How to Beach a Pontoon Boat

How to beach a pontoon boatYou’re out on the water and you decide you want to take a little break at a nearby beach or sandbar, do you know the proper way to beach your boat so that it’s still there when you decide to leave?

Why Beach a Pontoon Boat?

One distinct advantage of a pontoon boat is that with its bare metal tubes, you can often slide it up onto a shore for easy access to and from the boat.  Exploring your surroundings is always a fun way to spend time with your friends and family, and by beaching your pontoon, you can enjoy the area around the lake, as well as the water!  Perhaps you’ve packed a family picnic, or you want to set up a camp site for the evening – boating to your favorite spot and then hanging out on the shore for a while is a lot of fun.

Why Can’t I Beach A Fiberglass Boat?

Fiberglass boats are typically finished with a gel coat.  This is a slick, shiny coating on the hull that protects your boat and helps it glide through the water.  Unfortunately, if the gel coat is damaged, the repair is costly – sometimes, upwards of several thousand dollars!  Pontoons help take the worry out of beaching your boat.  Unlike sport boats with fiberglass, gel-coated hulls, pontoon tubes are not as prone to damage from sand and gravel.  Pontoons aren’t indestructible, however, you will still want to watch out for rocks and items that are large enough to cause a dent, but the average shoreline on an inland lake is likely just fine for your pontoon boat.

What Are the Steps for Beaching a Pontoon Boat?

  1. First, identify a good spot to beach your boat.  As we said above, look for an area that has a fairly soft shore that descends gradually into the water.  Steep or high banks are not ideal, and you are usually better off anchoring your boat off-shore and swimming to the bank if this is the case.  Once you have selected a great spot, proceed slowly to the shore.
  2. As the water becomes more shallow, you’ll want to be very careful of your prop.  Running your prop in shallow water is a great way to damage your prop – which like many other boating mistakes, is not cheap!  Approach the shore at a speed similar to how you approach a dock.  Idle the boat and move forward in short pulses.
  3. As the water becomes more shallow, and you can start to see the bottom, trim your motor up so the prop is closer to the surface.  Of course, you’ll never have anyone swimming around your boat while you are moving and the engine is running !  Keep the prop under water though – most motors are water cooled and you don’t want to lift the prop out of the water while the engine is running.
  4. Do NOT motor up onto the shore.  Once you feel that you have enough momentum to get close to the shore, turn your engine off.  The boat should glide the rest of the way.
  5. Finally – once you are in a foot of water or so, have someone step off the front of the boat and pull it up onto the shore a couple of feet.
  6. ANCHOR your boat to something.  Even though you are on shore, a strong wind or wake could nudge the boat back out into the water.  Nobody wants to be stranded.  If there is a near-by tree, use a dock line and tie your boat to the tree.  If all else fails, put your anchor up on shore and tie it off.

Note:  In a situation where there is no shoreline, or the bank is heavily wooded, it is often easier to float up alongside the edge and tie your boat to a sturdy branch, tree trunk, or other anchored object.  This is useful if you are in a small cove and want to let swimmers jump in on the other side of the boat.  Always remember though, never dive or jump into water if you aren’t sure of the depth, or if you cannot see the bottom!

We hope this has been helpful and gives you some ideas for more things you can do with your family and friends on the lake!  Don’t forget, if you’re interested in the boating lifestyle and have been thinking about taking the plunge, be sure to check out Carefree Boat Club.  Click the link below to find out how you can enjoy boating without owning!

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