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Pontoon Boats on Lake Erie

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Old 07-04-2018, 03:44 PM
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OP,
Listen to what Walleye Guy had to say. Stick to bays and rivers and only on occasion venture out onto the lake. Forget totally about running to the islands in one.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:25 PM
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Everyone as such a difference of opinion. Hard to make a decision with so many different views.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:02 AM
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When you are looking at pontoons, you not only want to consider length, but almost as important you need to consider the diameter of the pontoons. Most will have 23" or 25" diameter "logs". I have 27" pontoons. This gets me much higher above the water than the standard ones and the ride is exceptional. They are the largest in the industry as far as I know.

I mentioned that when we go out into Erie we anchor at East Harbor beach. This is located right outside of East Harbor which is very convenient for us. However there are times when I am battling wakes from other boat going out of, or returning back into the harbor. I can get over the 3'ft. wakes as my logs will ride over the top of them for the most part.

I have NEVER taken water over the bow with these larger pontoons. You just have to pick and choose your battles and use a little common sense on where your passengers are seated (move them towards the back of the boat for at least that moment). But for long range cruising on Erie on a pontoon, not for me.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:53 AM
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I'm doing to go around and start looking at some other lakes in the area, plus I'll look at lake erie. see what i think. talk to the "professionals" see what they think. What I'm gathering is that if I'm careful and don't go into the middle of the lake or go on during high waves, watch the weather, I should probably be okay on the lake.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:28 PM
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So I've decided to look at regular boats as well. Any advice on size? No smaller than? I saw a Yamaha LS2000 Twin Jet Boat...would that handle the lake better than Pontoons in your opinion. And I can tell there will be a ton of different opinions.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:00 AM
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Yes there will be a number of opinions (from very knowledgeable people) so I'll get in line first since I am up this early

I've never had a jet drive type boat but I think they handle similar to a jet ski. I have observed them in marinas where the person was trying to dock. Like jet ski's, they are difficult to handle/control in a tight/slow situations like docking (saw one hit his dock partners Formula and didn't even leave a note on the damage that he done). Not sure of the ride a twin engine would give. That would depend on the hull of the boat.

For the sake of easy maintenance, dealer network, and handing, I would (if I were in your shoes) look at outboard power. You'll find a good dealer network all along the shores of Lake Erie and beyond sticking to Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude (can't speak for Suzuki or Honda but I am sure they are around). I am not endorsing a brand.

As far as what brand boat, that is a can of worms that will be opened on here (in a good way). There are so many brands, styles, etc. you can procrastinate for months and months on which one would suit your needs. You seem to want to do some cruising near shore. Perhaps a 21' or 23' on up would suffice but this depends on how many people will be on your boat most of the time. If your towing the boat you'll need to make sure your vehicle can handle the rig.

Why don't you figure out what area you'll be boating most of the time and do a walk through at some of the marinas to see what everyone else is boating with? Will you fish this boat? That may help kick start your search. You can ask the people about their boats/engines/horsepower, etc., and see what they like or dislike about their boat. Internet sights of the boat manufacturers can lend information as to the structure of the boat (is wood used for stringers, warranty, etc.).

One last word of advise. If your looking to buy a new boat, some dealers will have boats that have very attractive pricing. They are able to do this because they underpower the boat which you'll likely regret after the sale. Make sure of the performance numbers and if possible, make them take you on a test drive.

Okay THT, pony up with your recommendations.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Walleye Guy View Post
Yes there will be a number of opinions (from very knowledgeable people) so I'll get in line first since I am up this early

I've never had a jet drive type boat but I think they handle similar to a jet ski. I have observed them in marinas where the person was trying to dock. Like jet ski's, they are difficult to handle/control in a tight/slow situations like docking (saw one hit his dock partners Formula and didn't even leave a note on the damage that he done). Not sure of the ride a twin engine would give. That would depend on the hull of the boat.

For the sake of easy maintenance, dealer network, and handing, I would (if I were in your shoes) look at outboard power. You'll find a good dealer network all along the shores of Lake Erie and beyond sticking to Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude (can't speak for Suzuki or Honda but I am sure they are around). I am not endorsing a brand.

As far as what brand boat, that is a can of worms that will be opened on here (in a good way). There are so many brands, styles, etc. you can procrastinate for months and months on which one would suit your needs. You seem to want to do some cruising near shore. Perhaps a 21' or 23' on up would suffice but this depends on how many people will be on your boat most of the time. If your towing the boat you'll need to make sure your vehicle can handle the rig.

