Before I bought my pontoon boat back in 2016 there was one thing that confused me a little bit. I wanted to know how are pontoon boats measured? It was a key consideration given I was going to be trailering mine up at home so wanted to know how much room I needed. I didn’t understand if the length I saw was the entire length including the tubes and motor or if it was the actual deck length. After a little online research, I found the answer and here it is.
Pontoon boat length is measured by the distance from the front of the pontoon tubes (logs) to the end of the tubes at the rear. Therefore a 22-foot pontoon boat will have tubes that are 22-foot long, with a deck length or between 20 to 21 feet.
But wait, it’s not actually that simple, and I will tell you why.
Some boat owners will swear that it’s the longest measurement of the boat overall (the LOA). In other words, if the pontoon tubes stick out past the deck, then that’s the LOA. But if the deck is past the tubes, then the deck will be the LOA.
Confused? You should be.
Manufacturers will also state different lengths in their marketing and spec materials, some of which will have zero relation to how long the tubes are.
This is where confusion can come in, and especially where you are looking at a boat spec believing what you see as the stated length.
As an example, a 2011 Bennington 2575RCW you would expect to be almost 26-foot long, based on the number you see in the model name. But that’s actually not the case, at least not from the manufacturer’s perspective.
With this boat example, the length overall (also known as LOA) is 27.1 feet.
Pontoon boat manufacturers often tend to muddle the issues of how long their pontoon boats are and will often say the length is actually longer than the pontoon tubes.
They even might take the measurement of whatever sticks out furthest on the hull of the boat, such as an outboard motor on the back.
By measuring their pontoon boats in this way for advertising purposes they can make out like their vessels are longer than they actually are.
So, as you can see, whilst the general consensus is that in most cases, how long a pontoon boat is measured just by the tube (log) length, in reality you might be seeing different lengths presented to you.
A common question that new pontooners will ask is how a pontoon is measured. They might ask if a 22-foot pontoon the length of just the tubes, the deck, or the length overall including the motor.
When it comes to the manufacturers, there truly is no hard and fast rule. It’s almost like they make it up as they go along!
Why it’s Important to Know How Long Your Pontoon Boat is
Using that Bennington 2575RCW example above, the LOA is 27.1 feet. But that doesn’t actually include how long the boat will be with the outboard motor attached.
If you are parking this boat in a slip which is 28 feet deep, then unless the boat is pulled up within an inch or two of the front end, then the motor won’t be completely underneath the overhang.
For the majority of people, that might not be a problem if the motor hangs out in the elements. But if it’s kept in a part of the United States where hail stones occur, then the motor cowling is going to get a battering with little dents.
It’s a small point perhaps, but by keeping your boat in great condition will keep repair costs down and stop it from depreciating in value.
The most frequent consideration though, will be for trailering and storage. Knowing how long your pontoon boat will influence how long your trailer is.
Here is a rough guide on how long your trailer should be depending on the size of your pontoon boat:
- 18-foot pontoon boat requires at least a 21-foot long trailer
- 21-foot pontoon boat requires at least a 24-foot long trailer
- 24-foot pontoon boat requires at least a 27-foot long trailer
For more information on trailer lengths, read this guide.
How to Measure Pontoon Boat Length?
If you want to measure the length of your own pontoon boat, perhaps because you are going to be selling it, my advice would be to measure the overall length from fore to aft of the pontoon tubes.
But, in your advertisement, also make sure to include the length of the deck as well as this something that buyer’s will undoubtedly want to know before they buy.
Also include the LOA (length overall) which will include the furthest fore and aft points of the boat (without any motor taken into account).
Essentially you could be providing four different measurements in your ad when selling your boat:
- The length of the pontoon tubes (also known as logs)
- The length of the deck
- The length overall (LOA)
- The length overall (LOA) + with the motor or anchor ledge
And clearly state them too. It will probably make selling your boat much easier.
Handy Hint: If you are selling a used pontoon boat on the second hand market then here are some tips to help you get the most money on the sale.
How Long are Pontoon Boats?
When you see a pontoon boat for sale some confusion will creep in.
As a real-life example, most pontoons models have numbers in. The Premier 225 is named because it has a 22-foo