Extended Summer

Published in the August 2011 Issue August 2011

Most pontoon and deck boat manufacturers realize how attractive and useful a good swim platform can be. At its base, a swim platform is just an area of the boat with a ladder to get in and out of the water, along with a small place to stand and possibly towel off. The more deluxe models involve anything from a washdown hose to cup holders, and some even feature a spot to put your drinks to keep them cool. And don't forget the importance of good handholds; not everyone is spry enough to hoist themselves from the water onto a flat deck alone.

We've looked at nine manufacturers who have excellent examples of what a swim deck should be. Read and learn what to look for when buying your next `toon or deck boat. Your crew will thank you for adding a fun, functional area to what is often wasted space on some crafts.


Aqua Patio 240 I/O Elite TT

Who says that all the fun has to be had within the rails of the pontoon? The Aqua Patio 240 I/O Elite TT has the ideal swim platform area for all the interests of your crew. The multi-position aft seating ensures that you can soak up some sun in comfort while others dip their toes in the water from the swim platform, as it creates both bench and lounge seating. The platform has an aluminum welded structure of cross channels for extra support, while the standard popup ski/tow bar means a day of skiing is at your fingertips, but won't get in the way if you have no intentions of getting in the water. There's no need to worry about the prop with this boat, as the swim platform's length extends further than the fully tilted-up prop. For an added appeal, consider the versa-teak deck option for the swim platform on the 240 IO Elite TT.

Aqua Patio is proud to be part of the Nautic Global Group (NGG). Nautic Global Group prides itself on fostering and maintaining professional relationships between its manufacturing facilities, authorized dealers and retail customers. Before accepting delivery of your Aqua Patio boat, an authorized Aqua Patio Dealer performs a series of services to prepare your boat for the water-a crucial step in ensuring that you will enjoy your new purchase to the fullest.

Phone: 888-463-3739

Web: www.GodfreyPontoons.com


Bennington 2575 QCW I/O

This `toon features a larger, fiberglass swim deck than is usually found in the industry, and the benefits are clear. Shown with an optional stainless-steel ski pylon and stern washdown feature, this model is ready to be a launching-off point for kids jumping into the water, a place to secure a waterskier and a cleaning station after an afternoon on the shore. No tracking mud or sand onto the carpet here.

One of Bennington's core values is understanding that their customers are their best asset. Through word of mouth, dock talk, and the recommendations of friends and family, Bennington has grown to become one of the most respected names in the pontoon business.

Bennington starts each day with a management meeting that includes the president and CEO, lead engineer, lead designer, lead production director and lead personnel from the sales and customer service departments, and with the exception of the holidays, they haven't missed one in 14 years. That's dedication.

Phone: 574-264-6336

Web: www.benningtonmarine.com


Chaparral SSi, SSX, Sunesta and Xtreme Series

These crafts all feature one of the most stylish and functional swim decks in the boating industry. What sets Chaparral apart? Here's the rundown.

All of Chaparral's boats have integrated platforms, which means no bolt-on afterthoughts here. In addition, these boats are equipped with a three-step telescopic boarding ladder that mounts in its own compartment, not atop the platform where it can take up valuable space. To further enhance the ladder, telescopic models include a top-rung grab handle for easier use.

For safety, the ladder is always mounted on the starboard side so the driver can safely monitor activities going on in the water, and Chaparral's Diamond Lustre diamond non-skid flooring allows secure footing and is easier to keep clean than a silica non-skid.

Select models are either equipped standard or can be equipped with a custom logo mat on the swim platform. Select Sunesta and Xtreme Series offerings feature an aft-facing transom seat or sun lounge, for added comfort.

All Chaparrals are equipped with a stainless steel rub rail that surrounds the entire swim deck for more protection. Select models also feature an ice chest in the swim deck that is accessible from the water. Finally, these swim decks are mounted closer to the water than most you may see, for easier access when getting in and out.

Phone: 229-686-7481

Web: www.chaparralboats.com


Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL and SL

The Grand Mariner SEL and SL models from Harris FloteBote feature an extended swim platform, complete with an oversized aft lounger with flip backrest, built-in storage, six cup holders and a stereo entertainment package that includes an MP3 docking station and digital remote control.

Whether you're looking for family fun under the sun, a relaxing cruise at sunset or a chance to reel in the big one, Harris FloteBote's extensive line of pontoons offers something for everyone. But no matter how you choose to spend your time on the water, each model guarantees the ultimate in luxury, an abundance of space and countless amenities-all of which ensure unforgettable on-water experiences.

While on the topic of features at the aft, the Transformer Lounger from Harris FloteBote was designed to let you spend time on the water however suits you best. Want continuous lounge space so the family can cozy up? Or maybe you prefer separate loungers for individual sun time. Whatever you choose, the Transformer Lounger provides ultimate versatility and comfort.

