"How Easy is it to Drive a Pontoon Boat in Panama City Beach?" over a dock full of pontoons

How Easy is it to Drive a Pontoon Boat in Panama City Beach

For those looking to vacation in Panama City Beach and have heard about this unique way of viewing the Emerald Coast, there may be a slight daunting feel over the ease of controlling a pontoon boat. With this brief guide though, you’ll realize that driving a pontoon isn’t difficult at all, and that you’ll be enjoying your own luxury cruise in no time.

Pre-Setup:

Before you begin, know that in Panama City Beach, depending on the season it would be a wise idea to make a reservation for your pontoon boat. If you’re here during an off-season vacation, then arriving in person the day of should work just as well. You should also know that the pontoons are all loaded with a series of safety equipment, meeting the explicit requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard. This way, the only things you’ll want to bring are sunscreen, food, trash bags, clothing and tackle specific to the type of fish you’re going after. You may also want to pack anything else that may make your party more fun.

Starting Up:

Now that everything needed to prepare for your pontoon’s cruise is set, there are some things you should notice once you get onto the deck. The first is that in the main lounge area, there may be a retractable top to prevent the sun from getting directly on you. Another thing is that there may be a map of the area with common sights, allowing you to become the entertainer on the boat while you cruise or party. You may also notice that there is no fishing gear included on any of the pontoons. If you forget everything you need to catch fish though, you can always find somewhere to rent gear nearby.

Leaving the Dock:

For actually moving the pontoon from the dock, there are a few simple steps to follow:

 

  1. Make sure everyone is sitting down in the lounge area when initially leaving.
  2. Be aware of the impact of the wind on the pontoon boat.
  3. Move the shift into “forward” and gently turn to avoid dragging along the dock.
  4. If there is no room to go forward, or the wind conditions are less suitable for that direction, do the same but in reverse.
  5. Enjoy being a master entertainer on your party cruise!

 

Once you’re out in the water, you will want to gradually increase speed. High acceleration could lift the front of the craft and injure passengers, even those in the lounge area.

On the Water:

Once free of the dock, pontoons are easy to control and are incredibly intuitive. You may even let children drive with supervision. In fact, the hardest part begins now, with deciding what to do with your luxury craft. Do you want to party and be a grand entertainer? Go ahead! Sound systems are included and you’re free to bring your own coolers with refreshments. Want to just cruise and enjoy the Gulf? Nothing’s stopping you! The boats are fueled ahead of time, and due to their luxury design, can travel pretty quickly over the water! Want to catch some fish? No problem! Bring or rent your own bait and tackle and you’re good to go! What about a party cruise where you eat fish you’ve freshly caught? If that’s what you’re into, absolutely nothing is stopping you! Go out and enjoy the best way to experience Panama City Beach!

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