Pontoon Boats History
Mr. Ambrose Weeres, an American farmer, is credited with having invented the pontoon for leisure as we know it today. In 1952, in the small country town of Richmond, Minnesota, he thought of tying a wooden deck to two aluminium cylinders. He figured, and rightly so, that this would be more stable on a lake than a conventional boat.
Being in the land of 10,000 lakes, Mr Weeres thought his idea might have some potential to be marketed. He built a few units he was easily able to sell around him. His first pontoon was named "The Empress". Since his invention was so successful, Mr Weeres founded his own company: "Weeres Industries". Within a few years, his invention earned him the nickname "Mr Pontoon". Mr Weeres past away in 1991, but his business lives on.
Living On A Pontoon Boat
Not only is a deck safer and more comfortable than a V-shaped hull, it is also more enjoyable to use. The versatility of its structure has lead to limitless applications. So much so that the pontoon has practically become a floating cottage cruising lakes and rivers.
The pontoon industry now offers a wide range of models in many sizes, layouts, designs and colours. In fact, the industry must meet an ever increasing variety of needs and preferences, such as design and colour schemes. Some prefer a layout that offers maximum comfort, whereas others opt for something cosier, more welcoming. But one thing is sure, generous storage space is a must. Lots of people means lots of clothes and lots of things to eat and drink.
Many small and mid-sized companies allow you to personalise your pontoon and some even custom-build them. Depending on the versatility of the structure and what the consumer is ready to invest, these manufacturers can meet individual requirements pertaining to layout, the use of different materials or make structural additions. An example of this versatility is the step half-cones from the SOUTHLAND company. This structural element can be added to the tubes to improve the buoyancy of a pontoon when a larger engine is used. Another example is the addition of a small supplementary engine mount for an electric engine.
Three Tube Performance
Still true to its original purpose, a smooth cruising craft the whole family can enjoy, the pontoon boat has recently been able to attract new fans. While still being fond of the comfort of a wide deck, some users have wanted to spice up their pontoon life. They asked for speed...and they got it. Manufacturers have added what is called the "three tube performance" kit. This is done by adding a centre tube, a sheet of aluminium lining the underside of the deck and performance hardware to the tubes.
A three-tube pontoon boat is much more stable over rough water since it stays above the wave, instead of going through it. Furthermore, a pontoon boat with a third tube allows you to reach higher speed because it can be equipped with a more powerful engine and floats higher above the water. This last characteristic also helps fuel economy. Finally, if the diameter of the center tube is greater than that of the side tubes, manoeuvrability is also improved, allowing for tighter turns.
Quality Of Pontoon Boats
The pontoon industry being in full bloom, a whole lot of companies have sprung up, both big and small. Unfortunately, quality varies as well, from the extremely low to the unaffordably high. It can all seem very confusing at first. What it still comes down to, though, is a deck with a little or a lot of equipment, usually topped off with a healthy serving of claims that can me misleading. The smart consumer has to take the time to inquire about the materials used, how they are assembled and warranties offered.
Another way to make sure you are buying a quality pontoon is by looking into customer satisfaction. Manufacturers that put quality first often depend on word of mouth for publicity. Satisfied customers talk. This is good not only for the manufacturer, but for the whole watersport business as well. As a result, the more manufacturers offer quality products, the more watersport associations will succeed in bringing people to try and adopt this sport.