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How to Build a PVC Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats can be small or large and built with inexpensive materials.
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A pontoon boat is often used as a ferry to carry people or material across water. Pontoons are used as flotation devices for rafts, docks, seaplanes and more. Different inexpensive materials can be used to build a pontoon boat, making it easier to build one yourself. There are a variety of plans and designs you can choose to make your boat. You may also design one yourself if you are knowledgeable about pontoons.

Draw or find a pontoon boat plan that you feel comfortable building.

Write a material checklist, including PVC, for all the supplies needed to complete the project. Record how much of each material is needed to complete the Pontoon boat.

Select a location, preferably near to water, to build the pontoon boat. Find a place where you can safely dock the boat.

Purchase building material to construct a pontoon boat about 8-feet wide and 16-feet long, or according to your design plan.

Build the bottom frame. Lay two 1-foot-diameter PVC pipes parallel to each other on the ground or other flat surface. Place a PVC cap on each end of both pipes and seal them with a water resistant sealer. This prevents water from entering the pipes. The dimension for the frame will vary depending on your selected pontoon boat plan.

Cut the pine boards to measure about 7-feet and 9-inches. Place the boards lengthwise on the parallel PVC pipes, in the center. Once again, these dimensions will vary depending on your plan.

Secure the boat frame. Secure a 16-foot 2 by 4 to each end of the PVC pipe (known as the joist) on the bottom frame. This creates a support frame for the boat. Secure another 21-inch piece of 2 by 4 wood between the joists using a drill and 2.5-inch coarse-thread tech screws.

Place the one-inch wide, 16 gauge galvanized straps across the deck boards on the frame. Position a strap so it runs diagonally from corner to corner. Repeat with the other strap. The straps provide bracing to keep the deck square while you finish the boat.

Begin installing the deck and building the body. Now that your frame is complete, follow the pontoon boat plan carefully to build the deck and body of the boat on top of the frame. Use pretreated wood to build the deck. Attach the pontoons according to the direction on the boat plan.

Build a motor mount. (optional) If your plan is for a motorized pontoon boat, you need to add a mount to hold the motor in the center of the boat stern.

Seal your PVC pontoon boat. Waterproof your boat by adding a waterproof silicone to cracks and holes; and a coat of sealer to the wood.

Things You'll Need:

  • Boat plan
  • PVC pipes
  • 2 x 4 pine lumber
  • Treated wood
  • Coarse thread tech screws
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 16 Gauge galvanized straps
  • Drill
  • Pontoons or 50 gallon drums
  • Motor (optional)
  • Waterproof silicone
  • Waterproof wood sealer and brush


  • Always perform a safety test run before taking the pontoon boat on a large body of water.
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