Finally got new boat on a lake. Some thoughts....
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Thread: Finally got new boat on a lake. Some thoughts....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    315

    Default Finally got new boat on a lake. Some thoughts....

    Sorry, butthis isn’t short at all.

    We purchased a 2019 Crest1 220SLC pontoon boat this winter at one of the boat shows. It sat in its parking place at the house all winter while I added some things and worked on the trailer.

    This last week we finally got it out on High Rock Lake to break in the motor according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Here are how things went and some observations and comments that may help anyone out there thinking about buying a pontoon boat.


    THE ENGINE :

    I got a SuzukiDF 150 four stroke to push the tritoon. It was the biggest the boat was supposed to handle.
    I lost count how many times my other half asked…Is the motor running? When sitting still and not flying down the lake, we were hard pressed to hear the engine. That sucker is QUIET. And, when you are flying down the lake you can still carry on a conversation with no problem as it is not noisy as you might think a 150 hp motor would be. I had to be sure the other half was seated or give her a warning when accelerating because that motor would pin you to the seat and if you were standing you were going down.

    We put 11.5 hours on the boat over two days. Speed (RPMs) varied often as is the manufacturer’s break in requirement. On the first day the gas gauge read Full. When we left for home and filled up the tank for the next time out, it read ¾ full. However, I don’t think the gas gauge is reading correctly. I say that because there is a sticker on the gas tank that says the capacity is 44 gallons. Yet, when I filled up, I put in 24 gallons. That is more than ¼ usage in my book. Still 24 gallons used in 11 hours over 2 days is pretty dang good in my book. That should handle the majority of my excursions without having to perform an “on the lake” fill up at the inflated fuel prices.

    If you have read any of my previous threads on this boat prior to actually getting it on alake, you will remember when using “ears” I had problems getting water out the pee hole. So when we launched and I started the motor I hauled butt to the back and there was water already shooting out the pee hole just like it was suppose to be doing. No more ears usage. The “boat” principle….bust out another thousand….is in effect again as I am now on the hunt for some kind of container that is large enough to fit the prop into and fill with water. I have a trash can for my jon boat 30hp Tohatsu, but finding one large enough for the 150 hp may be a challenge.

    Speed…speed…speed. Everyone has asked….how fast did you go? First of all, it was a break in trip so I didn’t push past 5000 RPMs. However, at those RPMs I managed what I consider a respectful 34 MPH according to my Humminbird Helix 5. If you know anything about a Crest pontoon boat, they are built like tanks. Made to last and with that comes a bit more weight that other pontoon boats. Durability and long life were more important to me than a few more MPH.


    TRAILER GUIDEON SYSTEM:

    The boat came with a trailer, but with no guide on system of any kind. That was my problem. I purchased three sets of CE Smith 21 inch guide ons. They came with mounting brackets and a PVC tube with cap to slide over the metal upright. I put foam around the PVC and got some really heavy-duty tent canvas and sewed covers for each to slip over the PVC. These were mounted on the trailer so they were situated between the center toon and each outside toon.

    Also, I purchased one set of CE Smith 48 inch uprights that went on the outside of the trailer. These did not come with PVC pipe or mounting brackets. I got the PVC from Lowes and the mounting brackets from CE Smith. They did two things for me. One was to give me a point of reference in my mirrors while backing. And, two, they were an aiming point so that I would have them on the outside of the toons and they would keep me from flying off left or right until the other sets of uprights came into effect and guided the boat straight up onto the trailer.

    Bottom line, they worked like a champ. I am no seasoned boater and these guides got me and that huge 22 foot pontoon boat up on that trailer like I knew what I was doing. Money well spent.



    TRAILERING COVER:

    Worst purchase I have made….so far. I spent a little over $600 for a Carver trailering cover. In case you don’t know, the boat comes with a “mooring” cover and an explicit disclaimer that if you use the mooring cover going down the road and it flies off since it is not designed to fly down the road…..all warranties are invalid.

