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Thinking of a tri-toon for saltwater, nearshore and occasional "offshore" use

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Thinking of a tri-toon for saltwater, nearshore and occasional "offshore" use

Old 06-11-2021, 07:45 AM
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Default Thinking of a tri-toon for saltwater, nearshore and occasional "offshore" use

I realize this will open a can of worms from what I've seen in the past, but here's the scoop:

I live in the Clearwater, FL area. I like to spear fish, fish, and just spend time out on the boat. Wife used to join me offshore, but is more and more interested now in keeping things within 15 miles on ideal days. Doesn't like getting too overheated, or spending 8 hours on the water. Loves to snorkel and fish.

In the last 10 years I have owned 3 boats. Started with a 196 Keywest Bayreef. Took it all over, down to the Keys, probably went out in conditions I should not have, but first-timer boat owner and all

Then got a Cobia 250WA - still have it. Used it mostly for offshore fishing, diving, etc.

For a short time had a 17 foot cc Key West 1720. Wife really liked it for shorter trips, inshore/nearshore, etc.

As I get older, the long offshore days are more of a PITA, and the wife doesn't like the Cobia for many reasons (and I get it).

I can always hitch a ride on another person's dive boat or fishing boat, so there are fewer reasons for me to keep the Cobia and it pains me that my wife has no interest in going out on it, but would love to have a different boat that she COULD go out on and feel safe and comfortable.

Which brings me to the Tri-toon idea.

I would love to find a manufacturer/line or style that could give me the following, if possible:

Stable, reliable, and safe whether inshore or "slightly" offshore up to 15 miles in ideal conditions.

Fast enough so that if something popped up weather-wise "offshore" I could get in pretty quickly.

Fishable and able to add a GPS trolling motor.

We aren't sand-bar people, or stereo/party people. We rarely have more than just the 2 of us or maybe one other couple on board.

But I would like something that has room, stability, and is fishable but that I could also snorkel or dive off of (I don't see what I couldn't on a good day 15 miles offshore with my dive gear).

So, hit me with what you got.

Old 06-11-2021, 08:16 AM
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It would be useful if you mention what's wrong with the Cobia and what exactly are you looking for in the new boat. "Stable, reliable, and safe" is very generic.

15 miles offshore, I'd take a regular catamaran (say, a Worldcat), but it depends on your budget.
Old 06-11-2021, 09:28 AM
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Any of the major brands like Bennington, Manitou, Avalon etc. have tritoon lines with many, many layouts and you can stick twin 450's on the back if you wanted to (see pic).

Bennington has a CC T-top model now.

Mine can handle 12 people and get up to 50mph with an F250. Up to 3 footers this thing will eat them up better than a monohull - but over 3 it starts getting a little dicier. They are your SUV's of the boat world, that is to say they can do a lot well but nothing better than boats specifically made for a particular task except maybe partying on the sandbar.



Old 06-11-2021, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Drako View Post
It would be useful if you mention what's wrong with the Cobia and what exactly are you looking for in the new boat. "Stable, reliable, and safe" is very generic.

15 miles offshore, I'd take a regular catamaran (say, a Worldcat), but it depends on your budget.
Nothing at all wring with the Cobia to me, but wife doesn't like it because when we go out she has to launch and load it (and she is short, and can't see much from the helm) plus she doesn't like how sensitive it is to trim, and hates it when we have long, slow rollers offshore and the deep-V hull tilts back and forth.
Old 06-11-2021, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by novabasstoon View Post
Any of the major brands like Bennington, Manitou, Avalon etc. have tritoon lines with many, many layouts and you can stick twin 450's on the back if you wanted to (see pic).

Bennington has a CC T-top model now.

Mine can handle 12 people and get up to 50mph with an F250. Up to 3 footers this thing will eat them up better than a monohull - but over 3 it starts getting a little dicier. They are your SUV's of the boat world, that is to say they can do a lot well but nothing better than boats specifically made for a particular task except maybe partying on the sandbar.


Thank you - exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. I wouldn't be going out in any conditions "offshore" that called for more than 2 footers, and honestly unless it was only calling for 1 footers or less I wouldn't be going out there with the wife.
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:52 AM
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Call Dalton, he has one.
Old 06-11-2021, 12:40 PM
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Well, I would definitely get a tritoon and not a pontoon for your purposes.

Of course get decent power on it too, but I dont think you need twins unless you feel you have to go fast. Interestingly the cruise speed for most pontoons/tritoons is somewhere around 15-20 no matter how much power you put on them but the extra power comes in handy when you have a bunch of people onboard.

Lots and lots of choices out there. I would consider getting a double bimini setup to maximize your shade possibilities.

As far as offshore....on the Atlantic there would be very few days where it would be feasible in a tritoon but on the gulf it is way better. I think just watch your forecast and you would be fine.

