Pontoon boats these days are built to satisfy more than one boating lifestyle, from lounging and picnicking to skiing and wakeboarding. Jeff Hemmel’s video review of the Cypress Cay Cozumel 240 on boats.com shows a case in point. After a funny intro, Hemmel delves pretty deeply into the burgeoning market for pontoon boats in general and the strong points of this pontoon in particular.
The forward part of the boat is fairly standard, with big, plush settees on both sides and seating for a good-sized party, smooth roto-molded stowage underneath, and a big – really big—under-deck locker for tow-sports toys, fishing rods, and other gear. Amidships there are two comfortable, body-hugging pedestal seats for the helmsman and a companion across the way. And aft there are wide recliners port and starboard, with big back bolsters and storage underneath.
Like other Cypress Cay models with the T-3 performance package, the Cozumel 240 carries the center pontoon a bit lower than the two outside ones, and there are lifting strakes on both sides of the center pontoon and on the insides of the outer pontoons. These design details help mimic the performance and steering attributes of V-bottom monohulls. With a supercharged 250-horspower Mercury Verado pushing the works, there’s no question that this is a high-performance pontoon. Hemmel ran his test boat to over 45 mph and found the power steering and acceleration to be very good. Here’s the review. For more information, visit Cypress Cay.
People who do their boating on lakes and other inland bodies of water have long known something that coastal boaters have only recently begun to find out: For sheer comfort afloat, combining an ideal platform for swimming, lounging, and partying with enough speed and maneuverability to tow skiers, tubers, and wakeboarders, it’s hard to beat a modern pontoon boat.
Harris FloteBote won a 2013 NMMA Innovation Award for its new Crowne pontoon boat, which has some razzle-dazzle features like a power-lift arch and GPS-based cruise-control.
Unlike the old-fashioned kind that were basically just platforms fixed on top of two floating pontoons, the new designs often feature three pontoons (also called tubes or even “logs”) that are hydrodynamically shaped and efficient in the water, with the middle pontoon lower than the two outboard ones to promote banking and steering that can often rival that of monohulls. Combined with high-powered modern outboards, some of the new breed of pontoons can skim over the water at top speeds over 40 mph, making fast passages between home and fun zone. They’re still relatively uncommon in areas where the water can get downright rough, but they’re certainly gaining momentum on the coasts. Meanwhile, inland boaters are experiencing increasingly refined fun aboard their pontoon boats, not only with higher speed and maneuverability, but with pop-up changing tents, enclosed heads, built-in coolers, outdoor cooking and refrigeration, and ever-better ergonomics in seating and swimming areas.
The Cypress Cay LE250 shows the modern triple-tube design and shaped surfaces that promote maneuverability.[/caption]
Three of the most accomplished pontoon-boat builders are Harris FloteBote, Cypress Cay, and Lowe, all owned by the marine manufacturing powerhouse, Brunswick Corporation. Harris and Cypress Cay operate out of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Lowe out of Lebanon, Missouri — all in the heart of pontoon boat territory.
Our colleagues over at boats.com have been covering these three pontoon-boat brands closely for the past couple of years, both in print and video, so we thought it would be a good time to round up a bunch of their coverage in one spot. If you’re new to pontoon boats but like the idea of them, this will be a good place to start your research. And if you’re already in the game, here’s a chance to see some of the more recent models.
The Boats.com review team recently climbed aboard a new but classic Boston Whaler and took it for a ride. What they found was that this basic design—which has been around for generations—still combines fishability and family fun into one trailerable package.
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One look at the square bow, low freeboard, and high perimeter rail, and you instantly know that this boat is a Montauk, one of Boston Whaler’s most legendary designs. The 210 is the largest boat in the Montauk line, yet with a standard trailer it’s still easily towable to and from the water. Once there, as you can imagine this boat excels at fishing. But as we’ll see in our review, it also has the amenities that make it great for cruising, skiing, and wakeboarding. Let’s take a closer look at the largest model in the Montauk line.
Bob, with a lot of more cutting edge designs in the Whaler line, what kind of buyer goes for the tried and true Montauk?
Bobby Garza, Boston Whaler: Well Jeff I think most Montauk buyers are somebody who appreciates the more traditional classic lines of Boston Whaler. They’re somebody who’s looking for a safe, stable platform for their family. It has ample features, but not too many to make the boat too complicated; they’re hose and go type of people, more utilitarian. They’re just looking for a simple, safe platform.
And to make it convenient for that buyer, you offer this as a package deal.
Growing up, my lake was filled with pontoon boats. Circling the shore each evening, or rafting up in one big party on the weekends. Back then a comfortable seating area was about all you needed. But today’s buyer demands a lot more. They want speed, performance, even the ability to tow skiers and wakeboarders. How does Harris FloteBote’s Sunliner LS 220 fit into that equation? It’s not really pontoon boat weather, but I’m gonna go find out.
Don, this Sunliner features the Luxury Series upgrade. Now what does that include?
Don Mason, Harris FloteBote: That includes a larger helm stand, more ergonomics, you get a different foam pack in the seats, fully vinyl-covered rotocast, you get an upgraded helm seat to the luxe helm seat. You get a different graphics package in the insert in the seat itself. You get docking lights standard with the boat. We’ve added styling cues to the fence and additional bars to help set it apart, give it a different graphics appearance.
Transcript of Boats.com’s Video Boat Review
Hard core fishing boats play in a pretty tough arena, the open ocean. As a result, they need to be not only seaworthy, but also comfortable for the captain and crew. Boston Whaler’s 320 Outrage boasts the brand’s legendary unsinkable construction—that takes care of the seaworthy part. A deep-vee hull and smart layout take care of the rest. Here’s the results of our test of the 320 Outrage.