    So I did my research and went with Carver. I had the dealer rep measure the boat and I gave them the measurements. It came and great shades….what a pain to put on. We put it on when we picked up the boat and it wore a hole the first use. That was no doubt our fault since we really had no clue what we were doing and the dealer just stood there and watched not helping one bit. Carver did however give me enough material for FREE to repair the damage and future damage as well. But, this thing is a nightmare to put on and take off. We decided since it was wonderful and sunny day to drive home with no cover at all like so many with pontoon boats do. When we got home and tried to put the Carver cover on for sun and weather protection after battling with it for 30 minutes I just said the heck with it. We will from now on travel with no cover like a good number of people do and take our mooring cover for when we dock for the night. It goes up in 15 minutes or less. Not to mention doesn’t damage the shark hide application on the toons like the straps on the Carver cover did.

    If you are thinking about getting a trailering cover, think real hard. If you can handle a used one, let me know…..going half price.


    TOWINGEFFECT ON TRUCK:

    I have a 2017 Nissan Titan with full trailer package. Before the boat I got an average of 15 MPG in town and 18 to 19 MPG on the open road. Towing the boat, I get between 8 and 9 MPG. And, for some reason, my non boat towing MPG seems to have gone down too. Need to talk to Nissan about that.


    VISIBILTY:

    What do I mean about visibility. When we used the Carver cover, no matter how tight we could get the straps the cover ballooned up and expanded on the sides and impaired visibility with my mirrors. The drive home from picking up the boat….Henderson NC to Raeford NC…was a nightmare because when doing a lane change I was never positive if some idiot wasn’t flying up on my side. I never knew if anyone at all was behind me ever. The mirrors just didn’t tell me.

    So I went on line and got me two cameras. One is a motorcycle dash cam. It records everything going on behind me. It will record that idiot on the cell phone plowing into my engine. The other is a WIFI camera with a wide arc of view that sends a signal to a screen I can mount in the cab when in use that shows me everything going on behind me. If I want to make a lane change,I can take a quick glance and know everything happening behind me and safely change lanes. I know some of you think that is crazy and ridiculous, but don’t confuse me with anyone that cares. I like 360 awareness.

    Both camera systems are water resistant so if it rains that is not a problem.


    LAUNCHSITES :

    Like I said,I also have a jon boat. It is a 16 footer. I have never really had any problem towing it and getting it around at launch sites or renting homes by lake that can accommodate the boat and trailer. However, measuring my truck and trailer for the pontoon boat….we are coming in right at almost 50 feet. That takes some turning room and a few launch sites I have been to with my jon boat will not work with my pontoon boat at all. I mention this solely as a thought you should have in considering purchasing a pontoon boat and where you may be able to…or not be able to…get it in the water.


    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    Would I buy a pontoon boat again if I had a chance to relive the purchase. To tell the truth, probably not. Oh we had a ball even just breaking in the engine. And we are looking forward to more trips out. But I am just a step off of 70 years old and this boat takes some up keep and muscle that somewhere along the line I lost!

    Plus, we know of only one house at High Rock Lake we can actually get the boat into and out of the yard. Other houses we rent at High Rock, Badin and other lakes will NOT take the truck and boat in the yard or driveway. I can understand now why most of the people on the lakes with pontoon boats do not have trailers. They leave them at the docks and come winter some have a company come recover the boat and store it for the winter.


    Hopefully this will help one or two of you and I am sure upset a few as well. It is a great boat and we def are having fun with it. But a long time keeper it is not. In 4 or so years if you areinterested in a pontoon boat look me up. May have a great deal for you.

    The great thing about excruciating pain......at least you know you are still alive.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Pensacola,FL
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    3,658

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    Those are interesting perspectives, you make some good points. I agree with your assessment that 'trailerable' covers are not worth the trouble for a variety of reasons.

    The point about visibility for backing provided by the uprights on the trailer is also worth noting. Without uprights, if the trailer is directly behind me, I would not be able to see my trailer from my F150 at all.

    I think we all learn things about what we need or want in boats by owning them... I have a jonboat, then bought a center console, and after having that center console for a number of years, I finally learned what I wanted in my next center console, which I have now had for almost 3 years and so far I love it. I'll make a couple modifications to it soon like additional rod holders flush mounted in the gunwhales, but overall I think we finally got it right for what we need... till that changes!

    Thanks for the informative post! Useful stuff for those willing to take the time to read it.
    - Sam
    "Things are only impossible until they're not!"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    315

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    ThanksSurfRider…

    We have since taken the boat out again. Discovered some new things. Some good….some bad.

