Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat: All You Need to Know

Installing Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

installing trolling motor on a pontoon boat

Are you looking for a reliable, efficient way to get around in the water? If so, then it’s time to enhance your pontoon boat with a trolling motor. Trolling motors can be used on a variety of recreational boats including pontoons and Jon boats, making them an excellent option for any outdoor enthusiast who wants more freedom while they cruise the lake or river.

With a trolling motor, your pontoon is capable of quiet operation that won’t disturb wildlife or your fishing line. A trolling motor allows you to easily steer and control the speed of the boat – no more wrestling with handles and gears!

Whether it’s navigating tricky shorelines or finding your fishing sweet spot quickly and efficiently—trolling motors are an essential piece of equipment for anyone looking to maximize their enjoyment of the great outdoors!

Let’s explore further why adding a trolling motor is worth considering for your next boating trip!

What Is a Trolling Motor?

What Is a Trolling Motor

A trolling motor is a self-contained electric motor used to propel a boat when fishing or navigating in shallow water. It is usually mounted on the bow or stern of the boat and powered by a battery, either through the vessel’s electrical system or an independent battery.

Trolling motors are often used on pontoon boats because they can provide power in areas that normal prop engines cannot reach due to shallows or other obstructions.

Trolling motors make it easier for anglers to move around while keeping their lines tight without having to start and stop the engine frequently. They also allow for quieter operation when trying to navigate through heavily fished areas as well as providing greater control over speed and direction than just using your hands.

When installing a trolling motor, it is important to make sure it is properly secured and mounted to the boat. This will ensure that your motor functions correctly and does not slip out of place or become damaged during use.

Additionally, you should be aware of the weight capacity of your particular model as some motors can only handle a certain amount of weight before they begin to overheat or bog down.

Finally, check your local laws regarding electric trolling motors as there may be regulations in place restricting their usage in certain areas.

By adding a trolling motor to your pontoon boat, you can take advantage of all the benefits they offer while increasing the versatility and usability of your vessel. Enjoy greater control over speed and direction while navigating shallow waters or maintaining perfect bait placement.

Whether you’re looking to spend a peaceful morning fishing or cruising around the lake, adding a trolling motor will take your pontoon experience to the next level!

How does It Work on a Pontoon Boat?

A trolling motor for a pontoon boat is typically mounted on the bow or stern of the vessel to provide control and power when maneuvering through shallow waters. The motor is powered by a battery, either from an independent source or directly through your existing electrical system.

The motor itself consists of propellers, which are turned by electric motors that generate thrust – pushing the boat forward and controlling its speed. An adjustable handle allows you to adjust the direction and speed of the boat while keeping your hands free to manage other tasks such as fishing or steering with the traditional steering wheel.

Additionally, some models offer features like reverse propulsion, allowing you to quickly back away if necessary!

Overall, installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat is a great way to increase the usability and versatility of your vessel. Enjoy all the benefits of a quiet, self-sustaining motor with greater control over direction and speed for faster navigation or better bait placement! With so many options available on the market, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs perfectly!

So, if you’re looking to take your pontoon boat experience to the next level—consider adding a trolling motor today! It is sure to enhance your time spent out on the water while providing more convenience and control. Happy boating!

The Benefits of Using a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

The Benefits of Using a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Customers are increasingly turning to trolling motors as the perfect addition to their pontoons, offering enhanced boating convenience and several key advantages. Let’s explore why so many customers are opting for trolling motors on their pontoons:

– Electric-only lakes: for those who don’t have other means of propulsion, trolling motors can be a lifeline – particularly on smaller lakes where you’re just getting out for some recreation. Packed with power but built on efficiency, they make navigating smaller waters simple – perfect for those who don’t need full speed or have far to travel. However, we suggest looking into electric-outboard options as the primary source of power if speed and distance matter to your journey.

– Hit the open waters with a touch of luxury and take your cruising experience to a new level with a Minn Kota i-Pilot or MotorGuide PinPoint GPS trolling motor. With its record and trace feature, you can easily retrace your favorite routes. Allowing you to sit back and enjoy some quality time with friends while navigating through familiar pathways so that nothing stands between you and an unforgettable night on the seas. It’s time to relax – let the trolling motor do all of the work for you.

