Know anything about Pontoon Boats? Know anything about Pontoon Boats?
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Boats and Motors

    Know anything about Pontoon Boats?
from Beth (205.188.116.67)  
9/19/2006 11:54:00 AM

Rated:

 I'm considering purchasing a pontoon boat, but I honestly don't know all that much about them. I want something big enough for a group of people to ride on comfortably - maybe 8-12 at a time? What size would be good for this, and also what size motor? I would like to do some innertube towing but no skiing. Just your basic party/cruising boat. It would stay docked and uncovered in the water in a central Alabama lake- see any issues with this? Could it over winter in the water or would we need to take it out?


Is it worth looking at older models? If so, how old? I don't want to pay a ton of money because we already have a bass boat.


Man, I'm full of questions, but and I sure would appreciate any info you could give me before I jump into this.


Thanks,
Beth


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   all boats, from Gene  9/19/2006 12:45:00 PM
 and I would assume pontoons boats too, will have a sticker/plate on the boat telling how many people it will hold, how much weight and how big a motor it can handle. So when ya go to a dealer, just look at the plate and it will tell ya. Pontoons boats are usually very slow, so not sure how the tubing will work, good for little kids maybe, but the older kids would want more speed.

Have ya rented a pontoon boat yet?? That would give ya an idea how much you want one and what size is best for ya. Renting for a few weekend a year, divided by 8-12 people might be a better idea.

Any boat left in the water all the time will get moss and plant life all over the bottom, so taking it out is better for the boat, have to have a big pickup truck though.

Good luck,

Gene


   Beth, I'm no expert but we have one from JohnM  9/19/2006 1:39:00 PM
 I prefer the Godfrey line of pontoons, they make some good ones. I don't know enough about the other brands out there to give you good information. Someone like Todd Morgan or Pat Goff that has sold boats for years would be who I would contact. (todd@candomarine.com) I do know that you want to look for large logs (pontoons), make sure they are sealed in several places in case you hit something one whole side doesn't go down. I would not buy foam filled logs, if you have a leak you have to remove the water logged foam. Look at how the logs are attached to the deck, that is the weak point on most pontoons they tend to crack right there. It should be a beefed up area. I prefer decks that are through bolted instead of the new aluminum decks that may just be shot on with rivets or screwed down. Look for how many support beams per foot they have compared to the other brands. I would want at least 20 ounce carpeting, one of those pop up portable bathrooms are nice when you get that many people on board, as is a boarding ladder. If you are shy of the sun get two tops instead of one, sunbrella material is about the best top material out there. If you plan on keeping it in the water better invest in a small pressure washer the ducks and spiders will keep you busy LOL. I highly suggest getting a 4 stroke motor on a pontoon! We pull kids on the family pontoon up here with a 40 HP Yamaha 4 stroke. A pontoon is going to max out around 20 MPH so no need to get wild with great big motors unless you get a monster pontoon. a 40 to 70 HP 4 stroke should be OK. I'd guess a 28 footer should suit your croud just fine. As for the trailer if you plan on keeping it on the lake do you have a place to store it? You'll want a trailer with steps & stops on the tounge if you are going to use it much. I would take the pontoon out for the winter, service it and clean the logs for the winter months (that pressure washere comes in handy again). We pull the 24 footer we have up here just fine with a 5.3L 1/2 ton Chevy truck.


   I have one of each a Bass and from Ron1  9/19/2006 2:01:00 PM
  a pontoon boat. We keep the pontoon in the water for 9 months usually. Then it needs a good cleaning. Mine is a 22 ft Made by Godfrey, the Tuscany model with a 90 hp Yammaha 4 stroke and we really like it. Rated for up to 12 people, and a 115 hp motor. It has 25" logs which I highly recommend. With 2 people and full gas & cooler it will do 25 mph. With 5 people on board & 1 on a tube being towed 19-20 mph. You can find out probably more than you want to know on this forum: http://www.pontoon.net/fusetalk/forum/index.cfm?forumid=3

Thee and I do a lot of fishing off of it too. She likes it better because it's so stable and has room to walk around. Good hunting!


   Pontoon from Smith Mountain Lake  9/19/2006 2:18:00 PM
 Usually the plywood decking under the carpet is the first thing to go bad. There is a lot of water splashing around a pontoon boat. Look for a used one with a synthetic decking material instead of plywood. Wife has a 24' with a 4 stroke 90hp and it does fine for tubing. All boat should have a C.G. plate on them indicating the capacity they will hold, if it doesnít, donít buy it.


