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Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-12-2009, 5:47 AM Reply   
I have this friend who is looking into Pontoon boats. I know a lot of us also partake in the ownership of these wonderful little party islands. Which make and models would be considered "nice"? What features are "must haves"? She is not a wakeboarder - more of what I like to call a "sport tanner" (that looks great participating in her sport - if I must say).
Can you help me point her in the right direction?
Old     (dahmsy686)      Join Date: Feb 2004       08-12-2009, 5:56 AM Reply   
I would say either a bennington or premier. Probably in the 22 to 24 foot range depending on how many people you want to have out. My experience is with the premier. My parents have a premier escapade 235. Pretty nice boat.
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-12-2009, 6:56 AM Reply   
Bennington's are too nice IMO. and are priced accordingly.

My suntracker is realtively inexpensive, gets the job done, and has been very reliable. there's a huge used market for the suntrackers too. I found a great deal on a used 25' regency edition.

Don't skimp on the motor....especially if you go bigger. 22' of larger get a 115hp min.

Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-12-2009, 6:59 AM Reply   
^^ is a 2000, with a brand new 115 on it, paid $10k. dumped about $1k in the stereo.

What's her budget?
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-12-2009, 7:11 AM Reply   
Mine is a two stroke...I had forgotten how much of a gas/oil hog those motors are. I can easily burn thru 30 gallons of gas making two round trips up to the river ( from Andrews house up to the san jac) if you remember. and it burns roughly 1 gallon of oil every 50 gallons of gas. Oil is about $15-20/gallon.

I burn as much or more gas in my pontoon as I do in my ski boat.

Get a 4
Old     (bpenosa1)      Join Date: Jul 2008       08-12-2009, 8:37 AM Reply   
My buddy has an 07 fisher that he bought brand new a couple months ago. Its a 22' 115hp i/o he got it for 17k with a full warranty. its a really nice pontoon and fisher has been great with there warranty already replacing the front seats because of sun damage (because the selling dealer let it sit outside for two years without a cover)
Old     (razzman)      Join Date: Dec 2006       08-12-2009, 8:44 AM Reply   
My brother has a Bennington 25' with a 5.7L and it is the nicest pontoon i've ever been on. And yes while they are a bit expensive i feel they're worth it if your going to spend a bit of time on it. On a large lake it's great as it'll get you down the lake at over 50mph extremely smoothly.
Old     (jame04)      Join Date: Nov 2007       08-12-2009, 9:02 AM Reply   
"sport tanner" I think we need to see a pic of her to better determine what pontoon boat would be best for her

All kidding aside Beninton are the best and if she can afford it the lazy boy type seating in the rear is awesome
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-12-2009, 9:13 AM Reply   
What happens to a pontoon if the waves kick up? Like on a large lake where you would fight from stuffing the bow on your wakeboat.
Old     (skibum69)      Join Date: Aug 2004       08-12-2009, 9:18 AM Reply   
Bennington seem to be #1 in quality and comforts with Premier not far behind.
We are selling our 2003 22ft Premier and going to a Bennington.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-12-2009, 9:39 AM Reply   
Sorry Adam I don't wanna bash Suntracker I know you have one but depending on how you are using it and how you keep care of it Suntracker might work better for you than a Bennington. If your a thrasher or don't wanna keep somthing nice why the hell would you have a Bennington. Yea they are way to nice to straight up partying on but they do make a lower line boat that might work well. The family boat is a Bennington. I love it. JC Tritoon's are another brand I would look @ a bit more Sporty if you will than the Bennington but is a well made toon . After sitting in sereral people's Sun trackers and other makes I would never buy any other brand than Bennington IMO they are the best. If I was to buy another boat 2-day I would get a "Q" series Bennington. Im sure it's just like MC vs CC or BU. Owners Goggles ect. That being said I don't own a Colbat but know if I was to buy a Family IO they are one of the best. I think many people have the same sort of feeling about Bennington @ least I do.
Old     (wakeboardsam)      Join Date: Jun 2008       08-12-2009, 9:40 AM Reply   


By Tim (srock) on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 9:13 am:
What happens to a pontoon if the waves kick up? Like on a large lake where you would fight from stuffing the bow on your wakeboat.

