What’s Next As A Classic Boat? Pontoon Boats?

I feel sick.

I feel sick.

It happened. I think I want to throw up.. What we all feared. These dam pontoon boats, the mini vans of the seas have now officially infiltrated into the classic boat world. How do I know? Well last night while searching for stuff on ebay, And that is the official place you know. I searched “Classic Boats” and you know what came up? Right between a bad ass Donzi, (sans babe) and a Chris Craft Corvette? A dam Pontoon boat.. Really! It’s one thing to see them on the lake, or river.. I can deal with that.. BUT in the search term “Classic Boats”,.I am going to complain to ebay. What’s next? Jet skis? AND, it’s more expensive than the Corvette and about the same as the Donzi! Really! That’s like saying a Lamborghini and a classic …well Corvette is the same as a mini van.. .. Wait, it does have carpet and a changing room thing.. And it is a living room on the water? Doesn’t really ask much of you? mmmmm.And one day it will be a classic.. No really think about it. They are what they are.. Admit it, we all think an old van is cool now. Just think, one day your kids will be dreaming of a being a Pontoon Boater. Ohhhh no.. Wait, I have a solution. I am going to invent an app that takes care of stuff like this on line.

Oh yeah thats better!

Oh yeah thats better!

45 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I don’t care what you say that pontoon on the header with the “Old Johnson” and the medal chairs is pretty “Classic”.

  2. Eric
    Eric says:

    This is me and our dog on the “classic” wood pontoon (featuring Styrofoam pontoons) built by my father soon after he bought our house on the lake. It got us out on the water and we have lots of fun family memories on it. I’m sure glad he made the leap later to woody Chris-Crafts! Really? Styrofoam Dad?

    • Chad
      Chad says:

      Love it! …throw some chickens and goats in there and you’d have yourself a floating petting zoo. AND a crib for the kids!

      Necessity is the mother of invention.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Eric – That’s a very cool wooden pontoon boat that your Dad created. I think someone should find it and “preserve” that classic boat for future generations to see.

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        Texx – Unfortunately it rotted being half submerged on shore during winter storage. It was sawed in half and the “good” half was used as a swim platform well in the 80’s. The bad half ended up in the burn pile. I remember lots of “accelerant” needed and black smoke! No s’mores!!!

  3. Pappy
    Pappy says:

    I’m with Troy. In terms of age, I’d have to say the header pontoon is a classic. It might even be the mother of all those we see now. I’ll give it some slack for that reason and because I just like old stuff .However, the EBay pontoon needs the app for sure!

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    Play craft has a ‘toon that did 112mph at the LOTO shootout… it still looks like a mobile dock and offers all the comforts of one. The stock model has 900 HP and only does 90 mph. The technology is getting more like a tunnel boat with a party on top.

    They go fast, they go slow, some have wood superstructure and all have a lot of space for sunnin’ and funnin’. Besides being butt ugly (every one) the pontoon mobile dock phenomenon is extremely versatile and practical….and growing.

  5. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    We have many family fun memories while putting along on pontoon boats on Lake of the Ozarks back in the 70’s and 80’s. We would pack a lunch an go out for the entire day. At 12 mph we could cover a lot of miles and beautiful lake scenery, go fishing and swimming along the way, all in a day. The good part was that if it got dirty, leave it out in the rain. In no time she was ready for another day of fun. But Classic??? Depends on the definition!!!

  6. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    My three boys grew up on a pontoon much like the one in the header. My dad got one in 1968, and we had to take our own chairs on and off each trip. My kids love to ride their little ride toys on it, when they were 2 or 3. They would start at the front and tell Grandpa to hit it, and roll all the way to the back!
    Then Dad got his “Pimp Mobil Pontoon” in the late 70’s, (Modern built in seating, a bar, head, and at the time, a “God forbid foreign Yamaha outboard!”)
    Now, what do you think my 40+ year old sons would do if they saw the header pontoon at a classic boat show? They would be drawn to it in a heartbeat, thinking back on all those good times on the lake with Grandpa, and maybe even have a tear in their eye…

  7. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    I don’t get the outrageous prices on these things. They don’t take any special skills to produce, except being a good welder/fabricator. A pontoon boat certainly doesn’t have 25G worth of aluminum in it. To me they are still just floating docks w/ a motor.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      $25 grand is cheap. I saw my first $100,000.00 Pontoon this year at the winter boat shows. And there were several manufacturers offering them at that price.
      A “TRI TOON” with twin 300 h,p, Mercs all tricked out seemed to get a lot of foot traffic at all the boat shows.
      I even got passed by one on Spring Lake, doing 60+mph!!!
      What is this world coming to???
      But like someone above said, Pontoons are the “SUV’s” on the water. We are getting use to ALL of the “Creature Features” we enjoy in our SUV or Pickups, and want them on the water…
      I love driving my 2010 F-150 with all the places to place my smart phone, sunglasses, wallet, cup holders all over, comfortable seating, etc.
      Our 1985 Camaro on the other hand, doesn’t even have
      ONE cup holder!!!

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        I paid almost $80k for my 27′ pontoon boat in 2002 – some of that due to a weak Canadian dollar at the time but it was not a cheap boat by any means. I still have it and it has more than paid for itself in fun and good times. Some of these pontoon are indeed chap but many are not.

