Have you ever organized a day out on your pontoon boat with family and friends, and then a couple of them decide to bring a plus one, or even a plus two, only to realize that there isn’t going to be enough room for everyone?
Or perhaps you are tired of fumbling around, stepping over and around things, or even people?
Well, you don’t have to worry about that any longer! There is such a thing as an expanding pontoon boat and in this guide I am going to tell you more about them, give you an idea on expanding pontoon boat prices, show you some video, and link you up to the best expanding pontoon boat manufacturers.
What is an expanding pontoon boat?
Ultimately, it is a pontoon boat that has the ability to expand or retract its width at the push of a button. When the button is pressed, this signals to the boat to expand or retract, a beam is pushed out or pulled in by hydraulics.
Similar technology has been used for motorhomes and RVs since 2001, and this has now been modified to be applied to expanding pontoon boats.
The expansion/retraction doesn’t take long either, it can be complete in 90 seconds and the deck is filled in with flooring sections that allow a single, level surface.
Here’s what one looks like:
There are two main expanding pontoon boat models available, trailer-less or those that are equipped with a built-in trailer.
The built-in trailer is ideal for those who are constantly launching and retrieving their pontoon. It minimizes a lot of the hassles that come along with loading and unloading your boat on and off a trailer – I sure appreciate this design!
When the expanding pontoon boat has launched the wheels and trailer tongue both retract up, out of the water.
The trailer-less option is perfect for those who only launch their boat a few times a year. This is due to the fact that there is minimal use for the trailer as you either leave your expanding pontoon boat sitting in the water the majority of the year, or perhaps you only take it out every now and then.
Using the trailerless option is the best for this as you won’t have to worry about your trailer and wheels seizing up or eroding due to sitting in the water for long periods of time.
Style and upgrades
Just like any other boat you can customize these expanding pontoons to suit your needs. Catering to the majority of users, there are two base styles, fishing and luxury.
The luxury lounge edition can be customized to suit the consumer and is ideal for those wanting something a little more luxurious! For example, there’s one called the Grand Fishing Edition which is perfect for the seasoned angler. It comes with the ability to seat up to 15 fishing chairs comfortably.
Not to mention, this edition also comes with fishing stations that can be accessed from all fishing posts to really optimize the space.
These styles offer different standards, features and of course the option for upgrades. A few that are available to consumers include:
- Expandable Bimini Top – This allows the bimini to telescope out with the railing to provide you with shelter, even when you are fully expanded. It will lock into place after expansion to ensure that it is secure.
- Flooring – These pontoon boats come standard with marine carpet, however, there is the option to upgrade to the infinity luxury woven vinyl. Although this will cost you a little extra just like any upgrade, it is most definitely worth it. The vinyl is stain and mold resistant, not only that but it is maintenance-free and clean up is super easy as nothing will stick to it!
- Interior and Exterior Lighting – Whether you want more lights, LED lights or different positions it is all up to your discretion.
- Furniture – Worried that you won’t have enough seats, want a little more space and fewer seats or to make your captain’s chair really comfortable? You have the ability to upgrade and customize the furniture on board to get exactly what you are after.
Catering to the full market, you have the option of a few different sizes, so you can get exactly what you need. Here is a break down of a few sizes available on the market:
- 18ft pontoon will expand out and offer you almost the same square-footage as most 22ft pontoon boats.
- 22ft boat expands out and delivers almost the same area as a 26ft pontoon.
- 24ft expands out to a width of 11.5ft allowing a capacity of 16 passengers.
- 25ft pontoon can expand from 8ft 6 inches to 14ft 10 inches.
The maximum height for most expandable pontoons on the market is 6ft 4inches, although it can vary depending on manufacturer and design
Performance and function
One of the biggest things I was worried about when I first looked into this was if it was still going to be functional and hold up to performance standards. But not to worry, my concerns have most definitely been put to bed!
One of the biggest issues when it comes to pontoon boats is the height and inability to store it in a standard garage. However, with the expanding pontoon, it will actually fit in your standard-sized garage which opens up the choice of owning a pontoon boat to city-goers.
In regards to performance, it is still exactly the same as a regular pontoon, you just have the option of more space! Who wouldn’t want that?
When the pontoon is retracted it is still legal for towing and makes storage much easier. When it comes to moving these expandable pontoons all of the motors are limited to a single 150hp outboard.
Expanding pontoon boat prices
If you are looking at purchasing one of these expanding pontoon boats, or just have some cash that is burning a hole in your pocket, you are going to have to pay to play. You are looking at a starting price of around $35,000.
Depending on the style, size and of course customization, including upgrades you are after the price tag is going to increase.
Here are some links to expanding pontoon boat manufacturers where you can find more information on pricing and availability:
As far as I can find, the realism of the expanding pontoon has all been made possible by Mark Little and Jeremy Little, founders of Unique Pontoons. They spent many years conducting research, studying the market and innovating this brilliant concept.
Jeremy promised his father Mark before he passed that ‘He would do whatever it takes to mass-produce the pontoon’. Since then, Jeremy has ensured that he is going to keep his promise to his father and has changed the pontoon industry forever.
So, Expanding Pontoon Boats do actually exist and they are a revolution to the industry. Whether you are after additional space or a little more luxury, there are options for everyone! Will you be apart of this rising community?