If you’re reading this article chances are you’re considering adding some flotation pods to your Jon boat. Perhaps you’ve recently discovered float pods and their potential to enhance jon boat performance. Maybe you know everything there is to know about float pods and you’re just looking for the best product. No matter where you are on your Jon boat float pod journey, this article will equip you with the knowledge needed to make the right purchase.
What are jon boat float pods?
For those of you at the beginning of your float pod journey, let’s start with the basics. Flotation pods are exactly what the name implies. Hollow pods, usually made of aluminum, are mounted to either side of the transom of your boat to increase flotation.
Some manufacturers offer float pods as a customization option when purchasing a new boat. In some circumstances, this may be the easiest route, and we’ll go over why a little later. The other options are to install aftermarket float pods, or have custom ones made.
Advantages of float pods on your jon boat
A lot has been made of the potential performance boost associated with float pod installation. It’s important to remember that each float pod and Jon boat set up is unique. Various factors, such as distribution of weight, quality of installation, and float pod compatibility will affect your results.
Advantages of float pods you may experience include:
- Increased transom flotation (helping to offset the weight of the motor, batteries, and/or operator).
- Leveling of the boat (due to added flotation on the transom).
- Increased shallow water capabilities.
- More water is diverted to the propeller.
- Increased top speed.
- Increased fuel efficiency.
- Increased acceleration.
- Boat planes faster.
- Less water spilling over your transom when stopping.
Disadvantages of float pods on your jon boat
Remember, factors such as distribution of weight, quality of installation, and float pod compatibility do influence added benefits. Something else to consider is where you will be operating your boat. Under some circumstances, float pods could be a hindrance to your performance.
Disadvantages of float pods you may experience include:
- An inability to raise the bow to counter larger waves (can cause problems in choppier water).
- Difficulty steering (forwards and backward).
- Difficulty getting your boat on the plane (if improperly installed).
- The potential risk of interfering with drain holes and transducer mounts.
- If you have a V-shaped bottom you may have issues with drag.
Choosing the best jon boat float pods
At this point, you should know exactly what float pods are and how they can help/hurt your Jon boat’s performance. Now, it’s time to decide if Jon boat float pods are right for you.
It may help to learn a few commonly cited reasons for jon boat float pod installation:
- Jon boat operator tends to frequent shallow water (often used on duck hunting and catfishing boats).
- The weight of the operator, motor, and or batteries are causing the transom to sit lower in water, leading to performance issues.
- Water is coming over the transom when the operator stops the boat (backsplash).
- The operator wants to increase the overall performance and comfort of the ride.
The installation method for jon boats
Remember, there are a few different options when installing float pods on your Jon boat. You’ll have to decide which method makes the most sense for you.
The first and easiest method of installation is to add float pods as customization upon purchase. Your boat will come equipped with float pods, and you won’t have to go any further. This method is relatively low maintenance and offers a seamless design, as well as professional installation.
You can also purchase a used Jon boat that has previously been equipped with float pods. However, you should consider the quality of installation. Are they accurately installed? How were they secured? Did they do a good job of incorporating them into the design of the boat?
As luck would have it, you are currently on jon-boats-for-sale.com, a website built to connect jon boat fan to Jon boat fan. So, if you’re in the market for a new or used Jon boat with float pods, check out some of the local listings.
- Professional quality.
- If buying a used boat, you may not know the quality of installation.
- You’ll never know how the boat drives without float pods for comparison.
This method can vary in difficulty from person to person. For installation, you should assess your skill level and access to tools to determine if you’ll need to hire a professional. Reputable manufacturers such as Beavertail suggest leaving the work to “expert aluminum welders”.
Each brand of float pod will come with a manual explaining the proper installation techniques. The preferred choice is welding the float pods directly to your boat, creating a more stable connection. Another technique requires you to cut into the top of the float pod and use the opening to bolt the pod to your transom. This method requires you to seal up the holes cut into the boat and float pods. Bolting your float pods on will allow the option to remove them if you so choose.
After-market float pods are created to fit a variety of boats. That doesn’t mean they’re going to perfectly fit every time. If you happen to own a boat from the same company where you purchased your float pods, you are likely going to have an easier installation.
In some circumstances, the angle of the transom may cause the float pod to have an improper angle in relation to the bottom of the boat. In this case, the person doing the installation will have to make corrections while mounting the pods. Messing up here can counter the performance benefits you are seeking.
Lastly, you will need to keep in mind the shape of the bottom of your boat. Some Jon boats are flat bottomed, and they will do best with aftermarket float pods. Others are V-shaped and will not be fair as well.
