How To Measure A Pontoon Boat

How To Measure A Pontoon Boat | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

November 9, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • To measure a pontoon boat, start by using a tape measure on board to calculate the length of the boat from tip to tail. Next, measure the width of the boat on the deck. Finally, measure the seating area and count the total seats.
  • Pontoon boat sizes are categorized as small, medium, and large, with small boats starting at 8 feet in length and large ones measuring over 25 feet long.  
  • The average size of a pontoon boat is 15-20 feet long, 7-9 feet wide, and 2,000 and 2,500 pounds. They can typically hold 6-8 people.

Pontoon boat sizes can vary, and getting the proper equipment or accessories for them means the owner should know how to measure the boat correctly.

To measure a pontoon boat, use a tape measure on board the deck to calculate the boat's length from tip to tail. Next, measure the boat's width on the deck in the center of the boat. Finally, measure the seating area for a measurement and seat total.

It is vital to measure the length of a pontoon boat because it is impossible to do the exact measurements any other way. This guide explains the proper steps to do so. We’ll explain how to measure a pontoon boat’s length, from bow to stern or from one side of the boat to another.


Table of contents

How To Measure A Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are a great option for people who want to get out on the water without worrying about their stability or safety.

Measurements for pontoon boats are typically given in feet and inches. The boat's length from bow to stern should be measured from the nose's tip to the stern's end.

The width or beam is measured at its widest point, typically at amidships. The height or depth should be measured from the highest point on the deck to the bottom of the hull, and this measurement should include any outboard motors or other equipment mounted on top.

We’ll explain how to calculate the measurements for a pontoon boat's length, width, and seating area size.


The length of a pontoon boat is measured as the centerline length. This is done by measuring from the tip to the tail to get the most accurate sizing measurement.

Also, the length of the boat can be defined differently depending on where it’s being measured. For example, there is an overall length and a waterline length.

The overall length is measured on the boat's deck using a tape measurer to go from tail to tip. Make a note of this number and measure down the middle of the boat.

The waterline length is the length measurement of a boat at the base level where it sits in the water. Because pontoon boats are flatter, this might not be necessary for most models, but the measurement can still be taken.


After doing the hard part and measuring the different lengths of the pontoon boat, it’s time to calculate the width of the boat. This is much easier because there is less distance to cover with the tape measurer.

Start in the center of the boat and measure the width from the edge of the walls on each side. This will indicate the boat width, and we recommend doing the same thing on each end.

Some pontoons are shaped differently, so the width may vary depending on the end of the boat. This method also provides the most accurate measurements.

Seating Area

Lastly, use the tape measurer to measure the seating areas on the pontoon boat. Most boats have at least two, one on each end of the boat, depending on the floor plan layout.

At the same time, measuring the deck length can also be done if it hasn't already. This is simply the length of the deck only, not the full boat length.

Why Knowing The Pontoon Boat Size Is Important

The pontoon boat size is important because it determines the boat's length and, thus, its performance in the water. The size is also a factor in determining how much weight it can carry.

When measuring a pontoon boat and considering buying one, remember the following factors to understand why the pontoon boat size is important.

Seating Capacity

The size of a pontoon boat matters because it impacts the total number of passengers and seating capacity. The larger the boat, the more people it can carry, and the more comfortable it is to travel on.

Typically, smaller boats are used differently, while medium or large pontoon boats work best to host parties and events on the water.

Covers And Accessories

The size of the pontoon boat, which is determined by the length and width, determines the size of accessories such as storage covers. This is critical when purchasing any other accessories too.

It needs a tight-fitting cover to prevent theft and to store the boat away. Always find the size and take exact measurements before buying a cover or trying to put the cover on the boat.


It is also essential for people who are buying a pontoon boat, as they need to know what size they are purchasing so they can make sure that they have enough room on the water.

Sizing is one of the primary pontoon boat factors that will impact pricing. Becoming an expert on the topic can make for better negotiations when trying to get a better price on a boat in the future.

Storage And Towing Capacity

The pontoon boat's size is important because it dictates how much weight the boat can hold before sinking. It also affects the dimensions of the boat and its overall stability.

Beyond that, it also determines the boat's expected storage and towing capacity. This is critical for many boat owners to consider for trips and future use of the boat.

The pontoon boat size varies depending on how many people will use it and how much cargo they will carry. For example, wider boats tend to work better in rough waters and provide better storage.

What’s The Normal Size Of A Pontoon Boat?

The normal size of a pontoon boat is 15-20 feet long and 7-9 feet wide. The length is measured from bow to stern and width from side to side across the middle of the boat.

The average pontoon boat also weighs between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds. This includes everything, like the motor but no cargo included.

The size of a pontoon boat depends on the purpose it will be used for too. They are typically used in lakes, rivers, and oceans, but the number of desired passengers impacts sizing.

The size of a pontoon boat is also determined by how many people it can carry. This is why many larger boats have a wider open area to accommodate more guests and make them worth the investment.

Pontoon Boat Type Sizes

Pontoon boats are popular for their versatility, and they can be used in a variety of ways. They can be used as fishing, power, or watercraft on lakes and rivers.

Their sizes range from 8 feet to 30 or more feet long. They are divided into three categories listed below.

Small Pontoon Boats

Small pontoon boats are available in sizes ranging between 8 feet and 20 feet in length. The average small pontoon boat size is 8 feet wide and 20 feet long.

Medium Pontoon Boats

Medium pontoon boats are a bit bigger, and this size ranges between 20 and 24 feet in length and 8 to 10 feet in width. These boats usually hold 8-10 people on average too.

Large Pontoon Boats

Large pontoon boats are any models longer than 25 feet, but they always remain slim, and it’s rare to see a width bigger than 10-12 feet. They typically hold ten or more people.

How To Measure A Pontoon Boat
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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