5 Fastest Production Pontoon Boats
The fastest commercially available pontoon boats in the world will be able to reach speeds of around 60 to 78 miles per hour. This is rare for a pontoon boat and most do not achieve speeds anywhere near this fast.
How Fast Do Modern Fast Pontoon Boats Go?
Any pontoon boat that can pull over 60 miles an hour would definitely be considered fast. The average pontoon boat is somewhere around 20 to 30 miles per hour these days. Some go relatively slow, and a few higher end models may even get you up to 70 miles per hour or more. These high speed pontoon boats are usually rare and they are also much more expensive than the average pontoon boat as well.
The fastest pontoon boats commercially available don’t match world record speeds by any means. But they aren’t meant to, either. They can offer you a lot of fun if you’re in the market for something a little zippier than the average pontoon boat we described above. There are definitely other types of boats that go faster, but may not have the stability or versatility of a pontoon boat.
The Fastest Pontoon Boats
Racing boats like Brad Rowland’s record breaking pontoon boat have to be custom built to get to those high speeds. No doubt he has the weight of the boat very specifically calculated and the engines are tweaked with some fine tuning to give the exact performance he’s looking for. And, of course, the engines themselves are not normally found on such a boat so Rowland is using those specifically for racing.
Some boats, like the South Bay Super Sport 925, makes use of lifting strakes that help control air and water flow under the boat. These give greater control as you hit maximum speed. Another feature that helps pontoons perform better is having a center tube, or a tritoon. This allows for a more stable ride and a better handling capability,
But right out of the box, so to speak, these are some of the fastest pontoon boats on the market.
PlayCraft PowerToon XTreme 3000 – 78 MPH
The fastest pontoon boat you’re likely to see today is the PlayCraft PowerToon XTreme 3000. This boat has a pair of Mercury Racing 450 outboard motors which give it a kick like no other. I’ve heard that’ll get you up to a blistering 78 miles per hour, though I’ve never seen it in person.
Word is it can even handle turns at speeds up to 40 mph which, if you’ve ever tried to do any fast turns in a pontoon boat before, you know is almost impossible in other boats.
This model uses three tubes underneath for the added stability and buoyancy you’ll need. All that speed comes at a price, however, and the PowerToon Xtreme 3000 will set you back around $230,000 or more.
PlayCraft was founded by a racer named Jim Dorris, which is why the boats are some of the best in the industry for speed these days. Everything from the hulls to the propellers to the rigging and the decks is all mad with the knowledge of how to make these boats go fast in mind, which gives them an edge, if that’s what you’re looking for.
PlayCraft Scorpion Extreme 2800 – 70 MPH
In the ballpark is the PlayCraft Scorpion Extreme 2800 which features twin 400-hp 383 Scorpion engines to boost it up to around 70 mph on the open water. It’ll get you to 30, faster than almost any other pontoon on the water, in just six seconds.
This model is a little cheaper than the 3000 because they’ve been around for a while, and you can pick up good second hand ones for anywhere at around $100,000 or less.
Manitou 25 X-Plode XT SHP – 62 mph
The Manitou 25 X-Plode offers a smooth but fast ride with its unique design features. There’s a center pontoon tube for stability but the side pontoons are slightly smaller and mounter slightly higher. This allows them to operate a little bit like lifting strakes, which the boat also has. You won’t get world record speed but the triple pontoons with the larger center tube make good use of the dual 200HP Evinrude E-Tec G2 engines.
Because of the design, the handling is also a lot smoother than other pontoons, even when hitting speeds that make others feel unsteady.
Harris Crowne 270 SL TE – 61 MPH
With twin 400 hp Mercury engines, the Harris Crowne 270 SL is no slouch on the water. With a $250,000 price tag, it also brings the high end luxury if you’re in the market for that. The top speed is down a ways from the previous two I mentioned here, coming in at just over 61 miles per hour. But when you’re on the water with other pontoon boats that are barely pulling 20 miles per hour, the difference is extremely noticeable.
