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What are the best Pontoon Boats?

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  • What are the best Pontoon Boats?

    Well I wanted to buy a fishing boat, something like a center console. But the girls want a Pontoon Boat so we can go out on the lakes and have a nice day out with a bunch of friends. So I am now looking for a nice pontoon boat, something that I can fish off of, obviously swim, suntan, grill, etc. Oh yeah, and the woman would like something that they can ski off of. So I guess I would need something with a decent sized engine. So if somebody could let me know the following that would be great.1.) What are the BEST manufacturers of these Pontoon boats?2.) Should I buy new or used? If used how old would be safe to go with?3.) I want about a 10-12 person pontoon boat, so how many feet in length am I going to need? is it trailerable?4.) What HP rating engine do I need in order to pull skiers? How fast do these pontoon boats generally go?5.) Should I get inboard or outboard?6.) What price range am I talking for a pontoon boat like this?7.) Can you use these pontoon boats in the oceans or bays?Thanks for the help guys, I live in Northwestern NJ by the way.


  • #2
    Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

    For ten to twelve people, you are looking at a 22 foot-minimum.Are you going to trailer this? If so, consider the fact that pontoons are VERY BIG and wide. They're not necessarily heavy, just sort of clumsy. THey are not real fun to tow, or launch.Power-for a 22-24' toon, I would be looking at the maximum allowable hp on any given manufactures product. Outboard, or I/O, the choice is yours. There are soom toons out there, in that size range, with 5.0 L V-8's in them. Most of those are TriToons.As for makers-StarcraftGodfreyHarris Float BoteTrackerSylvanManitouThere are more. Just do a Google search using the keyword-pontoon.

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    • #3
      Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

      Newtoboatsman, I own a Odyssey Lextra 2502, (25') tripontoon boat, powered by a 350 Mag, MPI, 5.7 Mercruiser, I/O. It will carry 16 people. It will pull a few skiers at the same time. I had 8 people on it stretched out, walking back and forth, no problem. The girls will love it. You can get fishing models. I bought it July 3rd and I am not to bad with loading and unloading if I may say so (brag) myself. Acording to others talking about their loading times, I have a lot of them beat. In fact, I have to get in and turn the blower on first, before backing down the ramp, because by the time I launch and park the truck, I'm still waiting on the five minutes to crank the motor. And loading, I've loaded at night, line up, slowly coast in, gently bump the pads, hook the strap, pull up the truck, make sure your lined up, pull the plug (for the engine compartment) and drive off. You just won't be able to use your rear view mirror much when pulling it, because all you will see in it is boat, so you'll need some wide mirrors, for towing. It really is not that bad. Now you want to talk performance? I am going to break 50 MPH with this new prop, and a guy with a 27' Odyssey (same engine & regular Prop is running over 50 with 6 people on board). This is not a regular pontoon boat, it will manevuer! I've got caught and drove through a storm in it. Tripontoon boats are not just "Old folks boats" anymore. I am amazed to find that I get just as many looks from the youngsters, as those a little older than my Middle Aged self. May I suggest that if you want to check into the Pontoons there are Forum sites like this one that I am also a member of that caters to Pontoon Boats. Like the Pontoon Boat Web Site, or Pontoon Boating, where they also have members that have owned Pontoons for years and can answer more specific questions pertaining to the Pontoons. If you'd like to check into the Odyssey type in Forestriverinc.com click on Pontoons and check them out. Djohns is right, about 22' minimum for 10 to 12 people, they will be able to STRETCH OUT AND TAN. Holler if I may be of any assistance,GodsBeast

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      • #4
        Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

        You dont ask much of a boat do you? I think for the most part you are looking for a tritoon in order to get to ski speeds. Another option for you may be a deck boat, many of the benifits of a toon on a regular hull. As for the towing and launching well let me just say that I dont find it all that bad.

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        • #5
          Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

          what kinda money can I expect to pay for a nice pontoon boat that you can fish, ski, and fit about 10-12 people on?

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          • #6
            Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

            GodsBeast, so would you say that Odyssey makes the BEST pontoon boats?I did some research, called around to different marinas, and the people claimed that Odyssey pontoon boats are by-far the best out there.Do they have the best warranty too?And would you mind if I asked how much you paid for your boat?I am thinking that they are probably by-far the most expensive also if they are the best.

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            • #7
              Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

              Give Premier a look, as well as Play Craft http://www.pontoons.com/ http://www.playcraftboats.com/boats.html
              2002 Bennington 2275RL
              2003 Mercury 125 HP

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              • #8
                Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

                The larger builders such as Godfrey, Premier, etc., will have 'toons at different market levels. From value to luxurious. So there is more to the "which is best" question than just brand.Here is another thread on pontoon shopping - Buying a pontoon boat Kelly Cook

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                • #9
                  Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

