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A pontoon boat might/will be in my future

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A pontoon boat might/will be in my future

Old 05-28-2020, 06:27 PM
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Default A pontoon boat might/will be in my future

I have been in/on saltwater my whole life and only owned boats designed for saltwater. Thing are changing, we are buying a vacation home on Lake Sinclair and was thinking about bringing my 21' SeaPro to the lake. Then started thinking about how many more people I can take on a 22-24' pontoon boat. I know nothing about pontoon boat builders and the only ones that I have ever been on was are ones at Bass Pro Shop in their parking lot or store.

Not sure I want to spend $45+ for a new one and will start looking for a used one that has only been in fresh water. What I have seen in some advertising is that a 22' boat has a 150 HP motor. Is that about normal?

I might end up selling/trading the SeaPro for a pontoon boat. Any advice on what I should be looking for.
Old 05-28-2020, 06:46 PM
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Tri toon in the 22-24 ft range with a 150-200 on it will feel like a living room moving at 35 mph. Youíll be shocked at how you like it so much.
Old 05-28-2020, 07:33 PM
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Is there much difference between a 2 and 3 pontoon boat?
Old 05-28-2020, 07:48 PM
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I sold the offshore boat and jumped on the pontoon bandwagon, I picked up a 22í Suntracker with 150 mercury. I could have gotten the same model with 3 pontoons and a 200 but wanted to keep the cost down and when I compared the performance reports it it just wasnít worth the $8k cost upper for the higher horsepower motor and the 3rd pontoon. I hear they plane and handle better but the performance reports didnít really equate to any significant speed difference. I will say my model is night and day depending on the load. Just me it will hit 33 pretty easy. Add the wife and a couple kids + gear 28 is it. Add another family, you are max of 23 cruising at 18-20. It really falls off as you load it up, itís not really a concern for us, we arenít ever going that far but that might be where the 3rd pontoon helps, not 100% sure.

We use the pontoon a lot more than we did the offshore boat, and I spend way less time cleaning and maintaining it. I may jump back into the offshore game soon but the pontoon isnít going anywhere. For the family and when we have company it is way more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:00 PM
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2 toons is way slower than 3 toons. Its no comparrison. My 22 tri toon with a 150 was 45 WOT light. With 3 people and gear 40 to 41. Could cruise at 30 easily with 6 to 8 people. The same boat with 2 toons is only rated for a 115. The same boat with 2 toons is atleast 8 MPH's slower. A 2 toon plows. A 3 toon rides on top of the water and rides way better.

My dad has the same boat I had but a 2 tube model. With a 90 he was at 28 MPH light. He rode on mine and was blown away how much faster and smoother it was just by having a 3 rd toon.

Most 2 tubes are only rated for 115. Because no matter how much power you put they hit a limit because they dont get on top enough.

If you on a Lake that's speed limited or not that big then a 2 tube is fine.

But a big lake with open water and a lot of boats . A 3 tube will shine. A 22 or 23 footer with a 150 is happy medium of speed and cost.
Old 05-28-2020, 08:31 PM
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Tooning is an attitude...speed isn't generally much of a consideration....family time cruising to the sand bar or fishing hole is what it's all about....20 mph is usually plenty....super versatile, stable and fun....nothing to wax, shine or worry about....
Old 05-28-2020, 08:37 PM
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As someone who was you 5 years ago I chose to get a 18' with a 50hp as I tip toed in. I just bought my second at 21' and a 115hp. I still love fishing and my saltwater boat but the new pontoon is my favorite boat ever. I liked the 18 but the 21 with the 115 has the power to go about 30mph and pull tubers well. It can do everything. I wanted a triple tube but 10k more just didn't seem necessary once I saw how well the 2 tubes did. If I were putting more money into one I would think the engine would be the thing. A pontoon at about 30mph is like the Enterprise with the engines stuck and going warp 11. That giant top and the sides just aren't built for high speeds. I am extremely happy going about 25mph at a comfortable cruise RPM.

