"Dreams can't come true without first dreaming...there is no harvest without first sowing seed"
James J Steele

Pon Tiki Basics

Pon Tiki Basics


These are the Pon Tiki basics we researched while waiting for the delivery of our boat. It was actually nice having the 6 – 8 week wait while they put together our boat package. It gave us adequate time to really explore all the major areas we will need to be aware of as first-time pontoon boat owners. We have rented pontoon boats, as well as houseboats, but now as actual owners, we certainly need to understand the fine print of the following categories…James


Titling & Registration | Boat & Trailer Insurance | Engine Operation | Weight Calculations | Safety Checklist | Necessities-Accessories 

Vessel Titling & Registration

Title & Registration

All motorized vessels operating on Florida’s public waterways must be titled and registered. This process is done through the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Precise details, instructions, and fees can be found on their website here. If buying a new boat from a dealership, be sure to check if they are processing the Title and Registration as part of the sale price…it may cost a lot more for them to do this than doing it yourself!

Boat & Trailer Insurance

Insurance graphic
Boat US Geico Insurance

Some good sources for inquiring about Boat Insurance…

We both also took the free online BoatUS Online Boating Safety Course which was quite informative and gave us a discount on our insurance.

Engine Operation

Mercury Service Manual

Before hitting the water, we became familiar with our engine and understood how it works, how it needs to be maintained, and how to break it in. We wanted to be aware of what can go wrong with boat engines and how to troubleshoot problems before needing a service technician at $95.00 an hour. There are several websites with great tips covering troubleshooting and maintenance…

Here is what we learned

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX Weight Calculations

Capacity DecalWeight distribution is an important aspect of operating a pontoon boat. Passengers and gear must be distributed evenly in order to achieve peak performance as well as stability and overall safety.

A legal requirement for pontoon boats is to have a capacity plate sticker located somewhere near the helm. This sticker shows the manufacturer’s details on the number of people as well as the maximum weight limit that the boat can safely handle.

Our limit is 8 persons/1200 lbs. In order to keep within a safe weight limit on board, I created the following chart to help determine that figure…

Weight Calculations

Bass Buggy Dry Weight – 1470 lbs


40 HP Mercury Outboard  – 215 lbs
30 gal Gasoline  – 180 lbs
Starting Battery  – 23.6 lbs
Trolling Motor  – 25 lbs
Extra Deep Cycle Battery  – 58 lbs


Mom, Donna, James, Chesney  – 470 lbs


Paperwork  – 2 lbs
Anchors (2)  – 12 lb River Anchor & 15 lb Fluke Anchor
4 Life Preservers  – 5 lbs
Fenders – 2  – 2 lbs
Telescoping Boat Hook ( 13′ )  – 0.2 lbs
Dock Lines – 25’ 2  – 5 lbs
Docking Lights with wiring  – 2.2 lbs
VHF Radio with Case  – 1.5 lbs
GPS  – 0.5 lbs
6 Whistles  – 0.5 lbs
Anchor Cleats 2  – 0.64 lbs
Tool Box with tools  – 5 lbs
Floating Flashlight  – 0.4 lbs
iPhones – 2  – 0.8 lbs
Flares – 1.5 lbs


Magma Table  – 10 lbs
3 Chairs @ 12.5  – 37 lbs
Folding Table  – 7 lbs
Scotty Rail Mounts with Fasteners – 3  – 2.25 lbs
Cuisinart Grill  – 22.3 lbs
Multi-Purpose Caddy  – 3 lbs
Rail Caddy  – 0.63 lbs
Umbrella With Stand – 35 lbs

Bar Accessories

Wine Tote with 2 Bottles of Wine  – 7.7 lbs
Bar Accessories – Misc  – 15 lbs
Cypress Bar Unit – 10 lbs

Food & Beverage

Ice for Cooler – 2 10# Bags  – 20 lbs
Food & Water/Beer – 3 persons  – 35 lbs
Cheese Board  – 10 lbs


Towels – 3  – 3 lbs
Boat Shoes – 3 pair  – 2.25 lbs
Boating shorts – 3 pair  – 3 lbs
Bathing Suits – 2 pair  – 2 lbs
Boating Shirts – 2 pair  – 2 lbs
Boating Pants – 2 pair  – 2 lbs
Boating Hats – 2  – 0.75 lbs


Portable Toilet  – 5 lbs
Privacy Curtain  – 4 lbs

Total Person, Motor & Gear – 1203 lbs

Max Person, Motor & Gear – 1775 lbs

Extra Weight Allowance – 585 lbs

Our Safety Checklist

Mandatory Items…

Valid Registration Certificate 
Selection of PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices)
Marine Fire Extinguisher
Audible Warning Device
Throwable PFD

Optional Items & Add-Ons…

Anchors 2
Battery Charger
Cell Phone
Docking Lights
Dry Box
First Aid Kit
Float Plan
Floatable Flashlight
GPS Locator/Depth Finder/Fish Finder
Secondary Propulsion – Trolling Motor
Spare Prop
Snorkel & Mask
Sun Protection
Transom Straps
Vessel View Mobile
VHF Radio
Visual Signaling Device
Water for Drinking


Adjustable Wrenches
Cable Ties/Bungees
Cobra Pliers
Electrical Tape
Hose Clamps
Locking Pliers
Long Needle Nose Pliers
Prop Wrench & Spare Prop
Ratchet Set with spark plug socket
Rigging Knife
Spare Screws, Nuts, Bolts & Snaps
Spark Plugs & Fuses
Utility Knife
Waterproof Flashlight
Waterproof Gorilla Glue
Wire Stripper & Crimper
Zip Ties

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