Get the party GOING!
I bet you perceive pontoon boats to be big and cumbersome, with handling like a bus, moderately fast at best, and priced for the those than can afford to have their own private party on the water, right? What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if it was function over form and had a price tag that was realistic? Meet the game changer, the Custom Pontoon 21. Oh yea, and her speed really isn’t a problem!
Pontoon boats are fast becoming popular in South Africa for their functionality. While they are great when decked out in lavish lounge suits, it’s not what pontoon boats are built to do – which is to safely carry more passengers who want the freedom to do as they please.
Believe it or not, this pontoon boat is made in Knysna, along the Garden Route, right here in South Africa. It’s also the first that I know of which has been custom made to be wheelchair friendly. To do this, Don Tait of Custom Marine placed a slide-out ramp on the bow, which is easily pulled out and set in place. Aside from this, minimal adjustments had to be made to allow for special requests, and as such, the craft is pretty much what you can buy as standard from the manufacturer – leaving you to add on what your heart desires. And that’s probably what I like most about this company – in that they are the customizers in the boating industry. Of course, it all has its price, but as standard and although basic, this pontoon boat has got quite a bit to offer. Made largely from aluminium and diamond plate steel, this pontoon boat is light and strong. She’s pretty maintenance-free too, as with only the standard option, you can simply spray her down with the hosepipe after use and she’ll be looking top notch for the next trip!
As reviewed, there was only one boarding entrance, as per this particular owner’s request. The rest of the craft is encompassed by rails to ensure that no one – young or old – could unexpectedly fall out. Ample, flat seating flanks the cockpit and has storage space for cooler boxes and bags underneath. At the rear, a canopy can be folded open to provide shade for those days when the sun sends everyone else home. Of course, there’s always protection from the second-level and you could ultimately have clear shields made up for the sides, in case it gets chilly when the sun goes down. The second level is really cool, and doesn’t make the craft feel too top heavy – just don’t overload it. The rails here are also very low in height, so try not to party too hard up there!
This pontoon boat is powered by twin Mercury 60 HP Big Foot outboards, which are 4-Stroke and EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection). These engines pump out a decent performance from the back of this lightweight craft, and possibly set the water-speed record for fastest pontoon boat ever! At wide open throttle, this pontoon boat clocks around 64 km/h, which you could probably do well at skiing behind, since the draft of this boat is pretty small. Pontoon boats are made for flat water, and still, we had got up close and personal with the infamous and treacherous Knysna Heads to check out how this craft would react. Strangely enough, there was little roll as the waves washed passed us, just at the entrance to the Heads. On the plane, the craft runs smoothly and cuts through chop surprisingly well. And there’s certainly no lack of power, since the planing strakes on the pontoons help the craft to get up, and the Mercury’s give it the plenty of go! She might be made of metal, but she’s soft as silk when it comes to handling on the water, and I really enjoyed the sense of freedom provided by the open-plan cockpit.
Words can’t really express the possibilities provided by a craft like this, when produced by a company like Custom Marine. If you dream it, they can do it. This pontoon boat as standard is like an empty canvas, waiting for your masterpiece that you can really sign your name on. And have the long lasting family memories to remind you. The Custome Pontoon 21 starts at R190 000 (boat and trailer), but is fully customizable. For more information, contact Custom Marine on (044) 382 5131 or contact Don Tait directly on 082 337 5332.