Pontoon boats are made differently than a typical monohull boat. Because of this, people often wonder how hard it is to trailer them and how much they weigh.
In this article, we’ll provide you with the ultimate pontoon weight guide so that you’ll know exactly what you can trailer and what you can’t trailer.
Let’s get started!
9 Pontoon Boat Weight Examples
Pontoon boats come in many different sizes and styles so the weight can vary widely based on this. Also, some pontoon boats will have larger engines than others.
This also adds to the weight and more often than not, a pontoon boat’s engine will add a significant amount of weight to the boat.
To illustrate how much a pontoon boat might weigh, let’s take a look at some examples of pontoon boats.
1) The Retreat 230 RFL (Lowe)
The Retreat 230 RFL is one of Lowe’s shorter pontoon boat models. This boat extends about 23’7” long and has a beam of 8’6”.
The deck is 23’ long and the pontoons have a length of 22’3”. Each pontoon has a diameter of 25” in width. Depending on which model you go with, you’ll have the option to go with a 150, 200, or 250 horsepower engine. The fuel tanks for these engines range from 24 gallons to 50 gallons.
With these engines, the hull has a weight between 2,600 and 3,000 pounds. This will depend on the particular model you choose. The weight per foot is between 108 pounds and 125 pounds.
The deck has comfortable seating for about 8 people but the boat is rated for up to 11 people with minimal gear. Maximum weight capacities range between 2,100 and 2,700 pounds on each of these boats. This includes the weight of any passengers as well as their gear.
One thought to keep in mind is that this weight includes the weight of 2 reclining chairs, a driver’s seat, a passenger seat, as well as lounge seating. It also has a 9’ bimini top to take into consideration as well as a large stereo system.
You could potentially tow this pontoon boat with a small SUV or minivan with a towing package.
2) The Retreat 250 RFL (Lowe)
This pontoon boat has an overall length of 25’7”, a deck length of 25’ and a pontoon log length of 24’3”. The pontoon diameter is 25” and the beam length is 8’6”.
Engines on this boat range from 150 hp to 300 hp. Supplying these engines with fuel are 24, 30, and 50-gallon fuel tanks.
The basic weights of these models range from 2,700 pounds to 3,300 pounds which puts them at a weight of 103 pounds to 126 pounds per foot.
Max weight capacities go from 2,300 pounds to 2,600 pounds. This gives the boat a holding capacity of between 12 and 14 people.
The deck layout is similar to the 230 models with reclining chairs in the rear and a driver and passenger seat protected by a glass windshield. Seating at the front is bow seating which provides even more space for passengers than the layout of the 230.
Additional features include a marine-grade stereo system, plush seating, and reclining chairs that swivel. There is also a heavy-duty boarding ladder located at the rear of the boat. A 9’ bimini top sits over the top of the boat to keep the passengers out of the sun.
I’d recommend you get a large SUV or small truck to tow this pontoon boat.
3) The Retreat 270 Extended WT (Lowe)
The Retreat 270 has an overall length of 27’11” a deck length of 27’ and a pontoon log length of 26’3”. Pontoon log diameters are 25” around.
The weight of this boat is 3,500 pounds and the max weight capacity is 2,763 pounds. This assumes a 300 HP boat engine.
Max person capacity is 14 while the max weight capacity is 2,763 pounds. The engine mount will not hold an engine larger than 300 HP.
The deck layout features two recliners in the back that can also function as semi-circle seating with a doorway out the back. In the front, there is semi-circle seating with a doorway leading off of the front of the deck. The center features a captain’s chair, a passenger seat, and a windshield that opens up to let passengers onto the front deck. Just like the previous models, there is a stereo system and a 9’ bimini top.
As you’ve probably already noticed, this boat weighs a lot more than the previous models even though it isn’t much longer. A lot of this additional weight probably comes from the much larger engine size. Also, some of the furniture may weigh slightly more as well.
Towing this pontoon boat is better left to trucks and large SUVs.
4) The Sun Tracker Party Barge 18 DLX
The Sun Tracker 18 DLX has a 20-foot length and a 17’8” deck length. The deck width is 8’2” and the pontoon length is 18’4”. These pontoons have a pontoon log diameter of 24”.