   A few more things...... from Wash-n-Lures (72.156.209.111)  9/19/2006 4:37:00 PM
 In addition to some of what has been listed above I would want a boat with "belly skins" under the deck at the rear of the boat. This will cover up the cross members (that do need to be through bolted) and significantly reduce drag which increases speed and improves fuel economy. With that many people belly skins and 25" diameter logs will be very important. I would not shy away from a wood deck as long as the manufacturer stands behind it (i.e. Triton puts a lifetime warranty on all of their wood pontoon floors). Wood is much better than an aluminum floor (heat transfer, vibration, screw retention, etc) and has a much better price than a composite floor.

Be sure it has both front and rear entry gates and if there are going to be small children on board it is best if those gates open to the inside. (So they can't hit the gate at full speed and end up in the water.) Be sure the rails are anodized and you want a bimini top with a quick connect / disconnect to the rails (not pins that are hard to line up and easy to drop in the water). A four stroke engine is hard to beat on a pontoon boat. A drivers chair that swivels and slides forward and back is very nice as you can turn the chair 45 degrees and see while you are pulling a tube plus still see out front ---- without straining your neck. You do want a high quality trailer with a ladder w/handrail on the front and inside guides to help load the boat. I would encourage you to investigate a boat with a third log. The third log significantly improves the overall performance of the boat. It will carrry a load better, turn better, have a better top end speed and a better holeshot. Put a ski-tow bar on the back and you have an extremely vertsital boat. Finally, if you are going to leave it in the water put Sharkhide on the pontoons. It is a liquid protectant that is simple to put on and will protect the boat for up to a year while it is in the water. Hope that helps.


   depends... from PumaJeff  9/19/2006 4:42:00 PM
 if buying older model, a 28 ft would be a MUST.

But, If buying newer, the newer models have the deck space go all the way up to front of pontoons. I'd say a 24ft if the newer model.


   deck boat from Cajunearbass (139.55.20.141)  9/19/2006 9:06:00 PM
 if there is any way you can do it get a deck boat you have the convience of a pontoon but on the bottom you have a v hull that will run a lot faster and save you on gas verses a pontoon.i have owned a pontoon and they are to dang slow . most cruise at 15 20 mph.


   Thanks!!! from Beth (205.188.116.200)  9/20/2006 12:18:00 AM
 Wow, you all sure are a wealth of knowledge! I really appreciate the info. It was just what I was looking for.

You've all raised some good points that I need to think about. We rented one in Destin, FL last fall with my whole family and we enjoyed it so much that I have been thinking about getting one ever since. My husband's Grandma lives on the lake, so we could store it at her dock. Storing it out of the water is the issue - not much driveway space for a 28' boat. Towing would not be a problem, but I'm glad to know what type of trailer to look for.

This will help me know what to ask when I start making phone calls. It's a whole different ballgame than the bass boat.

Thanks again, guys, and let me know if you think of anything else that I need to know. I'm going to go check out that website now.


   Beth from pmgoffjr (63.99.162.99)  9/20/2006 7:20:00 AM
 Most of the advice was very good.

I've sold a fleet of pontoon boats, various brands, and here's what seperates pontoon happiness from not.

Air filled pontoons: Do NOT choose the foam filled. Get no smaller than a 25" pontoon.

All the advice about skins, covers, and such over the cross braces was good.

12 People will require a 24' pontoon, with at least a 115 to be able to get out of it's own way. Tubing a child is a 20 mph task, any slower, and no one is having fun.

A tri-toon boat is WAY ahead of a dual log boat in performance. I've sold more than a few that would pull a slalom skier faster than they wanted. Fastest ever was a 25' Bennington Tri toon w/225 Yamaha four stroke, 57 mph. The tri toon will actually plane out and go, dual toon just sorta goes through the water like the Exxon Valdiz.


   Dang Pat leave it to you from JohnM  9/20/2006 9:05:00 AM
 Leave it to you to figure out how to get a pontoon to run with most 150HP bassboats LOL. A 57 mph tri-toon huh. I bet that was a hoot to run around the lake with! That's faster than most deck boats as well. I took my GPS out on the family 24 footer and the little 40 could only muster up 17 MPH a few weeks ago. We mainly use it to carry everyone too a island then set up camp there and hop on the jet ski's my bass boat and the big cruiser we have up here. That way everyone has something to play with LOL. Next time they go to auction to get a pontoon I'll have to tell them to look for one of those tri-toons. They got this pontoon brand new w/o a motor for about 6K at an auction. I got the new engine the day I met you down at C&O and rigged it myself. I think we have about 11K in the entire rig brand new. I still can't get over how much fun 57 must be on that big of a deck LOL.


