How to Plan a Family Fun Day on a Pontoon Boat

There is nothing better than spending a day on your pontoon boat. With that, it can be very stressful if you don’t properly plan your excursion. Imagine a day on a pontoon boat where you visit the same area and do the same activities as the time before, more for lack of imagination than because of the fun quotient. Not to mention the chaos that can ensue if there isn’t enough food, water, or sunscreen for the party.

 

Aside from the dos and do nots for a pontoon boat day, there are numerous fun ideas you and your family should try:

 

  • Explore: Instead of visiting the same place every time, mix it up and boldly go where you haven’t been before.
  • BBQ: If your pontoon boat has a BBQ on it, why not enjoy a beach BBQ?
  • Scavenger Hunt: Invent a scavenger hunt where you stop at various places and solve clues. Will there be buried treasure at the end?
  • Mega Raft: If your friends all have pontoon boats and families, tie up all the boats together and make a mega raft.
  • Waterproof Camera: There is no better way to capture the day and take some memorable underwater photos.

 

Remember proper and creative planning, and you are sure to have an exciting day on the water.

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Preparing for all Boating Scenarios

Just like in your home, you should implement an emergency preparedness plan on your boat. Regardless of where you boat you should always identify potential threats. Then evaluate what types of resources you will need if any emergency arises. Your needs will vary based on the type of boating you do and the distance from shore that you travel. You should also develop an emergency plan and keep a kit with appropriate items on your boat at all times.

You should always check the weather before planning a day on your boat. Conditions on the water can become dangerous during even small weather events. Weather is also quick to change over the water, it is important to stay aware and return to shore before conditions get severe. Wind, rain, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tsunamis are all potential threats when on the water. Look into what threats your area is susceptible to and how to prepare for them on the CDC website.

Hurricanes and severe storms are usually easy to track. By checking the weather forecast ahead of time you can avoid these types of conditions. If a hurricane is expected you should get your boat to a proper storage facility well beforehand and evacuate the area.

Tsunamis are a succession of oversized waves that occur after the displacement of large amounts of water. They can occur with or without warning, however, a common cause of tsunamis are earthquakes. If you are on the water and notice the trees on shore shaking and other telltale signs of an earthquake, you should evaluate your best course of action. Tsunami waves only break close to shore, if you are in deep water far from the shore, you may not have any indication of the tsunami waves moving underneath you. Become familiar with the protocols for tsunamis and look at the International Tsunami Information Center’s information on what to do while on a boat if there is a tsunami warning.

A good skipper always prepares for the worst and hopes for the best. When preparing you should make a list of general items, but also include things that are specific to your family and their needs. An emergency kit is not one-size fits all, things like asthma inhalers, allergen free foods and insulin are all things that should be considered when preparing. The following are less specific items that any good boat emergency kit should contain.

 

  • NOAA Weather Radio- Keeping track of the forecast and any emergency broadcasts can help you avoid severe weather.
  • Clean water- Salt or lake water are not going to be sufficient if you are stranded and need to stay hydrated.
  • Food and a way to prepare it- Store foods that are high in protein and nutritious. Having a heat source if not only good to keep you warm but also for preparing any foods that need to be warmed.
  • Extra clothing- Extra layers and dry clothes to change into from your wet ones are good to keep on board.
  • Shelter- Shelter from the sun and rain are both important. Many boats have built in shelters, but a tarp or sheet can easily be used as a makeshift shelter.
  • First aid kit- For anything from bumps and bruises to broken bones, bug bites and open wounds.
  • Paddle- In case you encounter engine troubles it is good to have an alternate form of propulsion.
  • Something to bail out water- If it rains hard enough your boat might not be able to keep up with pumping water out of the boat. Having a bucket or two to help bail it out can save your boat from capsizing.
  • Tools- Spare tools and parts for your boat can become vital if you encounter mechanical problems while in the water.
  • Lighting- Not only to help you see but to help others see you in hazy conditions.
  • Compass and map- GPS devices are great but having a backup plan with a map and compass will always be a good idea. Ensure that you know how to use them.
  • Duct tape- Duct tape can be utilized in so many different ways, it’s always good to have a on your boat because of its versatility.

 

Not only should you have a plan and the proper emergency items, but you should also take a class or research about emergency procedures. Things like first aid and boat repair techniques can make the difference between life and death. Having the items is pointless if you don’t know how to use them, there are plenty of resources online to review and learn from.

 

Ally Mann

@allymanneray

Manitou Receives 15th Consecutive CSI Award

Lansing, Michigan – Manitou Pontoon Boats is thrilled to announce that they are once again a recipient of a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) for exceptional customer service. The 2016 Marine Industry CSI Award in the Pontoon Boats category marks the 15th consecutive CSI awarded to Manitou Boats. This makes it every year since the awards inception.