– Fishing has taken a whole new shape with the advent of pontoon boats! Though they aren’t as versatile as bass boats, these vessels offer a great opportunity for navigating around docks and shorelines – perfect for deep-water trolling. A trolling motor is a must-have provided efficient navigation and GPS features bringing convenience, and your experience will be taken up a notch. Fishing amateurs and veterans alike stand to have much more fun when taking their pontoons out into open waters.

Other benefits that a trolling motor on a pontoon boat brings when fishing:

  • Provides power in shallow waters that would otherwise be inaccessible
  • Offers greater control over speed and direction than just using your hands
  • Quieter operation when navigating through heavily fished areas
  • Allows for a peaceful morning of fishing without having to start and stop the engine multiple times
  • Easily adjustable handle allows you to adjust direction and speed while keeping your hands free to manage other tasks
  • Some models offer features like reverse propulsion, allowing you to quickly back away if necessary.

Overall, adding a trolling motor to your pontoon boat can provide many great benefits while increasing the versatility and usability of your vessel. Enjoy greater control over speed and direction while navigating shallow waters or maintaining perfect bait placement.

Whether you’re looking to spend a peaceful morning fishing or cruising around the lake, adding a trolling motor will take your pontoon experience to the next level!

How to Install a Trolling Motor on Your Pontoon Boat

Before you install a trolling motor on your pontoon boat, consider investing in quick-release brackets. This is the best way to mount your motor and avoid taking extra time for trailering, covering, or accommodating family activities – not to mention avoiding the hassle of repeatedly mounting and unmounting your trolling motor each time you take out your pontoon boat.

With this simple attachment, launching off on fishing trips is easier than ever before! Not to mention that it allows more flexibility when entertaining family or covering up the craft for storage – making installation truly effortless.

When selecting a quick-release plate for your pontoon, there’s an array of quick-release plates available to ensure your pontoon design works optimally, consider the design of your vessel. Does it have an integrated slot for motor mounting?

If so, look for a corresponding type of plate with such features. Some variants have bars that require pulling them to one side; however, if this doesn’t suit your set up it wouldn’t be a viable choice. Be mindful and choose wisely when opting for this essential accessory needed to ensure a smooth trolling experience.

The place to Mount a Trolling Motor

The place to Mount a Trolling Motor

Fishermen, take advantage of the range of mounting options for trolling motors. When it comes to mounting your trolling motor, you have several options. Whether you view yourself as more of a fan of fancy bow-mounting or an old traditional transom user, there’s always a fit to best suit your pontoon layout and preferences – get out on that lake with confidence!

Transom mount

Transom mount motors offer an ideal solution for those looking to equip their smaller pontoon with a reliable thanks to their easy installation and affordable motor.

However, do be mindful of the power limitations; these are best suited for short distances or small boats as they can lack maneuverability when compared to other types. Additionally, check that your fish finder won’t be obstructed if you choose this option!

Engine mount

Engine mount trolling motors offer a unique solution for those looking to conserve space on their outboard motor, although they come with an increased cost. Experienced boaters can easily find utility in these particularly efficient models.

However, these models can be more complex than traditional electric motor designs and may not be the ideal choice for novice sailors. Those mounting them should ensure their boat is equipped with an either outboard or inboard engine before installation so that the jerking of the cavitation plate isn’t compromised!

Bow mount

Bow mount trolling motors are an ideal choice for pontoons, offering unparalleled maneuverability and convenience. Installing them is a breeze thanks to their compatible frames – simply secure the motor in the fitting gap at your pontoon’s bow.

For further portability, opt for release plates so you can quickly take off your motor when not in use; it’ll be worth sacrificing some room but trust us- smooth sailing awaits!

Things to Consider When Installing a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Finding the perfect trolling motor for your pontoon can be daunting, so here are some great factors to think about before making a decision. 

Stowed position

As pontoon boat owners know, having ample clearance for a stowed trolling motor can be an issue due to the short front decks. Fortunately, some pontoon manufacturers are recognizing the need for the room when a trolling motor is stowed, and now offer half gates that make it possible to store your motor without removing the gate. This eliminates any worries about having enough space on the deck while still allowing you access to quickly deploy or secure your equipment in one smooth motion!