   Pontoons Boats from MWood (47.234.0.54)  9/20/2006 1:16:00 PM
 My father had a 28' Grumman for years. He started out leaving it docked year round uncovered. The sun and rain however are terrible on plastics and with 4 yrs, he was replacing all the seat upholestry. He went to a cover and that helped but a couple of times a year, a storm would come up and tear it off. The cover got pretty ripped up and only lasted about 3 years. Finally he bought a covered dock and he never had an issue again, other than the usual insects and geese. He had a 50 hp on that boat and it did OK but was really slow. Something bigger would have been nicer.


   I was in this exact situation... from RedAllison (70.63.59.242)  9/20/2006 1:45:00 PM
 earlier this year. I simply decided we needed more room and capacity than my speedster plus I grew tired of my kids muddying up and scratching my red baby. So about February I set out to find a used tritoon or deckboat.

As I began looking at my options and what was available on the market I was swayed too a deckboat. The primary reason I chose it over a tritoon is cost, performance and something reasonably towable on the interstate for occasional vacation use. My main concern was a capacity of at least 12 people in a boat that ran 40 or near it in a boat that was over 20ft. The 22'-24' Tritoons I saw with V6-inboards and outboards were very expensive when equipped properly and very few were available on the used market. It seems that alot of tritoons are relatively new (within the last decade or so) and don't depreciate very fast nor are they typically available very often. Most pleasure/family boat owners don't trade very often.

The larger toons 24'+ with 200hp+ outboards or V8 inboards are VERY expensive, drink gas, and to heavy and large to tow on the interstate very easily IMHO so I stayed clear of them. However, could I steal a used one that was less than 5 years old and were it going to sit in one spot like your use, then I WOULD have one of 26'-28' with a 225direct injection 2 stroke outboard on it. I have a couple buddies with inboard Tritoons and they are GREAT boats but they don't tow them either. On my stretch of the TN River there is a 28' tritoon with a 496 inboard on it with tru transom exhaust and it not only hauls butt it sounds like a Fountain comin down the lake. ALOT of fun that big barge is. BUT I would hate to have his gas bill.

Deckboats of similar sizes and power under 5 years old are also hard to find (at least they are in my part of the country). I gave up looking for a used one in late March and bought an 05 demo from a local dealer, but I saw several like I had been looking for come available later in the summer but I didn't want to be without a boat half a summer. I bought a 2005 Suncruiser (Lowe) Tahiti 222 with a 150 Bombrude Direct Injection on a tandem axle with brakes tubular trailer. Being aluminum it takes our gravel beaches better and is about 500-750#s lighter than a glass boat would weigh so that helps mileage, towing and not needing a bigger motor to push it with. It will GPS in the 30s with a full load and a 16" 4bld prop I bought for pulling. It also has an 8'6" beam that runs almost the entire length of the boat so it has practically as much room as a pontoon of the same size.

My family and I LOVE the boat. It took me all summer to get used to crawling along at 30mph instead of my customary cruise of 70-80mph in my bassboat, but I've grown to enjoy the Clarion soundsystem, having the cooler nearby, the big captains lounger, power steering and the big bimini top and room for alot of friends and family. The other aluminum deckboat I considered was from Princecraft but after seeing one on the water it is a 24' yet has less usable room than my 22'er. I am completely happy with my family truckster that we have named "Family Tradition" (even had transom decals made that say such). I still get my kicks and speedfix from my Allison but for leisure and time with friends and family I gotta admit the deckboat is more akin to a floating backporch.

Good luck, RA

ps As for leaving the boat in the water all year, I would NOT do that. Leaving them on the water (at least not on a lift) is just hell on everything and will age the boat 10Xs faster than dry storage. If you have to leave it all summer then at least consider a good cover and a lift. But trust me, you'll get ALOT more service life and cheaper use out of the boat if you at least dry store it in the winter.


   Pontoonville from pmgoffjr (172.191.3.135)  9/21/2006 5:19:00 PM
 John, I actually sold three of those Bennington/225 Yamaha rigs. All of them would just flat fly. They have these big lifting pads on the logs, and the dang thing gets up on plane and starts packing air, and lifts like crazy. Different sensation to say the least. Now, that was not with a dozen people on board, just me, but sucker will run.

Leaving a pontoon, or any boat outside without a cover is just a death warrant. At least make the effort to get a good snap on mooring cover, or you'll be replacing all the upholstery in three years. And the pontoon logs will become a lab experiment in how to grow algae, which is a total pain to remove.


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