Why don't you figure out what area you'll be boating most of the time and do a walk through at some of the marinas to see what everyone else is boating with? Will you fish this boat? That may help kick start your search. You can ask the people about their boats/engines/horsepower, etc., and see what they like or dislike about their boat. Internet sights of the boat manufacturers can lend information as to the structure of the boat (is wood used for stringers, warranty, etc.).

One last word of advise. If your looking to buy a new boat, some dealers will have boats that have very attractive pricing. They are able to do this because they underpower the boat which you'll likely regret after the sale. Make sure of the performance numbers and if possible, make them take you on a test drive.

Okay THT, pony up with your recommendations.

I drove a jet ski for many years. Very little control docking and such. I would believe that it would be much harder to control a boat that handles in a similar matter.

Purpose of boat:
1. Skiing/water sports
2. Enjoying being out on the lake, cruising close to shore. Not miles out.

You make some excellent points. I have looked at the marinas in the areas. That's how I squashed the Pontoon boat idea. I went to 4 different ones, it didn't see one. Saw some small boats. Probably are '16 or so but not pontoons.


Thanks again for the help!
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:12 AM
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Personally, I'd avoid anything jet propelled. Outboards , either 4 stroke or Etec are where it's at. While we all like shiny new things, you'll save a boat load of money buying used. I would think an open bow, dual console model would be the ticket for your needs. Lots of those types of boats around too.

Since this is your first boat (right?) a used one would make sense as you may find that the first boat you buy isn't really a good fit or you want longer or more horsepower. Just remember, there is no perfect boat, they are all a compromise.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Boataholic View Post
Personally, I'd avoid anything jet propelled. Outboards , either 4 stroke or Etec are where it's at. While we all like shiny new things, you'll save a boat load of money buying used. I would think an open bow, dual console model would be the ticket for your needs. Lots of those types of boats around too.

Since this is your first boat (right?) a used one would make sense as you may find that the first boat you buy isn't really a good fit or you want longer or more horsepower. Just remember, there is no perfect boat, they are all a compromise.

1st boat that I'm buying myself. Grew up on spending weekend summers on Lake Chautauqua. Last boat we had was a 19' Rinker. Also had a Reinell. It was like a 26-28' Been years since the bigger boat, but very confident with the 19'.

How old do you is too old? How much do hours on the engine matter? Or is it more about how the boat was taken care of?
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ynot25 View Post
1st boat that I'm buying myself. Grew up on spending weekend summers on Lake Chautauqua. Last boat we had was a 19' Rinker. Also had a Reinell. It was like a 26-28' Been years since the bigger boat, but very confident with the 19'.

How old do you is too old? How much do hours on the engine matter? Or is it more about how the boat was taken care of?
Tough question to answer. Pretty much depends on how it was maintained and run. I'd take an older boat that was meticulously maintained (with records) over a newer one that wasn't. I'd also get a survey done before buying any used boat. Hours....another good question. Was it a ski boat that was run hard or a family boat strictly cruising? hours on an inboard I/O vs Outboard? I believe modern Outboards will out last typical I/O's

For an I/O or inboard, i'd stay under 600 hours. The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine - BoatSafe.com

Modern outboards can go 3000 hours or more. I'd probably look for one under 1200 hours.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Boataholic View Post
Tough question to answer. Pretty much depends on how it was maintained and run. I'd take an older boat that was meticulously maintained (with records) over a newer one that wasn't. I'd also get a survey done before buying any used boat. Hours....another good question. Was it a ski boat that was run hard or a family boat strictly cruising? hours on an inboard I/O vs Outboard? I believe modern Outboards will out last typical I/O's

For an I/O or inboard, i'd stay under 600 hours. The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine - BoatSafe.com

Modern outboards can go 3000 hours or more. I'd probably look for one under 1200 hours.

I've got a couple leads on boats. If they become more serious, i'd like to send you the boat and the price, if you dont mind. I have no idea what the value of a boat should be. Cars are easy to figure out. This is a different story.
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ynot25 View Post
I've got a couple leads on boats. If they become more serious, i'd like to send you the boat and the price, if you dont mind. I have no idea what the value of a boat should be. Cars are easy to figure out. This is a different story.
Try here- Power boat, Sailboat Prices & Personal Watercraft Values - NADAguides

or go to www.boattrader.com and search for similar boats that you are looking at.