South Bay 925 Super Sport – 59 MPH
Coming in at just under 60 mph, the South Bay Super Sport rounds out of the top five fastest with twin Mercury Verado 300s. This one is a favorite of boaters looking to enjoy skiing and other wake sports like that.
What Makes a Pontoon Boat Fast
Since many pontoon boats can’t go that fast, especially older ones, it’s worth looking at what can make your pontoon boat fast. If you want speed, you need to have certain features.
These are a good idea to help achieve extra speed in a pontoon. Lifting strakes are aluminum rods attached to the pontoons themselves. As you pick up speed, the strakes reduce the drag of your boat and help keep the pontoons up out of the water so they glide faster and more smoothly. They can offer a substantial speed increase.
A Third Pontoon
Much like lifting strakes, a third pontoon can also reduce drag and keep the entire boat up out of the water more as you travel. It also provides additional buoyancy and stability when the boat is in motion. In general, tritoon boats will always offer greater speed and stability than those with just two pontoon tubes of the same length.
You’d be surprised at how much drag a dirty pontoon can produce. Barnacles, algae and any other debris or scum that sticks to your pontoons can cause your boat to really slow down over time. The worse it gets, the slower you go. Luckily, cleaning pontoon tubes is usually pretty easier, easier than cleaning other kinds of boats, and is well worth the effort.
The weight of a pontoon boat needs to be balanced to optimize performance and speed. In this case, the boat should be lighter at the bow and heavier towards the engines. This prevents the bow of your pontoon from nose diving and plowing into the water. That can significantly reduce speed and, if it’s bad enough, cause the boat to take on water and even sink. Improved weight distribution can increase speed by a few miles per hour.
It’s very easy to overload a pontoon boat, even if the weight is distributed properly. Because of the design of a pontoon boat you can be tempted to overload with gear or people. It may still operate this way since pontoon boats are extremely buoyant and hard to sink. However, the pontoons can be forced down lower into the water, and the engines will go down as well. This will reduce their efficiency and cause you to lose significant speed.
Every pontoon boat will have a clearly set weight limit from the manufacturer that you should keep in mind.
This is one not every boater keeps in mind. If you’re specifically looking to get out on the water and hit top speed, check your tank. Fuel weighs a lot and if you don’t need a full tank, don’t take a full tank. Try running with three-quarters of a tank or even a half tank. This will significantly reduce your weight and let you open up and hit top speed more easily. Just remember that you can’t stay out as long.
Trim the Engine
Knowing how to properly trim the engine in a pontoon boat can make all the difference in terms of speed. You want to keep the front end up so you’ll need to trim the engine accordingly. If you hear a lot of splashing between the tubes it still needs to be tweaked and adjusted until you’re running fast and smooth.
Using Fast Pontoon Boats
Remember that pontoon boats are easy to handle at “normal” speeds but less so at high speeds. Without a deep draft, pontoon boats rest on the surface of the water and offer less control at higher speeds than a normal speed boat. For that reason, you’ll always want to proceed with extra caution if you’re going fast in a pontoon.
Going too fast in a pontoon boat can cause the boat to take a nosedive and plow into the water. That can cause the front end to sink and even flip the boat if it happens at too high of a speed. Also, at high speeds, if a pontoon boat were to hit a wave or the wake over another boat, it could cause your boat to take on water or receive damage as pontoons are not able to cut through waves like other boats.
If you are using a pontoon boat at speed, make sure you’re being careful. This is especially true if you need to take any turns with passengers on board. It’s always a good idea to keep your speed down near other boaters and swimmers. Also, you need to keep the locals rules and regulations in mind and never go faster than posted limits.
The Bottom Line
The fastest pontoon boats on the market can get you over 60 miles per hour. This is more than fast enough for any water sports and can make for a thrilling ride. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings and drive responsibly at speds. As always, stay safe and have fun.
Categories: Pontoon Boats