I have a Sylvan pontoon with the planing logs and a 115 Honda and it does great. With two of us cruise at 17, top end 34. If I had to buy again, I would get a tritoon though.
Old 06-11-2021, 12:53 PM
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Default Sylvan

I had a very large top of the line Sylvan mandalay with the planning logs RPT tubes with a Yamaha F150 top speed was close to 40 it handled moderate chop very well was very comfortable had 20 foot of Bimini top however they replaced The pontoons three times they cracked at the welds or near the welds make sure you have warranty rough water flexes and twist the boat aluminum work hardens and the trouble will begin
Old 06-11-2021, 01:24 PM
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Yes, I read about that problem before I bought mine. I heard the first generation logs were a major problem. Apparently the redesign was much better. So far (knock on wood) no problem.
Old 06-11-2021, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by novabasstoon View Post
Any of the major brands like Bennington, Manitou, Avalon etc. have tritoon lines with many, many layouts and you can stick twin 450's on the back if you wanted to (see pic).

Bennington has a CC T-top model now.

Mine can handle 12 people and get up to 50mph with an F250. Up to 3 footers this thing will eat them up better than a monohull - but over 3 it starts getting a little dicier. They are your SUV's of the boat world, that is to say they can do a lot well but nothing better than boats specifically made for a particular task except maybe partying on the sandbar.


Holy Shit, that is fugly…..looks like the Miami sandbar version of a pontoon.
Old 06-11-2021, 03:39 PM
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Eric, I know exactly what you want, they are locally made and I actually tossed around the idea of one a few years ago. Look up Catamarancoaches.com, they are made in Bradenton. Guy will make you what ever you want, since they are custom and local, can literally design it yourself from the deck up. Alot more durable than a traditional pontoon, much more versatile and from the pricing I’ve seen on the traditional pontoons, alot less expensive….win win in every category.
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Old 06-11-2021, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by grey2112 View Post
I realize this will open a can of worms from what I've seen in the past, but here's the scoop:

I live in the Clearwater, FL area. I like to spear fish, fish, and just spend time out on the boat. Wife used to join me offshore, but is more and more interested now in keeping things within 15 miles on ideal days. Doesn't like getting too overheated, or spending 8 hours on the water. Loves to snorkel and fish.

In the last 10 years I have owned 3 boats. Started with a 196 Keywest Bayreef. Took it all over, down to the Keys, probably went out in conditions I should not have, but first-timer boat owner and all

Then got a Cobia 250WA - still have it. Used it mostly for offshore fishing, diving, etc.

For a short time had a 17 foot cc Key West 1720. Wife really liked it for shorter trips, inshore/nearshore, etc.

As I get older, the long offshore days are more of a PITA, and the wife doesn't like the Cobia for many reasons (and I get it).

I can always hitch a ride on another person's dive boat or fishing boat, so there are fewer reasons for me to keep the Cobia and it pains me that my wife has no interest in going out on it, but would love to have a different boat that she COULD go out on and feel safe and comfortable.

Which brings me to the Tri-toon idea.

I would love to find a manufacturer/line or style that could give me the following, if possible:

Stable, reliable, and safe whether inshore or "slightly" offshore up to 15 miles in ideal conditions.

Fast enough so that if something popped up weather-wise "offshore" I could get in pretty quickly.

Fishable and able to add a GPS trolling motor.

We aren't sand-bar people, or stereo/party people. We rarely have more than just the 2 of us or maybe one other couple on board.

But I would like something that has room, stability, and is fishable but that I could also snorkel or dive off of (I don't see what I couldn't on a good day 15 miles offshore with my dive gear).

So, hit me with what you got.
Here's my boat offshore. Just remember don't go down too far in the ditch under power. Never get in front of any big ones. Make sure your new boat has fishing chairs instead of couches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HQq...7EW9NzG4hAJagZ
Old 06-12-2021, 08:11 AM
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Sounds like you are trying really hard to please the Mrs. And you’re pretty happy whatever you’re in.
I get it.
Maybe you should let her sea trial and pick out the boat?
It’s a win win for you.

Old 06-12-2021, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ebbie View Post
Sounds like you are trying really hard to please the Mrs. And you’re pretty happy whatever you’re in.
I get it.
Maybe you should let her sea trial and pick out the boat?
It’s a win win for you.
Not only no, but HELL NO !!!

The trick is to get a boat that suits your needs, but the wife will be happy with when she goes out with you. My wife thinks the boats main purpose is to go from the lift to the beach or sandbar and stop at a restaurant on the way there or back. She’s perfectly happy with a boat with no top so she can throw her bean bag on it and get full sun while traversing to and from said beach. In her mind, if I want to take it out diving or fishing, that’s fine with her as long as it’s available to run her to the beach on days she wants to go. She was perfectly happy with the first 18’ cat I had, but have you ever tried to take 4 divers 30-50 miles out in an 18’ boat with no sun shade on a hot Florida summer day?

On the other hand, you don’t want to end up in the situation Grey is in now, where it becomes “your” boat because she doesn’t enjoy it or get to use it. Eventually it leads to arguments when something breaks or you want to go diving because “you” are always spending “our” money on “your” damn boat. Get a boat that meets her needs and yours and when she gets to go out when she wants, she won’t care about fuel or repair bills when you and your friends want to use the boat without her. Believe me, it’s much more fun to when you can go out diving and not have to worry about coming home at a certain time or walking on egg shells to keep her happy.

