What is The Difference Between a Deck Boat and a Pontoon Boat?

Cape Town International Boat Show 2019
September 25, 2019

What is The Difference Between a Deck Boat and a Pontoon Boat?

Deck boats and pontoon boats were built for pretty much the same thing: providing a place for a group of people to enjoy themselves and be entertained on some or other body of water. The differences between these two deal with physical attributes, location, performance and size.

Below we go into more detail.

Physical Appearance & Material

First of all, pontoon and deck boats are built out of an entirely different material. Pontoons are basically a large platform fitted on top of two or three aluminum tubes/cylinders. This contributes to stability. Deck boats are made from fiberglass. They have a single V-shaped hull (monohull), unlike the pontoon.


The above-mentioned difference in hulls make the location quite important regarding whether a pontoon or deck boat is better suited to a specific body of water (lake, river etc.) Because of the deck boat’s monohull, they are able to perform better in rougher waters, whereas the pontoon boat is more suitable for calm rivers or lakes.

Size And Space

Usually pontoon boats are around 20 feet long, and 8 feet wide. Smaller pontoon boats can be between 12 and 14 feet long, 7 feet wide. They can accommodate 10 to 20 people. Deck boats, on the other hand, average at around 20 to 23 feet, although you do get smaller and larger ones, and they can only accommodate up to 12 people or less usually.

Watersports & Entertainment

While today pontoons are being fitted with more horsepower (approximately 150hp), they are still only suitable to tow amateur tubers or skiers in their wake, and don’t have enough pep for more advanced skiers. If you are looking for speedy features and agility then there is hardly any doubt that deck boats are a better option with around 300 horsepower.

Deck boats resemble ski boats and bowriders and can make sharp turns and cut through the water at high speed. Pontoon boats are almost like fenced verandas, so, if the plan is to have a relaxed couple of drinks and food on the water, pontoons are a good option.

Although the differences between deck and pontoon boats are not all that dramatic, it’s important to first look at why you are deciding between the two and where you want to use it. We hope this helped!

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