What Is a Pontoon Boat Underpinning Kit – Do You Really Need One?

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When it comes to pontoon boats, there are various additional features available to make your experience on the water even better. From fancy seating options to powerful motors, there’s no shortage of options to customize your boat as per your preferences.

However, one crucial feature that often gets overlooked is the underpinning. It’s the process of reinforcing the foundation of your pontoon. Just like for buildings on the land, underpinning is essential for your boat to make it last longer – and that’s where underpinning kits come in.

This type of kit features everything you need to reinforce the understructure of your pontoon boat, ensuring that it stays strong and stable even in rough waters. It’s crucial for boat safety, and investing in a quality kit can make a significant difference in your boating experience.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into what a pontoon boat underpinning kit is, how it works, and why it’s essential for every pontoon owner to consider.


What Does Underpinning Exactly Mean?

Underskinning, often termed underpinning, is a process in which you reinforce the underside of your pontoon boat’s deck using a metal sheet. This metal sheet protects against water splashes and prevents them from entering small crevices and gaps in the deck.

With the help of this, you can enjoy a smoother ride, even when the waters are choppy. Moreover, while it can be easily installed on your own, you may still choose to get help from a certified professional for the installation.

On average, the material and labor may cost you $500. However, keep in mind that underpinning your boat won’t make it any faster. Even though some boaters have claimed to notice a slight increase in speed (1-2 mph), the results can be pretty underwhelming.

You can still choose to combine it with other fuel efficiency hacks to ease the burden on your motor and engine, which would result in a more significant difference. Underpinning also helps protect the underside of the deck and reduce vibrations on board.


What’s An Underpinning Kit?

The underpinning kit comprises a sheet that covers the divots and studs underneath your pontoon. Using this sheet, you can create a smoother and sleeker surface under the boat, which reduces drag and allows your boat to move more effortlessly through the water.


Is It Really Worth Underpinning Your Pontoon?

Underpinning your pontoon can improve its fuel economy and speed, but managing your expectations is essential, as underpinning alone won’t produce any significant changes. However, if you combine it with other modifications, you may see some significant improvements.

It can also help you reduce vibrations and protect your deck, which add benefits beyond just speed and fuel improvements. Ultimately, it’s a decision that depends majorly on your individual requirements and expectations.


Benefits of Underpinning Your Pontoon Boat

Here are some significant benefits of underpinning your pontoon boat:

Reduced Vibrations

When your boat travels at a speed of 15 mph or more, the impact of water at the bottom is significantly higher, unlike at low rates. This causes the deck to vibrate, and underpinning helps by making the underbelly of your boat smoother, thereby reducing the impact of water.

This provides a more comfortable riding experience and dramatically reduces the damage to equipment fixtures in the deck.

Enhanced Speed

As underpinning helps reduce the drag caused due to water, this makes it easier for the boat to move through the water, which helps fuel economy. Moreover, as stated above, combining it with other modifications can also help you attain speed improvements.

Added Durability

Underpinning can also increase the durability of your pontoon boat since the sheet help protects the underbelly of your boat from damage caused by debris, rocks, and other underwater hazards. With this, you can save the structural integrity of your boat and ensure that it lasts longer.

More Safety

A smoother ride dramatically reduces the risk of you losing your balance and falling overboard. By reducing vibrations on your pontoon, you can enhance the safety on board with the help of an underpinning kit.


How To Use the Underpinning Kit for Your Pontoon

Follow the steps given below to underpin your pontoon boat with ease using a kit:

Choose Your Materials

Foremost, you have to choose the suitable sheet metal for your boat. A superior choice is 5052 aluminum for its stiffness and corrosion resistance. If you’re looking for more toughness, you can choose 6061 aluminum, which has a higher stress resistance.

Remember that you must choose an adequate size for your boat and ensure the material is thin enough to prevent slowing down the boat. You may also need corrosion-resistant fasteners to secure the sheet with your boat’s crossbeams.

Determine the Sheet Sizing

You may have to measure the panel size of your boat’s underside and cut the aluminum sheet accordingly. Depending on your boat’s size, you may either choose to use a single sheet or divide it into multiple segments.

Just make sure that you have enough space left around the pontoon tubes to ensure proper performance. You can also take help from a metalworker if you don’t have access to the right set of tools for the purpose.

Choose An Attachment Style

This is one of the most crucial steps of the entire process in which you must attach the sheets to the boat. If you use segmented sheets, consider fastening them from the back to create seamless joints facing the water, and make sure each segment overlaps by an inch.

For single sheets, on the other hand, you need to descend the crossbeams from the sides to prevent the sheet from bending in odd places. Segmented sheets can lead to extra weight, while a single sheet offers less weight and is ideal for small boats.

Apply The Coatings

Since underpinning is a protective reinforcement, adding another layer of protection is essential by applying an anti-corrosion spray. It’s a simple corrosion-resistant coating that you can purchase in your nearby market and increase the overall life of the underpinning.


Final Words

It’s crucial for you to protect your boat from damage caused by debris, water, and other elements. With the help of an excellent underpinning kit, you can ensure that your boat lasts longer and that you enjoy additional safety while cruising.


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