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What Size Motor for 24 Foot Pontoon Boat? A Detailed Answer

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

Do you want to know what size motor for 24 foot pontoon boat? The pontoon motor or engine simply depends on the dimension. Hence, a larger boat requires a bigger motor.

What Size Motor for 24 Foot Pontoon Boat

According to standards, 20-foot-long boats work well with 115 horsepower. Thus, when it comes to a 24-foot pontoon boat, roughly 150 horsepower is required. Having the right motor size enables you to transport passengers and belongings with convenience, ease, and comfort.

Behind the motor size, however, you must know other factors to optimize your pontoon’s performance. Read on to gain more knowledge!

Technical Factors that Intervene with Your Pontoon’s Speed


Motor Power

It’s crystal clear to everyone, even those who are not experts that a longer boat is heavier. To counterbalance the weight and the additional drag, a large outboard engine should be added.

  • 20-foot Long and Shorter Pontoon Boats

A 24HP or horsepower can make a 16-foot long boat function well with 5 mph speed in calm waters. The necessary power for boats longer than 20 feet is 115HP.

These digits are not an implication that a smaller engine is lousy. The importance is confined to the baseline horsepower to ensure remarkable resale value.

  • 24-foot and Longer Pontoon Boats

This category is based on size and needs a 150HP motor to smoothly traverse the waters. The said engine puts the boat with 4 people onboard in motion at a comfortable speed. Take note that it’s not intended for speedy records.

When a group of 8 to 10 people occupies a 24-foot pontoon boat or longer, you’ll need to upgrade to a 175HP motor. As long as your budget doesn’t get in the way, the bigger the better, and more powerful.

It’s not a bad idea if you instead add a 200HP motor which guarantees excellent performance even if your pontoon boat is fully loaded.

Tube Diameter

You’ll find tubes with diameters of 19, 21, or 23 inches in the old models of pontoons. It seems surprising as the new ones these days won’t have a tube that is shorter than 23 inches.

The idea of a pontoon boat going into a wider scope necessitates having more lift. In this manner, the motor won’t exert excessive effort.

Tubes with a thickness of 25 inches are best suited for 24-foot long pontoons. But if you don’t mind spending more for a better lift, you can opt for 27-inch tubes.

  • Tube Number

Due to different views of boaters, this part becomes controversial. Some believe that tritoons or boats that contain three tubes float easier and more smoothly. It’s because they increase the speed while lowering the drag.

On the other hand, old-school boaters think that the additional weight from the third tube rather causes harm. If you’re torn between these two views, you shouldn’t be because neither of them has a precise explanation.

What truly affects the boat’s performance is the tube placement. The third tube is placed under the two tubes. It’s an arrangement that can displace a sufficient amount of water to form a larger lift so nothing will weigh you down.

In addition, tritoons are more stable than conventional pontoon boats. Attaching a 200HP motor or higher guarantees that there’s no disturbance every time you make a turn.

  • Lifting Strakes

You can get over the number of tube issues and take in what built-in lifting strakes can give you. It’s the key to allow the outboard motor to achieve its full potential in exchange for enjoyment.

If you don’t know what lifting strakes are, they are small metal projections that are welded on the tubes. When the pontoon is in motion, they displace the water.

These strakes will make the pontoon rise like a plane. They don’t lumber or plow through the water. Instead, the third tube helps to lift it for a smoother and faster ride. As a result, there’s no more dragging, and you can save up on fuel or fuel additive.


Based on technical aspects, the lifting strakes can be attached to the existing tubes through welding. It’s a job reserved for experts who skillfully adjust height and angles.

The right positioning of the strakes is important so you won’t experience bumpy rides. Experts recommend securing new tubes with stakes that are pre-installed.

You can just buy a new boat as you have the chance to optimize its entire design. Well, you can do it if the price tag is not a problem.

Ask a Local Dealer if You’re Doubtful


If your thoughts are mixed up with the previous part, there’s another way to obtain what you need to know. For some reason, you’re still doubtful although you could soak up the information. To erase all confusion and doubts, it’s better to ask your local dealer for clarification.

You need to be specific when disclosing the information about your pontoon to the dealer. The primary concerns are the number of passengers that will always ride the pontoon and the intended activities.

Probably, you’ll go tubing, pull wakeboarders, or ski. Some may just cruise around with friends and family.

You can trust the dealer to introduce the appropriate motor that caters to your needs. Even if you’ll buy a motor that has unnecessarily great power, it’s not a bad decision because its selling value doesn’t decrease.

Who knows if you would let it go in the future? From then on, you can still get your money back.

  • Bring Up the Locale

If you plan to sail on local waters then things are easier for you. When the dealer gives you the needed information and guidelines, it’s usually straightforward and clear. There’s no need for further discussion.

But some boaters would want to break the limits. So, they roughly explain the locale plans to the dealer. It’s also a wise move.

If you don’t have enough knowledge, you won’t be aware that some coasts and rivers require a more robust engine and motor. Once the dealer knows about your plan, the needed horsepower will be pointed out.

Some Tips to Gain the Most Out of Your Motor

These tips are with regards to speed.

  • Engine Mounting Height

You should reserve a mounting spot for the engine in your pontoon boat. It’s to ensure that the anti-ventilation plate is situated below the water surface. Furthermore, this setup won’t block the persistence of propeller ventilation.

The ventilation shouldn’t be buried too deep as well. If it is, the gearbox or the lower unit would tend to produce unrestrained drag.

When adjusting the height, you will have to do it based on the distribution load that your pontoon can hold. It’s good to contemplate on this with the following example.

This is a scenario when you go fishing with some friends. When some of them choose to sit on the bow, it pushes the stern upwards to establish propeller ventilation. Take note that in this situation, you need to lower the motor a little bit.

You may have pictured different scenarios in your mind when mounting the motor. Be informed that it would take some testing. In the end, you will achieve a desirable result.

  • The Tank Shouldn’t be Filled Completely

Filling your tank is not included in the to-do list of a pontoon boat owner. You may want to do that if you’ll pull all-nighters with your peers. In this part, you’re expected to know that a gallon of gas weighs 8 pounds.

Hence, filling half of the 25-gallon tank gives a total of 100 pounds. Aside from passengers and other loads, you must know that gas has a weight too. It only brings with it a small difference but it’s a great deal when it comes to the boat’s speed and lifts.

Sum it Up

As mentioned above, the standard size motor for a 24-foot pontoon boat is a 150HP motor. However, you can’t go wrong when upgrading to 175HP and even 200HP.

Nonetheless, as you found with this guide, the answer to ‘what size motor for 24 foot pontoon boat?’ is not just about horsepower. The tube length and lifting strakes also contribute to making your pontoon boat run properly. Besides, you can feel interested in the size motor for a16 foot aluminum boat.

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