Pontoon decking is the material that is used to span the pontoons on a pontoon boat. The passengers and pilot of a pontoon boat ride upon the pontoon decking, which can be manufactured from many different types of material. From wood and alloys to composite materials, the pontoon decking is often covered with a simulated grass carpet as well as a variety of other carpet materials. The decking of a pontoon not only provides a place to affix the various seats and controls, it also provides structural rigidity to the vessel and is an intricate component of the vessel's makeup.
The pontoon boat provides a platform for many water-goers to travel and spend leisure time on. Consisting of two long aluminum or composite pontoons sitting on either side of the craft, the decking attached to the floor above the pontoons must be strong and durable. Many pontoons use an aluminum sub-frame covered with a marine grade plywood as the decking. It is very typical for a type of faux-grass carpeting, similar to the type used on sporting fields, to cover the plywood. Other types and styles of indoor/outdoor carpeting are also used to cover the pontoon decking.
Some high-end pontoons use aluminum decking on the boat. Whether it be aluminum sheeting or planking, this type of pontoon decking is very durable and strong. Due to the slick nature of the aluminum decking, it is often covered with a non-slip tape or spray-on covering to aid passengers in their mobility while not promoting slipping. The reflective nature of the aluminum finish can also promote suntanning from the reflection of the sun off of the decking. For this reason, most aluminum decking is also covered with a carpet that will absorb the sunlight while not attracting it, thus keeping passengers cool.
Some composite boats also use composite or a wood and composite mixture as decking materials. The composite decking is a strong alternative to solid wood decking and is also much lighter. A disadvantage in a composite deck is that it can become weakened over time, requiring a complete refurbishing of the decking. It is important that only a marine-grade plywood be used when refurbishing a soft deck due to its ability to survive in the damp and wet conditions that pontoon decking is subjected to. Stainless steel screws and fasteners should also be used in any replacement or repair to avoid failure due to rusting.