                  I have a 20 MonArk pontoon with 50hpx4stroke outboard. It is ok and not at the bottom of quality or at the top either. It is the delux model and I paid $21k with trailer in 96 for the rig new. The economy version was $18k. Speed (per gps)is 19.5 with 3 adults aboard and 14 with a boatload of 7-8 and all the beer we can drink.The only bad part is towing. My full size american auto with 5.0 litre V8 engine will pull it nicely up to about 50mph. After that it hits a "drag wall" and will barely make 70mph with the pedal to the floor. These pontoon boats are VERY draggy (weight is only 2400lbs) In comparison, before the ptoon boat I towed a 3800lbs Proline (regular boat) at 70mph and the car hardly knew it was towing anything. I gave up towing my pontoon boat on long trips.Compare these between the brands:1.pontoon diameter and material thickness (larger and thicker is better)2.deck material,(ply, pressure treated ply, composite)3.furniture base material, wood or plastic (best)4.what type of fasteners do they use to hold everthing together (believe it or not some still use nuts and bolts that rust)5.Look for easy access to the motor and aft cleats. Big wrap around sundecks are a pain in this respect.6. Check to see how the electrical wiring is secured from the console to the motor area. If loose and solid water can hit it you have problems waiting to happen. Best way is routed inside a protective covering.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

                    Newtoboatsman, sorry it took so long to get back to you! You ask me a prejudiced question. I did my research, and for my area, with the Brands I had to choose from, with dealers to do maintance, and the amount of options that are STANDARD on the Odyssey, in my opinion, I got the best, or I would have bought something else. There are many fine Tripontoon boats out there. I paid 29K for mine, Boat, Motor & Trailer. Prices may vary from one dealer to the next. I do think that Odyssey does have the best warranty in the business. They have a Lifetime Warranty on the hull, not a limited lifetime warranty. This warranty includes labor also. As I tell anybody that is checking into the Tripontoons, don't take anybodies word on what is best. What is best for one might not even be what the next guy wants. For example I even told Bixll about the Odyssey, and his needs is steering him toward the Premier right now. No problem, it might be best for his needs. The one he is looking at now is almost a Yacht. Very Nice. So I tell every Toon shopper, Do your research, Ask 10,000 questions, before you buy. Demand a test ride! When your ridding, can you have a converstion over the motor noise, if it is quiet, can you hear panels ratteling, or the water beating under the hull? Make an INFORMED DECISION. Take all these guys suggestions and think them over, check out all the sites, (And consider checking out the Pontoon sites I mentioned, these guys know pontoons). Guys will argue Boat Brands, like they argue Ford, Dodge, and Chevy. Don't get in a hurry, learn all you can. Just remember when your comparing, to compare different brands equally. Example: Don't compare one 22' pontoon with a 25' pontoon. One with an I/O to an Outboard, and different horsepowers to each other. Pick out in your mind a goal, say make a list like I did, I wanted a 25' tritoon, with an I/O. When calling for a price from different competitors compare the same set up from each one. Don't get a price on a 25' tritoon from one dealer with an I/O and compare it to a price on a 22' double toon with an Outboard. Once you narrow down what you want, then you'll find the boat to fit your needs. Another thing, make a side list on its options. One Brand, equipment is STANDARD, and on another Brand that equipment is an Option, you have to pay extra for it. If you checked out the Forest river site, I found that many items that are options on other Brands are STANDARD on the Odyssey, and I feel like I got the most for my money. So far as horsepower, it is all in what you want. Odyssey I/O have the 3.0, 4.3, 5.0, 5.7. In Outboards they have all the way up to the 300 V MAX, which they say is also a 50 mph boat. I'm not trying to talk you into a fast pontoon, just with any boat, don't underpower it, you won't be happy. Also be aware, one might be Multiport fuel injected, the other have a carb.Newmanns also suggested a Deckboat may interest you. I looked at them, and once I compaired the amount of space, which the pontoon has more, and the performance between the two, which there is not much difference, I just quit looking at Deckboats. KCook made a good point about different things being best, for example I liked the Odyssey having molded sections under the seats, not wood enclosures, and I have had comments on my seats being as comfortable as people's living room furniture. One Brand may cut a corner on one part, and advertise the part they spend more money on than the other Brands. Check out the total package on all your lists.BillP brought up some good points also, Pontoon thickness. Check the thickness of the toons when comparing. Also, be aware, that the largest Pontoons are not always the best. Once the toons get 25 and over, some Outboard motors can have cavitation problems, not being matched with the newer larger toon sizes. BillP also made an excellent point on bolts. Be sure to not only check that every bolt on the boat is Stainless Steel, but that the fasteners are bolted (w/ss) not screwed. Another excellent point BillP brought up is the engine compartment, if your checking I/O, make sure you can get to that dipstick, to the fuel and Oil filter, and if it has the easy oil drain hose to change your oil. Mine also has 1 easy to get to blue knob to turn, to Winterize it. Make sure you can perform the maintance on whatever you buy. Ask Ask Ask, I will be glad to answer any questions that you have, if I can. Good luck with your search, and I look forward to tooning with Ya! Happy Boating!GodsBeast (Ken Bates)

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                    • #11
                      Re: What are the best Pontoon Boats?

                      I will tell you what not to buy, and I speak from experienceDo not buy a Lake Raider .Buy one with molded plastic bases to the furniture, not wood bases .Have them put the rig you are buying (not a demonstrator) on the water, and use it before you close the deal.

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