Ignition, Throttle & Trim

Veranda Luxury Pontoons is proud of our longstanding partnership with Yamaha Outboards because their engines give the turnkey reliability and efficiency that you deserve. This video segment will educate you on how the ignition and throttle work. The Yamaha ignition key switch and throttle are located on the starboard side of the console on all Veranda Luxury Pontoons models. 

The first thing you should do before starting the engine is to check the stern and make certain no one is swimming directly behind you or hanging off the stern swim platform. It’s also important to make sure your swim ladder is stowed away in the upright, locked position and that no tow ropes or fishing lines are in the water. Finally, check to see if the motor is free of any obstructions and its position in the water.

Next, put on a properly fitting PFD (personal floatation device) for your safety and that of your passengers. It is recommended all passengers have a properly fitting PFD on when underway. 

Take a seat at the helm and grab the metal clip on the end of the red safety lanyard and attach it to the lower section of your PFD. DO NOT wrap the cord around your wrist or arm. Now grab the black quick-release clip on the other end of the lanyard and push it upward onto the round release button just under the ignition switch until it locks into place. 

Make sure the throttle is in the neutral, upright, and centered position, not leaning forward or backward. Adjust the motor until the prop and lower unit are submerged by pressing down on the trim switch, located on the throttle handle. Insert the key into the ignition key switch assembly and turn it to the right to start the outboard. Once it kicks on you can release the key. Dry starting your outboard can damage the engine. Be sure to test the kill switch by pulling on the safety lanyard until the quick release clip pops off the quick release button. Your outboard should stop instantly. Replace the clip and restart your engine. 

The throttle, located on the right side of the helm, controls the direction and RPM of the propeller on the outboard, making the boat move forward or in reverse. The neutral position is in the middle when the lever is positioned upright in the center of the shifter.  Moving the lever further forward will take it into forwarding idle with the motor in gear, which is a steady slow speed. Continuing to push it forward will increase the speed until it maxes out in full forward. Pulling the lever from the neutral back toward the stern will put it into reverse idle, which puts the motor in gear. Continuing to pull it back further will increase the reverse speed until you’re all the way down in full reverse. Always use a brisk and decisive movement when shifting into or out of gear otherwise you will hear a grinding down from the outboard. Always pause in neutral before shifting from forward to reverse, or reverse to forward. When traveling at high speed, never shift into reverse while the boat is in forward gear. Always keep the shift control clean and clear of obstructions.

Knowing how to handle the throttle and trim on your Veranda is essential for safe, proper, and efficient operation.

To get underway moving forward, you will want to gently push the throttle towards the bow until the engine engages. As you begin to advance the throttle further, the outboard will begin to increase the RPMs on the propeller and move faster. If you wish to reverse the pontoon, you will want to pull the throttle back towards the stern until it’s in neutral and continue moving it back until the engine engages in reverse and the pontoon begins to move astern. Just a reminder that pontoons do not have brakes, so learning to use the throttle for slowing down or changing direction will give you more control. 

For instance, if you’re motoring in and approaching a dock, you can slowly pull the throttle back into reverse to slow down the forward movement of the vessel. Repeating quick, short bumps forward and back to neutral will slowly inch your pontoon forward. 

To shut off the engine, just move the throttle into neutral and turn the ignition key to the right.  

Please remove the red safety lanyard from the ignition switch and place it in a storage compartment when not in use. Continued exposure to UV light from the sun will damage the lanyard, making it brittle. 

We also recommend you keep a spare lanyard on your pontoon to ensure you’re always able to get back should you lose the first one.  

The trim button is located on the top of the throttle lever and uses hydraulic rams to change the angle of the outboard motor to the boat transom. When you press the trim button down, also called negative trim, you move the outboard deeper down in the water and closer to the transom. Trimming up, also called positive trim, will lift the outboard’s drive shaft and propeller higher up in the water and further from the transom. You can refer to the trim gauge or Simrad unit on your dash for the trim position. When unloading or loading at the ramp, or anytime you’re in shallow water be sure to trim up to protect your prop and motor. As you gain experience, you will be able to feel it in the way the boat performs, hear it in the sound the motor is making, and see it in the position of the washout on both sides of your boat and in the steam of water flowing from the lower unit. As you get up on plane, your bow gets up out of the water and the wake moves further to the stern of the boat as you increase your speed. 

