How to Make a Pontoon Boat (DIY)

Constructing a DIY pontoon boat can be more fun than you might think. The operating principle of a pontoon boat is the easiest to understand. The structure of a pontoon boat mainly consists of a flat platform placed on top of two airtight barrels.

You can construct the barrels yourself (with large PVC pipe) or use an oil/water barrel. Even if you have low expectations from your DIY boat, do attach a medium power engine. This post will help you construct a DIY pontoon boat.

Also Read: Best Anchor for Pontoon Boat

How Much Will It Cost to Make a Pontoon Boat

Sr. NoEquipment/ToolsNo of UnitsEstimated Cost (US Dollars)
1PVC Barrels280
2Drilling Machine150
3Metal Pipe Cutting Machine150
4Steel Pipes (4-feet long)130
5Wooden Board (8-feet x 4-feet)110
6PVC Sheet (10-inch x 10-inch)110
7Deck Chairs2100
8Waterproof Well Nuts1010

How to Make a Pontoon Boat: Step-By-Step Instructions

A homemade pontoon boat is quite easy to construct. You don’t need a lot of raw materials or any specific skills. You are qualified for this task as long as you know how to drill holes with a drilling machine and cut metal pipes with a chainsaw.

The base is fundamental to a pontoon boat. It consists of two large-sized drums, and a wooden board mounted on top of them.

Follow the steps below to learn how to construct the base of a pontoon boat:

Step 1:

Constructing a watertight and buoyant hull is the first step in making a DIY pontoon boat. To get started, find two barrels with equal size, shape, and weight. Barrels can be expensive and difficult to transport.

As an alternative, you can purchase two 10-inch diameter PVC pipes from the nearest hardware store. Although, you will need to seal tight the open ends with a cap. A lid can be constructed by folding a PVC sheet in the shape of a cone.

Step 2:

Once the barrels are watertight, you can join them together with 4-feet long steel pipes. Place the two barrels parallel to each other. Assign one end as stern and another as bow.

In the stern region, drill three holes on each barrel (one in the center and the other two at the ends of the diameter). Make sure all vents are aligned. Fasten the pipe with nuts and bolts.

Step 3:

Next, mount the wooden board or plywood on top of the barrels. You can screw them in, but remember to use a waterproof fastener, such as rubber well nuts (shown in the image above). These nuts are coated with soft rubber capable of filling the gap between the metal nut and edges of the slot.

Step 4:

You have successfully constructed the base of a DIY pontoon boat. Further, you can mount a 50-90 horsepower engine at the stern of the vessel. You can fit the engine in the center of the steel pipe that connects the barrels.

Needless to say, there are safety concerns associated with an engine-equipped DIY boat. Before heading out in open waters, it is always advisable to test the boat’s performance in a large pool of shallow water.

Also, make sure you carry all the safety equipment on board. To learn more about safety gear, go over this safety equipment guide by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Step 5:

Lastly, to make your boating experience more comfortable, you also want to install seats and an awning in your DIY pontoon boat. Marine rated furniture is expensive. Hence, it is suggested that look for used furniture on sites like eBay or Craigslist.


To make the DIY pontoon boat versatile, you can use PVC pipes instead of a barrel. However, waterproofing PVC pipes can be a challenge. You require a ton of plasticizers, such as dioctyl phthalate.

Plasticiser coated PVC pipes don’t last very long, especially when they are submerged in saltwater for extended periods. Hence, I would suggest going for a pre-made 55 gallons barrels.

Alternatively, you can also go to an instant plywood pontoon boat kit. But the process of assembling a pre-made kit is not as appealing as constructing a DIY pontoon boat from scratch.

After making a pontoon boat, follow our guide on how to drive a pontoon boat to learn driving properly.

Last Updated on December 4th, 2020

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