I know Grey (Eric) and his wife, she is a wonderful, easy going (as far as I know) woman and will be perfectly happy with him picking out a boat that meets their needs. I would also go as far to say that if they kept the Key West 1720 (her boat) and sold the Cobia (his boat) instead, Kelly would have been perfectly fine with that. Half the fun of getting a new boat is figuring out what you want and the search. I’m pretty sure if he picked out a boat that met his needs, while meeting hers at the same time, she will be fine with it.
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Old 06-12-2021, 08:50 PM
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I’ve found it’s the small things that are hard to find when buying a Tritoon do it all. I am partial to the Bennington’s, but that being said I’ve been on some nice other brands. Bennington and Premier would be at the top of the list. 22 footer would be sufficient from my experience. A lot of these boats will have small fuel tanks. You’ll probably want more than 30-40 gallons if you end up with a 200hp or more. Front door and the trolling motor can have issues unless you buy a fishing toon or are able to get the half door. May be able to order one that way. If the trolling motor is on the boat, obviously the front door will have to be open when t.m. is not being used. That can be a pain in the ass. I would want 4 fishing chairs and at least one couch. Make sure center toon is a full toon, not the half toon some use. Read up on that previous sentence. Look for a raised helm (about 4 inches off floor), it makes a huge difference. I like your idea. I really don’t see anything wrong with at all. I’d much rather be in a good toon in snotty true 3s than a 17 or 19 c.c. If I recall right, Bennington will sell you a floating bare deck. Then you can have it outfitted as you please. If I were buying new tomorrow, it would be a Bennington of some sort. Their warranty is outstanding. And their boats are beefy.
Old 06-12-2021, 09:43 PM
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Make certain to consider a bimini (or double Bimini) if you want any shade at all... and be certain to oder the “salt water” option.
A tritoon wiht 150+ will move out at 40mph or more especially if the tubes are 25” or greater diameter and w/lifting strakes.

Most of the better brands have a lifetime warranty (for the original owner) on the toons, decks, structure etc.... All welded construction, synthetic/honeycomb aluminum decks, sea-grass floor coverings and such warranties have made the failed structures a thing of the past.

You definitely should ask about larger fuel tanks. Some Tritoons utilize that center tube for addt’l fuel and 40-50 gallons are a minimum IMO, because if you cruise at speeds above 25 or so you’ll burn 15 gph or more.

We love our 24’ SouthBay TriToon w/ aft fishing chairs, changing-room w/toilet and cooking stations. Wife is always ready to get out on the water with it.
Old 06-13-2021, 06:55 AM
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Please, please do not believe that any pontoon or tritoon is going to be comfortable or safe in a nasty 3' sea. Maybe 3'@12. This topic has been brought up many times. They will not "eat up a 3' sea better than any mono hull." If you want to go offshore, buy yourself a capable offshore boat. Pontoon are great fun for the lakes and those who love to sandbar and hang out inshore. They are not offshore rigs in any way.
Old 06-13-2021, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Windham14 View Post
Please, please do not believe that any pontoon or tritoon is going to be comfortable or safe in a nasty 3' sea. Maybe 3'@12. This topic has been brought up many times. They will not "eat up a 3' sea better than any mono hull." If you want to go offshore, buy yourself a capable offshore boat. Pontoon are great fun for the lakes and those who love to sandbar and hang out inshore. They are not offshore rigs in any way.
Good point - I'm referring to the 3 footers in my area (river and bay) not open ocean. And I'm not comparing a 24 foot tritoon vs a 34' Midnight Express but equivalent lengths.

OP test ride and decide for yourself, I think you'll be surprised with a modern tritoon's capabilities. I once ate a 6-8 footer in heavy boat traffic and while wet, experienced another bonus feature - self bailing!



Old 06-13-2021, 07:22 AM
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I had a 22' Bennington Tri-toon. It did all the things you are looking for and was a super comfortable boat. I ran it out of Crystal River for several scallop seasons. It got a little choppy out there at times and near the mouth of the river we got into some stormy 3' short chop. It did not like that and would start pitching pretty good. Had to really slow down and glad I didn't have far to go. The Tri-toons react well to trim, so you can get the bow up pretty good. Anything under 2' and it rode great. Mine had a 115 four stroke and would cruise around 30 with several people and coolers. Had it hit 37 with just me on it a few times. I didn't have any complaints with the 115, but a 150 would have been even better when loaded up. It was an all around fun boat. My wife and kid enjoyed it and still miss it. The space to move around is great and lots of shade with the big bimini tops. I would not recommend anything other than a Tri-toon and lifting strakes. They are much more buoyant than a regular pontoon no matter how the tubes are designed.
Old 06-13-2021, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by FinReaper069 View Post
Eric, I know exactly what you want, they are locally made and I actually tossed around the idea of one a few years ago. Look up Catamarancoaches.com, they are made in Bradenton. Guy will make you what ever you want, since they are custom and local, can literally design it yourself from the deck up. Alot more durable than a traditional pontoon, much more versatile and from the pricing I’ve seen on the traditional pontoons, alot less expensive….win win in every category.
Thanks, man!

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