Pontoon or Catamaran

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by 67-LS1, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. 67-LS1
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    67-LS1 Junior Member

    I would venture a guess that all pontoons are technically catamarans (or trimarans) but that doesn’t mean all catamarans are pontoons.
    So what’s the difference? Are pontoons only cylindrical? Is it more to do with the deck type or useable space in the hulls? Or ?
    Just curious as to what the industry says.
     
  2. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Maybe it is simply a case of semantics?
    I am thinking that pontoons do not necessarily have to be cylindrical - they can be square or rectangular in cross section, and still work well as a pontoon
    The term 'pontoon boat' seems to have become a generic name for any type of aluminium catamaran (or trimaran) that has cylindrical pontoon hulls.
     
  3. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I'd say the pontoon is the "sealed" bouyancy compartments, and the rest of the structure is more like a sieve, can't keep water in or out. So a discontinuity in the structure where daylight can be seen. No reason why one is better than the other, unless the pontoons lack reserve volume for the total weight to be carried. Then they are a lesser proposition.
     
  4. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    I wouldn’t sweat the nomenclature a lot, the way I see it is that something called a pontoon boat is simply a cobby combination of floaty things with a deck, while a catamaran is engineered as a unit to be specifically effective at it’s given task.
     
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  5. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It is a lot easier to swap "pontoons" than drastically change a catamaran hull of a unitary nature. That has its attractions when you think about it.
     
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  6. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    Why would you want to swap the pontoons?
    Is this like rotating the tyres on a car?
     
  7. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry I aim to misbehave.

    Get the whitewalls! I hear they are in again...
     
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  8. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Simple, in the case of damage that isn't easily repairable, you just bolt on your new pontoon, which appear to be an off-the-shelf item in some cases, and not that expensive.
     
  9. 67-LS1
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    67-LS1 Junior Member

    OK, not that big a deal I guess. Interesting about the “sealed” buoyancy compartments. That’s something I would definitely associate with a typical pontoon boat and not necessarily a hull type catamaran.
     
  10. Iridian
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    Iridian Junior Member

    I would think of a pontoon as more like a party barge whereas a catamaran is a bit more performance oriented.
     
  11. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form


  12. 67-LS1
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    67-LS1 Junior Member

    Makes sense but you can buy new 50mph pontoon boats and the fastest modified pontoons are over 100 mph so maybe it’s getting blurred some.
     
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