Obviously given unlimited funds, triple tube with 150. First foray into pontoons you could save 10k and be happy. I just paid 33k out the door (no trailer) for mine but my neighbor got a 20' with a Zuk 115 Bently from a dealer in Tampa for 26k with a trailer and half a third toon (yet another option). I'm not sure how different one plyboard with toons can be from another but if I had found that deal I would probably have gotten the Bently. Still absolutely love my boat but I'm pretty rough on them so "cheaper" actually suits me better.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:21 AM
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I currently have my Bennington for sale. Tritoon, 150 HP, top of the line. Engine warranty to 3/23 and two more years stem to stern from Bennington. Will run in the 40’s light, and sip fuel cruising upper 20’s - low 30’s. PM for details or what to look for on a local purchase.
Old 05-29-2020, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Rickyfr View Post
Is there much difference between a 2 and 3 pontoon boat?
I came from a 20' Sea Ray and moved to a 22' Tritoon. I hesitated because I didn't want to buy a "grandpa boat". After owning my pontoon for 3 years, my only regret is why didn't I do it sooner. I'm on a lake that gets really bumpy/choppy on the weekends from boat and jet ski traffic. Especially the wakeboats.

All pontoons are really displacement hulls, but a tritoon will actually plane a bit, getting about half of the logs up and out of the water. That makes a huge difference when it come to smoothing out the ride, and also speed. Mine has a 150 Yamaha and runs upper 30's loaded. I can pull skiers and tubers and have tons of room for folks to stretch out and relax onboard. Unless you intend to be a dedicated wakesurfer and need that huge wake, in my opinion a tritoon is the best lake boat you can buy. It combines versatility with ease of use, minimal upkeep and just an overall enjoyable time on the water.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:51 AM
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Do your self a big favor.

If you buy a pontoon or tritoon, do NOT pay attention to the safety plate that tells you XX passengers. ONLY go by LBS that is displayed on the plate. Just because it may say 8 or 9 people don't believe you can haul that many. You will stick the pontoon into the waves and take water over the front, perhaps causing injury from the sudden stop.

You have to keep in mind, these boats are somewhat of a piece of plywood (floor) with pontoons attached with bolts or screws. They really aren't best suited for very heavy loads.

I wish they would remove the amount of people on those plates.

Make sure you get underskinning.
Old 05-29-2020, 05:21 AM
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I too have been a pontooner since 1985, and I'm currently running a 24' Bennington S series tritoon. I'm good for 40 mph with a F150 Yamaha running a 15 pitch Reliance propeller. My boat is setup perfectly, with very low prop slip. Going up to a F200 would require power steering assist (almost $3K) and the engine's just underr $3K more. And then all I would get out that engine is 43 mph.

Two toon pontoon boats are displacement hulls plowing through the water, and they hit a speed wall just under 28 mph.. But if you order lifting strakes on the toons, the boat with 90 hp or 115 hp will get you substantially more straight line speed. A 2 toon boat with strakes is faster than a tritoon boat due to weight and drag, but the tritoon handles weights better and handles much betterr. The whole idea is lifting strakes is get the nose cones out of the water which fools the boat into performing like a planning hull.

Pontoons and tritoons are boats that you can go from 18' to 28', 2 or 3 toons, 50 hp or 400 hp. They can be plain Jane on seating or plusher than any home seating you've ever seen. It all depends on your pocketbook and your needs in a boat.

The sweet spot in speed, handling and ride is a 22' to 24' tritoon with lifting strakes and 150 hp to 200 hp. You'll have the speed to tow tubers and skiers and also be capable of outrunning Summer storms on the lake. Cost of such a boat is $40K to $50K--depending on how plush you want to go on the seating and fencing..