    Upon returning to dock for loading on both approaches the tail end would swing right at the last minute. Not sure if was wind…don’t think so….or the wake of those loading beside us. Either way on the first approach it swung so bad that the loading system I praised so much first entry just totally collapsed when I hit it. I really didn’t think I was approaching that fast but apparently I was so I will have to be very aware of approach speed. It did such a job on the first two guides I had to back the boat up and return it to the wait dock and pull the trailer up and remove them. That left me without any initial guides at all to get on the trailer.

    The second approach it swung right again but I still managed to get it corrected and finish the loading. I have since then spent many nights working on a system of 2x4s attached to the guide posts that will be more controlling. The ends have an angled piece at about 20 degrees inward so if I am off a couple of inches the angled 2x4 should catch the toon and slide me up the guide. We will see. Thank Heaven Crest’s are built like tanks!

    I am hoping to have it totally finished in the next few days and get my buddy to go out with me as the other half is crushed at work and test it out. Plus, I have only 4 hours left before I am suppose to execute the first 20 hour oil and fluid change. Fun.

    Keep watching….let you know how it goes.
    The great thing about excruciating pain......at least you know you are still alive.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Oak Island
    Posts
    165

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    As for gas mileage, I have a 2015 Yukon XL 4 wheel drive that gets between 22 mpg and 23 mpg on the road, and 19 mpg-20 mpg in my rural driving. Put a boat behind it, even my small 16’ Jon boat, and it goes south- to 14 mpg. My 19.5’ McKee Craft with a T-top does even more damage. It’s all about the rear end gearing and wind resistance. We had a 1996 Suburban 4-wheel drive that would still get 19 mpg on the road with the Jon boat and a full load (20 mpg on the road in normal conditions). It had the 5.7 l. V-8 and not the smaller V-8 they use today. But I don’t tow my boats very far, so as long as I get 22-23 on the road (even when heavily loaded), I am a happy camper.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    844

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    Always said if I ever bought a home on a lake, I would have a pontoon boat. And that is the ONLY way. I would never want to have to trailer one. But I have seen many people do it, especially at High Rock. You know, the ones that pull in on Sunday after church. They take the entire ramp, then proceed to load Grandma and grandpa, then the kids then the beer cooler. Then the food and then the pets. And then and only then they try to launch the boat, lol! Good luck to you. Enjoy the new boat.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Belews Creek
    Posts
    71

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    We inherited a 20' Bennington when we moved into our new house. I'd say that the original posters observations are all correct.

    There are pluses and minuses with a pontoon.


    Fishing: For catfishing or any kind of bottom fishing, pontoons are terrific. Heck lay down on a couch and take a nap while you're waiting for a bite if you want. A nice bimini top makes the nap even easier However you want to do any type of shoreline or skinny water casting, the pontoons are really not made for it. It's really hard to position one because they have such a high profile and the wind catches them so easy.

    Leisure: It's hard to beat a pontoon for entertaining and leisure. Pile the family on and you have a nice stable platform where people can socialize on the water. No boat leaning to the side when someone stands on the edge, no cramped quarters, enough seats for everyone, and unlike some boats (like a bass boat) you don't have to either go 5mph or 50 mph........the pontoon can cruise at 5, 10, 15, 20mph and you don't have to worry about planing it out.

    Mobility: Not very much. Awkward to get on a trailer, about as aerodynamic as a brick traveling down the road on a trailer, and just plan not easy to have out of the water.

    That said, they're also the easiest / lowest maintenance boats to keep in the water year-round.
    meenyt likes this.


  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West of Wilkesboro
    Posts
    507

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    I’ve owned my 21’ pontoon and drive-on trailer for 6 years now and discovered some launch ramps at Kerr Scott Lake are in narrow coves where the breeze is N-S favoring loading and unloading. There are ramps where the breeze is E-W and on one November day it took me a half dozen attempts to get my boat loaded. On a windy day even with the bimini folded down sometimes you still have to stand on the submerged trailer tongue and pull the boat onto the bunks.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Please Don't block the ramp or the dock. My pontoon and crew cab require a wide berth.
    Dave, Teresa and Greg


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