Understanding Pontoon Lifting Strakes: Are They Right for Your Boat?

Pontoon boats have evolved significantly over the years, from basic flat decks to sophisticated vessels designed for various activities including cruising, fishing, and watersports. One of the key advancements in pontoon design is the incorporation of lifting strakes. These small, but important, additions to the pontoon’s hull can dramatically improve performance and handling on the water. This article explores what pontoon lifting strakes are, how they work, their benefits and potential drawbacks, and ultimately helps you decide if they are right for your boating needs.

Understanding Pontoon Lifting Strakes

Pontoon lifting strakes are longitudinal, fin-like structures attached to the underside of pontoon boat tubes. They are typically made from aluminum and are strategically placed to enhance the boat’s hydrodynamics. Their primary function is to lift the boat’s hull out of the water at planing speeds, reducing drag and improving stability and maneuverability.

How Do Pontoon Lifting Strakes Work?

  1. Reducing Drag: Lifting strakes create a more efficient flow of water around the pontoons, which reduces drag. This allows the boat to achieve higher speeds with less power.
  2. Improving Stability: By lifting the hull out of the water, strakes increase the boat’s stability, especially during turns and maneuvers. This is particularly beneficial in rougher waters where stability can be compromised.
  3. Enhancing Maneuverability: Pontoon boats equipped with lifting strakes respond more quickly to steering inputs. This responsiveness makes them easier to handle and enhances the overall boating experience.

Benefits of Pontoon Lifting Strakes

  • Improved Performance: Strakes enable the pontoon boat to plane faster and at lower speeds, making it more fuel-efficient.
  • Better Handling: They provide better grip and control on the water, reducing the chances of sliding or skidding during turns.
  • Comfortable Ride: Reduced drag and improved stability contribute to a smoother ride, even in choppy conditions.
  • Versatility: Whether you enjoy cruising, watersports, or fishing, lifting strakes can enhance the pontoon’s suitability for various activities.

Potential Drawbacks

While pontoon lifting strakes offer numerous advantages, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Cost: Retrofitting or purchasing a pontoon boat with lifting strakes can increase the initial cost of the boat.
  • Draft: Depending on the design and placement of the strakes, there may be a slight increase in draft, which could limit access to very shallow waters.
  • Installation: Retrofitting strakes onto an existing pontoon boat may require professional installation, adding to the overall expense.

Are Pontoon Lifting Strakes Right for You?

Deciding whether lifting strakes are suitable for your pontoon boat depends on several factors:

  1. Intended Use: If you primarily use your pontoon for leisurely cruising or fishing in calm waters, the benefits of lifting strakes may not justify the cost.
  2. Performance Needs: If you desire better performance, faster planing times, and improved handling, lifting strakes can significantly enhance your boating experience.
  3. Budget: Consider your budget and whether the additional cost of lifting strakes fits within your financial plan for the boat.
  4. Local Conditions: Evaluate the typical water conditions where you boat. If you frequently encounter rough waters or challenging currents, the stability and maneuverability offered by strakes could be invaluable.


Pontoon lifting strakes are a valuable innovation that can transform the performance and handling of your pontoon boat. By reducing drag, improving stability, and enhancing maneuverability, strakes offer benefits that appeal to a wide range of boaters. However, it’s essential to weigh these advantages against the potential drawbacks, such as increased cost and draft. Ultimately, whether lifting strakes are right for you depends on your boating style, performance expectations, and budget. If you prioritize improved efficiency, stability, and overall handling, pontoon lifting strakes are likely a worthwhile investment for enhancing your on-water experience.

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