The idea of purchasing a boat and embarking on an on-water lifestyle can be daunting to the uninitiated. It can seem like you're entering an unfamiliar world, one with its own distinct language and customs.
That's all about to change for those who are interested in pontoons, courtesy of a new website from Lowe Boats, the Lebanon, Missouri-based manufacturer of Suncruiser. Launched this fall, PontoonLiving.com provides comprehensive resources for "newbies," while also offering important content for more experienced boaters.
"We wanted to create a complete online guide for pontooners," said John Metcalf, vice president of marketing for Lowe and Suncruiser. "While there are a lot of great boating resources out there, we want to give pontooners a place that's designed specifically for them - a site that can introduce them to pontooning lifestyles and that will continue to offer expert ideas and suggestions as their journey evolves."
PontoonLiving.com's content is divided into two categories. The first is comprised of key information that new boaters will appreciate, including tips on choosing the right boat based on your family's needs as well as advice on financing, insuring and registering your new purchase. The site also includes basic information about navigation, boat handling, docking, trailering, launching and winterizing.
"This section of the site is really where you get started," Metcalf said. "We provide suggestions on choosing a dealer, choosing the right power and assessing what specific features and activities are most important to you and your family. We even include a budget planner and loan calculator.
"We also can help you find your nearest marinas and launch ramps," he continued, "and we can connect you with a variety of recommended boater-education courses."
Because a boat purchase involves the whole family, PontoonLiving.com addresses parents in one important section of the site. In "Tips for Parents," the site discusses on-water safety, skin and eye care, keeping clean and staying warm; it also offers suggestions for making each pontoon outing fun and interesting for all ages.
"If the kids are safe and having fun, the parents will have fun," Metcalf explained. "Boating is such a rich, rewarding experience for the whole family, we want to make sure parents have the information they need to feel comfortable."
The site addresses teenagers as well, acknowledging that it's sometimes tough for parents to engage their older children in family activities, and that teens want to make their own decisions. The "Calling All Teens" department incorporates sections on pursuing teen-friendly boater education, how to get more involved in exciting watersports, what's available in terms of onboard music and gear, and much more.
There's even a "Kid's Corner," so younger children can play fishing-themed games on the site.
At its heart, boating is all about having fun - and PontoonLiving.com devotes the rest of its content to exactly that. Not only does the site answer the important questions of why you should choose a pontooning lifestyle for your family and how you can best enjoy your boat, it provides new editorial features each month.
"Each month, we publish new how-to articles in our Party and Adventure Guides," Metcalf said. "In November and December, we have features about hosting a fishing tournament and going pontoon camping, as well as articles about hosting on-water block parties and raft-ups."
In addition, each month includes gear reviews in "The Gadget Guy;" service and maintenance tips in the "Mr. Fixit" blog; and new recipes in "The Agua Cafe," which allows on-water chefs to sharpen their skills and create memorable al fresco dining experiences for their families and guests.
"What makes these features especially fun is that we do a lot of cross-referencing," Metcalf said. "When we talk about hosting the best block party ever, we link that article to the Agua Cafe, where we offer suggestions for delicious dine-around meals. And when we tell you how to host a fishing tournament, we link to equipment reviews.
"This is really what makes PontoonLiving.com such a special online destination," he continued. "It's organic. Site visitors can pursue their favorite topics, and through the embedded links we provide, they can move on to related topics which they might never have discovered on their own. Someone hosting a raft-up, for example, might never have thought about an island theme with special recipes. Another person who is thinking about taking up fishing might not know about available gear that will make his or her experience more enjoyable."
PontoonLiving.com also seeks to build an online pontooning community that will become increasingly active within the site. To that end, it incorporates a photo gallery for pontooners to upload their own photos, and it encourages participation through a photo contest. The grand prize winner will receive a $500 Cabela's gift card.
"We also hope site visitors will feel free to suggest story ideas or special content they'd like to see on the site," he added. "We want new and existing pontooners to feel a sense of ownership, because we designed the site for them."
To learn more about pontooning and on-water lifestyles, to get photo contest details and to check out the November and December editorial features, visit www.PontoonLiving.com.
About Lowe Boats
Founded by Carl and Dianna Lowe in 1971, Lowe Boats has a strong reputation among experienced boaters for building high-quality, affordable aluminum fishboats and pontoons that suit a variety of needs. The company is a technological leader in the aluminum boat market, achieving milestones that have pushed the entire industry forward. And, as the years have passed, second and third generations of families have returned to Lowe and Suncruiser for more great times on the water. Headquartered in Lebanon, Mo., Lowe Boats is a unit of the Brunswick Boat Group, a division of Brunswick Corporation. For more information, visit www.loweboats.com.
Headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., Brunswick Corporation endeavors to instill "Genuine Ingenuity"T in all its leading consumer brands, including Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines; MotorGuide trolling motors; Attwood marine parts and accessories; Land 'N' Sea, Kellogg Marine, and Diversified Marine parts and accessories distributors; Arvor, Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Cabo Yachts, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris FloteBote, Hatteras, Lowe, Lund, Meridian, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Sealine, Suncruiser, Triton Aluminum, Trophy, Uttern and Valiant boats; Life Fitness and Hammer Strength fitness equipment; Brunswick bowling centers, equipment and consumer products; Brunswick billiards tables and foosball tables. For more information, visit www.brunswick.com.