Well depending on the pontoon it either does fine or it breaks up and falls apart. We had a 22' pontoon boat break all the welds that hold the pontoons onto the deck. We were at Powell and the engine died and we just drifted in the huge waves of a storm. The pontoons came off and the deck sank.


By Edgar Ramon (jame04) on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 9:02 am:
"sport tanner" I think we need to see a pic of her to better determine what pontoon boat would be best for her

All kidding aside Beninton are the best and if she can afford it the lazy boy type seating in the rear is awesome

Using what criteria?? I think a Play Craft Pontoon boat is built better than any other. They may not be the most luxurious, although they can be, but they are built like a tank! They hold the speed record too!


PlayCraft Sets New World Pontoon Speed Record

A chapter in the boating history book was rewritten on February 4, 2003 at Lake X, St. Cloud, Florida. Jim Dorris, owner of PlayCraft Boats, set the official pontoon speed record at 81.0 MPH in a PlayCraft Pontoon Boat. “You have to have a sturdy boat to feel confident at those speeds. This boat has the same construction features found on the boats that come off our production line,” Dorris said.

The record-breaking speed was reached with a Mercury Twin Pro Max 300X Outboard motors. The weather conditions were favorable, with a temperature of 69 degrees and a slight wind. “We’ve been bragging about having the fastest production pontoon boat on the water,” Dorris said. “And now we’ve proven it.” Jim Dorris has also held the Pontoon Speed Record on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri at the Annual Shooter’s Shootout. “If you really want to test the character of a boat, run it on Lake of the Ozarks, one of the roughest lakes in the country next to Lake Havasu,” says Dorris. Jim holds the Shootout record at 75 MPH.

The majority of pontoon boats on the market can be summed up with just a few words—comfort, luxury and versatility. But when you’re describing a PlayCraft—add words like power, speed and handling. At PlayCraft we don’t rely on conventional thinking. We rely on innovative thinking—along with superior craftsmanship and workmanship. Taking shortcuts, even small ones, doesn’t make sense to us. When you build one of the fastest production pontoon boats on the market, you don’t take short cuts in design and construction.

Whether you’re in an Xtreme Powertoon running 60 MPH with an optional MerCruiser® 496 MAG, or cruising the coves in our Sport Series, you can feel confident you’re in a well built boat—whatever your speed. PlayCraft makes pontoons the way they should be made—good and tough. When you’re ready to leave it all behind, get behind the wheel of a PlayCraft.
Old     (xsmini)      Join Date: Dec 2005       08-12-2009, 10:00 AM Reply   
Take a look at Manitou
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-12-2009, 10:50 AM Reply   

Sport Tanning
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-12-2009, 10:51 AM Reply   
Adam - that Suntracker looks good man, I do remember the ride from Andrews. You keep your Supra?
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-12-2009, 10:53 AM Reply   
I hear her budget is around 8K
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-12-2009, 11:46 AM Reply   
Assuming you don't break up, do larger waves just wash over the deck?
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-12-2009, 12:03 PM Reply   
LOL, My suntracker IS a turd compared to the bennington's....I bought it as a secondary boat to use as a water taxi, floating dock, and all around dock basher. I take decent care of the pontoon boat, but I also don't give it a second thought if it gets a ding in it...if I owned something that costs almost as much as my ski boat (bennington Q), I don' think I'd think the same way.

My only real complaint is it's horribly slow.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-12-2009, 2:00 PM Reply   
Adam that makes sence. If you live on a lake or have a lake vacation house a Pontoon boat is a great investment. They are huge and a pain to tow but if you have the room they are great.
I can see if I had a bunch of kid's and wanted to fish and thrash yea a Sun Tracker would be a great boat. I can't see paying all the extra money for a toon that your gonna thrash and have kid's thrash for you.

Back on the topic: Ill give you my list of this you can and can't go with out.