Will, you can pretty much do anything with a 320 Outrage, but at its core this is really a hard-core offshore fish boat.
Will Rogers, Boston Whaler: It sure is Jeff, and let me show you right here one of the key features of the boat, which is our bait prep station. It has a forty gallon pressurized live well, along with a nice cutting board, with a little rinse down sink. Along with that we also have a twenty gallon live well back here in the back. So we have not only a principal live well but also a pitch live well.
Transcript of Boats.com’s Video Boat Review
Old salts wouldn’t recognize today’s Boston Whaler. After all, the Conquest 315 boasts 600 hp on the transom, and a cushy cabin that would rival many comparably sized cruisers. But then again, maybe they would. As our test of the 315 showed, Boston Whaler’s core values haven’t changed. The boat features the same unsinkable construction process that made the company famous, and a hull not intimidated by the open ocean. Here’s our review of one of the newest members of Whaler’s growing Conquest lineup.
Will, the Conquest can fish, but this boat also makes a really good cruiser.
Editor’s Note:Pontoon boats are providing fresh competition for the decked boat market, with new hull configurations that rival v-hulls in performance and handling while still offering plenty of space for a party. To find out more, watch this Boats.com video boat review.
Decked boats have proven immensely popular in recent years, but they now have a big target on their back. And the boats taking aim are none other than pontoons. Like this Cypress Cay Cozumel 250. By combining high horsepower with agile new pontoon configurations, boats like the Cozumel are now rivaling their v-hull competitors in terms of performance and handling.
Add the wide open layouts that have always made pontoons a favorite, and you’ve got a new-found performer that still knows how to party.
Boats.com got a call last spring that we couldn’t refuse. The exclusive opportunity to review the new 285 Conquest before its official launch. Needless to say, we didn’t shy away from the chance to put this good looking, dual purpose design through its paces.
Something as simple as cockpit seating can tell you a lot about the thought that goes into a boat. Most cabin fish boats in the 28 foot range would put a bench right here. On the Conquest 285, Boston Whaler has put two facing seats. One of the nice things is the passenger can sit and actually face forward. Add an optional table, people could eat, play cards. There’s even a filler cushion to make it a bench if you want.
But one of the coolest parts? Step back and flip this latch, and that backrest pivots forward, and a footrest slides out from below. This gives the fisherman a great spot to watch some baits.
It’s just one of the many examples of a company that understands not only how to build a boat, but also what their owners use them for.
Interview with Ron Berman, Boston Whaler
Now this is a total redesign of the from the keel up. Yesterday I felt a lot of that solid predictable smooth ride. What’s actually been done to the hull?
Ron: Well this boat is keel up new design. It starts with a 20 degree deadrise at the transom which helps with the soft ride, but provides a stable platform. But what really helps, what you noticed, was how we transition from the flat deadrise, the running surface, into the entry.
Any Whaler story starts with the company’s unique unibond construction method. It lays up a hull and a liner at the same time in two adjacent molds. Those two pieces are flipped, put together while the fiberglass is still curing, and high density foam is injected into the resulting void. The end product is a one-piece solid unit that gives Whaler its unsinkable reputation.
Wakeboarding’s all about BIG. Big air, big sound, big room to bring all your friends along for the ride. Not everyone’s a match, however, for a 24 foot wake machine. That’s why Tigé created the RZR. It’s got all the features of the company’s flagship line, in a more compact 2o foot package that Tigé promises to be an exceptional value. Is it? Let’s find out.
Daniel, if bigger is typically better in the towsports market, why come out with a smaller boat like the RZR?
Daniel Gutierrez, Tigé Boats: I think it’s because we felt that we could put the bigger is better mentality and the feel into a smaller boat. So the RZR is a very large and spacious design, for being a 2o foot boat. But it also allows people with a restricted waterway and they need a limited size boat or someone who has to tow several hours or a long distance in order to use the water, it gives them a boat option that isn’t compromising in that big boat feel.
And it really does deliver the performance of a larger model. Yesterday I had Adam Errington out behind the boat. I mean, he just killed it off the wakes of a smaller 20 foot boat.
Daniel: Absolutely. It’s a boat that’s not only designed to feel big but it has the performance of a big boat as well. So you fill up the different ballast options that we have, you can make a killer wakeboarding wake, or a surf wave that’s absolutely huge, in really a matter of minutes.
In this week’s Boats.com Video Boat Review, Jeff Hemmel dives into an entry-level pontoon boat that offers the same construction and materials used in higher end models.
VIDEO BOAT REVIEW TRANSCRIPT We hear a lot about “bang for the buck” in today’s boating market. A lot of it’s hype, but some of it is valid. Take Cypress Cay’s Seabreeze. This is a price-point entry level model, that still uses a lot of the same quality construction and materials that Cypress Cay uses on their higher end models. Let’s take a closer look at this entry-level pontoon.
Interview with Jane Schlegel, Cypress Cay Cypress Cay is relatively new to the market, but I know you have a full a range of models. How do you keep the quality up in a price-point boat like this?
Jane: Well what we did on this boat is we make it a no frills boat. We just provide the quality materials and construction method that we know people will value. What we don’t have are all the frills that we do on our upper level models. We still offer things like the same quality vinyl that we have on the bigger boats, protected by the prefex. We have a fiberglass helm, stainless steel hardware. And also we give people a lot of room inside the boat. So these boats have a lot of seating capacity. And we think at this price point that’s the kind of value people are looking for.