Mini-Pontoon Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by MarkFromFlorida, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. MarkFromFlorida
    Joined: Jul 2017
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Florida

    MarkFromFlorida New Member

    I've been looking for a small pontoon to shuttle 3-4 people back-n-forth that meets our association rules that state a boat has to be no larger then 14 ft long and 6ft wide. I've searched many pontoon manufactures and seems NOBODY has a mini-pontoon with a 6ft beam.

    I would appreciate anyone's input on why a custom mini-pontoon couldn't be built that had a beam of 6ft and length between 12-14ft ? Also, instead of (2) toons could it be a tri-toon that would increase the amount of weight it would support ?

    Look forward to input !
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    6' of beam is a challenge and yeah, I'd be very surprised if any manufacture had anything remotely close to this. Yes, a third 'toon will help add to the boat's capacity. 'Toons in general aren't the best way to support things. I'm sure your HOA's requirements are intended to limit folks to small skiffs and jon boats, which are typically about 6'. Is there a reason you don't want to use a jon boat? 4 people will need to have a minimum of 720 pounds, plus a safety factor and the mass of the boat, its propulsion and equipment supported. Why don't you just make a plywood box, with a sloped bow, plumb sides and flat bottom 14'x6'. this will support a bunch of weight (well over a ton), though not very efficient to power. A conventionally shaped flat bottom skiff of these basic dimensions will support about 1,200 pounds, with just a few inches of immersed transom (4 - 5").
  3. MarkFromFlorida
    Joined: Jul 2017
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    Location: Florida

    MarkFromFlorida New Member

    We have a small jon boat now but have two issues:
    1. Fills up with water and sinks - I've done everything but eventually the battery of the bilge runs low. With the invention of wake boarding our area is getting swamped with big waves which is also contributing water coming in. The pontoon idea addresses the issue.
    2. My wife has bad knee's and getting into the boat is a little difficult. Stepping on a pontoon is much easier.

    We are really only using this as a transport not really for hauling anything ( maybe some groceries ).

    I was actually thinking about getting a mini-pontoon with a 8 ft. beam and making it can contract the beam through the use of marine hydraulics ( expanding and contracting the deck. Obviously there are number of related issues such as hinging the decking so the middle could fold together AND coming up with type of channel system that the strings could expand / contract in. It all sounds easy on paper but then though whats wrong with just creating a pontoon ( triple toon ) that only has a 6 ft beam and is 12-14ft in length.
  4. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . . .

    A "sit-on-top" barge would work better than a 2 or 3 pontoon boat.
    You could even roll wheel chairs on it if well anchored (chairs) and balanced.
    Drop a 9.9 Hp into a covered motor well: quiet, no loss of deck space, good manoeuvrability.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I agree a barge would have more reserve flotation and stability and less draft. Also, the deck can be lower than on a pontoon which may make it easier to get on and off.
  6. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    There is actually nothing wrong with at 6' x 14' pontoon.
    You need to think about the total weight of 4 people (maximum), the boat itself, the motor, and groceries etc.
    Then you need to make the pontoons big enough to float that amount.
    Add some height to keep waves from going over the pontoon, and to keep them off the deck (freeboard).
    You might worry about your 4 people trying to get off the boat at the same time - putting that total weight on one pontoon + 1/2 the weight of the boat.
    The pontoon will have to be bigger to meet that possibility.
    That's so the pontoon / deck won't sink, probably dumping people in the water.

    Once you figure out how big the pontoons will be you can see if it makes sense.

    If you decide on a tri-toon, the outside toons still need to be pretty big to keep the peoples feet from getting wet if they all move to one side. The center toon will help some with this, but since the boat will be heavily tilted it won't be as much as you hope.
    2 hulls will be less drag than 3 hulls, and a good bit less to build. I personally don't like tri-toons, cause it messes up putting in the motor. But its not my boat.

    You might check out this boat, smaller but the same idea could be used, but it doesn't help with your wife stepping into/ onto the boat.
    Glider - 12' Rowing Cat Skiff
    I can't see how wide it is, but you could probably stretch it in both directions.

  7. graywolf
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    Location: USA

    graywolf Junior Member

    Get a new association! If they allow PWC's when they should only be allowing fishing boats, they are insane. What is really needed is a 5-mph speed limit.
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