Tritoon models

Things to Consider When Installing a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat

Tritoon boats may pose a unique challenge when it comes to installing the trolling motor, especially due to their signature third pontoon. However, this obstacle can be easily overcome by simply mounting the respective motor on either side of said pontoon and ensuring that its shaft has adequate clearance while in the stow position.

Older pontoons

Some older pontoons may be lacking the half gate and deck space necessary to install a trolling motor. For boaters dealing with these older pontoon models, creativity is key to ensuring a successful trolling motor mount. While these situations can seem intimidating, savvy fishermen have come up with creative solutions; some may opt for extending and building out the front of the boat while others choose to remove their entire door.

How to Choose a Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

Making the most of your pontoon boating experience starts with selecting the right trolling motor. Before you hit the open waters, ensure your trolling motor is ready for action with this quick guide:

Begin by locating and reading through your boat’s capacity plate to determine horsepower ratings, then convert that into pounds of thrust for accurate comparison when shopping around. 

Think about where you’d like it mounted.

Consider how much thrust you’ll need in addition to voltage and shaft length based on factors such as intended use or local water conditions. 

And finally, don’t forget the importance of installation; from connecting quick-release brackets to secure tethers attaching sturdily to a fixed point on board, safety is key so be sure this step isn’t overlooked for maximum enjoyment out on open waters ahead!


What About Thrust?

Trolling motors have revolutionized fishing by providing anglers with a lightweight, quiet, and inconspicuous secondary propulsion system for boats. Most often electric-powered, these engines are rated in pounds of thrust as opposed to horsepower because it measures force rather than work output per unit.

However, for those more accustomed to looking at power ratings in terms of HP, manufacturers usually include comparison charts on their modern trolling motor descriptions.

When researching trolling motors, it’s important to note that fuel-powered outboard models exist and can range from 2-3.5 horsepower depending on the special needs of the user. 

If you are shopping for a trolling motor, it’s important to understand the power equivalency of gas engine horsepower and thrust. With roughly 75 lb.s of thrust equal to 1 HP in most cases, selecting the right size is critical; too small will be underpowered while having one that produces excessive force can cause noticeable drag on your boat or worse!

When determining what type and how much power best suits your needs make sure to consider all potential factors carefully before making any final decisions.

How To Calculate Trolling Motor Thrust For Pontoon Boat?

To ensure you have an enjoyable time on the water, having at least 2 lbs thrust for every 100 lbs fully loaded should meet all requirements outlined once you identify these numerical parameters listed on the decal affixed to your craft!

It is important to assess your pontoon boat’s capacity before planning a trip. To ensure the best and safest experience on the water, first, locate your vessel’s specific power limitations with its bright-colored decal – often referred to as Capacity Plate. This should detail three key aspects:

Maximum persons/pounds: Your passengers’ collective weight is limited to an established number of people or pounds – a maximum limit created with safety in mind.

Max weight: total weight capacity – taking into consideration the weight of all individuals, accompanying gear, and motor – measured in pounds.

Max horsepower: this unit ensures that your boat is operated at peak power without compromising safety.

Shopping for a trolling motor may seem simple – just consider your boat’s weight and you’re good to go! However, this isn’t always the case. Federal regulations must be accounted for when calculating conversions from engine power in pounds of thrust. But that’s not all – other factors like wind conditions and current also come into play when selecting the perfect trolling motor for your vessel.

To give you an idea of the relationship between boat load capacity and thrust requirements, let’s go through an example together step-by-step.

Suppose your Pontoon Boat weighs 2000 pounds and you need 1000 pounds for passengers, gear, and motor. So you will need a thrust motor: 3000/100×2 = 60 pounds.

How Much Trolling Motor Thrust For Pontoon Boat?

Pontoon boats require a more powerful thrust than standard v-hull vessels to keep afloat, with the minimum rating suggested being 60 pounds of thrust for a fully loaded pontoon weighing 3,000 pounds.

Different from other boat designs which rely on V-shape hulls for stability and buoyancy, pontoon boats feature flat decks supported by floats attached beneath them to remain airborne. With these features working together, they will be able to stay seaworthy under heavier conditions than most vessels.

