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At Crab Island Watersports, we make a living out of pontoon boat rentals in Fort Walton Beach (Jet skies too), and “buoy” do we love it! Why? Well, there’s nothing quite like being able to give people the equipment and information they need to spend the best days of their vacation on the ocean! With a pontoon rental in Northwest Florida, having fun, fishing, simply relaxing and even partying are at your fingertips, all while floating atop the Emerald Coast’s crystal green waters.

Riding on a pontoon boat is like lounging around in your living room, except you’re outside, in the ocean, basking in the sunshine and fresh air, while hearing the subtle waves splash lightly against the hull of the vessel. Now and again, you can cool off with a dip into the refreshing Gulf waters, and climb right back up onto the deck to relax, enjoy some shade, and maybe even a cocktail. Why not also observe some of the beautiful marine life that call Northwest Florida home, while you’re at it? If you’re out on the water for long enough, you’ll also get to experience the mesmerizing sight of the ocean glistening under the phenomenal Florida sunset.

Pontoon boats make it possible to enjoy life on the water with friends and family. Today they exist in a variety of styles and sizes, and what was first created as a means of basic water transportation, has evolved into the ideal vessel for bringing people around the world closer to their recreational water activities. Let’s take a look at the history of the pontoon boat and what makes it a unique watercraft.

Brief History

Archeologists have found evidence that the earliest boat, a dugout, found in the Netherlands, dates back to 8200 – 7600 BC. These vessels had a close similarity to what we now call canoes, and they were far from the comfortable, steady and easy-to-steer boats that we cruise around on today. The oldest boat ever to have been recovered is called the Pesse Canoe. This vessel was built from a hollowed out tree trunk, and engineered to support a crew and equipment, while still being light enough to move through water. Fast-forward over 8,000 years, and we now have dozens of boat types, for recreational as well as non-recreational use.

In the United States, pontoon boats have been around for 7 decades. Though there are several companies claiming to be the originators of the modern-day Pontoon boat, the invention of the vessel is credited to one Ambrose Weeres. Weeres was a farmer who lived on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes, near Richmond, Minnesota. It was in 1951 that he fastened a wooden platform on top of two columns of aluminum cylinders, welded together end-to-end. This resulted in a sturdy deck and proved even more stable than a conventional watercraft, and thus, the idea of the pontoon boat was born.

While a small outboard provided the power, creating the steering system was the real challenge, but was ultimately accomplished by implementing a vertical stick at the front railing of the vessel, which connected via two lines to the motor.

After marketing his watercraft invention, he managed to sell the boats through local dealers at a successful rate, and after unexpected and increasing demand, he founded Weeres Industries. His first production pontoon was named “The Empress”, which he replicated up to 40 units of, due to the demand of highly interested buyers. Weerers was later referred to as “Mr. Pontoon”, and, was inducted into the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame. In 1990, in a solution issued by the Minnesota State Legislature, Ambrose Weerer was officially recognized as the inventor of the pontoon boat.

What Actually Is A Pontoon?

Essentially, the pontoons are the metal tubes that are used to maintain the buoyancy of the vessel. These devices are airtight and hollow, making them water-resistant and practically unsinkable. The most common material used for the pontoons is aluminum, as this is a non-corrosive element and does not rust over time in the water (unlike steel). Mounted on top of these metal pontoons, or tubes, – is the deck.

Due to the generally large surface area that can be implemented atop the pontoons, these vessels commonly have large decks, which is one of the factors that makes them popular. They have plenty of space to implement comfortable lounging areas that can be well-equipped with everything from safety appliances such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, to sunbeds and mini-bars.

Pontoon Vs. Tritoon

A tritoon is a triple hull pontoon boat, which basically means, instead of two pontoons (tubes), the vessel has three. The major difference between this and a double hull pontoon boat is that the tritoon can manage a higher horsepower. With a classic pontoon, two tubes are located one at each side beneath the deck, typically leaving a space in the middle. With the tritoon, there will be three tubes below deck, with no space between them, adding somewhat more stability and structure to the boat.

Both versions of the pontoon boat are considered ideal for carrying out a variety of activities. Anything from a relaxing cruise to fishing and more. But when it comes to extreme water sports, the tritoon is often preferred as it can have dual engines, higher horsepower and faster speeds.

About Our Pontoon Rental

At Crab Island Watersports we are proud to offer the best in pontoon rental in Destin, and the Fort Walton area. Our modern and well-maintained vessels make for safe, comfortable and fun adventures on the Emerald Coast. You can sail out to Crab Island and anchor up to splash around in the green clear waters, and cruise to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a wildlife hot spot where you can look out for dolphins, turtles and colorful saltwater fish species.

Maximize your enjoyment with our double-decker pontoon boats, with two built-in waterslides from the top-tier, a spacious lower deck, sunbeds and a shaded area. Don’t forget the inflatables to float around in the water and enjoy nature the aquatic way, and read our blog on how to make the most of your pontoon rental(opens in a new tab).

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