Getting Your Pontoon Ready for Spring

As soon as the cold weather starts to lift and the snow begins to melt, it is the perfect time to take your pontoon back out on the water where it is meant to be. However, it is important to first make sure that you have done everything you need to de-winterize your pontoon in order to ensure that it is in prime shape once spring rolls around. When preparing your pontoon to get back into the water after winter, be sure to give it a thorough inspection.

In addition to checking the oil and flushing the cooling system, check all aspects of the motor and fuel line for any cracks or other damage. This way you will be able to get any necessary repairs completed beforehand to avoid causing further harm to the engine and boat. Spark plugs, shifters, and safety mechanisms should also be closely inspected for wear and tear.

Being thorough with your pontoon will allow you to get ready for spring so that you do not miss a single day out on the water when the time comes. Make your checklist now to start preparing.

Getting Your Pontoon Ready for Spring

Click below to embed this infographic into your website: Reviews the 25 Legacy SRS SHP

The Manitou 25 Legacy SHP is a fine-tuned pontoon boat – a premium model that offers a well-balanced combination of luxury and performance. The Legacy SHP series is the top-of-the-line from Manitou, offered in 23-, 25- and 27-foot lengths, that comes standard with features like hammer-finish powder coat on the fence, built-in navigation and docking lights, a stainless steel rub rail, and premium pillow-type upholstery with armrests. On an evening cruise you’ll notice that each stainless steel cup holder is illuminated with a blue LED.
It’s a well-executed package, but a lot of pontoons offer similar luxury. It’s the Manitou Sport Handling Package (SHP) that really sets this boat apart, and gives this tri-tube boat a bit of a dual personality. SHP, which adds about $6,500 to the price of the base boat, has been in production for seven years and adds a set of enhancements to Manitou V-Toon technology, which incorporates a 27-inch center tube between 23-inch outboard tubes, with the center tube positioned 1.25-inches lower for 5.25-inch differential between the center and outboard tubes. The result is a shape that mimics that of the fiberglass v-hull and produces great stability, a softer ride, and better cornering performance because the boat can bank into turns – just like a v-hull. The SHP adds lifting strakes to both sides of the outboard tubes, replaces hydraulic steering with SeaStar Power Assist steering, features heavy-duty Barracuda nose cones, and adds extra extruded-aluminum cross members to the under-deck structure. The intent is to maximize the performance potential of outboards from 175 to 300 horsepower by providing additional lift and stiffness to the structure.
Of course, you can’t see much of this when you drive the Manitou 25 Legacy SHP, but you can really feel it. The boat planes quickly and gains lift as speed increases, so it heels over more in high-speed turns than in low-speed maneuvers. I ran this Manitou with a 3.6-liter V6 Honda BF250 (which we first told you about in Outboard News from Suzuki and Honda) on the transom, a combination that was very satisfying. The Honda is very strong on the bottom and delivers thrust like a turbine—with little drama and no bow rise it silently and forcefully launches the boat across the lake. The Manitou 25 is rated for 300 horsepower, but most buyers opt for a 250 and I think few will be disappointed at that rating. Top speed on a hot day was 45 to 47 mph, and at a very quiet 4000 rpm the Honda cruised at about 26 mph. The handling performance was not quite as dramatic as I was expecting, but it is family-friendly – the SHP is not going to hook a turn and toss grandma overboard. Steering is precise, with no skidding even at enthusiastic speeds.

The centerpiece of the dash display is the Manitou Smartscreen, which displays engine temp, depth, lake water temp, trim, volt, fuel level, RPM and GPS-supported speed. The screen is flanked by a large analog speedo and tach, with a row of switches on a panel to the captain’s right. The control for a standard Polk Audio four-speaker audio system is below and to the left of the Gussi wheel. There’s a nook for a phone and a USB input to the right of the wheel. Another seat is to port, with a pair of wrap-around settees forward. Our boat had the optional woven vinyl deck covering, and an optional ski locker in the center of the deck that extends into the center tube, with a false floor and a bilge pump below. I noted that there is no locking stowage on the boat. 
The aft SRS package seats, which reminded me of an ultra-first class airline seat, can be set up facing a small central table, or the table can be removed and the aft seat backrest pivoted forward to create a sort of chaise lounge. It’s an easy maneuver and very comfortable. There are stainless steel drawers in the seat bases that will hold the table and pedestal or other gear. I like how the side fencing arcs down to the deck, following the lines of the SRS seat bases. There’s a tow bar over the outboard, a long boarding ladder with wide steps, and aft-facing rear speakers and an aft-seat audio remote are options. The tow bar is stainless-steel, as are the sun top bows and hardware, durable details that also look classy.
As tested, the 2015-model Manitou 25 Legacy SHP has a suggested retail price of between $75,000 and $78,000, depending on engine choice and other options. This pontoon offers a real upscale look and feel, quality construction and smart engineering.

How to Winterize Your Pontoon

Now that the winter is rapidly approaching, it is time to take the necessary steps to winterize your pontoon and ensure that your boat is in top shape when you get ready to take it back out on the water. Although it sounds like a no-brainer, the first thing you’ll need to do is secure a location for your boat out of the water.

