How Fast Can a Pontoon Boat Go (89 Real-Life Examples)

Have you been thinking about buying a pontoon boat but are a little worried that it may not go as fast as you need it to? Today’s pontoon boats are unlike the kind that you cruised around the lake on during your summer vacations at grandpa’s house. While it may be a little more expensive, you can pretty much find a pontoon or tri-toon boat that will fit your speed needs, whether it be for pulling skiers and tubers, cruising around the lake, or getting to your favorite fishing spot before everyone else.

So, how fast can a pontoon boat go? The average speed of a pontoon boat is 30.7 MPH, but a typical pontoon boat will run anywhere from 17 to 40 mph when fully loaded, with some tri-toon models topping out at over 50 mph.

Keep reading to find out just how fast the different size pontoon boats will go when outfitted with different size engines and if they will go fast enough for your boating needs. Keep in mind though that the size of the boat and engine only tell half the story! There are a number of factors that will determine how fast a pontoon will go, including the size of the motor, the size of the pontoon boat, the number of pontoons, and how heavy your load is, etc.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

how fast can a pontoon boat go
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89 Examples of How Fast Pontoon Boats Can Go

Size and Model (if I could find it)HorsepowerTop Speed (MPH)
16 ft Mirrocraft2514
16 ft Sun Tracker Bass Buggy4015
18 ft Sun Tracker6021
18 ft Sun Tracker Bass Buggy7521
18 ft Sweetwater2510
20 ft ???9026
20 ft  Bass Buggy6026
20 ft Bennington7524
20 ft Bennington SFI7525
20 ft Grumman5016
20 ft Grumman9021
20 ft Lowe Suncruiser 204SS9027
20 ft Palm Beach Castmaster 2006020
20 ft Premier Gemini 2019025
20 ft Quest 820 Lanai (Tri)11534
20 ft Sweetwater 20865015
20 ft Sweetwater 20869024
20 ft Sylvan Mirage 8520 Cruise5019
20 ft Sylvan Mirage cruise11529
20 ft Sylvan Mirage cruise11523
20 ft Ultra 202 Fish & Cruise11527
21 ft Fishin’ Barge9029
21 ft Beachcomber  (Tri)13531
21 ft Bennington 21 SLX13538
21 ft JC Neptune 21TT (Tri)15038
21 ft JC Neptune 21TT (Tri)15037
21 ft Lowe SS210 (Tri)15038
21 ft Starcraft Stardeck 21611530
21 ft Sun Tracker Fishing Barge 219038
21 ft Suntracker PB9038
21 ft Suntracker PB9034
21 ft Suntracker PB9031
21 ft Suntracker PB9018
21 ft Sweetwater9027
21 ft Sweetwater 22865020
21 ft Sylvan Mirage 8520 C&F15039
21 ft Tracker Party Barge9031
22 ft G311528
22 ft Misty Harbor11526
22 ft Bennington 2275rl15040
22 ft Harris Cruiser 2009026
22 ft JC Spirit (Tri)15035
22 ft Kayot Skipper11521
22 ft Lowe Suncruiser Trinidad 2047022
22 ft Manitou Oasis15036
22 ft Sun Tracker Fishn’ Barge 22 DLX9028
22 ft Suncatcher G311530
22 ft Sunchaser Smoker Craft11531
22 ft Suntracker Fishing Barge 229033
22 ft Suntracker Regency 2211525
22 ft Suntracker Regency 2211531
22 ft Suntracker Regency Party Parge 2211531
22ft Bennington RLI (Tri)15038
23 ft Bennington 2275RCWL (Tri)25051
23 ft Bennington 2375 RL22547
23 ft Crest Classic 250 SLR230043
23 ft Crest Classic 250 SLR230046
23 ft Manitou Encore SHP 373 (Tri)25045
23 ft Playcraft Daytona 230025049
23 ft Sweetwater 238611525
23 ft Sylvan 8522 (Tri)15038
23 ft Tahoe LT Cruise 230025053
24 ft JC9018
24 ft Party Barge11522
24 ft Bennington 24 S (Tri)15040
24 ft Bennington 24SSLX15040
24 ft Crestliner 2385 Batata Bay11526
24 ft Excursion  (Tri)15035
24 ft Lowe Suncruiser9025
24 ft South Bay 224RS LE 2511525
24 ft Starcraft9022
24 ft Sun Tracker11525
24 ft Sun Tracker Party Barge9021
24 ft Sweetwater  (Tri)15044
24 ft Sweetwater 240DF11517
24 ft Tahoe Fish-n-Fun (Tri)11524
24 ft Xcursion 255RFX (Tri)11527
25 ft Crest Classic 25030046
25 ft Bennington 257522540
25 ft Bennington 2577RFSi (Tri)22543
25 ft Bentley6020
25 ft Crest Caribbean13527
25 ft Harris15037
25 ft JC Marine 25 NepToon (Tri)15033
25 ft JC Marine 25 NepToon (Tri)25046
25 ft Xcursion X-25C15036
27 ft Xcursion 255RFX (Tri)25041
27.5 ft Suntracker Party Barge 254 XP320045
29 ft ???35048
Top speeds of pontoon boats with their engine power and length
  • Average Top Speed: 30.7 MPH
  • Most Common Top Speed: 25 MPH
  • Median Top Speed: 29 MPH