Accelerating, Turning & Stopping

Be sure to announce to the passengers that you are about to get underway. Check gauges to make sure the water depth is deep enough to run. To start out from idle, you will want to trim the motor all the way down, shift the throttle into forward idle, and slowly move it into forward throttle range, which increases your speed. Once the pontoon is underway, you will want to trim up for 3-second increments and observe how the boat performs. This should get the bow up and stern down, making the prop parallel to the water surface giving you optimal performance and improved fuel economy. Adjust the trim smoothly as you increase your speed.

As you approach a turn, you will want to pull the throttle back a bit to slow your speed, announce to the passengers that you are about to turn, then begin the turn while also bringing the trim down. Your motor should be fully trimmed down by the time you are in the sharpest part of the turn. You can now begin to add throttle to increase your speed. Once you have completed the turn and straightened out, you will want to smoothly trim back up to re-establish cruising speed. If you make too sharp of a turn, the stern of your pontoon can kick up sideways, causing your passengers to get flung around on the interior and potentially hurt. It is best to plan your turn in advances and make them a gentle sweeping maneuver. In windy conditions or areas with strong currents, it is best to position the bow downwind, in the opposite direction of the wind.

Unlike a car, boats do not have brake pedals to stop with. Your forward momentum will continue to move your boat long after you put the throttle into the neutral position. To stop, you will need to shift into neutral and then pull the throttle back into reverse. Space and time are your best friends. With experience, you will learn to ease down in speed when approaching a dock or land and then gently make small bumps on the throttle in reverse to slow your momentum down. 

Navigational Procedures & Tips

The boat overtaking or passing must yield the right-of-way to the boat being passed. The overtaking boat must make any adjustments necessary to keep out of the way of the boat being passed. The boat being passed has the right-of-way and must hold its course and speed. Remember to sound a signal to avoid potentially confusing and hazardous situations. The burdened vessel is the one coming up from behind about to overtake a vessel. The boat being overtaken is the privileged vessel. Use one short blast to pass on the port side. Use two short blasts to pass on the starboard side. 

When two boats meet head-on, neither boat has the right of way. Bot boats should decrease speed, turn to the right and pass port-to-port. If both boats are on the left side of the channel each vessel should sound two short horn blasts and pass starboard to starboard. 

In crossing situations, the boat to the right from the 12 o’clock to the 4 o’clock position has the right-of-way and must hold course and speed. The boat without right-of-way must yield and pass to the stern of the privileged boat. Boats going up and down the right have the right-of-way over boats crossing the river. 

Here are a few more helping navigation tips to consider:

  • Any time you are close to shore, in shallow water or have underwater obstructions close to the surface you will want to trim the motor up to avoid damaging the bottom of the lower unit and prop. 
  • To maximize draft in shallow areas, you’ll want to trim up until prop and water intake on the lower unit is underwater. 
  • Never keep the motor out of the water whiles it is running. 
  • If you don’t see water flowing out from the lower unit on your outboard, you know it’s either sucking air because it is trimmed up too high and the water intake is out of the water or because the water intake is clogged.  
  • Point the motor in the direction you want to go then shift the throttle smoothly and slowly.
  • Use short applications of power, re-direct the drive, then use another. Repeat as necessary.
  • Always be scanning the water for other boats, land, and floating debris, such as floats, tree branches and containers. The recommended distance to look is 100 feet ahead when running. 
  • Plowing is when you’re not going fast enough to get the logs out of the water and you push water in the front of the boat.
  • Porpoising is an uncomfortable position when the bow bounces up and down because you’ve brought the stern down too low. Over time, you will discover a sweet spot to trim to at each speed where the boat has the smoothest ride, optimal performance, and the best fuel economy.
  • You may need to adjust the weight distribution in your boat (position of passengers and heavy gear) a bit to improve performance and fuel economy. RPMs increase as you change the angle. Improve efficiency, improve performance.
  • Never go too fast in reverse or you’ll swamp the stern.

For additional information please look inside the Basic Boating and Safety Manual, included in your Veranda dry bag, reach out to your nearest authorized Veranda dealer or visit www.verandamarine.com.