My favorite brands are Bennington (dominant), Manitou, Harris and Premier. There are another dozen brands that are also great, like JC Pontoons, Crest, Tahoe, Forest River's brands and others. It all depends on what brands are available locally. Most people don't realize that Bennington is Yamaha Outboard's #1 customer, but Mercury and Suzuki outboards are also available on most brand
Old 05-29-2020, 05:34 AM
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Try it. You’ll like it! Never thought I would say that, but there it is.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:48 AM
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Have a 25 Manitou Oasis 373 SHP tritoon with a 300 Verado. 52mph light no biminis, 35-40 cruise with 8 people. Manitou has a patented design where they drop the center larger toon 5.25” lower than the outside toons. This allows it to perform more like a V Hull while turning. We demo’d several tritoons before buying and the Manitou was by far the most solid, no flexing as many others did. They space their cross members closer together and even closer in the bow and stern where the hull
endures the most stress. Do yourself a favor and at least check out Manitou before you buy. They offer pontoons and tritoons. I agree with another poster, cursing around at 20mph enjoying the time on the water is the best. I’d go with at least a 200 if u plan on pulling tubers, skiers etc. You can always dial back the throttle with the higher HP but you will be limited with a 150 and a loaded boat.

Bay Marine in Kennesaw GA, great people, talk to Greg. I drove from St Pete, FL to get my Manitou from them as they were the only ones that rigged with Yam or Merc.

Last edited by GTR96; 05-29-2020 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:52 AM
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Rented one once while on vacation in Tampa for entire crew to cruise. Got me thinking but just canít do it yet. Canít cross that line.
Really there pretty cool but have limitations. Just donít be that guy that tryís to push whatís itís built for.
See them miles offshore all the time.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Rickyfr View Post
Is there much difference between a 2 and 3 pontoon boat?
Huge. If you are moving from a mono hull, I would only consider tritoons with lifting strakes. Keep your sea pro if you plan on coastal visits. Pontoons suck balls to tow. Like pulling a parachute.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:55 AM
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Benningtoon Tritoon. 22' with Yamaha F150. Rated for 13. The center toon is important.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:55 AM
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Rickyfr, congratulations on future fun times! My brother and I & family have had two pontoon boats over the last 15 years we use in the back bays of OC MD which is tidal water and has its moments. Unlike you we went the other way from pontoon boats to a 282 Grady to do off shore stuff. Well I will say this sometimes we miss our pontoon boat, we can get plenty of people on the Grady, but it has a cabin and walk around so that eats up viable people space. We do miss the pontoon boat, we sandbar a lot like right up in the beach, shallow water, our boat was not much to write home about and that made it even better because it was just less stress all the around. We like our new boat but had more relaxing days chilling on the pontoon.

As they always say in boating "Trade Offs"

Best of Luck!

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Old 05-29-2020, 09:02 AM
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My in laws are selling a 22 Bennington tritoon with a Yamaha 150 if interested. I think it is 4 years old and less than 100 hours. Always used on a fresh water lake. Looks very similar if not exact to the one pictured.
Old 05-29-2020, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Walleye Guy View Post
Do your self a big favor.

If you buy a pontoon or tritoon, do NOT pay attention to the safety plate that tells you XX passengers. ONLY go by LBS that is displayed on the plate. Just because it may say 8 or 9 people don't believe you can haul that many. You will stick the pontoon into the waves and take water over the front, perhaps causing injury from the sudden stop.
That's true for any boat. Most safety plate ratings seem to be based on a weight of about 130 pounds per person. Good luck finding a boat load of small people, unless you're bringing a bunch of kids.

It's also much more difficult to stuff the bow on a tritoon than it is on a pontoon.
Old 05-30-2020, 07:37 AM
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I'm not sure how big/rough that lake is, but I'd opt for a tritoon if it is. I boat on a relatively small lake (big for NJ) and it gets really rough on the weekends. I had a 23' Pontoon with a 115HP and would do around 30mph by myself, 24 loaded down but would take water over the front with the rough waves and people sitting up there. I now have a 25' Tritoon with a 225HP and it cuts through waves and rough water like butter, no problems with water coming over the front with passengers. The tritoon has lifting strakes which helps the nose get out of the water and gives you some trim control. If you find a pontoon with lifting strakes, it will def ride better than those which don't (like my first pontoon). The Tritoon also has a lot more buoyancy but is quite a bit more in price.
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