Pontoon Seating & Floor Plans
Pontoon seating has made amazing advances, (see The History of Pontoon Boats). Lawn chairs were replaced with upholstered wooden boxes and continually improved to the modern luxurious seating. In the past some seating was really pretty awful. Wood frames covered with any upholstery material that could be found without knowledge of the damage done by UV rays. Boat builders and aluminum fabricators made their own seating. Generally metal fabricating and upholstery are separate areas of expertise. In the past a new boat buyer needed to pay attention to the quality of seating. But most new boat seating is of excellent quality.
Many new boats have extended warranties (Bennington 10 years) and more attention is paid to quality upholstery. Seat bases are almost 100% non-rot plastic. Upholstery and thread are marine grade, treated against the harmful effects of UV rays. Staples are stainless or aluminum, etc.
There are however, a couple things that the new boat buyer should take into consideration. Most new pontoons are loaded with seating. The benefit of a pontoon is that it’s a big platform on the water, and with larger diameter pontoons and triple tubes models pontoons can carry 12-16 people and every person can have their own seat. Then again there may be too much seating if you want to fish or swim. In those cases some floor area might be handy. Many modern boats are set up solely for entertaining and cruising and you might have difficulty finding somewhere to land a fish or let swimmers dry off. When buying a new boat or planning a rebuild, you should consider how you’ll use the boat and decide on the furniture package accordingly.
Flip Flop Stern
Stern Entry L Group
The stern flip flop group was popular for years. It was claimed there was seating for six. In practice only two people usually sat in the stern benches and one in the flip flop. On older boats the captains stand was close to he back seats and few people sat behind the captain.
The L group opened up the stern for more seating. Most modern boats have a variation of this group. Realistic seating for 5-7 people near the captain.
The stern entry eliminates a seat behind the captain, swimmers board and enter the boat from the back.
Seat arms have generally given way to either lean backs or corner seats. You can see the difference in the floorplans above. The L group has a seat arm. The stern entry L is finished off with a corner seat. Either could be replaced with a lean back. New boat builders usually have a variation of these styles of seating.
Modern deluxe pontoons have taken seating to a new level. On the left is a swing back sun area. On the right a variation of lean back with fold down arm rest, bench and corner seat. When considering a new pontoon the boater should consider how they will use the boat.