Number 42

What they learned from their first 41 boats

Published in the August 2013 Issue August 2013 Feature Brady L. Kay

Some families think they’ve owned “a lot” of boats over the years, but the Brenneman family is in a league of their own. When Tom and Kasey Brenneman took delivery on a brand new Hurricane SunDeck 2400 last fall, it became number 42 for the Indiana family.

“If you name it, I’ve probably owned it,” says Tom. “From 12-foot jon boats to 25-foot deck boats, we’ve gone through a lot of them. We’ve had a couple of Hurricanes, probably 12 or so Godfrey pontoons, Premiers, Lowe pontoons, really too many to remember exactly.”

For a family who has only recently moved into a home with direct water access, the number of boats is very surprising. The Brennemans purchased a house on the St. Joe River in Elkhart, Ind. seven years ago, but have been spending time on the water with their family for years.

“Once upon a time when we first started buying boats our focus was on the safety of our kids,” says Kasey. “Now it’s for the safety of our grandkids.”

The Brennemans have five children, with Tommy (11) and Jordan (14) being the last two living at home. The two oldest daughters Ashley and Jessica have given the couple four water-loving grandchildren and their 21-year-old Brittany is a regular on the boat as well.

“Our main reason for wanting a boat is for the family time,” explains Tom. “Boats have always been a big part of our life because they allow us to get out on the water with our family. We don’t do a lot of entertaining with friends; our boat is mostly used for bringing the family together.”

Why Hurricane

Living in northern Indiana has its advantages for boat buyers, since many pontoon and deck boat manufacturers are based in this region. Being close to the Nautic Global headquarters allowed Tom to spend some time in the Hurricane plant to get a feel for what he wanted.

“I was able to tour the factory and pick out a few specific things that we wanted,” recalls Tom. “They basically built us a custom boat from scratch since we wanted just about every option that was available. When it came down to it, we went for the biggest and the best.”

The SunDeck 2400 is nearly 25-feet long and is powered by a 350 MAG Bravo III sterndrive. And while there is plenty to love about this new deck boat, there are some specific must-haves that the family really wanted.

“We love the snap-in Bamboo flooring option, it’s cool on your feet and really easy to clean,” says Tom. “I really like the Captain’s Choice thru-hull exhaust as well as the stereo upgrade that includes Polk Audio speakers and a sub-woofer amplifier.”

For Tommy and his sister Jordan, it’s all about the rear facing loungers.

“It’s a great place to lie out in the sun,” says Jordan. “Plus the stereo controls are back here too so you can control the music when you’re at the sandbar.”

Adds Tommy, “I like the seats in the back, but my favorite thing about the boat is the tubing.”

Being pulled on tubes isn’t limited to just Tommy or even the grandkids. Growing up around boats, tubing is something the entire family can get into.

“Our oldest daughter is 25 and even though my girls are all older, they’ll get on the tubes every time,” says Kasey. “It doesn’t matter how old you get it’s still a lot of fun.”

Path To Boating

As a couple, boating is very important to Tom and Kasey, but each took a different path to this unique lifestyle.

“Tom’s dad had a boat so growing up he was always on the water,” says Kasey. “My dad was a captain for the United States Coast Guard and we ended up getting into boats after we moved up from Oklahoma as a family. We came into it through different paths, but we both love the water and enjoy boating.”

Wyland’s Marine

A lot of the boats that the Brennemans have purchased over the years have come from Wyland’s Marine. With two locations—Elkhart and the Mishawaka dealership near them—Wyland’s has been family-owned and operated since 1941. And for a lot of people like Tom and Kasey, Steve Wyland is a big reason why they keep coming back to this full-service marina.

“Steve has been great to work with,” says Tom. “He can put me in contact with the manufacturers of the boats so I can really dig deep and do my homework when it comes to boat buying. Most of the boats we’ve purchased have come through Steve because we trust him and he’s always treated us right.”

Day Jobs

Kasey has been working as a school teacher for the past 17 years and has spent the last 16 years at Beardsley Elementary School in Elkhart where she continues to teach today. Her career path has been a good fit to support her summer hobby of being on the water and boating.

Tom is the service director at Gurley Leep, a high-end automotive dealership in Indiana that specializes in Mercedes, Audis and other premium vehicles.


After owning 42 boats, the Brennemans have plenty of advice to pass along, but it’s not always just about the boats.

“Don’t go small because you’ll regret it and always buy quality boats,” says Tom. “Quality is a big deal to me. Also, learn to respect the water and pass that on to your kids at an early age.

Adds Kasey, “Be sure to teach your children water safety. Even our youngest grandkids know that if grandpa is going fast they need to be seated. And they also know to always wear a life jacket. If they want to get on the boat they know they have to go get their life jacket on.”

The Journey

Although it may seem like the family has gone through a lot of different boats in just a short amount of time, the Brennemans wouldn’t have it any other way. They’ve enjoyed the process that has led them to this Hurricane.

“It’s been a great experience going from pontoon boats to ski boats to fishing boats to deck boats because it’s allowed us to get a feel for what we really want,” says Tom.

“When you’re looking for a boat you’re going to keep awhile it’s good to try out a few of them and see what fits.”

Their unusual technique of selecting the perfect family boat using the process of elimination has led them to this SunDeck, which has them exactly where they want to be this summer: out on the water enjoying time as a family. 


SunDeck 2400 I/O

LOA: 24’ 8”

Beam: 8’ 6”

Max HP: 320

Draft: 22”

Dry Weight: 4,591 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 56 gals.

Person Capacity 10 people


Wyland’s Marine

  • 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!




Plus, Dock 'n Dine - top places for boaters to grab a bite!

Click here to preview our JUNE 2023 issue

Already a subscriber? Please check your email for the latest full issue link.