How to Drive a Pontoon Boat?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

Do you dream of driving your own boat one day? Well, we think you should start with a pontoon boat first. This special type of boat features minimum parts onboard, and it will be the easiest to control the boat for a beginner. With pontoon boats, you don’t have to worry about your boat sinking due to your mistake. Due to its shape and size, pontoon boats are the safest boat seen in American waters.

Are you still bothered about “how to drive a pontoon boat”. When you buy a boat, the boat company will provide you some initial lessons so that you can safely run your pontoon boat on the water. You can also ask experienced boat owners for some boat lessons. Once you learn about all the vital parts of your pontoon boat and keep your boat steady while driving, you are good to go in deep water with your pontoon boat.

Step by step guide to driving a pontoon boat

First, you need to focus on the basics like leaving the dock, accelerating, learning about the controls, etc.

Starting the engine

First, you need to check the fuel amount of your pontoon boat. After that, check the engine and other parts of the boat. Now, start the engine when the battery is turned on.


Once you learn about starting and stopping the boat engine, you should begin with primary boat activities like undocking or leaving the dock. Undocking is a critical part of boat driving, so you need to keep the boat at a slow pace. Use the steering wheel tactfully so that you don’t hit the dock with your pontoon boat while driving. Also, check for ropes while leaving the dock.


First, give your pontoon boat time to reach the deep water. Then increase the speed slowly and continue until it reaches cruising speed. When your pontoon boat is at a sensible speed, it is less likely to lose control of the boat. Always keep your hand on the steering wheel and your eyes on the water.


Some people find turning a little difficult. You need to prepare for turning from at least 100 feet distance. Also, ask all your passengers to grab the boat railing while there is a sharp turn.


If you are attempting a docking, keep your pontoon boat at a low speed. Depend on the forward and reverse technique for perfect docking. You need to come as close to the dock as possible with your pontoon boat. You can add some docking light to your boat for safe docking during the nights.

Tips for driving a pontoon boat in rough water

While in rough water, you can avoid sharp turns completely. It won’t be the best idea to face a storm with your pontoon boat in rough water. You should head straight for the dock. Also, ask all the passengers to wear their safety jackets. Only when you are about to hit large waves, trim up your engine. Maintain a proper weight load distribution while driving, such as a boat in rough water of America.

We think our guidelines will help you drive the pontoon boat confidently. Choose the right size of pontoon boats if you are renting them. It will help you learn the boat lessons fast.