Coming into a pontoon can be a mixed blessing. Getting a boat handed to you is great, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be your dream boat. When Brad and Sam Maxedon inherited a Fisher Freedom 200 from Brad's father, they quickly started enjoying the lifestyle that came along with it.
"It was my father's boat but as he and the boat got older, Sam and I became the caretakers for it and later the owners," says Brad. "At that point, we began researching for the pontoon we really wanted to own that would better fit our lifestyle. We're not much into fishing, but we love to cruise."
When trying to make a decision, the couple took full advantage of the boat show season by attending the annual Hot Springs Boat Show, which is the largest boat show in Arkansas and features the latest pontoon models from many different manufactures.
"When we went to the Hot Springs show, I was pretty sold on a particular brand," says Brad. "I had been conversing with a dealer in that area that would be at the show and he even covered the cost of our entry tickets."
But the couple wanted to take it all in. Besides attending the boat show, they had made many online inquiries, reviewed pamphlets and videos and signed up to receive PDB magazine. They wanted to make sure they would make an investment that would last for years.
"As we were walking through the show, we passed the Harris FloteBote display," says Brad. "Our first impression was that we couldn't afford it, but since we were there for research we began talking to Jane."
Jane, as in Jane Schlegel, the marketing and product manager for Harris FloteBote who had traveled to Arkansas to work the show.
"One of the first feelings I received from Jane was that she understood we were only researching and not ready to purchase," says Brad. "That made it a very relaxed atmosphere and we felt free to drill her with questions. Jane got us to think of more than just frame structure and deck material, but also seat upholstery, longevity and quality on every area of a pontoon."
There's a reason that Harris FloteBote is one of the oldest and most respected manufactures in the country. The builder has been awarded the National Marine Manufacturers Association Customer Service Index (CSI) Award for eight years in a row due in large part to its commitment to standing fully behind its product.
"At Harris FloteBote we want our customers to enjoy a luxurious boating experience. That's why our boats are built with expert craftsmanship using the finest materials," says Harris FloteBote President Brad Anderson.
"At the boat show, we sat in the Harris Cruiser and then went to others to compare but Harris had us at `hello,'" recalls Brad as he continued to look around with his wife. " On the other boat, I didn't think the helm seat was comfortable and Sam pointed out there was a straight piece of fiberglass that went from the deck to the controls leaving zero leg room while Harris has a nice inward roundedness to it leaving me plenty of leg room."
The couple was determined to make the right investment, even if that meant walking away from what they thought they wanted and spending some more time looking into what Harris FloteBote had to offer.
"At the Tulsa Boat show in Oklahoma, we went back to the Harris display and they had a Cruiser CX 200 that included a tandem axle trailer package that we couldn't resist," says Brad. "It came with a 60 four-stroke but we opted for a 90 Mercury four-stroke instead."
To sum this all up, after nearly 10 years of dreaming for a nicer boat and nearly three years of researching, a lot of discussions and deliberations, the couple found the Harris FloteBote to be the perfect fit for their middle-class budget and their high expectations of quality, luxury and longevity. And the great people at Harris couldn't agree more.
"The Cruiser is an excellent choice for any boater because it offers high-end material, sophisticated design, premium construction and convenient amenities for its price point," says Harris FloteBote rep Schlegel. "It ensures a smooth ride out on the water and high passenger capacity ratings along with the option for larger engines. Our 2013 model year Cruiser 200 with a performance package has maximum engine rating of 150hp."
The couple is still very excited with their purchase and enjoy going out with friends and family. They live in Holiday Island, Ark., and spend many weekends happily boating on nearby Table Rock Lake.
"We love everything about our boat," says Sam. "Harris uses the same fabric on their high end models as they do their more economical models like our Cruiser. It's reasons like this that we have no regrets when it comes to our boat."
What's New for Harris FloteBote
Now that the new model year is rolling in, Harris FloteBote still maintains its high standards. With over 55 years of pontoon knowledge, the '13 lineup is full of the expert craftsmanship and innovative design that boaters have come to expect from Harris FloteBote. Every model has something new and is available from its dealers around the country.
For 2013, the Crowne, which is the flagship of Harris FloteBote, has been completely redesigned. When it was first introduced in 2002, it was the only fiberglass pontoon boat in the market. Now, 10 years later, the Crowne is luxury reinvented with standard features abounding. The most talked about new feature is the in-dash touch screen, which allows you to control everything at your fingertips, including cruise control.
The Royal has a unique upscale interior design for the 2013 model year as well. It redefines pontoon style with contrasting vinyl in woven fabrics and textures. Lavish appointments like pull-out ottomans and seating cushions that can be removed to reveal solid surfaces for entertaining are just some of the features you will find on the Royal.
Worthy Of The Name
The Grand Mariner has also evolved for '13. It has new detail added to the fence design and the helm has been redesigned with leather-like vinyl inserts and a sport boat throttle position. With several floorplan options, including an I/O version, six color and six graphic options, the Grand Mariner can be customized with ease.
The Solstice makes luxury easy. With a number of floor plans, an entertainment bar, dual rear facing loungers, a flip up single rear facing lounger, center walkway with a moveable jump seat, there is no way you could have a bad time on this boat. In fact, the Solstice lets you make a statement of luxury as you cruise about.
Here Comes The Sunliner
Continuing its reign as one of the most popular models, the 2013 Sunliner now includes both a rear deck and one of the largest standard playpens available. New wood grain accents the helm, while the table and speakers add style on the inside to match the intricate fence design on the exterior.
Besides adding a new length with the 180 model, the Cruiser has a taller fence design that mirrors the curves of the rest of the Harris FloteBote lineup. The Cruiser's helm has wood grain inlays and high-end textured vinyl to compliment the new exterior. Also for 2013, the Cruiser adds more standard equipment like a 10-foot bimini top, rear swim deck and upgraded cupholders.