This boat does not come standard with an engine but they recommend that the owner get a 75 HP motor to put on it. Without the motor, the dry weight of the boat is only 1,495 pounds. The average package weight with the motor and the seating is 3,008 pounds.
The fuel tank is 32.1 gallons which are not counted in the dry weight of the boat. With full tanks, you can expect to add several hundred pounds to the weight of the boat.
Max capacity on this boat is 9 people with a weight of about 1,220 additional pounds. There are bench seats at the front of the boat as one side of the rear of the boat. You’ll also find a driver’s seat with a small steering console. Doorways for the boat are located on the front, the back, and the side. There is also a ladder at the rear of the boat.
Before loading up this boat, you could potentially tow it with an SUV or a minivan with a towing package.
5) The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 DLX
This boat has a total length of 24’2” with a deck length of 22’1”. The deck width is 8’6” and the pontoon length is 22’3”. Each pontoon has a diameter of 24”.
Dry weight on this boat is 1,920 pounds but it has an average package weight of 3,754 pounds. This package weight includes a 150 HP motor with a 32.1-gallon fuel tank.
At the rear of the boat is bench seating on either side. It also has a back door leading out to a ladder. The center of the boat has a driver’s seat and console as well as another entryway. The front of the boat has benches on either side with an entry door in the center.
A bimini top is included with the package as well as a stereo system. Pop-up changing systems are included as well.
The max carrying capacity on this model is 11 people and the max person weight is 1,500 pounds. This means you most likely won’t be able to reach the 11 person max rating if all 11 people are adults.
A large SUV or truck will be needed to tow this pontoon boat. In fact, even small trucks will probably need weight distribution hitches and sway control bars to safely tow this boat.
6) The Sun Tracker Party Barge 24 DLX
This boat has a length of 26’2” and a deck length of 24’1”. The deck width is 8’6” and the pontoon log length is 23’7”. Each pontoon log has a diameter of 24”.
The 24 DLX has a dry weight of 2,200 pounds and an average package weight of 4,361 pounds. This weight includes a 150 HP motor, bench seating at the front and back and captain’s chairs in the center. It also includes a rear boarding ladder and entry doorways at the front, back, and side.
The max person capacity is 12 people and the max person weight is 1,685 pounds. Max person and gear weight are 2,350 pounds which must also account for the 32.1-gallon fuel tank.
This pontoon boat model is one of the largest models Sun Tracker has to offer. As a result, it is also one of the heaviest pontoon boat models it has to offer. People who plan on trailering this boat will want to own a truck that is capable of towing about 5,000 pounds. Most small trucks with engines larger than 4 cylinders should be able to accomplish this.
Most SUVs will not be able to tow this boat. However larger SUVs like Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans should be able to tow it without too much trouble.
7) Pontoon CX 21 C (Starcraft)
The CX 21 is 20’10” in length and has a beam of 102”. The pontoon diameter is 25” around. Without an engine attached, it has a dry weight of 1,850 pounds. This includes bench seating at the front and a small L-shaped dinette at the rear of the boat.
The deck of the boat is made from ¾” marine grade plywood covered in UV stable carpeting. Deck amenities include a boarding ladder and a bimini top.
There is a 20-gallon built-in fuel tank for the recommended 125 horsepower engine. For this engine, there is a 20” transom built into the center of the stern.
After adding the weight of the engine, the fuel, and your gear, you’ll probably need a larger SUV or truck but you may be able to get away with a smaller SUV if you opt for a smaller engine.
8) Pontoon EXS 3 (Starcraft)
The EXS 3 is a 23’10” pontoon boat with a 102” beam. Each pontoon has a 25” diameter and the deck is made of ¾” marine grade plywood. Standard features on this boat include a stereo system and a bimini top.
The maximum engine size that is recommended for this boat is a 250 horsepower engine and there is a 60-gallon fuel tank to support this engine. This would be a large and powerful engine for this boat but it would also add a considerable amount of weight.
Even so, Starcraft has the boat rated for a carrying capacity of 11 people and 1,500 pounds. Optional features like grills, porta-potties and popup privacy tents can be included with the boat, but this will add to the weight and will reduce the total carrying capacity.
