What gear do you wear when using a pontoon boat?

A couple of years back I bought a pontoon boat from one of the members here and haven't used it, or the two fishing licenses I've purchased since. I'm putting an end to that practice this year! I'm enrolled in a tying and casting class with a local club and digging out all of my old gear. Has anyone else noticed that clothing seems to shrink while in storage for long periods of time; I have no option but to replace my stocking-foot waders and vest:eek:
Now the main question. Do most of the folks around here use there neoprene chest waders, hip boots, or knee boots when fishing from a pontoon boat? I like the idea of chest waders for the warmth, but realize there may be other considerations. What's the general consensus?
Thanks, Ken

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
My pontoon for lakes sits low and as such I'm kicking with fins in the water much of the time. I wear breathable chest waders. Sometimes I wear fins over wading boots, other times fins over the stocking foots or aqua socks. I have seen folks in stand up platform boats and high seats that allows them to be totally dry. I'm sure that all of your gear shrunk up while in storage. That is why you have to keep using it, to keep it sized just right. Best of luck.

colton rogers

wishin' i was fishin'
what are you gonna be fishing? some guys use the pontoon to move from spot to spot on a river then beach it and wade. if you plan to do that chest waders would be a better choice. if you are going to use it for lakes then wader pants would be fine. i wear chest waders with sweat pants and i stay warm weather im in the sound or kicking around in a lake.
Depends on the time of the year. Even with my southfork which sits low I wore for over 3 years the hodgeman breathable legs(chaps) is what we called them. my legs never got cold,my ass got wet a few times. The bitch was stopping and standing up SHIT thats deeper than I thought. Anyway I would wear those plus fleece pants underneath. Now I have a new pac900 and it sits up really high so I'm gonna get a new pair of the dan baileys (chaps). When real nasty out and fricking cold I wear my dan baileys breathables waders. I wear diver booties over my stocking feet to protect the waders ,then the fins. P.s at seatle marine supply off comodor way they have great prices on fleece pants and shirts etc.


Active Member
Something far more important than the type of wader and long johns is something I see very little of - A life preserver of some sort.


Sculpin Enterprises
You are required to have a life jacket (one that fits) if you are in a pontoon boat. I do not wear mine, but have it close at hand when in a lake. When pontooning a river, I will wear it when a drift look hairy and keep it handy when it looks pretty placid. Life jackets are not required if you are in a float tube.

Back to the original thread. In lakes during the summer, I wear shorts and some neoprene divers booties. In the fall and spring, I will break out the breathable waders.



Sculpin Enterprises
TD, bringing up the issue of a life jacket is a good one, not only because we want everyone to be safe, but also because the absence of a life jacket, when required, can earn one a ticket. It is a central piece of gear for a pontoon boat. My comment about the returning to the original thread was addressed at my own minor diversion.

I, like many, was quite happy to outgrow my neoprenes. I now wear as appropriate for the ambient temperature, stockingfoot wader pants, fleece liner, sandals on the feet, with fins. You'll fish more after them neoprenes go away. Neoprene gloves are nice when it's cold, as is a fleece cap.

And yeah, aPFD is crucial in moving water and I wear one. I suppose it's desirable on lakes but required or not I don't wear one unless it's really stormy, and then I generally head for a tavern anyway.

I'm fishing more this year, too. Not fishing enough is bad for you.
Thanks for all of the input.
One thing I never thought about was the regulation requiring a life vest (PFD). I guess the one out of my kayak will end up doing double duty.
Taking things a bit further; What do the regs say about using a PFD in a float tube??

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
What do the regs say about using a PFD in a float tube?
Curiously, they don't mention float tubes. While that could be because float tubes often have secondary bladders intended for emergency use, I suspect that the rule-writers either overlooked them or that the current regulations were written long before float tubes became popular.



Sculpin Enterprises
Hi Kent,

Actually, the regulations requiring a life jacket on a pontoon boat is only a few years old, many years after float tubes became popular. There was quite a bit of ambiguity for several years. I think that part of the confusion regarding the separate rules for float tubes versus pontoons lies in the fact that floaters using air mattresses etc., whether in lakes or in rivers, do not have to have life jackets. While I don't doubt that F&G would love to require them of fishers, they couldn't justify it if they didn't also require them of swimmers - fat chance of that. Of course, that would save a few lives every summer when the floaters get in trouble on rivers like the Yak and the Snoqualmie. Because pontoons are so much more like boats that they can be classified as such, F&G can place them distinctly in the boat category, along with canoes - have a boat, need a life jacket. I wonder how F&G classifies Watermasters?

Thanks for both clearing up the regs on PFD's, and also for mentioning Watermasters; they had escaped my attention, and I had to look up Watermaster to see what they were.
Best regards, Ken


Well-Known Member
I think a Watermaster is a sophisticated float tube because I don't wear a PFD in mine. Two air chambers, and likely safer than two innertubes.


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