        I have looked at the 29′ model Dennis mentions here – my boat could stand to be replaced now. With a single 300HP they are about $115,000 up here, have every convenience known including a tiki bar and will go nearly 50mph. The twin set up is much more money )$30k?) and of course a lot more fuel. You only get about 8mph more with the second 300 so it seems a total waste. These are floating cocktail lounges/party platforms, not speed boats.

        There is a huge improvement in content, features and quality between my ’02 and a ’14 29′ Premier. For those that have a need or desire for this kind of on-water experience, pontoons are great fun and I believe I will likely always own one.

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    The “minivans of the seas” comment intrigues me. Minivans are great vehicles. They are an example of form follows function. Some of them will become classics, such as a first generation Caravan. They probably will never be coveted though. When you think about it, same goes for pontoon boats.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      To anyone scoffing at the idea of that first gen Chrysler becoming a classic – – look no further than the now venerated but no less execrable VW Microbus these days. Terrible vehicles when new and already outdated – horribly underpowered, unsafe, poor/dangerous handling, no heat and little else positive other than space efficiency. Look at the prices of them now, but they were absolutely detested by many for years. Chrysler sold millions of these vans because they delivered what they promised to buyers who wanted those attributes, and they worked. Very simple – same as pontoon boats.

  9. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    We once had a 24′ Tracker Party Barge with 48 hp Johnson motor. ( I didn’t tell many people then) The grand kids could delighted in driving it “full power” and we still wouldn’t anything very hard. As long ago as that was, that boat ( if you could call it a boat ?) would now qualify as a classic…Whatever….It was a fun ole boat and the grand kids still have a lot of fond memories.

  10. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    At the risk of offending a few Woodyboaters and WITH the intention of offending one, I’d like to say that the pontoon boat is the Subaru of the water. All function with no form.

    • Up North
      Up North says:

      I drove a Subaru once I thought it was pretty nice, a lesbian couple that were some friends of our had it. Great snow car if you only get a few inches of snow a year.

      • m-fine
        m-fine says:

        They are very popular around here and we average 100″ and Syracuse averages 120″ a year. They stay on the road a lot better than a pickup or SUV which together make up the vast majority of vehicles in a ditch that I pass. As a bonus, if you are looking for a ménage a trois with a lesbian couple, they are second only to the Jeep Wrangler in attracting people of that persuasion. Or so I have heard. The best part is when the road ices over and someone slides into your Subaru, you don’t cry like when you scratch the varnish on a Chris Craft or dent your vintage Benz, you just get it fixed or trade it for a new one.

    • Kentucky Wonder
      Kentucky Wonder says:

      I drove a ’96 Outback for several years, while on photo staff at our newspaper. Heck of a car, really, and could get to and out of a lot of places normal cars and many SUVs could not go. I loved the disgusted faces of 4×4 owners when they got hauled out of a snowy ditch by a lowly Subaru.

      I have a Ford Expedition now, which does not have the traction afforded by the Outback. Expedition carries a lot more, can tow a boat and has multiple cupholders, which is a great thing on long trips. Plus, it has 4×4 Low, which has been mostly used for pulling bushes out of the yard without digging.

  11. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The long range forecast for Skaneatles is looking about as good as one will ever get in mid to late September, at least for Wednesday through the weekend. Nowhere close to a risk of frost, highs pushing 70 and some sunshine to boot!

    So, load your pontoons on the trailer and hit the road.

  12. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I must admit it, I kind of like pontoon boats. We drive the woody all day, and then at cocktail hour, it’s often pontoon time. More importantly, tied at the dock it serves as our living room. That said, last year I sold my pontoon and bought my neighbor’s Hurricane deck boat: Fiberglass hull and V8, but a pontoon on top. The mullet of the water.

    So shoot me!

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      We bought a Sea Ray SUN Deck back in 2001 and STILL have it. The longest I have ever kept a boat! And it is the closest I will ever get to owing a pontoon!
      Our 24ft Deckboat has all the features of a pontoon layout including a head and sink. But what sold us on it, was the front bow design to make getting in and out of the boat when you beach up. Even has a forward ladder.
      I can take 12 people for a ride and still have room. Plus it has great styling .

  13. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    My friend bought a 28′ pontoon boat very similar to the one in the picture back in the mid 80’s with a 35 Evinrude, It was an old boat then that was made from steel, the pontoons were steel barrels welded end to end with a pointed nose on the front, the starboard side had a list from the rusted holes in the bottoms of some of the barrels but when it ran if was a lot of fun.On it last voyage at about 2500 rpm the motor started missing and then an explosion with internal engine parts spitting out in the lake, The header brought back a lot of old memories.

  14. Bill Anderson
    Bill Anderson says:

    My dad would put steel bands around 55 steel drum 5 on each side then deck it then sell it finally he sold sylvan new but they were 1100 and was hard to sell but speaking of pontoons I think it is time Steve Stevenson posted a pic of his daily driver,,

  15. Martin
    Martin says:

    4th of July parade in lake Max in Culver, IN 1984. My dads idea of a joke. I am in the middle of the toys someplace! Classic Picture nothing more or less.

  16. Texx
    Texx says:

    Kirk – A “classic intervention” I love it!

    Could we hold it in the Chris-Craft Land Cruiser holiday trailer? (That would be a nice touch…)

  17. Bill Loose
    Bill Loose says:

    I’ll consider a pontoon-equipped craft eligible as a future classic when they resemble this. No matter how much the header image might tug at your heartstrings, we all know how much these babies yank on your wallet-strings!

Comments are closed.