Pontoon boats have become a popular choice among recreational boaters due to their versatility, stability, and ease of use. As the name suggests, a pontoon boat has pontoons or flotation devices that provide buoyancy to the boat. These pontoons are generally made of aluminum, which is a sturdy and lightweight material that is corrosion-resistant and requires very little maintenance. However, not all aluminum is created equal when it comes to pontoon boats.
The gauge of the aluminum used for a pontoon boat plays a critical role in determining the boat’s strength, durability, weight capacity, and performance on the water. The gauge refers to the thickness of the aluminum sheet used to build the pontoons. The thicker the gauge, the stronger and more durable the pontoons will be.
The most commonly used gauge for pontoon boats is 0.080 inches, also known as 5052-H32. This gauge provides an ideal balance between strength, weight, and cost. This type of aluminum can withstand the stresses of being in the water without being too heavy, making it perfect for pontoon boats.
However, many manufacturers now use even thicker gauges of aluminum, ranging from 0.100 inches to 0.125 inches. These thicker gauges are ideal for larger pontoon boats that require greater weight capacity and that are used in rougher waters. The thicker gauge aluminum also helps prevent denting or damage to the pontoons from impacts with debris or other hazards in the water.
In addition to choosing the right gauge of aluminum, it’s also essential to consider the width of the pontoons. The width of the pontoons affects the stability and buoyancy of the boat. Narrower pontoons will provide less buoyancy and may not be suitable for larger boats or rough waters. Wider pontoons offer better stability and buoyancy, making them an excellent choice for larger boats or those that will be used in rougher waters.
The gauge of aluminum used for pontoon boats is crucial to consider when purchasing or building a pontoon boat. The most commonly used gauge is 0.080 inches, but thicker gauges are available for those who require greater weight capacity or will be operating in rough waters. It’s also important to consider the width of the pontoons when selecting the appropriate gauge of aluminum. By selecting the right gauge of aluminum, you can ensure your pontoon boat is strong, durable, long-lasting, and safe to use on the water.