This is not your father's pontoon boat

Posted on October 31, 2017

Let’s face it: pontoons haven’t been considered the sexiest of boats. They’re considered purposeful, but not really appealing. The old carpeting would smell because it was wet all the time. The sides dented and took a beating. The motors were small. They sat low to the water and often took waves over the front. The furniture cracked and split and wasn’t meant to last decades. Horsepower limitations meant owners couldn’t pull a tube, skier or wakeboarder. And the cockpit was minimalist at best.

Those were the pontoons of yesterday. Gone are the days of bad ergonomics and minimal number of colors for carpet and panel choices. Today, the furniture is as comfortable as your living room. Deep seating and better materials mean boaters can sit longer without cramping or stiffness. And the surfaces hold up for many years of baking in the sun. Flooring has also been improved. Not only has carpeting been improved, but options now include mildew and stain resistant vinyl and faux teak backed with heavy duty cushion. New designs have been created in decking too – channeling water from swimsuits and towels, out of the boat so water doesn’t pool and rot the floor and furniture.

 Today there are more pontoon configurations than ever before. These include rear facing seats, dual his-and-hers captains chairs, wrap-around seating with modular bow filler sections, fishing configurations, convertible sun pads, bar seating, additional tables and more! New configurations even include wash down stations, hoses and fresh water tanks, sinks, changing rooms and refrigerators!

Remember the old cheap plastic tables? On many boats, those are now replaced with Corian counter tops and solid surface tables. Everything about the interior of a pontoon boat today is tremendously improved and different than it was just five or ten years ago. New pontoons have upgraded helms. No longer are drivers using just a steering wheel and throttle. They come with windshields that direct airflow over the driver and include built-in cup holders with LED lighting. Helms also include access to MP3-compatible systems and satellite radio. They have aux power with USB chargers, Power Bimini tops, interior and exterior lighting as well as safety features such as docking lights and horns.

Now let’s talk performance. One of the biggest gripes surrounding pontoon boats is they are big, low and slow. Pontoon boats today are faster, handle better, sit higher in the water and are more efficient than their fiberglass counterparts. New innovations in pontoon design means tubes that are substantially larger and lighter. Old pontoons were mostly 23 inches in diameter. Top pontoon manufacturers now use pontoons that are 25 – 32 inches in diameter. Bigger pontoons mean more buoyancy, which allows the boat to sit higher in the water. Even on rougher lakes or larger waterways, these boats stay safe and dry on deck.

The latest innovation in pontoon boat technology includes triple-toon boats. Instead of two pontoons (sometimes called logs), these new pontoons utilize three pontoons, with the motor mounted on the center tube. These boats perform like high-end fiberglass cruisers, but have many more amenities and a lot more decks space. These new Tri-Toons are the best of all worlds.

Add to that, new pontoons have better styling and visual appeal. This includes powder-coated rails, new fencing colors, safety gates and multiple boarding points. There’s nothing more impressive, though, than throttling up to 45 mph on your new Tri-Toon, and comfortably passing by the ski boats struggling through rougher water. You, sitting high and dry, cutting through the chop with a big outboard purring on the back with your refrigerator holding your drinks and food, your passengers’ hair blowing in the wind. The other boats watch you go by and think ”Wait…what? That’s a pontoon boat?” It happens. It is common.

The Boat House, with 4 Midwest Locations and 3 Florida dealerships is proud to offer Bennington pontoons at our stores in Lake Geneva, Lauderdale Lakes and Lake Country. We also carry premium pontoons from Godfrey including Sweetwater, SanPan and Aqua Patio at all of our Midwest and Florida locations. Stop by to see the latest in pontoon boat design and technology or set up a personal test drive.