I can't really comment on if a particular boat is priced well or a bargain.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:06 AM
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Picking and choosing a day on Lake Erie is a crap shoot weather man/woman says 1'-3' leave Medina go to Catawba Is. 2'-4' or bigger and vs versa. My brother lives on a fresh water lake in SC. has a 24' toon 115hp for every person he adds he looses 1mph but it is the only way for him to go (family). We have 1 tri and 2 dual toon in our marina the tri has been out in 1'-3' with no issue the other 2 are well party boats and just stay in the harbor. I have a friend on Chautauqua has a toon the last 2yrs said he won't own another mono again. Tri toon is the only way I would go.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Walleye Guy View Post
I own a pontoon and dock up in Marblehead and do venture out into the lake just to hit the beach now and then (mostly cruise around East Harbor). Bought mine for a specific reason that I won't bore you with (not by choice, but a necessity).

I'm not sure where you would normally launch from in Cleveland ynot25.

If your mostly going to boat from Edgewater or 55th St. Marina you could cruise behind the breakwall, cruise the river, and maybe take a peek out in the lake on a good day now and then. I would not suggest a standard pontoon or even a triton to cruise over to the Sandusky or the Western Basin. You have to realize the pontoons are only bolted to the floor. Over time and the repeated pounding you will take, something has to give.

From Cleveland to Sandusky you only have Rocky River, Lorain Harbor, Beaver Creek, Vermillion, and Huron to duck into in the event good old Erie rears her head (I don't think I missed a port). Some of these places are fairly far apart when the *hit hits the fan" out there and it will be a challenge for you if not down right dangerous.

I'd suggest trailering to Sandusky Bay. The bay is really nice to boat in. Also, you could boat all the way back to the Sandusky River and go to Fremont for lunch. It's quite a nice run. There are also a number of restaurants in the bay accessible by water.


We recently purchased a pontoon, more specifically a Harris Kyot 26 ft. Royal Heritage with a V-6 Merc I.O. - 215 horsepower. We dry dock at an inland lake but we are wanting to take it up to Sandusky Bay then head up to Kelley’s Island. Obviously we have to watch the weather and such. We are just wondering what others who are more familiar with Lake Erie, opinions are. We are a family of 7 (plus friends) that would be going.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:56 AM
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I have about 40 years on LE.

From Sandusky Bay to Kelleys Island is about a 4 to 5 mile run if your hugging the Marblehead Peninsula coming out of the Bay and going to dock at Seaway Marina on the SE side of the island. I suppose on a very nice day it wouldn't be a problem. However, I was caught in a wind shift on a very nice day once and don't want to go through that again.

I am not familiar with the model pontoon you bought so I am assuming it is a true pontoon and not a tri-toon. Pontoons basically plow through water after a certain speed rather than ride on top of it like a monohulled boat or a tri-toon. Additionally I have to assume you have 23" in diameter pontoons which makes your deck ride just above the water (mine are 27" but I still have to be careful).

With those two assumptions it is likely you will take some water over the bow even on the best days from the wakes off of other boats, especially with a higher load of passengers. I would take the ferry to Kelleys and boat on the Bay which is very nice in itself as long as you are careful.

On Sandusky Bay you can visit Sandusky docking at the city docks, Cedar Point or Quaker Steak for lunch or dinner. There might be a few more restaurants someone else can suggest. There is also a sandbar you can anchor off of for swimming. I hope this helps.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:19 AM
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Even on a nice day, you will be crossing the "slop chute" going from Sandusky Bay to Kelley's. Currents, winds , ferry boat wakes, pleasure boat wakes will all be a detriment to you on a pontoon.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:08 AM
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Pontoons are fine in closed areas or not a lot of boat traffic.

Open water isn’t there thing. They just plow to much and slow.

The extra money to get a Tritoon is well worth it.

I go through boat wakes of boats much bigger than mine and don’t have to slow down.

The ride in chop is impressive and is equal to or even better than the same sized monohull bayboat in the chop.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:28 PM
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A tri-toon with decent HP will provide a lot of fun times as long as you watch the weather and don't do anything stupid. If looking used there probably won't be many that will work with what you need.

I'd stay away from a jet powered boat, only in the last year or two do have they modified the design to give decent slow speed maneuverability and even so they suck a lot more fuel at similar speeds.

I don't know your budget, but a larger I/O or OB that gives some size/mass would be what I would want. Deeper V vs a deck boat.

At any price point it's really you get what you pay for as long as you do a good survey on the boat/engine, etc.
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