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  #11  
Old 04-03-2013, 10:22 PM
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jafo9 jafo9 is online now
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the pontoon market for whats the best isn't as clear as the towboat market. there really isn't much to go wrong with a pontoon so what you look for in "quality" is different than in an inboard.

if you are looking for strictly performance, the top 3 are manitou, bennington, and premier (in no particular order).

if you are looking for an all around lake putter there are numerous brands. all the ones listed in the previous posts are good boats. sanpan and aqua patio are also good boats.

my advice on buying a pontoon is 1st to figure out what you want to do. it sounds like you want a 2 logger for maximum carrying capacity and general utility. for this you likely want the generic floor plan with 2 front sofas and a rear "L" sofa with a sun pad. some of the newer ones have 2 rear sofas with no sun pad which cuts down on storage some but maximizes seating. i'd don't like the models with captains chairs instead of the sofas. it cuts way down on seating. another way to maximize seating is to get one with a bow filler. it basically makes the 2 front sofas continuous around the entire front half of the pontoon.

my advice on motor is a bit different that what was mentioned above. even if you are only a lake putter, you will have a harder time selling a 22+ with a 60hp. I'd shoot for a minimum of 90 with the 115 as the sweet spot for the 22-24ft resale market.

as far as flooring, my ideal flooring would be faux teak on the bow and rear platforms with carpet in the middle. we spend alot of time beached on the toon and i like the feel of carpet on my toes while i empty the fridge.

toons ain't no towboat, but they can be alot of fun. good luck.
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  #12  
Old 04-04-2013, 01:01 AM
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tdelong tdelong is offline
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Thanks for all the info so far. I'll start by saying that a 100 MPH toon is a bit excessive haha. This isn't going to tow anything more than somebody floating on a tube with a drink in their hand so I'm not worried about a big engine. Just lookin for something to puts around in and basically be the party barge. Originally looking for the smallest engine (to be cheaper) but the resale topic is a very good thing to consider as well.
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  #13  
Old 04-04-2013, 03:28 AM
bwood357 bwood357 is offline
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i previously owned a veranda and dont recomend it if you are looking for top of the line. but if you are looking for something on the cheaper side that will get the job done, its a decent toon. definitly want to match the motor with size of the toon or larger. mine was 20' that most people put 60's on. i put a 90hp on it and sold it in a week. we all know hp makes all the difference. i would look at your closest dealers, get a popular floor plan, if it suits your needs, which it should for what you want it for. 3 couch lay-out is still the most popular i think and the rear facing lounges are popular with the ladies. i got rid of mine for a ski boat but really like having one around at the lake. im trying talk my dad into purchasing one too! its going pretty good since he misses mine around when were all out there.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2013, 08:47 AM
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onejdgreen onejdgreen is offline
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While all of this advice is good, engine size, toon size, etc, I haven't seen anyone mention flooring and seats. I'm not talking about the vinyl or carpet, I'm talking about what is underneath that. The majority of pontoons use plywood for their decking, get underneath the boat with a screwdriver (the tool, not the drink) and check the quality of the flooring. The last thing you want is someone to fall through it. Also check the undersides of the seats and storage areas. The upholstery may look great, but the wood could be rotten.

A few years back we talked our dad into getting a toon for the lake house, my brother and I found what we thought was a smokin deal on a 26 foot Starcraft with a 40 HP Honda. Less than 2 years later we were ripping up the floor and replacing everything on it, floor, carpet, seat bottoms and backs...
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:26 AM
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jafo9 jafo9 is online now
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good point about the flooring. typically if you stay with the high end names, you shouldn't really have any issues with the flooring as they use pretty stout materials.

i also forgot to mention, buy used if you can. there really isn't much to go wrong or wear out (assuming the vinyl isn't trashed) with a toon as long as the motor was taken care of.

when you get your toon, if its used, acid wash the toons and sharkhide them. it'll save you some hassle down the road. if you get it new, sharkhide them before you take her for a swim.

one of the best things about an outboard powered pontoon is the winterization. i raise the lift, tilt the motor all the way down, kill the master power and walk away. i'm so good at it, i can do it with a beer in one hand.
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:39 AM
bwood357 bwood357 is offline
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verandas have all aluminum deck with lifetime warrenty. that was the best thing about them.
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2013, 11:28 AM
bobx1 bobx1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdelong View Post
Thanks for all the info so far. I'll start by saying that a 100 MPH toon is a bit excessive haha. This isn't going to tow anything more than somebody floating on a tube with a drink in their hand so I'm not worried about a big engine. Just lookin for something to puts around in and basically be the party barge. Originally looking for the smallest engine (to be cheaper) but the resale topic is a very good thing to consider as well.
tdelong....

I (my wife and I) decided we would try a pontoon boat out because she wanted to be able to leave the boat in the water, drive it to dinner, not cause me a heart attack if it took a dock hit or two, etc. What we did was get a new 20' Bentley (lower end) with the larger engine (90hp Merc 4 stroke). This NEW boat with trailer was right at $20K in 2007. Our intent was to use it for 2-3 years and decide if we liked the pontoon world enough to get a bigger and nicer boat. As stated, we upgraded to the South Bay and there was a noticiable difference in quality BUT the Bentley was still a nice boat and served its' purpose very well. The main quality differences were in the seat construction, helm, vinyl (thicker), latch hardware, door hardware, and cover. Around here, a fairly well cared for used pontoon with a decent sized motor sell quick and we had no problems selling it for a decent price.

You should be able to get a lower-end new or medium-end used for the money you are talking about.

BTW, when we were searching I found some stats (your mileage may vary) on HP and MPH and if I recall, they were:

20' w/moderate load, 50hp and just below red-line RPM would run 15-18mph
20' w/ 75-90hp would run in low to mid-20mph
20' w/115 (not real common) would run in mid-upper 20's

What I noticed when I went to the 115 is that the boat would run very well (optimum RPM) in the mid-20's compared to the 90hp which felt like it was working pretty hard to run in the lower 20's.

Given your budget and parameters, I would look at a 20' with 90HP then use it for a few years and decide to upgrade to a higher quality 22' with larger HP.
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2013, 12:30 PM
SSMoose SSMoose is offline
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I bought a 24 foot Bentley with 50 Bigfoot Mercury a few years ago and have found this a decent compromise for fuel usage and space. It has worked well for our putting around and goes 17-18 mph at top end. On a smaller lake like ours we only use it for putting around but have successfully pulled young ones on the tube. The only problem in 7 years has been the vinyl, which just did not last well I replaced it this winter with a quality job from a local shop and it looks great.
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2013, 01:56 PM
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Fast50dad Fast50dad is offline
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My FIL is on his second Premier. His first had the sun deck over the motor. Man that made the 4 stroke motor almost impossible to hear. The new one drives me nuts compared to the previous one. This has the ski mount over the motor and sits about 4 inches from the back of the changing room. I know 4 strokes are quiet, but something to think about if the ability to get a toon with the motor tucked under the sun deck.
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  #20  
Old 04-04-2013, 02:16 PM
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Sodar Sodar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast50dad View Post
My FIL is on his second Premier. His first had the sun deck over the motor. Man that made the 4 stroke motor almost impossible to hear. The new one drives me nuts compared to the previous one. This has the ski mount over the motor and sits about 4 inches from the back of the changing room. I know 4 strokes are quiet, but something to think about if the ability to get a toon with the motor tucked under the sun deck.
Premier with twins would be the ultimate.

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