systems and marine speakers, makes them ideal for hosting get-togethers. This inherent ability to transform into party cruisers is one reason why pontoon boats are so cherished

How wide are pontoon boats? How big are they? Pontoon boats come in various sizes, from small and compact models to luxurious and fully equipped party barges. 

If you’re thinking of getting a pontoon boat, you may find craigslist pontoon boats for sale useful for your research. You may also consider renting one to test the waters  (pun intended) before buying. 

As you explore your options, one crucial aspect to consider is the width of the pontoon boat. The width or “beam” plays a significant role in the boat’s performance, stability, and capacity. 

In the following sections, I’ll dive deeper into how pontoon boat widths vary and what to keep in mind when choosing the perfect one for your needs.

Factors Affecting Pontoon Boat Width

When it comes to pontoon boats, size does matter, especially when we’re talking about the width. Several factors can affect the width of a pontoon boat. Let’s break down the key aspects that influence this key measurement.

Size of the Boat: Naturally, the overall size of the pontoon boat will play a significant role in determining its width. Smaller pontoons are typically narrower, while larger ones have wider beams to accommodate more passengers, amenities, and provide greater stability.

Number of Hulls: Most pontoon boats come with two hulls – this is the classic “double-hull” design. But, some models, like the tri hull pontoon, feature three hulls, which allow for even more stability and space. This design choice can result in a wider boat.

Deck Layout: The layout of the deck can also impact the boat’s width. Some designs focus on open space and seating arrangements, requiring a wider boat to accommodate the desired features. Others may have a more streamlined design, focusing on narrow walkways and compact amenities, resulting in a less wide boat.

Intended Purpose: The specific use you have in mind for your pontoon boat is a significant factor to ponder. If your interest lies in fishing, you might opt for a narrower vessel to effortlessly maneuver through tight spots. For this purpose, it’s also worth considering the integration of tools like fish finders for small boats to enhance your fishing experience.

On the other hand, if you plan to entertain or conduct parties on your pontoon boat, a wider model could be preferable, offering more space and stability for your activities.

Manufacturer and Model: Different pontoon boat manufacturers and models can have varying widths.  Some brands make small pontoons that save space, while others make big, fancy ones. If you research different brands and compare their choices, you can find the right width for your needs. 

Keep these factors in mind as you explore the world of pontoon boats. Whether you’re talking to a local dealer, browsing craigslist pontoon boats for sale, or considering renting a pontoon boat for a day on the water. 

In the next section, I’ll outline some common pontoon boat widths to give you a better understanding of what’s out there.

Common Pontoon Boat Widths

different sizes of pontoon boats
Discover the different sizes of pontoon boats. Which One Fits Your Needs?

Now that we’ve discussed the factors affecting the width of pontoon boats, let’s take a look at some common sizes of pontoons you may come across when searching for the ideal one.  Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and individual models may vary slightly.

Compact Pontoons: These smaller pontoons typically have a width of around 7 to 8 feet. Ideal for smaller bodies of water or intimate gatherings. Compact pontoons offer a cozy experience while still providing the stability and charm of bigger pontoons.  

Midsize Pontoons: These are a popular choice for those seeking a balance between space and maneuverability. These boats usually have a width of around 8 to 8.5 feet. They provide ample room for passengers and amenities without sacrificing too much handling.

Large Pontoons: If you’re all about hosting big parties or looking for a luxurious experience on the water, large pontoon boats are the way to go. These boats can have widths of 9 feet or more. They offer plenty of space for entertaining and even the most extravagant amenities (think most expensive pontoon boat territory).

Implications of Boat Width for Performance and Safety

It is important to understand how the pontoon boat width affects its performance and safety. Here’s how the width can impact your boating experience:

Stability: Wider pontoon boats generally provide more stability on the water. With a larger surface area in contact with the water, there’s less risk of tipping or rocking, making it a safer option. This will be especially important when hosting gatherings or engaging in water activities.

Maneuverability: On the flip side, narrower pontoons offer better maneuverability. Their reduced width allows them to deftly navigate more confined spaces and execute swift turns. If fishing or traversing narrower waterways is your aim, equipping your pontoon with a pontoon trolling motor is as an excellent choice.

Passenger Capacity: A wider pontoon boat can accommodate more people. Keep this in mind if you plan on hosting large groups or using the boat for entertaining purposes. Also, check your local regulations for limits on the number of passengers. 

Weight and Towing: Wider pontoon boats will likely weigh more. This can impact your towing capacity and fuel efficiency. If you have a smaller tow vehicle or care about fuel costs, a narrower pontoon may be a more practical option.

Storage and Docking: Consider the storage and docking space you have available when choosing a pontoon boat width. Wider boats may need larger slips or storage areas, which can lead to increased costs and logistical challenges. For reference, a typical single-car garage door is about 8 feet wide, while a double garage door is 16 feet wide. Make sure to check the space you have available before choosing a pontoon boat. 