If you decide to keep your boat in the water, keep in mind that you may notice decreased performance due to the colder water. Be sure to check your battery and fluids to ensure that they are clean before putting the boat away for the winter. Other steps to take when winterizing your pontoon include:

  • Replace the oil and oil filters before storing.
  • Drain all coolant and water, and replace with antifreeze.
  • Remove all valuables so they are not damaged or stolen.
  • Clean your pontoon inside and out.

The most vital step in protecting your pontoon this winter is to choose the right cover. Whether you store it inside or outside, having the perfect cover is essential. Once you have completed these steps, you will be able to keep your pontoon secure and protected throughout the winter.


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Boating Safety Tips

Heading out for a day on the lake is an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. As you float on the water, you can sit back and relax after a hard week at work, or you can focus on getting active and having some water fun. Unfortunately, that relaxing and fun day on the water can quickly turn into a nightmare when disaster strikes. If you’re planning to head out on your boat, be sure to follow these boating safety tips to help prevent accidents on the water.

In order to help prevent an accident from occurring during your outing, you need to be a smart boater. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and the rules, make it a point to discover what you need to know in order to have a fun and safe time. You’ll also want to make sure your boat is ready for an outing. A great way to do this is to perform regular safety and maintenance checks so you can spot any problems before they start. Safe boaters also make sure they have the equipment needed for an outing. This includes food, supplies, and safety devices that might be needed for the trip.

Once you’re on your boat, remember to stay alert and focused, just like you would on the road. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can increase your chances of getting into an accident, and, if you’re caught, you can face the same charges as you would if operating a vehicle. Encourage your passengers to follow safety procedures, especially young children. By preparing your boat and following these tips, you’re ready to have a fun and safe boating experience!

Boating Safety Tips

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Manitou Sweeps Race for Second Consecutive Year

Branson, MO — Manitou Pontoon Boats, for the second year in a row, finished first in all three outboard motor categories in Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine’s McKainer Pontoon Barrel Race. The annual event took place in Branson, MO this year. The race showcases the speed and maneuverability of the top performance pontoon boats on the market.

             The three outboard motor categories of the Barrel Race included: Pontoons with outboard power ranging from 150hp and less, pontoons with outboard power from 175-200hp, and pontoons with outboard power of 225hp and more. After last year’s sweep it appears that Manitou scared away much of the competition, especially in the lesser HP events. Though there was little competition in the smaller horsepower classes, that was not the case in the 225+ class with Playcraft. Premier, Hampton and Crest participating. Manitou competed in all categories entering a 21 Aurora Angler SHP with a 150 Evinrude E-Tec HO, 21 Oasis SHP with a 200 Evinrude E-Tec G2 and 23 X-Plode SRS SHP with a 250 Evinrude E-Tec G2 HO.

 The closest competition in the unlimited class was a 22 Playcraft Daytona with a 250 HP Mercury Pro XS mounted on a jackplate. As a solid testament to the superior maneuverability and greater efficiency of the Manitou V-Toon® hull, Manitou won with a longer and heavier package, propelled with the same horsepower. Manitou’s 23 X-plode SRS SHP powered by an Evinrude 250 HO G2 outran them all. 

Make the Most of your Summer on the Lake

Fun in the Sun
Summer is here and that means months of fun. Since the summer heat doesn’t last for long, it’s important to make the most of your summer. The best place to do this is on the lake. If you live on or near a body of water, here are a few things you can do to have a summer full of fun.

Water Tubing
One of the funnest activities to do on the lake is go water tubing. People of all ages can enjoy this activity since it does not require much skill or ability. This is a great activity to do with larger groups since more than one person can get on the water tube.

Boating is another lake activity that can make your summer complete. Pontoon boats especially are great for relaxing days on the lake. You can usually fit a lot of friends and family comfortably. Also, if you get warm while on your boat, you can take a quick dip in the lake since pontoon boats are easy to get in and out of. And if you own a pontoon boat, there are tons of accessories you can add to make your boat customized to your liking.

Make the Most of your Summer on the Lake

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A Day at the Lake

Summer is a great season because your days can be filled with fun in the sun. One of the most relaxing and enjoyable things to do during the summer months is to spend a day at the lake. There’s nothing quite like sitting back and enjoying a sunny afternoon cruising around.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do this summer, you need to be prepared. When you’re out on the boat, you’re probably going to be away from shore for a few hours. Because of this, it’s important to pack different items to make your time more enjoyable.

There are many things you can bring with you for your day at the lake. Some of the most important things to pack include the right clothing and toiletries. By bringing these necessary items, you’ll be more comfortable during your outing. Additionally, you’ll also want to pack the essential electronics such as cell phone, radio and GPS. These electronics will help you have a safe day on the lake. Don’t forget to include those “fun” items, including any games, food, and drink you think you’ll need.

What else should you pack for your day at the lake? The following infographic lists some of the most essential items you should pack for your outing.

A Day at the Lake

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Buying a Pontoon Boat? Here are your Choices

Purchasing a new pontoon boat is a big lifetime event. Yes it might take a lot out of your bank account, but it will also provide years of enjoyment and memories while out on the water with friends and family. The boating industry has gotten much better in the past decade, and has plenty of more options are now on the market. Here are a few great options for you to consider in this upcoming boating year. Continue reading “Buying a Pontoon Boat? Here are your Choices”