The data doesn’t make it super easy to see where most people fall in their pontoon boat speed, but here’s a graph to make that a bit more clear:

Most people’s pontoon boats are within the 17.5 MPH-40 MPH range

All this data should be taken with a grain of salt because these are all self-reported. Also, pitometers (and even GPS units) can be off by a few MPH.

Pontoon Boat and Motor HP Speed Examples

Let’s jump into some speed breakdown examples:

How Fast Can A 200 HP Pontoon Boat Go?

A 200/225 HP motor on a pontoon boat has an average top speed of 43.6 MPH, but speeds range from 40 MPH to 46.5 MPH.

How Fast Can A 150 HP Pontoon Boat Go?

A 150 HP motor on a pontoon boat has an average top speed of 38.2 MPH, but speeds range from 35 MPH to 43.7 MPH.

How Fast Can A 115 HP Pontoon Boat Go?

A 115 HP motor on a pontoon boat has an average top speed of 26.2 MPH, but speeds range from 17.4 MPH to 31 MPH.

How Fast Can A 24 Ft Pontoon Boat Go?

To be frank, boat length (and weight) is just one of the factors affecting top speed, and it’s not even the most important factor. However, if you’re looking for a ballpark of how fast people get their pontoon boats:

The average top speed for a 24ft pontoon boat is 27.6 MPH, but the speed ranges from 17.4 MPH all the way to 43.7 MPH.

The reason why the average top speed of 24 ft pontoon boats is so much lower is that 24 ft pontoon boats are much more common.

How Fast Can A 25 Ft Pontoon Boat Go?

The average top speed for a 25ft pontoon boat is 35.6 MPH, but the speed ranges from 20 MPH all the way to 46 MPH.

How Fast Do You Need to Go

If you stumbled upon this article then speed is obviously a concern that you have, but do you really need to go as fast as you might think. Sure some people just have a need for speed and want to go as fast as possible no matter what.

However, if you’re wondering if you’ll have enough power for pulling a skier, or the kids on a tube (check out our article about some awesome towable tubes if you’re interested), you may be surprised to find out that you don’t need to go as fast as you might think.

In fact, the average skier and wakeboarders prefer boat speeds between 18 to 22 mph, while slalom ­water-skiers need at least 25 to 36 mph. With that being said, 16 to 20 mph is usually enough to pull kids on skies and tubes.

If you just want to impress family and friends, well that’s another story…

Can a 115 HP Pontoon Boat Pull a Tube?

A 115 HP motor on a pontoon boat should be sufficient to tow tubes. As you can see above, the average top speed of a 115HP motor is about 26 MPH, (or could be 17 MPH depending on your loadout), which is around that 20 MPH mark that is ideal for the family.