- Can install at any time during a boat’s life.
- You’ll know how your boat operates without them, giving you a good point of comparison.
- Installation can be tricky.
- Pods won’t fit properly on Jon boats that don’t have a flat bottom.
When selecting the size of your Jon boat float pods be sure to take into consideration what motor or motors you will be running. Measure the distance you’ll need to allow the propellers a full range of motion. You can also create mock float pods out of cardboard and place them on your boat for reference.
Custom-made float pods for jon boats
Finally, we’ll briefly touch on having custom float pods made. This is the most difficult method and will require you to find someone skilled in metalwork to help make your dream a reality.
When creating your float pod design, be sure to consider how much weight you are hoping to offset. If your motor, battery, and operator add 500lbs to the back of your boat, you’ll need at least 200 pounds of flotation to offset that weight.
To take full advantage of your float pods buoyancy they’ll need to sit just above the surface of the water with all extra weight added. This is because float pods work by displacing water, so the closer they are to fully submerge, the more water they are displacing. See image 1.
So how do you determine how many pounds of flotation your custom float pods will have? Use the formula below and plug in your own numbers to find out.
We’ll use image 2 as an example.
Things you’ll need to know:
- 1 ft³ = 64.2 lbs of buoyancy.
- 1 ft³ = 12” x 12” x 12” = 1728 in³.
- Volume = Length x Width x Height.
Most float pods will have some angles to allow proper alignment with the transom and easier suction of water around the end of the pod. You’ll want to measure your pod in square/rectangular sections and find the dimension of each one. See image 2.
- Find the volume of each square/rectangular section.
- Volume of full square: 20” x 20” x 10” = 4000 in³ | Volume of sq 2: 20” x 4” x 10” = 800 in³.
- For the section of the float pod containing your angle cut the volume in half to account for the angle.
- Volume of sq 2: 800 in³ ÷ 2 = 400 in³.
- Subtract the volume of sq 2 from the volume of the full square.
- 4000 in³ – 400 in³ = 3600 in³ = Volume of the pod accounting for angles.
- Multiply the volume by 2 because you will have 2 pods.
- 3600 in³ x 2 = 7200 in³.
- Now you will have to convert square inches to feet.
- 7200 in³ ÷ 1728 in³ = 4.16 ft³.
- Now, remember that each square foot equals 64.2 lbs of buoyancy.
- 64.2 lbs x 4.16 ft³ = 267 lbs of buoyancy if the pod is fully submerged.
Best after-market jon boat float pods
For those of you that decide after-market float pods are your best option, we’ve listed the top 2 rated brands. It’s important to note that if the brand of boat you own makes an after-market float pod, then this will be the best option for you. They will be created to better fit with your boat’s transom and will make installation easier.
Beavertail flotation pods for jon boat
If you look up float pods on the internet chances are you’re going to come across Beavertail. These pods come in 3 different sizes: small, medium, and large.
- Time tested. You can find many videos and reviews of this brand.
- Easily accessible. Can buy a set on Amazon.
- Can be cumbersome to install depending on your transom angle.
- $300 – $350 depending on size, plus additional fees such as shipping and installation.
SeaArk flotation pods for jon boat
SeaArk is another well-known brand with a design slightly different than Beavertail. These come in three sizes as well.
- You have the option to add on a swim ladder.
- Less accessible than Beavertail float pods.
- Pricier than Beavertail.
- Around $450 for just the pods and $550 for the added ladder, plus additional fees such as shipping and installation.
River Run flotation pods for jon boat
River Run provides boat pods of different sizes. They fit popular boats such as Alumacraft, Lowe, etc. These pods will allow the boat to get on the plane fast.
- River Run has options with bolt mount.
- All models are available only on the manufactures website.
- $400 – $705 depending on size, plus an additional payment for local delivery or fees such as shipping.
Backwater flotation pods for jon boat
Looking for high-quality made-in-USA pods? There for you flotation pods for jon boat by Backwater. These aluminum pods are ideally designed to be welded onto the boat.
- The good alternative for Beavertail float pods.
- Less accessible than Beavertail float pods.
- $310 – $355 depending on size, plus additional fees such as shipping.
As we’ve learned throughout this article, it can be somewhat complicated to install float pods on your Jon boat. If you are in the market for a used jon boat, it may be in your best interest to search for something with float pods already installed. The next easiest scenario is purchasing after-market float pods that are made for your boat.
If neither of these options works for your specific situation then this guide should be able to help you navigate your way to a more buoyant Jon boat.