Pontoon boats are a great choice for fun-loving families and boat enthusiasts because they provide lots of flexibility to customize them for any need, as they provide ample space to customize and outfit with all your desired accessories.

These vessels are buoyant enough for plenty of fun in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Plus their flat deck design makes it ideal for easy operation and maintenance – everything you could ask from the perfect watercraft!

The flat deck system on pontoon boats offers an exceptional advantage in choppy waters, as they dive directly into the waves while traditional v-hull designs are designed to ride over them. With additional research, our calculated thrust output of 60 pounds for a 3,000 lb boat can be boosted up to 70 pounds – ten higher than our original calculation, providing maximum power and efficiency!

Voltage Requirements

When it comes to trolling motors, the power of your setup will depend on its voltage. A 24V/ 80 lbs thrust motor is capable of producing a whopping 80 pounds of push when fed with a charged battery – making them great for long adventures at sea!

But don’t forget: If you’re planning an extended excursion on your pontoon boat, make sure you bring along some extra batteries just in case.

With varying voltage ratings from 12,12/24, 24, and 36 volts available depending on one’s requirements; these devices provide excellent maneuverability potential with higher voltages yielding greater thrust output capabilities. If you need more power from your trolling motor, opt for a higher voltage rating. 

Rising voltages up to 36 provide increasingly usable power at the propeller – translating into increased thrust output and enhanced navigational potential. For example, making the switch from 12 volts with 50 pounds of thrust to 36 volts with 90 pounds of thrust can result in dramatically improved performance on freshwater or inshore fishing trips!

Shaft Length

Shaft Length

When selecting a trolling motor for your pontoon boat, it’s important to keep in mind that its deck sits much higher above the water than other boats. To ensure you choose the right size and get optimal performance from your trolling motor installation endeavor, measure the distance between the top of the transom (rear cross-section) and the waterline before purchase.

Pontoon boats typically require a shaft length of 55 inches or more for optimal functionality. 

With the increased height of pontoon boat decks, you need to go beyond the standard 12-inch submerged depth for a trolling motor.

Generally, it is recommended that adding 20 inches more than your waterline measurement will give an appropriate shaft length for most pontoon boats; however, there are additional considerations such as model and measurements of your boat, waves or current in the surrounding environment, and mounting location (bow or transom) which impact this decision.

Whether your boat is large or small, picking an adequate shaft length for your trolling motor can make all the difference. Ensure your propeller remains optimally submerged in different water conditions. Undersizing the shaft length of your trolling motor could result in cavitation, leading to potential engine damage.

Power Source

Powerful trolling motors can be a great way to enjoy your boat, but for them to have their full potential you need more than the standard 12-volt setup. To get the most out of it and keep your battery from draining quickly at that level, you’ll want a 24-volt deep cycle dedicated fishing motor battery – giving priority power right where it’s needed!

But before investing in one of these motors and the necessary deep cycle battery, be mindful not to use up all of your boat’s power by running off its existing battery – this would quickly drain it due to how much energy such an advanced motor requires. Investing in a dedicated trolling motor battery is key for happy boating on both long and short trips alike!

For those who need power over the long haul, deep-cycle batteries are an excellent choice – especially for trolling motors. With a good charger and proper care, these top-quality lithium cells can provide thousands of cycles during their lifespan without compromising performance. 

However, keep in mind that deep cycle batteries require ample room on board as they tend to be rather large and heavy – some even reaching 60 or 70 lbs! Make sure you have plenty of space available while ensuring not to overload yourself before investing in a powerful set of deep-cycle batteries.

Tips for Using Your Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat for the Best Performance

1. Make sure you choose the right shaft length for your boat to ensure optimal performance and minimize cavitation.

2. Invest in a dedicated trolling motor battery with enough juice to power your motor effectively, allowing it to perform at its best over long periods without draining your main batteries quickly.

3. Always make sure that the propeller is fully submerged when the trolling motor is running to prevent cavitation and minimize noise.

4. If you plan on using your pontoon boat for extended trips, invest in a high-quality lithium deep-cycle battery that can provide thousands of cycles without compromising performance.

