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Pontoons are flotation devices used to disperse a large amount of weight, and pontoon boats are constructed with two pontoons attached underneath a flat bottom. The different types of pontoon boat accessories include furniture, covers, enclosures, ladders, lights and trailers. Some pontoon boats are large enough to use as a temporary houseboat, so pontoon boat accessories may also be used for daily living on board.
Accessories such as furniture are often used when pontoon boat owners entertain. Some of the types of furniture include seating, such as benches and captain's chairs, and tables. The bench seating may be built in and bolted to the floor or removable benches that simply lock into place when in use. Captain's chairs are individual chairs that have a swivel base and arm rests. These chairs, as the name suggests, are used by the captain and are placed behind the control panel where the captain steers the boat.
Covers are popular pontoon boat accessories. The pontoon boat cover is usually manufactured to fit a specific boat style or model. They are made of canvas and are treated with waterproof chemicals. When the pontoon boat is not in use, such as during the winter months, the cover keeps debris such as leaves and acorns out of the boat. The cover will also keep water from pooling in the boat and causing rust or damage to the control panel's electronics.
Enclosures work similarly to a child's playpen. The enclosure resembles a gate or fence and is located around the front of the boat so riders do not inadvertently fall into the water. It may also have a gate along the side to allow passengers a way to get on and off the vessel.
Ladders are pontoon boat accessories used to make it easy to get in and out of the water. When the boat is anchored in the middle of a lake, for example, the ladder can be lowered to allow swimmers to pull themselves back onto the boat. When the boat is operating, the ladder can be pulled up and fastened to the side. Pulling the ladder up out of the water prevents it from dragging the bottom when traveling through shallow areas.
Though lights are considered pontoon boat accessories, most municipalities require lights when operating a boat at night. In addition to the running board lights built into the pontoon boat itself, optional lights include hanging lanterns, search lights and pole lights. Hanging lanterns are simply hung on hooks from the pontoon's sun cover and are battery operated. Search lights are powerful flashlights that can be hand-held or attached to the boat's bow. Pole lights fit into the fishing pole holders and are used as additional lighting for entertaining or cooking.
Trailers are necessary pontoon boat accessories if the boat needs to be hauled or moved to storage. Since pontoon boat designs are much different than the normal ski type boat, they require a specialized trailer. The trailer may have two or three separate treads to fit the pontoons between and support the boat. Pontoon boats are also wider than a traditional boat so the tires and construction of a pontoon boat trailer are often sturdier.