Our's has the Galley. That's a sink and storage unit. IMO you don't need this. I have used the sink like 2 or 3 times and it messes up the how the seating works.
The seat on the driver's side is much nicer to sit in because it has a layed back rest that open's and a garbage is behind. You get the Idea in this pick.
We have a IO. It has a swim platform. I like this and can't see having a boat with out it.
Our boat has the 5.7 HO mag. This can be a 5k upgrade. This makes it nice if you wanna pull a large tube or a Ski/Wakeboard
the Tow Pilon slides right onto a spot at the swim deck. If you have a few people on the boat a big motor makes it nice to get going This boat go's over 47 Mph
Our's has 3 toon's. This is nice in rough water or when you have a bunch of people More flotation.
The center toon also works as a ski locker. that's what is in the center of the floor in the first pick. You can store tubes jackets and noodles there its nice.
The wrap arond rear section work's great but we never use the table. And you don't need the change room or toilet
Our's has a small Alpine/Rockford system that works perfict. Any more bass and the side are rattling like hell. We added 2 extra battery's

Old     (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       08-12-2009, 2:04 PM Reply   
JC toons are super nice, really fancy, I would say they give bennington a run for their money.

We have and AquaPatio, it isn't a "fancy" one... bought it used, and its mainly used to go out and drink on but it has been bulletproof... we got an awful hailstorm and one of the few things that survived was the pontoon, not one problem and the hail was softball sized.
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-12-2009, 2:13 PM Reply   
I'll second almost everything grant has said.

My sink has never been used...and now is broken from people accidentally hitting the faucet ( where the switch is built into) and burned the pump out.

I took down the changing room curtain and took out the toilet.

If your in deep water make sure you have at least one removeable ladder. A ladder of the rear is nice to have too.

Get a tri toon if you can find one ( may be slim pickens at $8k budget) Better floation = more stability and 40-50% higher top speed.

Add much of a stereo and the rattle from the aluminum sides is horrible. If your going with an outboard motor...the stators on those can't take the draw of a large stereo anyway.

I have two tables. Used them both once.

I also installed a medium sized power inverter. It's nice to have AC power. We use ours to power a couple of box fans, air pumps, and a disco ball/strobe light, lol.

I have never used the grill.

and like Grant mentioned, towing one sucks.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-12-2009, 2:20 PM Reply   
One note on grills, if you have an inverter, I have found the George Foreman Grill much easier to use than a propane grill. Much easier to store and clean.
Old     (wakeborder5)      Join Date: Jun 2002       08-12-2009, 2:24 PM Reply   
I would have her look at one with the upper deck, girls love it for a big flat space to lay out on.
Old     (clayton191)      Join Date: Apr 2006       08-12-2009, 2:35 PM Reply   
My parents owned a bennington with a honda four stroke motor - they regret selling it. It never had problems and was p-i-m-p (for a pontoon boat anyways).

Def go four stroke - they are super quiet and easy to maintain!
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-12-2009, 2:39 PM Reply   
I want to put a captain's chair and a second set of controls on the upper deck. Has anyone ever seen that done?
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       08-12-2009, 3:59 PM Reply   
I second the JC boats. Very nice and have a more modern look to them.
Old     (wakeborder5)      Join Date: Jun 2002       08-12-2009, 4:09 PM Reply   
Lol Tim, that would be bad ass, but don't know about its legality. It wouldn't be all that difficult with relocating the console, but don't know difficult a second set of controls are to integrate, would be interesting
Old     (radikal)      Join Date: Feb 2004       08-12-2009, 5:54 PM Reply   
Grant nice HOUSE !
Old     (jimmy_z)      Join Date: Jun 2009       08-12-2009, 5:56 PM Reply   
I would say JC or Playcraft are the best by far.

Not going to find any that float with an 8K budget though.

(Message edited by jimmy_z on August 12, 2009)
Old     (highrock)      Join Date: Apr 2008       08-12-2009, 6:47 PM Reply   
I would check out Avalon pontoons. At the boat place I worked for they sold these and Crest pontoons. After looking both over good I would sell my dad a Avalon over most brands out there. Tahoe is the same boat with different name.

