The Adrenaline Junkie’s Guide to High Performance Pontoon Boats

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Back in the year 1951, a man named Ambrose Weeres changed the future of boating by inventing the popular pontoon boat. While he might not have been thinking about the luxurious aspect when he came up with the idea of this stable alternative to a traditional fishing boat, the pontoon boat has come a long way since its early days.

The Minnesotan boating enthusiast managed to redefine modern boating with his creation, and this wonderful style of watercraft has evolved in more ways than one.

Handling and speed are the two main focal points of the pontoon industry. If you are to choose the best type of boat with confidence, you ought to consider these elements. If you consider yourself a bit of an adrenaline junkie or someone who gets a thrill out of gaining traction on the water, why not invest in a high performance pontoon boat?

What’s a high performance pontoon boat?

A high performance pontoon boat is a vessel with a bigger engine. Boaters who are keen to hit top speeds on the water might invest in this family-friendly watercraft, which is easy to dock, simple to navigate and miraculously low-cost to insure.

High performance pontoon boats tick the box for affordability too. Don’t sweat it if power is of importance to you. Even if your pontoon boat is equipped with a beastly engine, funding your hobby will still be relatively inexpensive when compared to buying a speedboat.

The aluminum tubes at the front of a high performance pontoon’s forward end can move through the water efficiently at high speeds. While some fast pontoon boats will have an inboard-outboard engine—which is rare for a pontoon boat, regardless—most others are fitted with a rear-end outboard motor.

The gearbox, internal combustion engine and propeller will usually be contained in a single portable unit. A power-driven craft will look the same as a regular pontoon with a smaller engine. However, it will likely feature planning technology to aid you in plotting your voyage at top speeds.

What’s a high performance pontoon boat used for?

The uses for a high performance pontoon boat are as diverse as the species of marine life you’ll be gliding over when you’re taking on the role of captain! 

Some of the main motivations of a high performance pontoon captain include:

  • Fishing
  • Leisure
  • Entertaining
  • Water skiing
  • Tubing
  • Wake boarding
  • Racing

A high horsepower engine will be snuggled beneath the sleek exterior of a fast pontoon boat, and will make it capable of speeding across rivers, lakes and ponds. This kind of powerboat can be used as a runabout, as well as for perfecting your pontoon steering and handling skills. Towing sports lovers will be happy too.

5 High Performance Pontoons to Satisfy the Need for Speed

Gone are the days of pontoons with slow-speed platforms. Let's take a look at some top performers in the speed stakes:

South Bay 925CR

Once described as the “world’s fastest pontoon boat,” the South Bay 925CR is fitted with three Mercury 300 boat engines. This engine modification gives the vessel unbeatable power, despite the fact that the pontoon has a shape that wasn’t really built for high performance purposes. 

A sport model that seats 10 people comfortably, the South Bay 925CR is equipped with navigation LED lights, steel spring suspension seating, an eight-gallon freshwater tank, vinyl flooring, an AM/FM radio and a bold sound system designed that spits out music from four speakers. 

This pontoon boat’s source of power is a 3.2-liter V6 powerhead engine that churns out 300+ HP. Add to this the 20-stage fuel injection system and the 60-amp alternator, and you’ve got a pretty beastly boat.

The Premier 290

Luxury and power go hand-in-hand with this pontoon boat. Admire a wide field of vision from the helm and zoom around the water at a top speed of 52 mph. Reach speeds of 30 mph in just over five seconds when you’re steering this pontoon boat, which seats up to 12 people.

Perfect for entertaining, the Premier 290 is designed with supportive Flexsteel cushions. Concealed beneath its pristine exterior is a Twin Mercury 300 HP Verados engine and thanks to its central command display and GPS chart plotter, exploring the waterways at high speed will be a breeze.

PlayCraft Scorpion Xtreme 2800

A triple-tube bottom pontoon with reclining Flexsteel helm seating, the Powertoon Xtreme 2800 has Verado power steering and patented integrated steps. These steps make it easy to board the Xtreme after water skiing or swimming. Its most economical cruising speed is 24 mph, with the pontoon’s fuel efficiency hitting 7.80 gph (gallons per hour) at this speed.

Another speedy pontoon boat from the PlayCraft range is the PlayCraft PowerToon Xtreme, which hits top speeds of almost 60 mph.

South Bay’s Super Sport 925

Fancy an efficient ride in a stylish and super sporty type of boat? If so, the South Bay’s Super Sport 925 won’t disappoint. You can opt for one of the Sports Packages for extra power, but this isn’t essential, since the South Bay Super Sport 925 can reach 30 mph in just 5.8 seconds. Its top speed is just short of 59 mph and, thanks to the independently moving engines, the vessel can be maneuvered around busy docks with ease.

Manitou X-Plode V-Toon

Offering ultimate performance, speeds of more than 30 mph and a range of amazing features, the X-Plode V-Toon is just one of many fast and trendy pontoon boats from the Manitou range. It’s available in a variety of colors and floor plans.

Unwind on the swim platform’s EVA deck padding or kick back on the couch, which is six feet wide. Eye appeal aside, the X-Plode V-Toon combines a smooth ride with top-notch technology and a powerful engine. You could say that this pontoon is in a class of its own. The Sport Handling Package (SHP) churns out 350 maximum HP or you can opt for the VP, which churns out 150 maximum HP.


Bethan J.

Bethan J.

Bali, Indonesia

Bethan Rose is a full-time wanderluster, traveler, and digital nomad with 7 years of experience in the freelance writing world. Based in Bali, she can be found using hammocks as an office for content curation when she is not cruising around Indonesian waters on surf and power ...

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