What are lifting strakes on a pontoon boat?
Pontoon boats have seen remarkable growth in popularity in recent years. Look around, and you will find pontoon boats everywhere, including your lakes, rivers, and waterways.
Even though these boats are trendy, they too have some flaws. While these boats are great if you want to go out fishing or for some leisure time with your family, you may find them lacking speed if you’re going to do activities like skiing and tubing.
A great way to increase the speed of your boat without adding extra horsepower is adding lifting stakes to your pontoon boat. It can improve the speed of your boat by 15% to 25%.
So, what do lifting stakes do on a boat? How much speed can they add? How much do they cost, and are they worth the money spent?
Read on as we answer all these questions and more about lifting strakes on a pontoon boat.
What is a lifting strake?
Lifting strakes are metal structures that are welded to pontoon tubes to increase the lift at the bow. Pontoon tubes have a rounded shape, and they immerse more than halfway in the water. This creates a drag force that lowers the speed of the pontoon boat. Lifting strakes provide lift by displacing water and raising the bow above the waterline. This process reduces the drag.
Lifting strakes are generally made of aluminum and are fitted to the sides and the bottom of the pontoon boat. The lifting action of the strakes helps the pontoon reach higher speeds.
What do lifting strakes do on a boat?
Retro-fitting lifting strakes on a pontoon boat can help you in several different ways. These include –
1. Increasing the speed of your boat
Lifting strakes lift your boat and reduce drag, which can improve your speed by 15%. Adding another motor to your boat to increase horsepower can be an expensive proposition. Adding lifting strakes is a relatively cheaper idea.
2. Saves fuel
Less drag due to lifting strakes means the boat will use less fuel to reach the desired speed. This means you will save more fuel in the long run.
3. Great for the environment
Saving fuel is not only great for your pocket, but it is also fantastic for the environment. Less fuel consumption means fewer fumes and less harm to marine life.
4. Smoother ride
The balance and lift your get from the strakes give you a smoother ride. With lifting strakes in place, the initial movement is much easier. The curved front overcomes the obstacles and rises above them. This improved performance is even more evident when you are dealing with tricky currents or rough waters.
How much speed do lifting strakes add?
Lifting strakes can improve the speed of your pontoon boat by 15% to 25%. The increased speed can also help you enjoy many water sports activities on your pontoon boat, which were not possible earlier.
Do lifting strakes worth the money?
If you have the skills, you can fit the lifting strakes on your boat yourself. However, you do need to consult a marine mechanic. He can help you decide how many strakes to add and where to place them.
If you do not have the right skills, you must get them installed by a professional. This is a delicate job, and fitting the strakes wrongly can lead to costly damages. Getting lifting strakes installed by a professional can be expensive and can cost $2,000 on average.
For the best performance boost, you should fit them both inside and out. However, if you want to bank your pontoon into corners without slowing down too much, installing them only on the inside is enough.
While installing lifting strakes is a great way to improve the speed and performance of your boat, you must also keep in mind whether you need that extra speed. If your pontoon rides are primarily for fishing trips or cruising with your family, you don’t need the extra speed, and the expenditure may not be worth it.
Most pontoon boats sold these days have lifting stakes already installed. However, if you have an old boat and are looking to improve its speed and performance, installing lifting strakes can be a great idea. Besides improving speed, it can also make the ride smoother and help you save fuel.
Installing decent quality lifting strakes can set you back by $2000. So, you must install them only if your usage of the boat demands higher speeds. It is helpful if you want to indulge in water sports like skiing on your pontoon. But if your pontoon rides are restricted to fishing trips and cruising in water, you don’t need this expense.