If you keep these factors in mind while comparing pontoon boats, you can choose the right width that suits your needs. 

Up next, I’ll discuss some legal and regulatory considerations to keep in mind when choosing your pontoon boat width.

Consider Your Local Regulations When Choosing A Pontoon

When selecting a pontoon boat, it’s essential to be aware of any legal requirements on the boat’s width. These rules can vary depending on your location, so always check with your local authorities to ensure you are compliant. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

Trailer Size and Towing regulations: In most states, the legal maximum width for a trailer on the road is 8.5 feet (102 inches). If your pontoon boat, along with its trailer, exceeds this width, you may need special permits or face restrictions when towing it. Always check your local towing laws and guidelines before hitting the road.

Capacity Regulations: Your pontoon boat’s width affects its passenger capacity. But remember that there are often legal limits on the number of passengers allowed on board. Overloading your boat can lead to fines, penalties, or even accidents. Familiarize yourself with local boating regulations and adhere to the posted capacity limits.

Navigation Rules and Regulations: Wider pontoon boats may have specific navigation rules and restrictions, particularly in narrow waterways or congested areas. Be aware of any local regulations that might apply to your boat, and always operate it responsibly and safely.

Choosing the Right Pontoon Boat Width for Your Needs

Now that you know how the width of a pontoon boat affects its performance, safety, and legal requirements, it’s time to decide the appropriate width for your needs. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

Consider Your Intended Use: Think about how you plan to use your pontoon boat. Will you be fishing, cruising, or entertaining large groups? How you plan to use it will help you determine whether you need a narrower or wider boat to meet your specific needs.

Assess Your Towing and Storage Capabilities: Before settling on a width, consider your towing vehicle’s capabilities and the storage space you have available. Make sure the pontoon boat you choose aligns with these limitations to avoid unnecessary hassles and expenses.

Test the Waters: If you’re uncertain about the right width for you, consider renting a pontoon boat. You can also try out different sizes of pontoons from friends or local dealerships. This on-water experience will help you make a more informed decision.

Research and Compare: Spend time researching different manufacturers and models. Comparing options will give you a better understanding of the range of widths available and help you identify the best fit for your needs.

Consult Experts: Don’t be afraid to ask pontoon boat owners, dealers, or online boating communities. They can offer valuable insights and share their experiences to help you make an informed decision.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect pontoon boat width for your needs. So, whether you’re looking for a compact cruiser, a midsize multitasker, or a large party barge, you’re now equipped to make the right choice.

Final Thoughts on How Wide Are Pontoon Boats

I hope you now have the answer to how wide are pontoon boats, and how width affects their performance, safety, and legal requirements. I hope this knowledge will be useful in your search for an ideal pontoon boat. 

If you’re interested in exploring other types of boats for families, be sure to check out our comprehensive Best Family Boat Guide

And if you want to continue exploring everything there is to know about pontoons, dive into our comprehensive guide on the Best Trolling Motors for Pontoons, or check out our curated list of the Top Anchors for Pontoons to ensure your boat stays put. Happy boating!

Happy boating, and see you on the water!


How wide is a 25 foot pontoon boat?

A 25 foot pontoon boat is typically around 8 to 8.5 feet wide.

How wide is a 22 foot pontoon boat?

A 22 foot pontoon boat is generally around 8 to 8.5 feet wide.

What is the average width of a pontoon boat on a trailer?

On a trailer, the average width of a pontoon boat is about 8.5 feet.

What is a normal size pontoon boat?

A normal size pontoon boat is usually between 20 and 25 feet long and 8 to 8.5 feet wide.

Can a pontoon fit 20 people?

Larger pontoon boats can fit up to 20 people, but always adhere to the posted capacity limits.

How wide is a 28 foot pontoon boat?

A 28 foot pontoon boat is generally around 9 feet wide or more.

Will a pontoon fit in a garage?

Whether a pontoon fits in a garage depends on the boat’s dimensions and garage size. Compact pontoons might fit, while larger ones may require alternative storage solutions. A normal size pontoon boat is usually between 20 and 25 feet long and 8 to 8.5 feet wide. This is unlikely to fit a single-car garage door which is typically about 8 feet wide.  A double garage door is 16 feet wide and should be generally ok for most pontoons. Make sure to check the height of your garage before choosing a pontoon boat.

How wide is a 16 foot pontoon boat?

A 16 foot pontoon boat is typically around 7 to 8 feet wide.

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Hi, I'm Tim and I've been a boat enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I've spent countless hours on the water and love sharing my knowledge and experience with others. When I'm not working, you can usually find me out on my boat with my family, exploring new places and enjoying the beautiful scenery.