New pontoon boat owners may notice that their pontoons sit uneven or, most often, lower in the water at the rear.
An uneven pontoon is not always a concern, but can be, especially if one toon is sitting higher or lower than the other in the water.
Reasons Why A Pontoon Will Sit uneven
Below is a list of reasons why a pontoon will sit uneven or low on one side.
- Water Intrusion: If one or both of the pontoons have taken on water, they will cause the boat to sit lower. This can happen due to leaks or cracks in the pontoons themselves. Checking for water inside the pontoons is essential.
- Uneven Weight Distribution: Having more weight on one side of the boat can cause it to lean to that side. This can include passengers, gear, equipment, or even permanent fixtures. Always ensure the weight is evenly distributed.
- Damaged Pontoon: A pontoon that’s been damaged or dented may cause the boat to sit unevenly, especially if the damage has altered its buoyancy.
- Ballast Issues: If your boat has any kind of ballast system (which is rare in most pontoon boats but possible in some specialized ones), any malfunction or uneven filling can make the boat sit lower or unevenly.
- Corrosion or Degradation: Over time, especially in saltwater environments, the pontoons can corrode, potentially causing them to lose buoyancy or even take on water.
- Structural Damage to Deck or Crossbeams: Damage or warping to the deck or the beams that connect the pontoons can make the boat sit unevenly. The boat may not be leaning, but the damage floor may make it look like it is.
- Excessive Weight: Overloading the boat beyond its capacity can make it sit lower in the water. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s weight limits.
- Waterlogged Furniture or Gear: Sometimes, it’s not the pontoons themselves, but waterlogged items on the boat that can add a significant amount of weight. This can include things like wet cushions or gear.
- Muck or Debris on Pontoons: Sometimes, mud, barnacles, or other debris can accumulate on the pontoons, especially if the boat remains stationary in water for extended periods. This can add weight and affect buoyancy.
- Fuel or Water Tank Issues: If the boat is equipped with large tanks (either for fuel or freshwater), any leaks or imbalances between them can cause unevenness.
Pontoons Sit Lower In The Rear
Most of the weight for your pontoon is in the rear, as the engine and gas tank are located there. With all the extra weight, it’s normal to have the rear of your pontoon boat sit lower than the rest.
The shorter the boat, the more noticeable the drag on the rear, as a longer boat can displace more of the weight.
A low sitting rear is also a clue that you have an engine that is too big for your pontoon. Just because you can make a bigger engine fit doesn’t mean it will work for your boat. Pontoons have maximum engine sizes that need to be followed!
Is It Normal For A Pontoon To Sit Lower On One Side?
If the left or right toon of your pontoon sits lower, it can be an issue.
If it’s a small difference and the gas tank is on that side, then a full tank of gas will throw off the balance. The same idea if you have people or too much stuff on one side will make it look uneven.
Another reason for one side of your pontoon to be uneven is that one toon is taking on water. The toons should be sealed off and water coming in is an issue that needs to be solved right away. Take it to the local repair shop, as it’s often an involved process.
Pontoons Completely Underwater
If the toons on your pontoon are completely underwater, whether the front or rear, then that is not good.
Either the toons are full of water or you have too much weight on the boat, and things are about to get real bad, real quick.
If it’s the rear, and you got a new engine, then the engine maybe too big for your boat.
How Low A Pontoon Sits
A pontoon boat sitting in the water should only have about half of its toon sitting under the water.
If 75% or more of the toon is underwater, then that is not normal and should be fixed right away.
Can A Pontoon Sink?
It is possible for a pontoon boat to sink, but not as likely as other boats.
For most pontoons, one toon taking on water isn’t enough to sink the boat completely, but both toons (or 3 if Tritoon) taking on water it will sink it.