WATCH: Strong Winds Completely Flip Pontoon Boat

by Lauren Boisvert

The weather is getting crazier and crazier, and now I think I’ve seen it all. The winds were so strong recently that they completely flipped a pontoon boat over. And we know that’s no easy feat. An average pontoon boat weighs between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds, so for the wind to pick it up and flip it over, it would have to be at least 35 mph, according to my calculations. But, they could also be stronger.

Take an average pontoon boat–about 22 feet–and convert that to square feet. That gives us 484 square feet. Then, we take the wind at, say, 35 mph. 35 mph winds produce 4.9 pounds of pressure per square foot. Multiply 484 by 4.9 and that gives you 2,371.6, which is a good middle ground for the weight of a pontoon boat. I’d say the winds are somewhere between 33 and 38 mph, to get really specific. But, as mentioned above, they could easily be way above that as well. Now that I’ve taken all the fun out of this, I hope whoever owns that pontoon has boat insurance.

How Would You Control a Boat in Wind Like That?

Hopefully, you wouldn’t be out on the water in 35 mph winds. But, I suppose it’s possible for a strong wind to suddenly crop up and take you by surprise. Discover Boating has some great tips for controlling your boat in a strong wind, and for all you boaters out there, we hope you’re taking notes.

First, it’s important to take stock of your surroundings, like checking the flags on your mast or bow–depending on what type of boat you have–to see how high the winds are. Then, you can actually use the wind to your advantage by positioning your boat upwind and using the current to complete your maneuver. Discover Boating also says that you have the most control sailing into the wind as opposed to against it. What it comes down to is familiarity, knowing your boat, and being aware of the weather and your environment.

San Fransisco Boaters Previously Fought for Way of Life on the Water

In an interesting story from last year, a group of boat-dwellers in Sausalito, off the San Fransisco coast, were fighting to preserve their way of living. These residents lived full-time on run-down trawlers anchored off the coast. Additionally, they were also in view of 1.8 million dollar homes in the upscale neighborhood. The “anchor-outs,” as they were called, were concerned the agency that oversaw Richardson Bay, where they were anchored, was going to force them into homelessness.

The problem with the nearly 50 anchor-outs is that they were affecting the ecosystem and boat traffic in the bay. The concern is for the environment, the image of the neighborhood, and for the anchor-outs themselves. A lot of them were living in nearly uninhabitable boats, run-down and rusted-out. Though, there’s no indication that the authorities would assist the anchor-outs with finding new housing should they be evicted.

The problem was not resolved last year, when we first reported on it. But, authorities are determined to evict the community from their hazardous homes within 5 years’ time.