Ideas for your ultimate pontoon boat

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
How about that composite frame, already mentioned a few times, but a good idea. Even if made out of straight butted tubes they would be light as hell, strong and corrosion resistant.

About that uncomfortable seat, find a comfy one, and one that can be adjusted fore and aft with a lever beneath to slide a bit fore or aft to adjust quickly for differning loads on different trips in a tool free manner. We're talking 3 to 6 inches in most cases which would do the trick to balance the load or lack of load.

Now make that seat one that flips rearward easily to allow the user to stand on the casting platform beneath the seat assembly, or make one that has a seat that could elevate quite a bit. Getting upright sure makes me think I can more accurately fish the water I'm targeting when in calm winds and still water. This would allow a fixed permanent platform beneath the seat that still does not intefere with seated fin use.

The design should permit ease in storage as well as hauling. A quick connect/disconnect system that allows a flat frame to be car topped with an alternate connection location that permits the toons (shallow draft or round styles, you should design with both for different uses and tracking needs) to be attached atop the frame to narrow the boat enough to car top on most vehicles easily. You could also design a trailer hitch rack carrying system that your design integrates into for ease and portability. Then I could trailer hitch mount one for me and car top the other for my buddy and still make a nice float trip in one rig.

I know my valves are not the greatest on my outcast, but they work great for me, don't compromise in the details. I think there are a ton of great ideas here, I look forward to hearing about progress. Let me know if you need another test victim, I'll have my PFD standing by and I promise to fish the hell out of it, beat the hell out of it and keep you posted on your success.
Wet wade has about what I need for his and other inland rivers. For a drift boat replacement, I'd like a solid floor that drains (I thought about wooden gratings)...fabric is too springy, homemade aluminum floors seem OK but I always worry about chafe.
I would like a third person up in back. And the ability to slide the forward rower forward to balance the boat better when you put that third person on.
Good access to scotty rodholders
a skookum aft anchor system, marine quality stuff.
Maybe a place to hang a depthsounder/fishfinder sending unit, and a place to mount the unit where the rower can see it?

a solid place to hook on to and pull it up on the trailer (or drag it up to the road with a winch) would be nice
AIRE or other skookum tubes, but these double wide-low profile tube shapes seem like they might cheat the wind a bit. Probably a trade off in terms of rower height.

For a single, I'd like one about 10' long so I can take my dog, with a fairly stiff rear deck, seat adjustable fore and aft for balance, and padeyes for bungee cording coolers and stuff on it. I like the stainless frame on my southfork, again, a good marine quality anchor system would be nice kind of like the one I built. How about a place to hang my beer? Decent rocker for whitewater.

Oh, and enough with these kiddy-boat oars. Equip the thing with real oars of the right length, please.

Good luck!

Mark Moore

Just a Member
Now make that seat one that flips rearward easily to allow the user to stand on the casting platform beneath the seat assembly,
This is an idea I am using on a wooden pontoon I have been building for a couple of years in my spare time. I agree with you Mumbles, in that it allows you to stand over the center of balance in a boat that has rocker in the bottom. It also keeps your seat from rubbing your knees raw. I'm not sure how to do it without building a seat from scratch though. My junk is all wood so it was no big deal. I built a floor for my inflatable pontoon and the seat drives me nuts when standing, especially when I'm wearing shorts.

I'm a fellow tinkerer so I can't wait to see what you come up with.


still an authority on nothing
I'm visualizing a ONE PIECE Ram-X pontoon boat.
yup, it would be heavier-that's why it has two drop-down portage wheels.
it also has built-in cup and rod holders, including storage for rods in the hulls; rod holders will accommodate spey rods too.
integral cooler/storage box behind the molded in seat, just ahead of integral carbon reinforced motor mount that will take a two stroke outboard! hulls built to PLANE, modified hard chine.

instead of footpegs, built-in footrests like the SOT Kayaks have. self-centering oarlocks and cataract oars.
oh yeah, running lights.
did I forget anything? :)


Rich Layendecker
Here's a point I have not seen: make it really light weight. I have a Scadden Expedition that is 10 years old - 8 ft pontoons and weighs only 32 pounds and the frame only about 48" wide. With that light weight I can carry it over rough terrain and I just hang it on the wall in the garage. All the newer pontoons weigh 60 lbs or more, most over 75 lbs. I think there is a market niche for a lightweight pontoon.
I have 2 old Skookum toons (circa 1992?). One is a Steelheader and the other the predesessor to the Osprey. Unfortunately the tubes on the Osprey finally died on me last year. They were a bladder, cover type and the bladders disintegrated on me.

Here is what I like and don't like about each.

The Osprey (9' tubes with 12" diameter) is light at 35lbs. It sits low in the water and is easily kicked for use in lakes. Unfortunately, the frame is too light weight to be used in a river (it is half inch conduit).

The Steelheader (9' tubes with 12" diameter) has a swivel seat. I would like to have a locking mechanism when running a river. The floor in front is too high in relation to the seat making it impossible for me to stand up on it. Since I'm heavy, this boat really needs to have the new 10'x29" tubes. My old Hypalon tubes are in great shape even after all this time. My oar locks are too low on the frame causing the oars to hit my knees in order to get them out of the water (this has been fixed on new frames). This boat is HEAVY at about 100lbs. Not something you take out on a whim. The frame is bullet proof. I'll likely be buying new 10'x29" tubes for this one and putting the old ones on the Osprey.

If I were to build one from scratch I would first have to decide how I wanted to fish it. If I were to fish lakes, I would like as narrow a frame as possible with the 10' x 29" tubes while still having enough room to kick the boat. I would then put a mesh floor in that would be strong enough to stand on if I so chose. I would also make it so the flooring could be slid back out of the way if I wanted to use fins. Finally, I would put a pivoting pole on it to act as a leaning post when deployed but easily folded out of the way when not needed.


The more we know, the less we can learn!
I have an outcast discovery 10IR and love it there are a few things that need improvement of course to make it a better boat the oar locks and oars themselves should be upgraded. I love the standing platform it slides under the seat for rowing or kicking around the lakes. I stand up on the platform without the lean bar and am very comfortable. have stood up on the solduc river barely ever fish sitting down always standing up. the worst feature on the whole boat is the anchor have to reach around to use it and is centered right on the rear deck so makes storage a little difficult. great for short trips could be hard for multiday trips.
my ultimate pontoon would definatly have a standing platform!! I cant imagine floating with out one.:thumb:


row-ho services for hire
I've had 3 toons and none of them really worked in the salt. The components have just not been up to the requirements. Even with thorough cleanings the metals just corroded. I don't think that anyone has really made an attempt to make a saltwater toon.
6061 and most 5000 series aluminums are rated for marine use, basically aluminum without any copper alloyed in. Lots of powerboats obviously have aluminum hulls and construction. I think Scadden's frames are 6061 but not sure how the powder coating would hold up - mine as flaked off in places without any exposure to the salt.