These are a little cheaper but still high in quality.

There is a pontoon made for every budget from 15K new all the way up in the 50k's
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-13-2009, 5:19 AM Reply   
Totally legal. I'm not going to relocate I'm going to have two stations. Hydraulic steering and todays fly by wire systems make it easy. I'm more concerned about upper deck capacity.
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-13-2009, 5:56 AM Reply   
She was checking the Crest toons pretty heavy yesterday. She is looking for the tanning platform on top (of course).
G - I remember when you got that pontoon and posted the pics up here on ww. If I was ever to get one - that would be it man!
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-13-2009, 6:40 AM Reply   
Except for sportfishing, flybridges are way overrated IMO. We've driven our houseboat from the bridge all of twice. It's basically just more junk to maintain and break. You can't dock or really do anything except drive in wide open water from the bridge because you can't see anything closer than about 10' away.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-13-2009, 6:56 AM Reply   
The Sunpad on the back works perfict. IMO no need for a 2nd story. I think with the 2 section Bimini it's better than a hard top Because you can fold down the Bimini @ night and see the star's or on semi cloudy day's you want as much sun as you can get. I wouldnt wanna be on a toon with a hard top come 4th of july.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-13-2009, 7:37 AM Reply   
I have a marlin tower on my Tiara and that the best spot on the boat. I would rather run the boat and just hang out from up there than anywhere else. I've driven house boats and many times stuck at the wheel was the worst place to be but I don't consider a pontoon to be the same as it's all one space. I guess it all depends on the setup.

I would keep things open on my upper deck, with a fold down bimini. In Florida you dodge the sun much more that seek it. The controls would be front and center. There's nothing better than a birds eye view.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-13-2009, 8:30 AM Reply   
Cool, sounds like you know what you're getting into then.
Old     (brian_yow)      Join Date: Oct 2008       08-13-2009, 10:41 AM Reply   
Manitou Pontoons!! These guys have the only AWSA Certified pontoon on the market with by far the best handling and turning response. Check out the Manitou SHP V-Toon models, 24 model powered with the 225hp will hit 45 MPH and turn like a ski boat. Manitou has amazing deck strength and quality and awesome warranty. They offer tons of seating packages from plan and simple to luxury to super sporty. Check them out at and you have to watch the video on the website of the SHP models
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-13-2009, 11:34 AM Reply   
Funny: Ted post's a question. "She is not a wakeboarder - more of what I like to call a "sport tanner. "
So IMO this means the person looking for this boat want's somthing not so sporty just somthing that's comfortable. Then Sam post's a 90+ MPH pontoon boat and Brians AWSA poonton boat LOL.
The Manitou's do look super cool when they turn/lean. Its a weird sensation how flat our's turn's or even leans in the wrong direction at hig speed. It seems like if you had the hard top with people on top and you turnd at speed you could roll it pretty easy
Old     (wakeboardsam)      Join Date: Jun 2008       08-13-2009, 12:16 PM Reply   
I really assumed you knew that you can't buy the 90 mph boat. That boat was made for the specific purpose of going fast. Play Craft makes other pontoon boats also, they are a company, that is what they do...

Ted later posted about her budget:


By Ted Dreaver (dreevs) on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 10:53 am:

I hear her budget is around 8K

You then proceeded to post pictures of your Bennington... I'm not sure but I think $8K might be a little low on the budget side to get a Bennington, a Manitou, a JC or pretty much any newer pontoon boat.

BTW, the Playcraft 3200 Xtreme Megatoon will out run them all and steer better than Manitou... but that is way off topic isn't it!
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-13-2009, 12:30 PM Reply   
Ted, for a budget of $8k expect somthing like what I have or crappier.

