These are definitely not your grandfather’s pontoon boats

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

You’ve come a long way, pontoon boat.

Once among the least desirable vessels on the lake, pontoon boats were derided for being underpowered, slow and prone to swamping. But the pontoon boat has undergone a total image makeover over the past decade or so, with new designs able to handle powerful engines, and the large interior area filled with more comfortable and attractive furnishings. Customers have taken notice, and many marinas have seen their sales figures flip in favor of pontoons.

At Parker Marine, in Alton Bay, the line of Razor Fiberglass Performance Pontoons shows how far pontoon boats have encroached into territory once commanded by conventional bowriders. The Razors ditch the steel pontoons for a molded fiberglass hull, and yet have the large, open cabin area that can accomodate many more people than conventional boats. They go fast enough for waterskiing or even barefoot skiing, and, unlike other pontoons, it can throw a wake for wakeboarding.

Kim Smith, sales manager, said Parker Marine has been selling the Razors since boat manufacturer Caravelle first made them available five years ago, and they’ve been a sales hit for Parker ever since. She said there’s no local sales competition for this particular style of boat, and her Razor customers regularly come from as far away as Maine or Rhode Island, and that she has even sold a few to customers in Canada. She stocks them in 21-, 23- and 25-foot lengths, and each comes equipped with a 150-horsepower outboard engine capable of propelling the boat near Lake Winnipesaukee’s 45 mile per hour speed limit. Meanwhile, the design of the hull affords better handling while cornering or over waves than other pontoons.

Pricing for the Razors starts at arond $58,000 and runs up to around $80,000 – more than a typical pontoon boat, but still a bargain compared to conventional ski boats. And, like other pontoon boats, they can accommodate at least ten passengers – more in the larger models – far more than bowriders. They carry the other advantages of pontoon boats in that they’re easy to step into and out of, and they can transport a lot of cargo to and from an island camp.

To Smith, the Razors represent the evolution of the pontoon boat that offers the least compromise of any model of boat. In fact, she and her husband have one of their own.

“We have access to any of the boats here, but when we go out, we like to go out in this one.”

 

Parker Marine in Alton Bay has been selling the fiberglass-hulled Razor pontoon boats for five years, and has sold them to customers all over New England and even into Canada. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)


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