Pontoon boats were meant to go slow. The after dinner cruise with the family is the epitome of living the “Lake Life”. However many owners want more. How do I upgrade my pontoon boat to go faster? Better yet, how do I upgrade my pontoon boat to go faster without spending any money? Believe it or not there are some simple and effective ways to boost your pontoon tow power. Adding a few horsepower can make the difference when towing a tuber or water skier. It may also be just enough to get the jump on your neighbor during that unsanctioned race you may spontaneously have…
Free Power upgrades
- Trim your motor. a simple yet effective way to decrease drag on your boat. When you use the trim, it will tilt your boat engine to a higher angle. It does this with a little hydraulic motor which will raise the boat’s front out of the water a little. This will give you improved performance.
- Keep the gas storage to a minimum. If your putting around all day, having a full tank is key. In comparison having a full tank when you are trying to get up and go does not help. Excess weight increases the drag, drag will slow you down!
- Keep the passengers to a minimum. Of course when you are towing you should always have a spotter (no matter your states laws, its just common sense!) But if you are trying to pop a water skier, wakeboarder, kneeboarder, etc. out of the water, having too many passengers will really cause a problem. This goes along with avoiding excess weight. Weight = Drag !
- Distribute your weight evenly. This is actually a good tip whether your trying to go fast or not. A loaded pontoon boat not evenly distributed is a comic disaster waiting to happen. Too many people in the rear and the boat will drag, too many in the front and somebody is going swimming!
- Keep your pontoons clean! Olympic athletes remove every inch of hair on their body to decrease drag in the water. If your boat sits in the water all season, they tend to grow some sludge. Keeping them clean and inspecting for ant attached debris will increase horsepower. It might be just the thing to get an edge up that pesky neighbor, edging a win in the final turn!
Don’t go against Mother Nature
- The final free tip on how to upgrade your pontoon boat to go faster is…go down wind!!! There is always a breeze when you are on a lake. Figure it out and try to go in that direction to gain a little boost. Some smaller lakes have regulations in place on the direction you have to travel so make sure you follow those first.
The need for Speed
If you are in doubt whether the free upgrades will actually work and you need to spend a little money to be sure. There are a couple of low cost items that will make a difference on your horsepower.
- Buy a Booster Ball. If you find yourself towing tubers or skiers frequently, this actually does help. Its a tow rope that has a giant ball to keep the rope out of the water. Your boat wont go faster, but it makes a huge difference to the person being towed
- A raised and mounted ski tow bar, again will not add horsepower, but will effect how your skier is popped out of the water.
- A new propeller. Lastly purchase a new propeller. If you switch to a stainless steel propeller or one that’s built from an alloy, you’ll probably gain a little bit of speed. Aluminum propellers have flex to them and that causes resistance in the water.
So, while pontoon boats may have been designed with a leisurely pace in mind, there’s no denying the allure of a little extra speed and power. And who wouldn’t want to be the envy of their fellow lake-goers? With these simple and cost-effective tips, you’ll be able to upgrade your pontoon boat to go faster without breaking the bank. So, go ahead and enjoy those after-dinner cruises with the family, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself itching for a little friendly competition out on the water. After all, life is too short to always take things slow and steady.
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”
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