A pontoon bridge (or ponton bridge), also known as a floating bridge, uses floats or shallow-draft boats to support a continuous deck for pedestrian and vehicle travel. The buoyancy of the supports limits the maximum load they can carry.
Most pontoon bridges are temporary, used in wartime and civil emergencies. Permanent floating bridges are useful for sheltered water-crossings where it is not considered economically feasible to suspend a bridge from anchored piers. Such bridges can require a section that is elevated, or can be raised or removed, to allow waterborne traffic to pass.