Boat Test Monday: South Bay 925 Sport

August 2012 Boat Test Monday

It's Boat Test Monday! Every year, we meet up with some of the top manufactures in the pontoon and deck boat world to test their newest models. All of these reviews are compiled in a special Boat Test issue that comes out during the first part of the year.

South Bay 925 Sport


Our First Impression

Every year we see new changes and improvements at our annual boat test, but no manufacturer surprised us more than South Bay. This truly innovative pontoon is like nothing we've ever seen in our industry before and the more we inspected it, the more we liked it. 


Consumer Test

Welcome to the future. This could possibly be a look at the next generation of pontoon boats and it starts with the radar arch that is a fiberglass and aluminum combination providing a strong, yet lightweight feature to the boat. And with the bimini and ski pylon on top, you know this isn't just for show, although we do like the sporty look of it.

This all-new model has a lot of great features inside the boat, including a very unique touch screen helm console. You can control the GPS, music, mood lighting and more from the screen, but we really like that the boat still has a speedometer gauge as well as other critical functioning switches in case something happens to the electronics. Plus we even discovered a backup camera built into the ski/tow bar on the back deck. We told you this was an innovative pontoon.

There are three comfortable lounges onboard, two in the bow and one in the stern, and each have unique storage below including a flip-out trash receptacle as well as a pop-up changing room. Worth noting is the arm rests with cupholders that extend out of the lounges and these are solid in design and not just for looks.

You need to step over the rear seat to access the swim deck, but we really love this area that includes a synthetic teak floor, stainless steel boarding ladder, wash down and there is even a stereo remote, plus the solid ski/tow bar as well. When you're not underway, there is a rear-facing bench seat, which would be ideal for the sandbar or when you're anchored out on the lake, and below is a huge storage compartment that you can access by simply pushing a button at the helm that lifts it up.   


Inspection Test

With the Trifecta Performance package you get three 25-inch diameter pontoons with lifting strakes on the insides of the two outside pontoons and on both sides of the center tube. The pressurized pontoons are chambered with a keel, and the weld quality is excellent. The C-channel cross-members are secured to the plywood deck and are on 16-inch centers, and there is a full-length splash skin to help improve the performance.

Up top there is over 17 feet of usable deck space from inside the bow gate to the rear bench seat. The aluminum/fiberglass combination provides tall sides that would be safe for smaller children and the craftsmanship and fit and finish work is amazing throughout the boat.


Performance Test

The Mercury 225 Verado is a great choice for this boat as we jumped up on plane quickly and had plenty of power to reach the 40 mile per hour mark. It has a big boat look to it, but it doesn't handle that way. She's fun to drive and we had a great time diving into the sharp corners.


Who Should Buy It

Thinking outside the pontoon box pays off with this new South Bay from Forest River. It's one thing to build a stylish and sporty-looking pontoon, but when you add in innovative features like a touch screen console, backup camera as well as plush seating, you've got a great all-around pontoon that a lot of families will be able to appreciate.

Why We Love This Boat
The aluminum radar arch is a great feature, but I think it's the touch screen helm console and all the other neat amenities that we love the most about this innovative pontoon.


Just Being Picky
You see it on some fiberglass ski boats, but we don't like stepping on seats. But to gain access to the beautiful swim deck you have to climb over the back. 

Notable Standards
Soft Touch sand dollar interior with color coordinated accessories, 30-inch granite Top Cote fiberglass console, 8-gallon freshwater tank with 12-volt pump, tilt steering, helm courtesy light, tach/hour meter, Clarion stereo, MP3 ready with USB port, color coordinated gel cote with redwood dash, 30-ounce carpet, electric access with storage, sport ski/tow bar, fiberglass exterior with "D" railing and fiberglass table with stainless base.  


Options on Test Boat
Sport Arch, LED underwater lighting, teak stern flooring and electronics package including Sirius satellite, amp and subwoofer, Trifecta Package including: center tube, lifting strakes, full aluminum underdeck skin, power assisted hydraulic steering and 52 gallon fuel tank.


Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants - 17

Price As Tested With Power - $66.4K

Maximum Speed - 41.3 mph

Wild Ponies - 225hp

No. of Gates - 2

0-20 MPH - 5.2 seconds               

Ladder Steps -  4         

Ladder Measurement -  2' 10"      

LOA  - 27' 9"

Beam - 8' 6"

Hull Design - Trifecta Hull

Dry Weight - 3,360 lbs.

Fuel Capacity - 52 Gallons

Tallest Rail Onboard  - Sides 30"

Lowest Rail Onboard - Bow 25"

Changing Room Height - 5' 5"


Test Drive

RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   D-A    

5600                2.3 mph            70                   

1000                4.2 mph            75       

1500                5.9 mph            84

2000                8.0 mph            79                               

2500                11.0 mph          86.5    

3000                16.0 mph          92       

3500                20.3 mph          90                               

4000                23.7 mph          93.5    

4500                28.5 mph          103.5  

5000                32.1 mph          99

5500                35.8 mph          100.5

6000                39.7 mph          101.5

6300                41.3 mph          103


Price As Tested                        $66,454

(Boat and Motor)

Middlebury, Ind.


Don't forget to check out the video of the test:



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