The time has come to board your passengers. Whether you are moored to a marina slip or tied up to a courtesy dock at the ramp, you will board via the port side entry gate. If you are beached you will enter need to climb onto the bow swim deck and enter through the bow entry gate. Some helpful guidelines when boarding a boat:

  • Always step, rather than jump onto the boat.
  • Always board one person at a time.
  • Distribute weight evenly from port to starboard and forward to aft. 
  • Stow and secure all loose gear in storage areas, making sure not to block safety equipment.
  • Never board while carrying gear. Set the gear on the dock, board the boat, then pick up the gear. 
  • Never use the engine unit as a boarding ladder.
  • It’s always courteous to ask permission to board so the owner/captain is aware of your presence on the boat.

Getting weight distributed evenly across your pontoon boat is essential if you want to keep things safe. With the front and rear balancing, the more people or weight you have at the aft, the better-balanced things are and the faster you will be able to run because there is not as much surface drag on the pontoon tubes when the front is out of the water.

20’ triple-toons carry 12 passengers and bi-toons carry 10 people. 

22’ triple-toons carry 13 passengers and bi-toons carry 11 people.

25’ triple-toons carry 15 passengers and bi-toons carry 13 people.

Your speed depends on multiple variables including how much load you have including gear and passengers, wind speed, how much gas you have in the tank, and so on. The most important factor always comes down to weight and distribution. In other words, where the weight of the pontoon boat is located can have a huge effect on speed and performance. You will want to make sure that the center of buoyancy and center of the gravity line up. If you can distribute the weight in your pontoon boat near to the center of gravity you should get better performance, including speed, fuel consumption, and how the boat handles. Learn how to trim your engine effectively. By trimming your engine, you can re-direct thrust up from the prop, lifting the bow out of the water, getting you to the best spot in terms of performance.

For additional information please look inside the Basic Boating and Safety Manual, included in your Veranda dry bag, reach out to your nearest authorized Veranda dealer or visit www.verandamarine.com.

When the time comes for you to take your pontoon out on her maiden voyage, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly fueled. Bi-toons have a 27-gallon fuel tank and tritoons, which are standard on all Veranda Luxury Pontoons that are built at the plant, have a 55-gallon fuel tank. The gas cap is located within the motor pod between the outboard and the fence on the stern swim platform. Some boaters prefer to only run non-ethanol fuel in their boats. Do not exceed E10. The fuel system components of the boat and engine are not designed to tolerate the corrosive effects of an ethanol blend higher than 10 percent. When possible its best to avoid ethanol altogether when fueling your boat. Ethanol attracts water and can absorb moisture from the marine environment through the fuel tank vent system, and it’s possible for that water to settle out of the fuel (phase separation) on the bottom of the tank, which could cause the engine to not operate or be damaged. Most high-performance outboards require a higher octane rating than “regular” 87 octane. Refer to your Yamaha owner’s manual for minimum octane rating, whether or not to include a fuel stabilizer, and additional maintenance recommendations to ensure longevity and proper performance. A good rule of thumb is to always go out with a full tank of fuel. Use 1/3 for the way out, 1/3 for the return back, and the final 1/3 for reserve. Here are some helpful tips for fueling:

Fueling at the gas dock:

  • Always clear the area of anyone not directly involved with the fueling boat.
  • Put out all smoking materials and secure your boat to the dock.
  • Turn off the engine, and electronics, and extinguish all open flames.
  • Keep the nozzle in contact with the edge of the fill to prevent build-up of static electricity to prevent sparking.
  • Don’t top off your tank. Know how much fuel your tank holds and fill it to about 90%. Fuel expands as temperatures rise.
  • Clean up fuel spills immediately with an oil-only absorbent pad. Wipe down the bilge or any interior parts that may have come in contact with fuel.
  • Treat your fueling operations with care. Never use hands-free clips, and avoid any distractions while fueling.

Fueling at the gas station

  • Be aware if your gas station sells gasoline with ethanol. Special precautions should be taken when using ethanol-blended gasoline.
  • Level your boat; fuel goes in more easily and is less likely to spill if your boat is level. Adjust your bunks/rollers or lower your trailer hitch if necessary. This can be challenging with the boat on the trailer so take note of any needed changes and adjust the trailer after your next launch.
  • Position yourself so you can see the deck fill and hold the nozzle comfortably. This may mean climbing onto the stern swim platform, using a step stool, or standing on the trailer. If you have to strain to hold the nozzle and see the deck fill, you are more likely to have a spill.

