Have you ever wondered what pontoon sea legs are? These ingenious devices are portable hydraulic mechanisms that attach to the underside of a pontoon boat. When activated, they can lift the boat approximately six feet above the water, even in the middle of a lake! And when you’re ready to head home, just lower it back down. In this article, we’ll explore the cost of pontoon sea legs and why they’re a fantastic alternative for pontoon owners.
- How Pontoon Sea Legs Work
- Strong Pontoon Sea Legs Materials
- Pontoon Sea Leg Manufacturers
- The Cost of Pontoon Sea Legs
- Pontoon Sea Legs vs. Traditional Hydraulic Lifts
- Alternatives to Sea Legs and Lifts
- How Many Sea Legs Your Pontoon Needs
- Sea Leg Safety and Stability
- Laws and Permits for Sea Legs
How Pontoon Sea Legs Work
Sea legs are powered by a battery and are attached to the bottom of your pontoon. They use a hydraulic system activated by a one-horsepower 12-volt pump, which lifts the boat out of the water to a holding position. The sea legs’ hydraulic system is discreetly installed under a seat compartment, powered by a battery with a minimum 750 cold cranking amp capacity. The hydraulic cylinders, made of steel alloy piston rods, provide a lift capacity of approximately 6,500 pounds.
Strong Pontoon Sea Legs Materials
Sea legs are constructed with lightweight extruded aluminum alloy tubing, which provides both strength and resistance to erosion. Each sea leg has a 48 x 18 pad foot at the end, providing support along the lake bottom. These legs are designed to support most heavier pontoons, with a lift capacity of 6,500 pounds.
Pontoon Sea Leg Manufacturers
Two reputable Minnesota-based companies manufacture sea legs: Hewitt and Sea-Legs.
Hewitt offers various models of sea legs for pontoons. These models include versions with a wide base for better stability in windy and rough water conditions. They also have electric and hydraulic sea leg options.
The Sea-Legs brand has sold over 10,000 sets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their product offers 3,000 pounds of extracting and retracting power, ensuring that your pontoon won’t get stuck, even in areas with sand, rock, and mucky sediment.
The Cost of Pontoon Sea Legs
The cost of sea legs for your pontoon will vary depending on the brand you choose. Here’s a general breakdown:
- For a two-tube pontoon boat, sea legs cost approximately $4,300. Installation adds an additional $700, bringing the total to $5,000.
- For a tritoon pontoon boat, sea legs cost approximately $6,500, with an additional $1,000 for installation, totaling $7,500.
- If you want an average 26-foot lift canopy, expect to pay around $4,500. This cost doesn’t include setup or installation. Additionally, if you want a remote control for your pontoon sea legs, it will cost between $300 and $400.
Make sure to inquire about the warranty for your sea legs, as it may vary from one to two years. It’s essential to read the fine print to understand the specific details of your warranty and to ensure proper usage to avoid voiding it.
Pontoon Sea Legs vs. Traditional Hydraulic Lifts
Sea legs offer several advantages over traditional hydraulic lifts, primarily due to their installation on the bottom of your pontoon.
Advantages of Sea Legs Over Lifts
- Sea legs prevent the need to haul your boat to docks or lifts.
- They keep your pontoon from banging against the dock.
- Sea legs are activated with a simple push of a button.
- They protect pontoon tubes from algae and mold buildup.
- Sea legs can be easily deployed anywhere without cables and pulleys.
- They are compatible with most pontoons.
- Sea legs prevent drifting without the need for anchors.
Disadvantages of Sea Legs Over Lifts
- Sea legs add approximately 350 pounds to your pontoon, affecting its performance and towing capacity.
- They are only suitable for pontoons between 18 and 30 feet in length.
- The weight of your pontoon impacts the sea legs’ performance (the weight should not exceed 5,800 pounds).
- Sea legs are more expensive compared to traditional hydraulic lifts.
Alternatives to Sea Legs and Lifts
While sea legs are a fantastic option for pontoon owners, they might not be the right fit for everyone due to their cost. If you prefer a more economical approach to protect and secure your boat, consider these alternatives:
Secure your boat to a dock or deck: Learn some handy nautical knots to secure your boat using dock lines. However, keep in mind that this method won’t protect your pontoons from mold or algae and may not prevent damage from banging against the dock. Using a pontoon cover and support poles can provide additional protection.
Use a trailer: Load your boat onto a trailer, secure it with straps, and transport it to and from the water. This option is ideal if sea legs or docks don’t fit within your budget.
How Many Sea Legs Your Pontoon Needs
The number of sea legs you need for your pontoon depends on its overall size, length, and weight. In most cases, a pair of sea legs is installed towards each end of the boat. Longer pontoons may require additional sea legs. Consult with your dealer and installer to determine the specific requirements for your pontoon make and model.
Sea Leg Safety and Stability
Although there have been reports of pontoon tipping incidents while on sea legs, they can be used safely and effectively with the right conditions. It’s crucial to consider the underwater sediment and potential high wind conditions before installing sea legs. Rocky bottoms are not suitable for sea legs as they reduce their safety and stability.
Laws and Permits for Sea Legs
While sea legs have been around since 1996, they’re still an emerging trend that’s growing steadily. Before installing sea legs, check with your state and local authorities to determine the permits required. It’s possible that sea legs may not be permitted in your area. To ensure compliance, consult the United States Coast Guard for a better understanding of the applicable laws and regulations or request information from local authorities.
When installing sea legs, make sure to review your insurance coverage. Sea legs are not considered permanent structures, and different insurance may be required. Contact your insurance company to update your coverage and learn about any changes that may be necessary.
In conclusion, pontoon sea legs offer a promising and unique alternative to traditional lifts. They not only protect your pontoon but also serve as a great conversation starter. While they may not be suitable for every pontoon owner due to cost considerations, they provide an excellent solution for those looking for convenience and easy deployment. Discover the benefits of pontoon sea legs for yourself at Ambassadeur Hotel.