5. Consider purchasing a motor with variable speed control capabilities so you can adjust the power output according to the conditions at hand, ensuring better maneuverability and improved efficiency when needed.

6. Look for a trolling motor with an integrated thrust system – motors that come equipped and produce increased thrust like those up to 90 pounds of thrust – as this will result in dramatically improved performance on freshwater or inshore fishing trips!

7. Lastly, be sure to check and maintain your trolling motor regularly for peak performance and longevity. This includes greasing the propeller shaft to reduce wear and tear, as well as ensuring all nuts and bolts are properly secured before each use.


Can you put a trolling motor on a pontoon boat?

Yes, you can easily install a trolling motor on a pontoon boat for improved maneuverability and increased control in various water conditions.

Will I Need Special Mounting Brackets?

Only if you’re looking to buy a bow-mounted trolling motor, special mounting brackets are necessary. These typically come with your purchase but require minor assembly in some cases (including drilling into decking) to mount it securely. The secure plate helps attach the motor so that it can be easily flipped up or down as needed for use out on the water.

A bow-mounted trolling motor allows for increased maneuverability, making it the preferred choice of many boaters. However, it’ll take some extra effort to install since special mounting brackets are required – in contrast with transom and engine-mount motors that simply clip onto the appropriate surface of your vessel.

Is a Bow Mounted Trolling Motor a Good Idea?

A bow-mounted trolling motor is one of the best choices for optimizing your boat’s performance. It can provide smoother and easier control over where your boat goes due to pulling from the front instead of pushing from behind.

You’ll also need special mounting brackets to install one – something that could be seen as an advantage since it allows you to install mounting brackets that keep your motor securely in place, eliminating frequent re-installs and giving you maximum value for every use.

Can pontoon boats go offshore?

Pontoon boats are generally suited for use on shallow waters and are not recommended for offshore excursions ( 30-40 miles offshore). Pontoons offer plenty of fun for those who remain close to shore. They can tackle intercoastal, bays, and rivers with ease – but care must be taken not to venture too far out!

A good rule of thumb is that your horizon should always include land in sight; at sea, make sure you stay within seas no higher than 3-4′. Anything else could spell trouble. They require a lot of power to move quickly and, without the right set-up, they’re vulnerable in rougher waters. 

Are pontoon boats good for saltwater fishing?

A pontoon boat is a perfect choice for your next saltwater fishing expedition. Their expansive deck area and steady balance make them the perfect platform for enjoying saltwater angling – regardless of luck or conditions! Think about investing in a trolling motor that offers integrated thrust capabilities for improved performance out on the water! 

What are the advantages of fishing from a pontoon boat?

Fishing from a pontoon boat offers many advantages over other types of boats. The expansive deck area makes it easy to store and access all your fishing gear while out on the water, while their low profile gives you greater visibility when casting or trolling.

Pontoons also boast exceptional stability – allowing you to stand up and move around without fear of tipping or rocking too much in choppy waters. Finally, with the right setup, they are incredibly fuel-efficient – ensuring that you can stay out longer (or travel further) for less money!

Plus, some pontoon boats come equipped with features like built-in live wells, rod holders, and even tackle stations – making them the ideal choice for serious anglers looking to upgrade their game! Finally, some pontoon boats can even be equipped with bow-mounted trolling motors for improved maneuverability and increased control in various water conditions.​


In conclusion, using a trolling motor on your pontoon boat can be an excellent way to make your boating experience more enjoyable. As we’ve discussed, a trolling motor offers you power and control with less noise and fuel usage, allowing for hours of pleasure fishing.

Installing a trolling motor on your pontoon boat requires some research and effort but the rewards go far beyond what you’d expect from such a small addition. Consider factors like thrust, shaft length, drag power, and battery power when choosing the right trolling motor for your pontoon boat.

All this comes together to pick the right device to elevate your first-class boating experience as smooth sailing as ever. Test out several different models until you find the one that fits you best! Happy Boating!

Thanks for reading our article. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. You can see more posts on our website here.

Further reading

Inflatable Fishing Boat: Top 8 Options for You

How to Motorize Your Fishing Kayak

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