If In Doubt, Go With The Bigger Motor

If by some chance you find yourself on the fence whether or not to go with say a Yamaha 50 hp or a 115 hp motor, always go with the bigger engine. Sure the difference in price is around $5,000, but you could be saving money in the long run.

What I mean by that is, let’s say that you go with the smaller motor to save money.

After going out on the water a few times, you quickly realize that you should have gone with the bigger motor. Now you’re in a real pickle!

Boats and their engines are like new cars in that once you drive them off the lot, they immediately lose their value. Now I’m not exactly sure how much that is, but it will be something.

You now have to buy the larger motor which starts out at $5,000 up to well over $15,000, you’re going to have to pay the dealership to remove your old motor and install the new one.

This could get pretty expensive!

So when on the fence, always, always go with the larger motor.

And don’t let the salesman talk you into the smaller motor. I know this seems counterintuitive, but dealerships will often outfit their boats with the smallest motors possible in order to bring the sale price down, making them more attractive to potential buyers.

Tips For Making Your Pontoon Go Faster

If you do decide to go with a smaller motor and find out that you need to go just a little bit faster, you might want to try one or all of these tips in order to get that extra boost of power.

Upgrade Your Prop

If you’re finding that you need to get on a plane just a little bit faster for pulling skiers, tubers, or just because you want to, you might want to check into upgrading your prop based on your needs.

Without going into full detail, different props can produce different results. For instance, choosing a prop with a different pitch can help you get on plane faster (perfect for pulling skiers) but will bring down your top speed a bit. Alternatively, you can choose a prop with a pitch suited for achieving top speed once on plane, but getting on plane will take a little longer.

They make 4 blade and 3 blade props, which both have their pros and cons, as well as stainless steel and aluminum props.

If you’re buying a new pontoon boat, you can talk with your dealer about your needs and they should be able to set you up with the right prop for your situation.

If you would like more detailed info on boat props, West Marine has a great article here.

Get Lifting Strakes

If you’re buying your pontoon boat new or are opting for a tri-toon, chances are it already has lifting strakes installed. However, if it doesn’t I highly suggest that you pay the extra money to get them installed.

So what are lifting strakes?

In short, they are strips of metal that are welded directly onto the pontoons, helping to create lift on the water. This helps the pontoon to basically glide through the water instead of lumbering through it.

Lifting strakes not only help with speed, but will also help with fuel efficiency as well as providing a smoother ride.

Lighten Your Load

This should be a no-brainer, but if you want to go faster with less motor, you have to lighten the load.

We know that you just got a new boat and want to show it off to everyone and their mothers, but if you want to impress them with its speed, you may want to invite a few at a time. That is of course unless you’re packing a 300 hp.

One somewhat non-intuitive way to do this is to not fill up your tank with gas. If you only have half a tank, it’s possible to improve your top speed a little bit.

Also, if you’re planning on doing some skiing or taking the kids tubing, you might want to leave any unnecessary items at the house, especially if you opted for the smaller engine.

Clean Your Pontoons

This really won’t apply to you (at least for now) if you bought your pontoon boat new, but make sure that your pontoons are clean!

If they have barnacles or gunk growing on them, they will not glide through the water as efficiently as they otherwise would. Believe it or not, this can have a real impact on how fast your pontoon boat can go.

Are Tri-Toons Boats Faster Than Pontoons

Yes! Tri-toons are faster than your traditional two-tube pontoon boat! This is due to a couple of reasons.

First, by adding an extra pontoon, you give your boat the ability to float on top of the water. Less resistance equals more speed.

Second, a third pontoon allows the boat to be fitted with a larger motor. In fact, there are some tri-toons that can actually accommodate 2 engines.

One thing to keep in mind though is that while a tri-toon will definitely provide you with more power, it’s also going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet.


So now that you have a good idea on how fast a pontoon boat can go, the question is will it go fast enough for your needs?

With that being said, the number one piece of advice that I can give you is that if you are on the fence about whether or not to go bigger when it comes to your engine, always go bigger. In fact, I recommend that you go with the max horsepower that your boat is rated for.

You just never know when you’re going to want that extra power and once you drive off the boat lot, it’s too late!


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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