Where Is The Gas Tank On A Pontoon Boat?

Where Is The Gas Tank On A Pontoon Boat? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

October 30, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Most gas tanks are located on the stern of the boat on the left side
  • Always follow safety protocols when refueling
  • The pontoon was developed in Minnesota in the 1950s.

One of the most important things to know with boat ownership is where to put gas into the tank. Where is the gas tank on a pontoon boat?

The gas tank location depends on the manufacturer of the pontoon boat, but most tanks are toward the stern portion of the boat on the left-hand side. Look for a silver cover/cap that will allow access to the fuel pump’s nozzle. The owner's manual can inform an owner of the exact location.

As a lover of lakes (I happen to live next to one), I see pontoon boats on the water almost daily. In years past, the pontoon was considered a cumbersome, slow vehicle that was very hard to maneuver. But not anymore. Today, many families enjoy the open space of a pontoon boat and its versatility. The pontoon boat carries more passengers than a 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 watercraft with exquisite seating and many affluent amenities.


Table of contents

What Exactly is a Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon boat is a flat-decked boat that stays buoyant due to two or more air-filled long tubes (pontoons) located underneath the decking. The tubes are filled with air and provide the buoyancy needed for the large surface area of the deck to stay above water.

How is a Pontoon Boat Better than a Regular Boat?

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

  • Wider surface area for accommodations or passengers
  • A perfect choice for ferries and tours.
  • Pontoon boats can pull closer to shore for drop off
  • Pontoon boats are more stable in calmer weather

How is a Pontoon Boat Worse than a Deck Boat?

Pontoon boats are great watercraft when used on calm days with gentle winds. Their size makes many pontoon boats harder to navigate during rough conditions.

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

Where is the Gas Tank on a Pontoon Boat?

The location of the gas tank will vary from boat to boat, depending on the manufacturer. Most pontoon boats carry factory-installed tanks located toward the stern of the boat, left-hand side. Owners should look for the gas cap, which is usually a silver or black cover that snaps shut on the side of the boat. The tank may be located near the back of the deck, underneath the transom.

What About Older Pontoons With Auxiliary Tanks?

When pontoon boats were first manufactured, they often did not have big enough tanks to provide much cruising distance. Because the gas tanks were so small (6 - 12 gallons, typically), owners felt the need to have portable tanks installed to increase the time they could stay out on the water. These portable tanks are often installed under the seats or between the pontoon tubes and are connected to the fueling system. A switch on the command center tells the boat’s motor which tank to draw from. An inspection of the boat at the time of purchase can identify if a portable tank has been added and provide the best access for fueling.

What Kind of Gasoline 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.

What Safety Considerations Should be Implemented?

A variety of safety precautions must be followed when adding gasoline to any boat.

No Smoking

Just as you would never smoke around a fuel pump at your local gas station, the same principle applies to refueling your boat. A lit cigarette is all needed for a fume to ignite and blow your boat and everyone else within a nearby radius to smithereens. Just caution and extinguish any kind of lit or open flame.

Everybody Abandon Ship

Fueling a boat is a process that can lead to disaster. Be sure to move everyone off the ship before beginning to fuel. People on board can cause the boat to jostle and loosen the connection between the pump nozzle and the fuel entrance.

Always Fill Portable Containers off of the Boat

Remove any portable containers and fill them off the boat. This allows the nozzle not to stretch beyond its limits should something go wrong. There are no dangerous fumes pervading the deck of the boat.

Hold the Fuel Nozzle to the Boat

This is not the time to just set it and forget it like you would when filling up a car or truck. Most marinas have removed the set pin from the handle, forcing boat owners to provide constant pressure on the trigger to keep the gas flowing. Never fill the tank to overflow to avoid spillage into the lake or on the boat.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy.

There is no question that a fire extinguisher is a must whenever refueling. Since it only takes a tiny spark to start a mighty fire, owners should have a fire extinguisher close at hand in case things get out of hand.

Doublecheck all Seals and Caps

An improperly sealed gas cap can adversely affect a motor’s performance and even shut down an engine. Double-check that all seals and caps are on correctly and stored appropriately. Keep portable containers of gasoline away from occupants of the boat if possible.

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.

What is the History of the Pontoon Boat?

The modern catamaran is the inspiration for the pontoon boat. The distinctive watercraft was developed in 1871, and the catamaran became a pleasure and racing craft. During the mid-1960s, the catamaran began to see more general use by surfers and others looking for high-risk thrills. Television helped promote the craft by following explorers like Cousteau and others who used catamarans.

A Minnesota farmer took the principles of the catamaran and adapted it for his private use to have a stable watercraft he could go fishing on a nearby lake. The pontoon boat was born by building an enormous flat deck and attaching two columns of oil drums connected end to end. Soon friends and family members wanted to have pontoon boats of their own, and a small industry took root.

Today, the pontoon boat business is booming. In 2021, the industry had over 2 billion dollars in sales and is expected to grow sizably by 2029. Manufacturers like Berkshire, G3 Boats, and others dominate the domestic freshwater boat market.

Where Is The Gas Tank On A Pontoon Boat?
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.

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