Tell her to stay away from the boats with the 40hp motors.....It's not nearly enough power to get anywhere. You'll be wanting to kill yourself going 8 mph trying to get somewhere.
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-13-2009, 1:56 PM Reply   
Hey hey, easy. Yeah 8K is not much, but like I said, she was looking for a floating tanning platform with some features.
I have really enjoyed checking out some of the pontoons posted here - man I guess if you got the money, they got the product for you! Really changed my mindset when it comes to pontoons!
Old     (nickbot)      Join Date: Feb 2007       08-13-2009, 2:28 PM Reply   
I have a Playbuoy (I think they are Avalon now) that I love. Not as high class as a Bennington...but, I also think spending that much on a pontoon is crazy. It lives on a small lake so I only have a 40hp 4 stroke which is plenty. The people on the lake tubing behind a 40K Bennington with 150hp outboard crack me up.
Ok, must haves : sunpad, RR entry with ladder, comfy seats with the inclined back, 4 stroke outboard, big open deck on the front w/o docking lights or rail so you can dive off the front or hang your feet in the water while going
slow, decent stereo, hot chicks...
Old     (towboat_222)      Join Date: Feb 2007       08-13-2009, 2:51 PM Reply   
Veranda no wood at
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-13-2009, 3:02 PM Reply   
Sam your right. I didn't see the 8K budjet. LOL Im just as guilty as the rest LOL, Sorry carry on.

8K budjet. ADAM win's
Old    mendo247            08-13-2009, 3:13 PM Reply   
I've been looking at pontoons myself. Mainly just looking for something like Adam. But keep your eyes out for 8k you can definetly get grab a decent boat. Personally id be happy with 40hp. When your on a pontoon there is NO hurry lol I LOVE those laid back seats!
Old     (highrock)      Join Date: Apr 2008       08-13-2009, 6:33 PM Reply   
In the 8k Budget you should be able to find some decent boats. I really dont think you will find many that are going to have a 4 stroke engine. Evinrude or Johnson would be a solid choice. I would steer clear of Mercury if it were me.

Def. tell her to look for the tanning pad/seat on the back. Check out the floors on all the older boats, many pontoons still use wood now but they now have a lifetime warrenty, we replaced the floor on our old one when it was about 12 or 13 years old so she may need to watch out for that. Rear entry ladders are a must and just check all the seat bases and make sure they arent rotted.

The older crests are probably the best built/strongest boats for their time. They are heavy and some look pretty ugly.

Playbouy are now Avalons/Tahoes so they too are good boats, it should have the better style aluminum seat bases.

Our old pontoon is a Sun Tracker and in my opinion in the older pontoons they are the better looking ones. If she wants to ever pull a tube or wakeboarder she will want at least a 90 HP engine and check for a tow point on the back. Pontoons are simple things, just made for cruising around having a good time!
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       08-14-2009, 5:58 AM Reply   
My Suntracker deck is all aluminum ( don't know when they started that??) Mine is a 2000. All the seat bases are made out of a composite/plastic? There is nothing to rot on my boat.

Richard, if you stay with a smaller pontoon ( less than 22) a 40 hp will work. But even a 22 foot with people and gear/fuel will be horribly slow, and a pain to dock/put on trailer, especially if there is any wind.

I was really surprised at how much the wind affects the boat.

I bought mine off craigslist.
Old    stillstandin            08-14-2009, 10:13 AM Reply   
My parents have always had pontoons. Manitou, and Bennington have always been the two that they seemed to like. Pontoons are great boats
Old     (shredhead)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-17-2009, 9:09 AM Reply   
There are a bunch of decent pontoon manufacturers. Get a used one, a 4 stroke 40 would be fine.
Old     (pdub)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-17-2009, 10:11 AM Reply   
check out South Bay, my friend has one very nice, only i`v seen though.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       08-19-2009, 7:23 AM Reply   
Sport Tanner
Sport Tanner with 8k Budjet
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-19-2009, 7:33 AM Reply   
Ohh, for when I'm in the dog house. I can hang my big screen in the corner and fill the cooler and move right in.
Old     (dreevs)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-20-2009, 5:37 AM Reply   
HAHAHAHA thats funny - ill be sure to show her that!!


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