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A bilge pump is a very important piece of boating equipment. 

What does a bilge pump do? A bilge pump removes water from the bilge. 

The bilge pump’s sole purpose is to keep water out of your boat and to remove it before it becomes a serious issue.

However, a lot of people have misconceptions about bilge pumps.

For example, do you know what types of boats actually need bilge pumps?

Today, we’re going to consider bilge pumps and pontoon boats. 

Does a pontoon boat have a bilge pump?

Let’s find out! 

Does a pontoon boat have a bilge pump?

A bilge pump exists to remove water from the bilge. 

The bilge is the area of the boat that would come into contact with the land if the boat was not floating in the water.

Basically, it’s the area of the boat that is most likely to leak and to become saturated with water.

So, sailors combated this problem by inventing the bilge pump. 

With a bilge pump, boats are much less likely to sink or become severely water damaged.

However, does a pontoon boat use this technology, or does it have a different answer for water removal?

Actually, most pontoon boats do not utilize a bilge pump.

So, how do they keep water from destroying the boat?

If you have an older pontoon boat, you may notice that it has a drain plug.

This is the standard mechanism that pontoons use to evacuate water.

While drain plugs are much more primitive than bilge pumps, they work for pontoon boats.

Drain plugs are usually found in the pontoon tubes, the most likely location for a pontoon to collect water.

If you imagine how a pontoon boat floats on the water, the profile is rather rigid. 

A pontoon boat basically floats on the pontoon tubes, and the rest of the hull rarely comes into contact with the water for an extended period of time.

A small portion of the lower hull that sits directly above the tubes may dip down beneath the surface, but the hull largely stays above water.

Due to a pontoon’s construction, the area that is at risk for water logging is relatively small compared to that of other boats.

This risk is primarily confined to the tubes, which makes a large bilge pump unnecessary. 

If you can protect the tubes from hazardous flooding, you sufficiently protect your boat, for the most part.

As you can see, a small drain plug makes much more sense than a bilge pump for a pontoon boat.

Since pontoon boats do not need the power of a bilge pump, you generally do not have to worry about this equipment on your boat.

In fact, some pontoon boats do not even have a drain plug. This is usually up to the manufacturer’s discretion.

Generally, older pontoon boats are much more likely to have a drain plug than newer pontoon boats.

New pontoon boats benefit from a sturdier design based on new technology that largely renders drain plugs unnecessary.

However, you may still find a drain plug in a new pontoon boat occasionally. 

Since this depends on the manufacturer’s preferences, some people may opt to play it safe and include the plug.

Is it likely that water will get into a pontoon boat?

If you are concerned that your pontoon boat does not have a bilge pump or drain plug, don’t worry!

The design of modern pontoon boats prevents water from invading areas of the boat that traditionally cause problems for boaters.

So, if you have a pontoon boat, you do not have to worry about water invasion nearly as much as you must consider this problem with other types of boats.

Pontoon boats are some of the sturdiest constructions, and it’s very unlikely that water will creep in .

In fact, modern pontoon boats are designed specifically so that this does not happen.

For example, most pontoon boats currently made contain multiple chambers in the pontoon tubes.

This design innovation protects your tubes from total water damage.

In the event that water does get inside the tube, it’s held to the single compartment that it first enters.

The rest of the tube is safe from damage!

Plus, new pontoon tubes are designed to be watertight. 

Of course, if the pontoon tube ruptures, you have to worry about water damage, but this is virtually the only cause for this concern.

With the innovative construction of new pontoon tubes, your job of fixing them is easier than ever.

New pontoon tubes are constructed to be more stable individually and as a unit. 

While old pontoon tubes relied on metal fastenings, new pontoon tubes are generally welded together, protecting the logs from damage.

To summarize and to answer the question that we originally posed, pontoon boats do not have a bilge pump.

We hope that this explanation helps you better understand the fine details of pontoon boats. 

Some of the innovations in today’s pontoon boats are really exciting, and we look forward to seeing how pontoon boats evolve in the future! 

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