A pontoon is a purchase can you be proud of. Whether it comes straight from the dealer or it’s 10 years old, the reason you bought it is because it’s perfect for you. But aftermarket products are an opportunity to bump the perfection up a level. With the majority of these products, the inventors were regular pontooners who came up with an idea to improve their boat and then realized there were others that could benefit too. These ideas are a reflection of the American entrepreneurial spirit at its best.
J’s Upper Decks
J’s Upper Decks are an aftermarket top deck that can be added to virtually any pontoon. Lightweight and built to last, these upper decks can be put together and installed on your boat in less than two hours. This company was started by Jay Fender, who has been manufacturing marine parts, renting boats and just plain enjoying the marine industry for over 30 years. The idea for an aftermarket upper deck came to him after he saw how popular double-decker ‘toons were in his own pontoon rental business. You can pick up one of these simple DIY projects for anywhere from $1,495 to $2,995, depending on the size of your boat.
“I spent two years in the research and design phase to achieve maximum strength with the least amount of weight possible,” says Jay. “Depending on length, these structures weight 135 to 190 pounds.”
This low weight allows the company to effectively ship the product anywhere.
Lillipad Diving Boards
Lillipad Diving Boards began as a family project for the Schaub family. The kids enjoyed jumping off the pontoon, but the rails aren’t really designed for that kind of use, plus it violently shakes the boat when someone takes the plunge. So the family spent countless hours developing a perfect pontoon diving board. What they came up with is a compact design that allows the diving board to fit onto just about any pontoon boat.
When you’re done for the day, the diving board easily comes off with the quick release of a pin so it can be stored just about anywhere. While perfecting this design, Cory Schaub used a shock system to absorb the impact of the jumper. Each member of the family tested out every prototype, even when the weather was less than optimal, so you know the final product is worth investing in.
Pontoon Fire Pit
When friends Rob Drake and James McBride got together to boat, they realized they could extend their boating hours if they could keep everyone on the pontoon warm. What they came up with is the Pontoon Fire Pit.
This is a controlled fire, which burns clean due to a 20-pound propane tank. The flames can be killed immediately and it is surrounded by an 8-inch protective flange. When the Pontoon Fire Pit isn’t in use, you put on the lid and you have a perfectly solid floor again. The owner’s manual is very clear this is not for cooking under any circumstance, but rather just for recreational light and warmth to extend your evening on the lake. The Coast Guard has verified there are no federal regulations against having a controlled fire on your boat. You can install this device yourself in less than two hours and you don’t even have to take your boat out of the water.
Pontoon Water Glide
We here at PDB have personally tested the Pontoon Water Glide and we have had amazing results. This aftermarket accessory can be added to any pontoon to increase your speed, fuel efficiency and overall handling. Best of all, you can safely install it yourself in about three hours.
This story starts back in 2009 when the Schaefer family purchased a 21-foot pontoon with a 115hp outboard motor on the back for fishing.
“I soon realized that if I could just get a little more speed, we could use it as our only boat for all our water activities,” says current PWG President Dave Schaefer. “Also, after towing my son on a wakeboard and realizing how long it took to turn the boat around to pick him up, I really wanted to increase the maneuverability of the boat.”
Dave looked into and found the Pontoon Water Glide and after installing one himself, he increased his top speeds from 23 to 32 miles per hour. The family was amazed and ended up purchasing the company, which they still run today.
Last year, PDB did a survey of our readers and we discovered almost 75 percent of pontoon/deck boat owners tow a rider behind their boats in the form of water tubes, wakeboarders or water skiers. This is what makes the PXR100 Pro mirror so important.
The PRX100 Pro is a 100-degree, high-definition panoramic rear view mirror. When you tow riders, the driver needs to have control over his surroundings on the water. This mirror system allows the captain to maintain control over everything in front of the boat, in the boat and behind the boat, without taking his eyes off the horizon.
“We are getting great comments from pontoon and deck boat owners on the mirror,” says rep Chris Nicely. “People are starting to understand the incredible benefit of having a good mirror system on their boat.”
Pontoon Slide from Sportsstuff
Kwik Tek knows the pontoon market is exploding and the company takes a lot of pride in serving our demographic.
“This new generation of pontoon boats has been designed with watersports in mind,” says Kwik Tek rep Mike Pleiss. “After seeing how pontoon boat popularity and sales have grown, we determined the market is looking for more toys that can be used on pontoon boats.”
It was this mentality that led the company to develop a pontoon-specific slide for families. This Spillway Slide is easy to inflate and attaches directly to your pontoon in less than five minutes. The 8-foot long slide has raised inflatable safety chambers on both sides to safely keep sliders centered. Four inset molded steps and two molded handles make it easy to climb. Put one of these on your boat and you’ll be the hit of the lake.
The TurboSwing tow system is a rainbow-shaped bar that attaches around your outboard to give you a simple and effective way to support the watersport lovers of your family. Like a traditional wakeboard tower, the TurboSwing tow bar elevates the tow rope above the wake and prop wash. The affixed pulley slides the tow rope from side to side, which creates an extended range of motion for water skiing and wakeboarding.
The smallest TurboSwing is the XM model and it retails for $485. The biggest model, the Giant, retails for $875 and there’s plenty of additional sizes that fall between the two. Don’t let the install scare you; it really is quite simple and can be done in a couple of hours. In fact, PDB installed and tested one recently without any issues. This device is a must-have for water sports families.