Fueling portable containers

  • Always refill your portable fuel containers on the pavement or dock to ensure good ground. While the bed of your truck or the deck of your boat may seem stable, static electricity can build up and cause a spark.
  • On the dock, put an absorbent pad under the container.
  • Consider using a funnel. A filtered funnel will help prevent contaminants from entering the fuel tank.
  • Ensure the nozzle stays in contact with the tank opening.
  • Always store portable fuel tanks out of direct sunlight and keep them in a cool, dry place to minimize condensation, whether that’s under one of the seats, inside the console storage area, or in the center toon in-floor storage.  
  • Fueling your boat with a portable container can take time, make sure your container is comfortable to carry, hold and balance.
  • Portable containers and jugs can be spill-prone, go slowly, pour deliberately, and watch your container (especially the nozzle mechanism) for signs of wear.

For additional information please look inside the Basic Boating and Safety Manual, included in your Veranda dry bag, reach out to your nearest authorized Veranda dealer or visit www.verandamarine.com.

No two boating trips are the same, so treat each and every one of them seriously and always take some basic precautions before setting out. Remember, not all boaters or passengers have the same experience or comfort level. With the many variables encountered on the water, it’s easy for accidents to happen if precautions are overlooked. One of the best ways to be prepared is to use a pre-departure checklist before each trip, which you can print out, laminate, and keep on your pontoon or save to your phone for convenient access. A pre-departure checklist is easy to review and ensures that you are not caught unprepared. It is also a great way to keep new passengers informed and comfortable.

Click here to download a PDF of the Pre-Departure Safety Checklist.

Life Jackets

  • Always follow Coast Guard regulations, along with local and regional waterway laws
  • Have at least one Coast Guard-approved life jacket per passenger and a minimum of two on board.
  • An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long.
  • Explain the location and use of all life jackets to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel.

Sounding Devices

  • Have a horn capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile on board.
  • If you use a portable air horn, have a spare can of air or an alternate device.
  • Attach a whistle to each life jacket.


  • Have all navigation lights as required for your boat.
  • Make sure all instrument lights are working.
  • Have aboard a flashlight and spare batteries.

Distress Signals

  • Make flares and day signals accessible and ensure they are stored in a dry location.
  • Inform the crew and passengers of their location and safety rules for proper usage.

Tools & Spares

  • Carry an essential toolbox with tools appropriate for your boat.
  • Carry a box of spares including fuel filters and fuses.
  • Check to ensure you have a standard first-aid kit onboard

Fuel & Oil

  • Top off your fuel tanks.
  • If you can’t, have enough fuel to provide a reasonable margin of safety for your return.
  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels.

UFlex Hydraulic Steering

  • Check the hydraulic hose before running by turning the motor left and right. Check the hose coming out from back of outboard to see if it’s crimped or if fluid is leaking. You may need to tighten the UFlex cylinder fitting on the back of the outboard if you see a slight leak.  

Fire Extinguishers

  • Carry at least one fire extinguisher and make sure it is accessible. Make sure you have at least the number required by Coast Guard rules.
  • Check to be sure the mounts are secure and functional before departure.
  • Take the time to point out locations to passengers and crew.

Bilge Pump

  • This only applies if you have a Veranda tritoon with center toon in-floor storage. Check to be sure the area is reasonably dry and pumps are not running excessively.

Weather Forecast

  • Always check the weather forecast before boating.
  • Have a radio or cell phone on board to receive weather updates.

Battery Care

  • If you have a dual charging system, make sure the selector switch is in the proper position (ON when running, OFF when not using).
  • Make sure the power is on to the entire vessel.
  • Have aboard spare batteries for accessories such as your handheld radio, flashlight, and portable navigational aid.
  • If the batteries are rechargeable, make sure they’re charged.

Docking & Anchoring Rules

  • Have at least one anchor tied to your anchor line.
  • Carry two or three extra dock lines if you encounter unusual dockside conditions.
  • Visually inspect the lines you use for chafe or wear.
  • Carry at least two bumpers on board for docking or towing if required.

Rules & Documentation

  • Bring any required documentation such as title, insurance, and fishing license
  • Bring charts for the area you intend to cruise as a backup to your Simrad

For additional information please look inside the Basic Boating and Safety Manual, included in your Veranda dry bag, reach out to your nearest authorized Veranda dealer or visit www.verandamarine.com.