The NMMA, the nation’s leading boating trade association, represents a wide range of businesses in the marine industry. They recognize manufacturers that actively monitor and measure customer satisfaction levels and then take actions to further improve customer satisfaction. The CSI Awards only recognize boating manufacturers that maintain an independently measured standard of excellence of 90 percent or higher in customer satisfaction.

“Qualifying for the 15th consecutive year for this award is an honor. This is our 30th year of business; we would not be able to say that without happy customers. I believe our cutting edge products, lifelong employee base, loyal service oriented dealers and happy customers are what make receiving this award possible,” said Scott VanWagenen, President of Manitou Boats.

Manitou understands that connecting with its customers to identify their personal needs for their pontoon boats is essential to providing them with the best customer service experience possible. We use this information to more accurately grade a customer’s opinion of their new pontoon boat, and to improve customer satisfaction moving forward.

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How the Pontoon Boat Is Redefining Boating

When many people think of pontoon boats, they see a wooden platform stabilized on wooden or steel barrels. While these were definitely the start of pontoons decades ago, the technology has advanced to give people a faster, smoother, and more luxurious experience out on the water. Nowadays, pontoon boats are made entirely with fiberglass to reduce weight without sacrificing stability. Like in other types of boats, pontoons now have traditional hulls to help with steering, and furniture built into the fiberglass to maximize space and efficiency.

Luxury pontoon boats are growing in popularity because they allow families to take part in all of the activities they want. In addition to fishing, you are able to use your pontoon boat for entertainment and watersports. Newer models come equipped with fire pits, cooler space, a barbecue grill, and even a waterslide. Rather than having to slowly float on the water, a 300-horsepower engine allows you to travel up to 65 mph. Learn more about how pontoon boats are redefining boating today.

 

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Traits of the Best Pontoon Boats

What makes a great pontoon boat? If you are looking for a new boat to buy, or want to upgrade your existing pontoon, there are a number of features to incorporate to ensure that you have everything you need when you next go out on the water. Here are some features that make Manitou pontoon boats stand out from the competition.

  • 24-can cooler on board
  • Portable table to relax
  • Marine Vinyl furniture
  • Powder coated walls and rails

When picking out a pontoon boat, you want to be able to infuse your personality, as well. You can add on a BBQ grill for your pontoon, to cook for family and friends, as well as a water slide. If you’re interested in floating out on the lake in the evenings, you can also add a fire pit to keep warm. One of the best reasons to get a pontoon boat in the first place is that it gives you the opportunity to do the things you love whenever you are out on the water.

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Expansion keeps elite boat maker in Lansing

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Manitou Pontoon Boats is expanding to a new location in Lansing. Photo taken 8/7/2014 by Greg DeRuiter(Photo: Greg DeRuiter)

There’s a “what might’ve been” in the success story of Triton Industries.

In 2011, demand was growing for its high-end Manitou pontoons. Triton’s Delta Township facility was too small, and President Scott VanWagenen said the company was hesitant to break the team into two shifts.

“We couldn’t stay where we were,” he said, stressing the difficult choice for the company founded in Lansing in 1985. Pressure to move near suppliers in Indiana and 2016 designs that couldn’t be produced in the old facility “brought us to our knees.”

But then a facility went on the market in Watertown Township in spring 2014. With the help of Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Lansing Economic Area Partnership and grants that brought sewer lines to the building, the $6 million, 160,000-square-foot facility became Manitou’s home in August. It’s two-and-a-half times larger than the former location; the workforce expanded from 70 to 95. Within the next 16 months, VanWagenen expects to hire 15 more. Manitou’s growth has earned it recognition from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“It was so important for us to stay here,” he said.

What’s kept Manitou strong?

Scott VanWagenen (Photo: Courtesy photo)

I’m so passionate about my people. And all my employees were hired locally. I have quite a few people who’ve been with me for 30 years. Our vice president of operations, Dave Curtis, invented the V-Toon (which accelerates and maneuvers like a V-hull boat). He started in 1986 or ’87 as a welder right out of Grand Ledge High School. You have to be proud of people like that.

What is Manitou celebrating about 2015 and what’s next in 2016?

Every year our people come with new designs that are different from anything else. (Designers) just keep coming up with things that blow my mind. Our 2016 year started in August, and our sales are up and our unit orders are up close to 20 percent over last year — and now we have the space to build those.

Why do you love working at Manitou?

I see the passion that our people have for the product, the pride they take in the product, the innovation they bring the product. I just brought these people together and let them spread their wings and they’ve done a tremendous job of it.

Erin F. Wasinger, for the Lansing State Journal