The dry weight of this boat before the engine is added and the 60-gallon fuel tank is filled comes to over 2,100 pounds. As a result, you won’t be able to tow this boat without a proper tow vehicle such as a large SUV or truck.
9) Pontoon SLS 5 (Starcraft)
The SLS 5 is 25’10” long and has a beam of 102”. The tube diameters are 25” around and the deck is made from ¾” plywood.
This boat has a dry weight of almost 3,000 pounds and can support an engine size of 300 horsepower. A 40 gallon or optional 60-gallon fuel tank can be added to go along with this engine.
Because of the boat’s size, it can accommodate up to 14 people and a weight of 2,590 pounds. This large number of occupants is possible and even comfortable for passengers as there is lounge area seating in both the front and rear of the vessel.
Standard amenities include a boarding ladder and a bimini top. An optional kit table can be added to the lounging area.
Even a small truck or large SUV would struggle to tow a pontoon of this size and weight. For a boat like this, you’d probably want to get a full-size truck for safe towing.
Towing a Pontoon Boat
Even lightweight pontoon boats can be tough to tow.
The reason for this is that these boats have a wide beam length. This creates more wind drag and taxes the tow vehicle’s engines and transmissions.
All of the pontoon boats listed here would require the use of brakes on the trailer. This means the tow vehicle would need a brake controller to operate these brakes. Additionally, safe towing with a smaller vehicle would probably require the use of a weight-distribution hitch as well as a set of stabilizer bars.
Another thought to consider is the average pontoon boat tends to run between 20 feet and 26 feet long.
These boats typically have engines that range between 150 HP to 250 HP. The weights will vary but you’ll typically have over 3,000 pounds to tow.
This means most vehicles will not be rated to safely tow a boat. Towing a boat with a vehicle that is not rated to handle your particular boat’s weight is illegal and can be extremely dangerous.
For those of you who won’t be moving the boat very often, it might make sense just to pay someone to tow it a few times a year.
This would help you save on boating costs and would give you one less vehicle to worry about.
Otherwise, I’d recommend you go with a full-size truck for towing. A full-size truck will be able to handle the weight of the pontoon boat safely. Also, a full-size truck will be taller and wider so the bulk of the wind resistance will start off at the front of the vehicle.
When buying a full-size truck for towing, make sure that you add on any necessary suspension and transmission upgrades. A suspension may need to have airbags added and the transmission may need to have a transmission cooler added.
Remember that these items won’t do you any good if you wait to add them after your suspension or transmission has been damaged.
What You Need To Know About Pontoon Boat Construction
A modern pontoon boat consists of two to three aluminum pontoons which are connected together with aluminum cross members. These cross members are both welded and screwed to the underlying pontoons.
On top of these cross members is a flat deck.
This deck is usually constructed of 3/4 inch marine grade plywood. The plywood needs to be thoroughly waterproofed before it is attached to the cross members. This can be done with fiberglass and other waterproofing materials.
The deck will usually be covered with marine carpeting as well. This carpeting is designed to be resistant to mold and mildew. Typically, it will be coated with a UV coating as well.
Decks will also feature aluminum rails as well as matching aluminum doors. These boats will usually feature a bimini top as well.
Pontoon boats will typically include a large outboard motor that is affixed to an aluminum transom mount. If there is only one outboard motor, it will be center-mounted.
Otherwise, the engines might be mounted at the end of separate pontoons.
Other than the engines and the fuel tanks, none of these materials are heavy in and of themselves. However, a large amount of aluminum and wood decking combined with the weight of the engines can make these boats quite heavy when compared to more traditional aluminum boats.
On top of this, the pontoon boat’s trailer will carry some weight to it as well. These trailers are usually made of aluminum so luckily they won’t add too much weight to the total.
When looking into pontoon boat weights, you’ll want to consider both the dry weight and the weight of the boat after it has had the engine as well as any other options added to it. Also, consider the fuel tank as well. A full fuel tank can add several hundred pounds to a boat. This is especially true on larger pontoon boats that may have fuel tanks of up to 60 gallons.
In the event that you do decide to add gear or change engines, you’ll also want to know the dry weight. This will help you decide whether or not you’ll be able to upgrade to a larger engine in the future.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.