Heading to the Orlando Boat Show in early 2016, Steve and Linda Miller came prepared with a game plan and were determined to find their next boat. They had shopped for plenty of boats during their 45 years of marriage; however, this time around it was going to be a little different. The couple had decided they were ready to purchase their first pontoon boat.
“We went to the show with the intention of finding a pontoon that the kids could wakeboard behind with a tower on the back for pulling,” recalls Steve. “After looking around we decided on three different versions that we liked. One of them didn’t come with a big enough engine and the price outweighed the difference in the other two, so we went with this one.”
The pontoon that turned out to be “the one” was a 24-foot SunCatcher Elite 324 SS from G3 Boats, equipped with a Yamaha 225 SHO VMAX. Nearly eight months later—after enjoying a summer full of memories on their new pontoon—on this day the Millers are out on a cruise, something they often do together.
“During the week it’s all about evening cruises with friends and neighbors, but the weekends are about the kids and grandkids,” says Linda. “The kids will spend hours going around the lake tubing.”
The Millers have a home on the shores of John’s Lake in Winter Garden, Fla., and have lived here for nearly 20 years. The unwritten rule of having lakefront property is you have to own a boat. At least, that’s what seems to make the most sense. The Miller family consists of three grown children for Steve and Linda and has expanded to include the next generation with six grandchildren ranging from two to 16 years of age. They have all grown up boating and that’s why making sure the pontoon wasn’t underpowered was so important.
“The SunCatcher is a combination of a great family boat as well as a wakeboarding boat,” says Steve. “It’s my first Yamaha, but Yamaha is a good company and it turned out to be a great engine for us. It has a lot of power and our pontoon will do anything our old ski boat would do.”
The SeaStar hydraulic steering was another selling point, so the grandfather could effortlessly give those being pulled behind the boat a fun ride. It may have been the Yamaha power and the Dowco double Bimini top that originally sold the Millers on the boat, but they have learned to appreciate all of the other great amenities their SunCatcher offers, such as the impressive sound system.
“She likes to cruise and keep the music low and I like to go fast and play the music loud so the pontoon is a great compromise,” says Steve with a smile. “We love the sound system; it’s incredible. The Kicker stereo is a great setup and I love that it’s all Bluetooth connected so I can bring my music with me.”
At the helm is the stereo controls but there is also a remote in the stern. Whether the music is turned up loud or not, the LED cupholders and speakers that light up the boat are a great added touch.
“I like the LEDs especially at night,” adds Steve. “It looks really good to see all the blue lights lighting up the interior.”
The Garmin echoMAP centers the helm console, but it’s used more for fishing than it is for navigating since the couple knows the lake well after being residents of the area since 1999. Another added touch are the Yoebi drink holders that fit into most standard 3 1/2-inch diameter cupholders that allow you to slide the base of your stemware into the slot in the top.
When the boat was delivered Steve noticed the boat didn’t quite look level.
“We called them out to look at it and put a 4-foot level on the bow and it was off by more than 6 inches,” recalls Steve. “It was out of level. Something probably went wrong when it was loaded or while it was on the truck to be delivered. But G3 stood behind it and took it back and sent us a new one.”
The delay wasn’t ideal, but knowing the company stood behind its products assured Steve and Linda they had made the right decision. Turns out they ended up getting a little more in return.
“They were going to build us a new boat that would take a little time, but said if we were willing to take a flooring upgrade at no added cost they could get us a new boat sooner so of course we were happy about that,” said Steve.
The original boat came standard with Infinity Teak Supreme flooring in just the stern, but the new boat was upgraded with the Infinity vinyl flooring throughout. Looking back, the Millers didn’t realize how much they really love it.
“When they took the first boat back it didn’t have this flooring, just in the back,” says Linda. “It was grey flooring for the majority of the boat so we’re really happy with the upgrade.”
Since 1963, Sonny’s Marine Center has been serving Orlando and the central Florida area by offering fast, fair, and friendly service. With a full-time Yamaha Certified Master Technician, owner Keith Eazsol helps keep your boat where it’s supposed to be: on the water.
The G3 and SunCatcher dealer offers a wide variety of new and used boats and continues to have an impressive following.
“Keith is very responsive and Sonny’s Marine is anxious to please,” says Steve. “They run a great dealership between him and his son Kyle; you can tell they care a lot about their customers.”
Speaking of great customer service, Steve has established himself a positive reputation as well with his own business. Started in 1984 by Steve and Linda, Miller Electrical Services has grown into a 165-employee business today. Primarily focused on residential, Steve estimates his company wired around 3,200 new homes last year. Not only has this business provided for the founders, it continues to provide for their kids as well.
“All my kids work there,” says Steve. “My son runs the field and is a state licensed electrical contractor, one daughter does the accounting and the other does the estimating. Plus I have a daughter-in-law in human resources and a son-in-law who works in the field as a supervisor. It was our goal when we started to provide for our family and to take care of our employees by making sure they have insurance and they always have.”
The Right Touch
When the cruise is over, Steve and Linda don’t have to worry about the elements getting to their pontoon after having the Touchless Boat Cover installed on their dock. The cover raises and lowers and can cover the entire boat in 30 seconds with just a press of a button.
“The Florida sun is really hard on boats and so to make sure it doesn’t deteriorate we added the cover,” explains Steve. “It keeps the bugs and birds off and it really is a great system. As you look around on this lake you’ll see a lot of them and I’m thinking of adding a second one to protect my Jet Skis.”
As the couple make their way up the dock toward their home they take a moment to reflect on their decision to purchase their SunCatcher, knowing they made the best decision for them and their family.
“Living on the lake, the pontoon lifestyle is the way to go,” concludes Steve.
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
LOA: 23’ 10”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Max HP: 225
Fuel Capacity: 38 gal.
Capacity: 13 people