Phone: 260-432-4555

Web: www.harrisflotebote.com


JC Manufacturing SunLounger 25 TriToon

JC offers a custom port and starboard swim platform based on the design used by offshore performance boats. It is made of powder-coated aluminum in an open slat design so that water may flow through it and not cause stern lift. It also features a non-skid surface and the custom-designed under-platform ladder maintains a comfortable angle for boarding. A one-piece swim platform of a similar design is available on JC boats powered with sterndrive (I/O) engines.

To achieve consistent quality, JC Manufacturing relies on two factors. First, only the very best components are used; and second, complete control of the production process is maintained. Unlike some other manufacturers who use countless outside suppliers, JC Manufacturing is very self-sufficient. They are proud to say that all major components including rail systems, upholstery, pontoon tubes and bimini tops are made in-house. These capabilities give them control over the final quality of every JC pontoon. What does this mean to you? Every boat with the JC logo on it will deliver trouble-free performance and top resale value, year after year.

Phone: 574-834-2881

Web: www.jcpontoon.com


Princecraft SVX 29 I/O, SVX 27 I/O and SVX 25 I/O

Princecraft offers a quality standard swim platform as a standard feature on three of its models.

The swim platform is called the Fun Zone, and this exclusive feature was designed with good times in mind. Its ultra plush seat and oversized swim platform make it the perfect spot for jumping in, keeping an eye on the kids, or simply relaxing aboard your pontoon.

It includes an ultra-plush, rear-facing lounge seat with armrest and cup holder, while also providing a great viewpoint. The platform itself is designed for maximum space and safety, with finger pinch guard hinges on doors and an anti-skid vinyl floor.

For entertainment and relaxation, look no further than the remote radio control, cup holders and rear padded sundeck.

The design also allows for easy access to the engine, while the four-step telescoping boarding ladder ensures anyone can board with ease from the water. Portable, padded armrests trimmed in wood grain add a classy touch, as do stainless steel cup holders.

Princecraft's mission is to create unparalleled experiences on the water for fishing and boating enthusiasts with professionally rigged and ready packages of aluminum fishing boats, pontoon boats and deck boats.

Phone: 800-395-8858

Web: www.princecraft.com


Sea Ray's 260, 288 and 300 Sundeck

Sea Ray offers an extended swim platform on all three of these models, which feature a concealed three-step stainless-steel ladder with a grab handle. The 260 and 288 models also have non-slip rubber inserts for additional safety.

Emphasizing its 50-year history, tradition and heritage, Sea Ray is dedicated to continuing to be a leader in the marine industry through manufacturing superior quality fiberglass boats.

Sea Ray's mission is accomplished by producing high-quality, cost-efficient boats using superior people, quality materials, and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and facilities, as well as providing their employees with a quality work environment and rewarding them for superior performance.

Sea Ray also strives to continue an international strategy of addressing foreign competition and opportunities by emphasizing specially designed, engineered and manufactured products for international markets.

Phone: 865-522-4181

Web: www.searay.com


Starcraft's Star Step 220

The swim decks on Starcraft Marine's deck boats are some of the best in the industry. Not only do they look great, but they are also very practical for all your water sports needs. The extended swim decks is a fiberglass piece, screwed into the back of the hull for support and also held on by two stainless-steel posts that are through-bolted in the hull and through the swim deck. Another feature is a telescoping ladder that is molded into the fiberglass and inset to prevent trips and falls. Whether you are dangling you feet in the water while anchored or putting on your skis, an integrated swim deck is a feature you'll soon learn you can't live without.

Starcraft Marine has been around since 1903, before Americans drove cars, flew airplanes or had televisions. Since then, Starcraft has designed and engineered countless industry-leading improvements to pleasure and fishing craft, all to help families build their own heritage on the water. Whether a Starcraft takes your family cruising, fishing, waterskiing or wakeboarding, one thing's for sure. At the end of the day, it brings you closer together.

Phone: 866-772-4538

Web: www.starcraftmarine.com


Tahoe's Sierra Funship

Have the best of family fun every weekend with the all-new Sierra Funship, loaded with standard features to let you slide, swim, lounge, entertain, and even waterski.

Tahoe is dedicated to the latest technology, the finest materials and the best people. They have been building some of the finest U.S.A.-made pontoon boats for over 40 years. Tahoe is a vertically integrated builder, which means they manufacture the pontoons, framing, furniture, covers and more right in their own production facility. Unlike some competitors, who outsource most components, Tahoe is able to achieve and control the highest degree of quality. New technology found in their water jet cutter provides a smoother finish and more accurate dimensions. Computer-driven Gerber fabric cutters create exacting furniture patterns for excellent fit and finish. Electronic saws make sure all aluminum is cut to precise dimensions, and the latest in welding technology gives your boat the superior finish you expect. Tahoe's generations of Midwestern craftsmen have been instrumental in the building of America. Their headquarters-based customer service people will make sure your experience is exceptional.

Phone: 800-334-2913

Web: www.tahoepontoons.com

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