What Kind Of Gas Does A Pontoon Boat Use?

What Kind Of Gas Does A Pontoon Boat Use? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

October 30, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Most modern pontoon boats can operate with E10 unleaded gasoline
  • Most pontoon boats have 35-gallon tanks
  • A pontoon boat burns about 5 gallons of gasoline each hour of cruising.
  • Always drain unused gasoline before storing a boat for winter.
  • Many older/used pontoon boats have external storage tanks.

Many first-time boat owners wonder what fuel is best for their boat. The question of the day is, what kind of gas does a Pontoon boat use?

Most owners of Pontoon boats use regular unleaded E10 gasoline, which means that the gasoline has a 10% ethanol additive. This ethanol blend is compatible with most marine engines created in the last 15 years and should provide the best performance for your boat’s motor.

As a water lover living next to a lake, I constantly see pontoon boats out and about on the water. Many families love these boats because they provide so much versatility. In years past, the pontoon received a bum rap, known to be a cumbersome, slow vehicle that was very hard to maneuver. But not anymore. The typical pontoon boat today offers a lot of space, carries more passengers than a typical deck boat, and is easier to operate in many ways. And while there was once a day when the pontoon boat looked plain and ordinary, today, many of these well-loved boats are luxurious displays of affluence, filled with large motors, beautiful seating surfaces, and all sorts of amenities.


Table of contents

What is a Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon boat is a flat-styled boat that uses two or more air-filled long tubes to stay afloat. The pontoons provide the buoyancy needed for the large surface area of the pontoon to stay above water. Based on a Katarman style, a pontoon boat allows for a larger deck area to accommodate lounge seating, bars, or more passengers than a typical deck. Most pontoon boats are powered by a large outboard motor attached to the back of the deck.

The Advantages of a Pontoon

Despite its larger size, the pontoon boat has several advantages.

  • Wider surface area for accommodations or passengers
  • Pontoon boats can pull closer to shore for drop off
  • Pontoon boats are more stable in calmer weather

The Disadvantages of a Pontoon

Pontoon boats are great watercraft when the weather is excellent, and the winds are calm. However, many pontoon boats find rougher weather and choppy waves harder to handle.

  • Less maneuverable in rougher weather
  • Not as graceful as a smaller deck boat
  • Not as fast as deck boats

What Kind of Gasoline Does A Pontoon Boat Use?

Owners of Pontoon boats use regular unleaded E10 gasoline. Most service stations are now serving the blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, so it shouldn’t be an issue to find it. Depending on the size of your boat, the gas tank can vary from 10 gallons or less to over 35 gallons. Many typical pontoon boats are equipped with two 12-gallon tanks that allow for about 5-6 hours on the water's surface (assuming the standard five gallons per hour). Of course, the amount of fuel consumed will depend on several factors, such as the engine's size, the pontoon boat's weight and passengers' weight, and how much cruising is done.

Where is the Best Place to Buy Gasoline for a Pontoon Boat?

If the pontoon is not docked at the lake but ferried back and forth to the water via trailer, then almost any local gas station will have E10 gasoline available. Choose a station with plenty of space for the boat and truck. Some stations are easier to navigate in and out of the way, so pick a station with room to maneuver. Double-check that the gasoline being purchased is E10.

There are options if the pontoon is docked on a pier in the back of your house. Some people prefer to purchase gasoline at their local station because it is cheaper and then haul the gas in cans and pour it into the gas tank. The easiest solution is to cruise to the local lake marina that offers a gas station and pay the extra charges for gasoline (usually more at a marina).

The advantage of purchasing gasoline in a marina is that the gasoline they sell is compatible with boat engines. Since outboard motors power many boats and pontoons, it is especially critical to know where the marina is and what kind of gasoline they sell.

Where is the Gas Tank for a Pontoon Boat Located?

Depending on the manufacturer of the pontoon boat, the location of the gas tank can either be on the stern corner, under the boat near the center rail or even under a seat. Check the boat’s owner's manual for the exact location of the tank and where the nozzle is located so that you can add fuel when needed.

What is the Capacity of a Gas Tank on a Pontoon Boat?

Many older pontoon boats have smaller gas tanks ranging from 6  to 12 - 15 gallons. Considering that the average boat (depending on size) burns about 5 gallons of gas an hour while cruising, this did not leave much time for festivities. Many owners of older model pontoons were forced to add additional tanks for that they did not have to continue to pull into the marina every hour or so.

To address this complaint, most modern pontoons have 35-gallon tanks, which translates to about 6-7 hours of steady cruising. These tanks provide the capacity for a family to enjoy themselves, whether fishing, tubing, or just cruising around a lake to enjoy the water.

What About the Gas When Storing a Pontoon Boat?

For owners storing their pontoon boats for the winter, it is always a good idea to drain the gas tank entirely before putting the boat in limbo. If gasoline is left inside the tank, it can begin to decay and will create issues for the next time you attempt to start the engine. Old gas is filled with filthy particles that can gum up the fuel system of any boat or car.

How Did the Pontoon Boat Come to Be?

A rural farmer in Minnesota developed the concept of the pontoon boat in the 1950s by fastening a thick slab of wood to welded oil drums powered by a small outboard motor. Ambrose Weeres is credited with the first invention of the unusual-looking watercraft, and he felt the design could be marketed. Since Minnesota already has a large number of lakes and watercraft, he found that his design was more sturdy on the water because the larger surface area provided better balance for the boat.

Encouraged by the initial inventions, Weeres attempted to custom-build many of these new-fangled boats with limited success. Eventually, a few years later, in 1956, the concept was used by Harris Manufacturing to produce the first assembly-line-built pontoon, aptly named the “Flote-Bote.”

Today, manufacturers like Bennington, G3 Boats, and Berkshire dominate the market with various shapes and styles of deck boats. The pontoon boat industry amounts to a 2.1 billion dollar industry, which is expected to grow to over 4 billion by 2029.

What Kind Of Gas Does A Pontoon Boat Use?
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

Read more articles

by this author

Home /

What Kind Of Gas Does A Pontoon Boat Use?

What Kind Of Gas Does A Pontoon Boat Use?
7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat >>Can You Live On A Sailboat Year Round? >>

Most Recent

Important Legal Info

Similar Posts

Popular Posts

Get The Best Sailing Content

Welcome aboard! Check your email...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

(866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing
Email: contact@lifeofsailing.com
Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244
DisclaimerPrivacy Policy