Sweetwater Premium Edition 220 SL

November 2013 Boat Test Monday Brady L. Kay

What You Need To Know

We were told this was a price-point boat, but we kept finding unique features that seemed to contradict that idea. Sweetwater proves you can have a quality family-friendly pontoon at a value-driven price with its 220 SL offering.


The Highlights

New for 2013, Sweetwater has added this bright blue exterior color to its Sweetwater lineup and we like it. The bright color really looks great out in the sun and really catches your eye. We also like the look of the Mahogany and Ivory decking in the bow and in the stern that we wouldn't expect to find on a boat targeted to be around $30K.


Inside the boat there are two very comfortable bow chaise lounges and another dual rear-facing set in the stern. The exclusive premium Zephyr Tan vinyl provides a soft-touch and we love all the extra effort-like the double stitching as well as the different textures-that are incorporated. Below the portside chaise is a large (over 6 feet tall) pop-up enclosure that is easy to operate and practically out of mind when not needed. At the helm is a simple, yet effective console with large easy-to-read gauges. A Sony stereo, full instrumentation, 12-volt outlet as well as an MP3 jack are all part of the standard package on this boat. The only option at the helm is the digital depth finder and that is something we feel should be on every boat these days to help protect your propeller.

We like how the grey wood-grain finish used on the panel of the console ties in perfectly with the portside table. Another nice touch is the optional raised helm platform that gives you better visibility. Plus the captain will love the comfort of the helm chair and when you think about it, shouldn't the driver have one of the most comfortable seats onboard? Sweetwater thinks so. 

Just outside the extra-wide stern center gate is a tall ski/tow bar as well as an angled, four-step boarding ladder. Complete with a Yamaha 115hp outboard, this setup is great for families, especially those with tubers.


Inspection Notes

The three 25-inch diameter pontoons are part of the T.O.T.A.L Package that includes a full-length underdeck skin, lifting strakes, G-Force third tube with launch pad and a 27-gallon fuel tank. After a closer inspection, with the tall railing and overall design, this boat earned high marks for being family-friendly and safe, especially for smaller children. Great craftsmanship throughout the boat and we have no fit and finish issues to report. We consider this to be a well-built pontoon that for the price includes everything you'll need as-tested.


Performance Evaluation

Acceleration is gradual with the Yamaha 115hp four-stroke as we cruised to a top speed of 30 mph at full throttle. This is a great family/cruising pontoon that has just enough power to give tubers using the ski/tow bar quite a ride. For the use it was designed for, we feel the 115hp is a great complement to the Sweetwater design.


Final Thoughts

It's tough to put this one in the entry-level category, based on the quality of the furniture alone. It's value-packed to say the least and really has a lot of key amenities that you wouldn't expect to find on a $30K pontoon. Plus, we love the tall rails and the family-friendly safe design that will make this boat appealing to a lot of people.


Number of Occupants             14                   

Price As Tested With Power     $32.6K

Maximum Speed                      30.5 mph                     

Wild Ponies                              115hp 

No. of Gates                            3

0-20 MPH                               6.8 seconds     

Ladder Measurement               3' 8" deep


Why we love this boat.We probably use the word value too much, but in this case we feel you get a lot of high-end features and amenities at a great family-friendly price point. 


Just being picky.The inexpensive hinges for the storage doors below the chaise lounges take away from the high-end future and high-quality soft touch vinyl.



Boarding Ladder, 4 Stainless Cleats, 24-inch Side Gates, Dock Lighting, Playpen Cover, Built-In 21-gallon Fuel Tank, Premium Zephyr Tan vinyl, Stainless Steel hardware, NextWave Electrical System, NMMA Certified, 25-inch Diameter Tubes, Captain's Chair, Full Instrumentation, Tilt Steering, Dual Bow Chaise Lounges, Stern Table, Sony Stereo



Chaise Changing Room,  2 Moveable cupholders, T.O.T.A.L/Package (Underdeck Skin, Lifting Strakes, add G-Force third tube with launch pad, 27 gallon fuel tank), Digital Depth Finder, Ski Tow Bar



LOA                  24' 2"             

Beam                 8' 6"

Hull Design         Pontoon

Dry Weight        1982 lbs.

Fuel Capacity     21 gallons



Engine                                                              Yamaha F115 LA       

Cylinder Type                                                   In-line 4

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower  106.2ci/115hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio                         2.15:1

Propeller                                                          15 X 13 1/2


RPM     vs.      SPEED     vs.    DB-A

800                  2.4                     70

1000                3.4                     67

1500                4.6                     84

2000                6.5                     86.5

2500                8.6                     87

3000                12.1                   88.5

3500                15.2                   87.5

4000                18.5                   92.5

4500                20.9                   90

5000                23.7                   93.5

5500                27.2                   96.5

6000                29.7                   95

6150                30.5                   96 

Elkhart, Ind.



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