Whether you’re relaxing on your pontoon boat, throwing a party, or doing a spot of fishing, you can’t beat having a beer or drink close to hand. Unfortunately, not all pontoon boats come with built-in cup holders, meaning it doesn’t take much for your drink to fall over and spill all over the deck.
When I first bought my Sweetwater, the first accessory I bought were some decent pontoon boat drink cup holders. I’ve gone through a few different types since, starting off with ones that clamped onto my rail mounts (which I still use for fishing) to now some more high-end ones that clip into the back of my seats.
I’ve even bought one of those small boat bars that clip onto your rail so you can serve up cocktails.
I’ve used them all and have an opinion on most of the cup holders on the market, including what’s best depending on what you’re looking to achieve.
As with any pontoon boat accessory, you can buy a cheap and nasty product that you might have to replace over time or go for something with a little more quality.
I want insert drop-ins instead as replacement pontoon cup holders
Before I get into the portable cup holders, some of you might be looking for replacement inserts and drop-ins. There are some on Amazon that should be compatible with your existing upholstery and holes, but please do check the dimensions before you buy them.
They should install pretty much anywhere including tables, counter-tops, and consoles.
My recommended portable cup holders
Below you can see the three different models I’ve had in the past, including my thoughts on them.
1. Brocraft plastic drink holders and rail mount kit
First up on my list of pontoon boat cup holders are the first cheap ones that I bought. You can see in the photo that they don’t look up to much. But that’s ok, if you just want something cheap and functional.
Simple to attach, you just have to clamp them to a square or round railing, and then tighten them up. They stick on fast, and never failed me – see the Amazon reviews.
But they don’t look great and you have to reach up to the rail each time you want to grab your drink.
Over the years I have customized my pontoon boat with some awesome accessories (view my gear recommendations) and have recently come into some money, meaning I just want stuff that looks high quality.
You can see some more quality looking ones below.
However, if you just want something quick and functional that you can easily get set-up in advance of a boat party or just for everyday use, they are a great product.
2. Wise stainless-steel pontoon cup holders
And now let’s look at my new pontoon drink cup holders. They are made by Wise who you have probably heard of, and they look amazing.
With these ones, you don’t clamp them onto your railings, but instead they snugly fit into your seats like armrests – see how much they cost.
How do they stay in place?
Pretty simple really. They come with a plastic retainer on the back which slides into the rear of your seating, and don’t budge at all.
They are positioned right next to you as you relax on your loungers. Perfect, especially if you decide to lie down for a rest! You can use them too as armrests, and I’ve even put my head on them when having a nap.
For me they are loads better than cup holders that clamp onto the rail, because they are in an easier to reach place. They also look more in keeping with the design and aesthetics I am trying to achieve with my upholstery and interior.
You might not like the color, but that’s ok because you can get different shades depending on what your seat vinyl is like.
3. Robocup is great for fishing as a portable cup holder
The next cup holder I want to tell you about is the Robocup. It’s what I use when I go fishing with my buddies as it’s a lot more versatile and portable for what I need on trips.
If you’re a fisherman, you know who much you’re going to moving around your boat, and that’s where the Robocup comes into its own.
Just read the Amazon reviews to see what other people are saying – it’s really impressive.
The tough clamping jaws means you can attach it to virtually anything, and it won’t slip and slide around. You don’t need any tools either, so if you need to move your cup holder to a different place on your boat you just grip, press, and away you go.
They are really tough and rugged and will stay in place when you’re making sharp turns or getting hit by winds.
I love them, and they are my go-to pontoon boat cup holder for any fishing trip.
4. Docktail boat bar and cup holder mount
In the summer of 2017, I hosted quite a few parties on my pontoon. We had a graduation party, an engagement party, and a 4thof July fireworks display.
When I am at home, I am known as being the chief cocktail maker, so wanted a cup holder that will not only hold a few mixer bottles, but also give me an area on which I could slice lemons and prep up some “unique” tastes.
I discovered the Docktail Boat Bar (view Amazon prices). It comes with various slots to fit bottles, cans, and drinks into, plus a small cutting board for preparing everything you want to throw into your mixes.
One thing though; this won’t mount onto your pontoon rail unless you have a fishing rod holder already in place. It needs a rod holder for you to mount the system into, so if you are going to buy this, get a rod holder first (here are some I recommend).
I’ve had mine now for 2 years, and it’s had some heavy usage. It’s not rusted or corroded (mainly due to the stainless-steel components).
I position mine near our grill (see which grill I use) as it’s usually me who has responsibility for cooking and making the drinks – I am the captain after all!
To conclude, it’s the best pontoon cup holder for anyone who wants to go BIG with their drink’s selection.
5. Boat seat caddy with drink holders
And finally, something really cheap which I would personally never use, but it could be a product you purchase and still make great use of.
I don’t like it, and don’t think it looks particularly good – but the price point is so low that you could buy a few as a temporary solution.
Go take a look at this on Amazon by clicking the product image to see what you think.
What other pontooners say
I didn’t just want to leave you with my own cup holder reviews. It’s only fair we get some comments from other pontooners too, here’s what some of them have to say.
“Our pontoon came with padded cup holders that you put on the seats. They are very similar to the Wise armrest models you feature. They work great and you can move them around to wherever you want to use it on your boat.”
“I actually installed my own into the console, but it only works if you have areas you can drill holes into the plastic. Check your local rental store to see if they rent hole saws. If so, go buy a cup holder insert then take it to the rental supply for size comparison. Then you can just the cut some holes and insert your new cup holders. Be careful though; If everything is covered in vinyl and padding you would have to cut the hole from the inside and then carefully cut the pad and vinyl and glue it down. It’s quite an involved process.”
“We just got our pontoon boat out of the slip and back to the house. However, I lost a couple of our drop-in cup holders on the trip home. I will never be going over 55mph again. Thankfully they were cheap loose plastic ones, and not the stainless-steel holders.”
The last word…
The pontoon boat lifestyle is one that caters for relaxation. You won’t be able to relax properly though if you can’t get to your drink or it keeps spilling over!
Elsewhere on the website I have put together hundreds of guides on pontooning. Some of the content you might find relevant to drinking on your boat include:
- 21 party ideas and tips
- 21 easy boat food recipes
- The best food to take on a pontoon boat
- All the sandwiches I recommend for a boat trip
- 21 games you can play on a pontoon
And one last thing.
Have fun and keep safe. Remember that it’s illegal to be in charge of a boat if you are drunk on alcohol.