Big space and big power.
Bennington Marine has been manufacturing top quality pontoon boats in their Elkhart, Indiana plant for decades. The company offers five different model lines from ultra-luxury to ultimate-value. The G-series line is perhaps their best kept secret.
The 2019 edition of their 23-foot GCWA Sport Arch model features a Bennington original: the rear facing stern lounge. Bennington introduced this at the Miami Boat Show a few years back as a concept layout to gauge the public reaction, and it is now a mainstay design for nearly every manufacturer in the pontoon boat industry.
The twin sunloungers flank the centreline walkway and are wide enough for two to cuddle on, with nicely slanted backs facing aft, integrated cupholders, flush mount speakers, and storage underneath. The large pop-up privacy enclosure is under the seatbase of the starboard stern lounge.
The aft-gate opens to the swim platform which is conveniently wide enough to walk on around the outboard without needing to be a contortionist. There is beefy curved aluminum swim ladder to starboard, and a removable ski pylon in the centre that fits into a perfectly flush mount base so you don’t stub your toes. The entire deck is covered in seagrass flooring that is both cool on the feet and quick to dry.
Moving back inside, twin captain and co-captain high-back chairs ensure a comfortable cruise when it’s just the two of you. The raised fiberglass helm station provides additional visibility, and storage underneath. Overhead, the open forward-arched tow tower comes complete with a bimini to provide shade when needed, and folds down for storage or transport as needed.
Further forward, the twin facing bow lounges will seat four to six adults in plush upholstery and high seatbacks for comfort and support. There is tons of storage space underneath. Through the forward gate, the bow deck is again of a useable size for casting aline or to provide the captain with docking assistance.
The 23 GCWA is also available in a SaltWater Series that includes sealed lifting strakes, sacrificial annodes, corrosion proof tower fittings and anodized rails.
Performance is supplied by an up to 250hp outboard, and when combined with the SPS performance package – including three full-length 25” diameter pontoons, lifting strakes on the center pontoon, performance foils on the inside of the outer pontoons, solid round keels, under deck wave shield, SeaStar hydraulic steering and a 32-gallon transom fuel tank – you can expect pleasing performance even with a dozen on board. Of course, with the build your pontoon tool on the Bennington website, it’s easy to customize your model any way you wish.
Overall the 23 GCWA offers a versatile layout for two-person cruising or water-sports viewing and when you consider the full 10 year bow to stern warranty, this pontoon will be in your family for decades to come.
By Brad Roberts