Newer, faster pontoon boats are often equipped with three tubes underneath the deck. These three-tube pontoons offer better balance and weight distribution, and can handle more powerful engines that make for a more stable ride, but are they worth the extra cost?
The short answer: Boaters who simply want to enjoy an easy cruise on calm waters will have a great time on a two-tube pontoon. Those who crave more spirited cruising speeds or want more control in choppy waters, however, will tend to favor a three-tube option.
Three-tube pontoons are very stable and typically have bigger engines with more horsepower when compared to traditional two-tube pontoons. The additional buoyancy and better weight distribution created by the third tube allows for more people, more entertainment options and better handling at higher speeds.
Choppy waters can sometimes leave two-tube pontoon boaters with wet passengers, damaged cell phones, and soggy food. Three-tube pontoons will maneuver more comfortably and safely through rough waters, helping keep the lake in the lake, and out of your boat.
With the added engine power, three-tube pontoons can be equipped with special ski towing bars at the back of the boat for those who like to get wet and wild. Even at higher speeds the electronics, refrigerator, chairs and furniture remain safely secured.
If entertaining is more par for the course, a three-tube pontoon boat’s larger capacity can fit up to 10 people or more, with room for cooking appliances and other additions.
Considerations for Three-Tube Pontoon Boats
Before purchasing a new three-tube pontoon, there are a few factors to consider to ensure fun, safe, and memorable trips to the water:
· A larger trailer might be required. Due to the larger size of a three-tube pontoon boat, a larger trailer is usually required to support the middle tube as well as the longer hull.
· Tow-vehicle braking systems must be trustworthy. Because a three-tube pontoon is often larger and heavier, make sure any trailer or vehicle being used to transport the boat is equipped with a proper braking system. Always check your vehicle’s weight restrictions before towing a pontoon boat.
· Handling and maneuverability are different. If you are upgrading to a larger three-tube pontoon from a two-tube pontoon, you’ll notice a difference in the handling -- particularly when using a public dock or moving through crowded waters. You’ll get used to it, but you should be prepared for your first time in the boat.
· Wider dock space might be needed. If you plan to rent dock space throughout the boating season, check to see if the dock spaces are large enough for a three-tube pontoon. The center pontoon tube and the motor pod will increase your boat's length overall (LOA).
In summary, three-tube pontoons offer boat owners a wider range of activities while on the water, a more stable ride and a little more speed than a traditional two-tube pontoon. If that’s important to a prospective owner, then the extra money is likely justified.