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A few weeks ago we bought a 24ft pontoon for $750 and put about another $300 getting it running and proper safety equipment on board. We removed the seats because they were in poor shape, the frames were good but the padding and vinyl are worth less. For now the only diving advances we have made is a tank rack built of 2x2 lumber that holds two tanks deep by three tanks wide. I'm planning on adding a large plastic tool box to store life jackets and other boating necessities in. We have been using folding camp chairs to sit in. That way we can easily shift weight around to balance the boat better, it also allows us to move them out of the way and have more room to set up gear before the dive. One thing I would strongly recommend if your boat doesn't have one is a boarding ladder. When we first got ours running we took it out to the river and ran her. Well we decided to jump in for a swim, and it was very difficult to get back in even without scuba gear. We actually had to climb up on the foot of the motor and in the boat that way.
Another thing is fuel. I'm used to my four stroke bass boat. Which at least seems to be more fuel efficient. We're eventually going to be running two 12 gallon tanks and have a 6 gallon spare. According to my math my boat got about 2.5 MPG on the first run we made with her, but that was mostly running wide open cruising about 22 mph. Our boat has fiberglass pontoons so its a bit heavier than a standard aluminum one, also our motor is a 78' model with triple carburetors so I'm sure that decreases fuel mpg as well.
I am a little late to this thread but I am very interested in what you come up with I have 3 boats but the "DIVE BOAT" is being made out of a 1960 30ft pontoon. Steel pontoons, 27 ft deck, storage on either side of the motor, railings, and canopy (? that can't be spelled right) Open deck (no seats). I also use the "camp chairs". I am looking at a the Garelick Sport Ladder. I have the tank racks at the back of the boat that hold 6 tanks each side. Bungie cords streched along railing for fins and working on 4 pvc pipes (2 each side) rigged to hold tank/bcd setup for easy donning of gear this is will be used on lakes for 4 ppl usually. But have yet to put it in water. Plenty of money and no time, or plenty of time and no money. Never seem to have both at the same time.Would appreciate any ideas of useful additions
1.What kind of electronics are you running? Right now I don't have any kind of depth finder/sonar. I'm still debating between a simple unit which I could pick up rather cheap from work or a more complex(to better show off bottom structure) unit maybe in the $200 - $300 range. I have a seperate GPS unit. But as for depth and bottom veiwing im not sure yet. I do have a non-motorized underwater camera on a 100 foot cable that i'll be using to search out possible dive sites.
2. Dive Flags? How are you mounting them? At what height? How big?
Pontoon boats make good salvage boats for inland lakes. You can mount a hydraulic hoist on the bow and a winch on the stern to run through the hoist and down to the "treasure". Just be sure the hoist will pivot to swing your find onto the deck. It also makes a good place to haul up your gear if you shed it in the water.
I have an old pontoon boat i bought from the guy for 1000 i want to tear everything off and make a very nice diving boat any blue prints or ideas?
Well as a Southern Diver - salute!. Pontoons work great here. A nice ladder (hey go for a aluminum platform welded to the bottom of the ladder if you want to do it right -mega improvements - have the ladder so it can be raise upward easily). The bungie rack stuff works good for tanks (can stuff extra tanks below the bench seats- I have seen racks in front of the console area to hold multiple tanks), a mega cooler for lunch and drinks, radio (emergencies) and good electronics (depending on how hard it is to find the sites in your area), and O2 (DAN kit ok). IF you are in WI, then a "shelter on the boat with heat" might be good for cooler weather. "Course if you have the sense of my dive buddy, you would just relocate from WI - he did Oh, he tells me of the good diving, but has no retort when I say can you do it comfortably 12 months of the year. :
Glad to find this thread. I have just started contemplating a pontoon dive boat project.
Shopping for used boats. Minimum length of boat: say 21-foot?
The bigger the better, I guess, within a budget of, oh, $10K for a used boat.
And they get wider as they get longer - - - I only have so much room for such a boat & trailer.
So, I guess, a max of 24' to 26' length.
Got my work cut out for me. First I have to learn about pontoon boats!
Then try to fit all the safety and convenience equipment in the space, while keeping the boat
useable for other purposes: fishing, picnics, pleasure cruises.
I'll check back for tips about finding/buying a used pontoon boat.
I'm in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.