Boat Test Monday: Misty Harbor 2285 RL

October 2012 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. Here is one of the best 2012 models. Enjoy!

Misty Harbor 2285 RL


Our First Impression

Value driven, there is a lot to like about this mid-range model from Misty Harbor that is new for 2012. Your focus rightfully goes to the two rear-facing lounges in the stern, but this pontoon has a lot more going for it than just two comfy rear seats. It's been a few years since we've had a chance to test a pontoon from this Iowa-based manufacturer and we couldn't wait to get started.


Consumer Test

It's the little touches like the polished corner castings, 20-ounce carpeting and the full length stainless steel piano hinges that you appreciate when you first come aboard. Rated for up to 12 people, there are plenty of great places to sit, including the bow chaise lounge just forward of the helm. But arguably the two most popular seats are in the stern, which are the rear-facing lounges. There is plenty of room to stretch out on these lounges and there are even storage cutouts to store your loose items. Without doors or netting on these cubby holes you're limited on what you can safely store here, but overall we like that the design gives you options to place your loose items while underway. 

Below the portside rear lounger is a well-hidden pop-up changing room that stands nearly 6 feet tall. It's easy to use and we like that it tucks away nicely when you don't need it. Outside the rear gate is a nice swim deck, complete with a four-step ladder.

At the helm, the console includes easy-to-read gauges as well as a stereo, MP3 jack and a 12-volt outlet. For the captain, the bucket helm chair slides and swivels and it really complements the throttle design by allowing the driver to get in a comfortable position. We also like that there is a cutout in the helm chair to allow air to pass through, which will surely be appreciated on those hot summer days.  


Inspection Test

Below deck, two 25-inch diameter pontoons are the base of this 23-footer and the weld quality is good. The Z-shaped cross-members are bolted to the plywood deck on 16-inch centers overall and on 12-inch centers near the transom for added support. One of the few options is the full-length aluminum underskin, which helps protect the bottom as well as improve the performance.

Above deck there is over 18 feet of usable deck space from inside the gates and overall the craftsmanship and fit and finish work earned solid marks.


Performance Test

Capable of reaching speeds close to the quarter century mark, the Evinrude 90 E-TEC proved to be a great match for this Misty Harbor. With a 0 to 20 mph time of 5.7 seconds, this pontoon really should come standard with a ski/tow bar. In fact, based on how well she handles in the flat turns, we would recommend the ski/tow bar option for those looking to get the most out of this pontoon.

We love how this 90 horsepower engine performed on this model and at times we had to look back and check to make sure we weren't dealing with a bigger engine, which says a lot about both the engine as well as the design of the pontoon.  


Who Should Buy It

Younger families with kids who love to be pulled on tubes will enjoy this boat, but older couples who want to just cruise and can appreciate the added value this Misty Harbor offers will enjoy it as well.


Why We Love This Boat
There is too much value to call this a price-sensitive boat, so we like to think of it a great all-around pontoon with a friendly price tag.


Just Being Picky
The black speaker covers don't tie into anything else on the boat and compartment doors or netting for the rear lounge storage cutouts would help make this space more usable.  

Notable Standards
CD player, full instrumentation, windshield, 12-volt outlet, bimini top and fiberglass console.

Options On Test Boat
Privacy enclosure and performance aluminum shield.


Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants - 12

Price As Tested With Power - $24.9K

Maximum Speed - 24.6 mph

Wild Ponies - 90hp

No. of Gates - 3

0-20 MPH  - 5.7 seconds               

Ladder Steps - 4

Ladder Depth - 2' 10"     

LOA - 23' 3"

Beam - 8' 6"

Hull Design - 2 Pontoons

Dry Weight - 2,000 lbs.

Fuel Capacity - 33 Gallons

Tallest Rail Onboard  -  Bow 27"

Shortest Rail Onboard   - Stern 24"

Changing Room Height - 5' 11"


Test Drive

RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   D-A    

600                  2.7 mph            82.5                

1000                3.5 mph            85       

1500                5.3 mph            82.5

2000                7.0 mph            83                               

2500                9.0 mph            84       

3000                12.6 mph          88.5    

3500                15.5 mph          88                               

4000                18.3 mph          94       

4500                21.0 mph          94.5    

5000                24.6 mph          95


Price As Tested                        $24,890

(Boat and Motor)


Base Price

(Boat Only)                              $13,505

Fort Dodge, Iowa


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

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!