How Shallow Can Pontoon Boats Go In The Water? Windrider of The Rockies

How shallow can pontoon boats go? It is the first thing you will come to mind when you sail a pontoon in the shallow water.

The average draft for pontoon boats ranges from 16 to 24 feet. If the boat gets equipped with one trimming up the motor, the draft decrease only 10 inches. 

This article by Windrider of the Rockies will help you get more information on how to take your pontoon boat in shallow waters as well as some useful tips. 

What Is A Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon boat is a popular option for anyone who is finding multi-tasking leisure equipment. Sailors do not utilize it for only one purpose.

Rather, they can use the pontoon to take a tranquil day to relax on the lake. They can go fishing or go water skiing using a pontoon boat.

Various types of pontoon boats are specifically designed for typical activities. It is always worth having an in-depth online investigation before picking up.

It is popular knowledge that pontoon boats are very popular among young families. Yet, even old people begin taking more interest in this kind of boat.

Pontoon boats can serve as sailing casting platforms to go fishing. Moreover, they have the capability of easily slipping into the shallow water.

There are very few boats available that provide you with excellent angling potential like shallow-draft pontoon boats. This kind of boat will bring you into any cove where big fishes are lurking.

It is the special boat design that allows sailors to adapt quickly to the tranquil and shallow backwater in the small lake and river. This reason explains the popularity of pontoon boats in the United States.

In most situations, this shallow-draft boat with aluminum features will make it easier to operate ashore for a fast beach picnic.

How Shallow Can A Pontoon Boat Go Without Damage?

How Shallow Can Pontoon Boats Go In The Water

How Shallow Can A Pontoon Boat Go Without Damage? 

Different types of pontoon boats will come in different drafts of the water. 

Pontoon boats with a length from 18 to 20 feet (followed by balanced loads), the draft regularly ranges from 16 to 24 inches. With the motor trimmed, a pontoon boat can run shallow at the depth of 10 inches. 

For the larger pontoon boat with a length from 20 to 24 feet (balanced load), the draft stays around 21 inches. With the help of the trimming motor, it decreases to 12 inches.  

The tritoon has one middle tube that stays lower in the water than other pontoon boats. Thus, this type of boat will run a little deeper.

When you know the right depth of water for the pontoon boat to go, it will reduce the risk of damages. However, you will find it more difficult when your pontoon runs in skinny waters with some man-made hazards or obstacles. 

If you are still concerned about some potential problems, you should remember a rule of thumb. Specifically, your pontoon boat will not go to any destination near shallow waters where the draft is lower than 3 feet. You will want to make sure that your boat needs some room for errors.

How To Handle A Pontoon Boat Safely in Shallow Waters

How Shallow Can Pontoon Boats Go In The Water

How to handle a Pontoon Boat Safely in Shallow Waters

To begin with, you should look at a few general tips. It will make sure that you safely manage your pontoon boat.

The safety will rely on the way of utilizing your pontoon boat and the purpose for particular activities. Hence, you are likely to encounter various depths of the water.

The shallow water may be popular if you are sailing along a lake or river. Yet, how shallow can you cruise the pontoon boat? What should you do to make sure that your boat is safe?

These are factors that you need to pay attention to regardless of the different depths of the water.

  • Ensure that you are aware of areas around your destination when leaving the dock
  • Direct the drive unit and move it
  • Use the power in every short burst, then redirect the middle drive
  • When the boat stays in the open water, the next thing is trimming the engine
  • Do not become impulsive when you apply power. The best choice is to run smoothly and slowly 
  • Keep checking areas around your location before changing the direction
  • Do it in a smooth and slow manner

All of these behaviors are very essential if you want to ensure safety while you are driving a pontoon boat.

How To Examine The Depth Of Water

How Shallow Can Pontoon Boats Go In The Water

How to examine the depth of the water 

First and foremost, you have to keep aware of the water area you intend to travel on. It is worth making an investment in a depth finder. So you will find it easier to measure the depth of the water. 

It is not a good idea to drive your pontoon boat into one area of water that can unexpectedly become shallow. It can be a risk of danger for your pontoon.

Another good way of checking the depth of the water is to utilize a fish finder. We suggest that it may stay in the pontoon gear part.

Furthermore, you can look at changes to the colors of the water as well. Take notice of positions that change colors suddenly. In most cases, a darker color will be proof of the deeper water.

It is also helpful to know the draft of your pontoon boat. This figure will measure how much the boat is under the water. It can also help you know the level of the water for the craft. 

Almost all pontoon boats feature a low draft. In other words, they can go in shallow water more easily than other crafts.

Taking The Pontoon Boat into Shallow Waters

How Shallow Can Pontoon Boats Go In The Water

Taking The Pontoon Boat into Shallow Waters

A lot of pontoon boat users cling to driving their craft on the small lake. The reason is that they will know the exact depth of this lake. 

However, you possibly miss out on a few wonderful river experiences if your boat just cruises in the lake. You will not have many opportunities to enjoy various scenes and meet numerous people along your voyage.

As we suggested before, the pontoon boat is more suitable for shallow water than most other crafts. In other words, your pontoon boat can navigate a variety of depths in rivers with safety and carefulness.

The first thing we need to consider is that the draft of each pontoon type will vary slightly. You should take notice of the necessary depth for the pontoon boat. You also drive the craft carefully and slowly if you do not have many experiences of measuring the depth.

It is highly possible for a pontoon boat to safely go through the water that is 2 feet in depth. Yet, the pontoon boat can encounter potential dangers because of sudden hazards in the water. 

They can be harmful to the motor of the pontoon boat. It is much better to provide yourself with leeway. You should cling to the water that is at a minimum of three feet.

One consideration is traffic jams on the water. If you want to provide your craft with a wide berth, you should pay attention to extremely shallow waters near the bank. They may have some tight inclines.

It Is Important To Trim The Motor

You should trim the motor of pontoon boats if you navigate the craft in shallow waters. Still, always ensure that the motor is under the water enough to help you handle the craft. It will ensure that the motor can remain cool.

When you trim a motor, it typically means that you release the trim lock. It will be a great help if you face any underwater hazards.

When you do not lock down the motor, it can help the boat away from hazards rather than tolerate solid impacts.

Regardless of what you do, you can never drive the pontoon boat in the most peaceful area of water.

Any river and lake can change according to each season. As a result, there may not be any hazard on this journey, there can be some in the follow-ups.

You have to keep taking notice of the water, particularly if you are driving a pontoon boat in the shallow water.

Be careful as not doing so may cause you to encounter a hazard. And it can lead to extensive damage and costly repair to your craft.

If you need to have a break from managing the craft, ensure you have someone on board who is skillful enough to help out.

Related Posts:


There is a wide range of pontoon boats in the market. So there are some slight differences in the depth of the water for each craft to cruise.

However, an average depth is roughly two feet for a pontoon boat to free float in the lake or the river. You can increase up to three feet to avoid damage the most because there is a risk of man-made or natural hazards along the journey.

Reference: How shallow does a pontoon boat draft

5/5 - (1 vote)