By Bill Jennings
Boat Test #1688
As pontoon boats explode in popularity, the industry has become somewhat convoluted. I recently had the opportunity to drive an exciting sport tri-toon, built by “South Bay”. To learn more about the company, I investigated their background. It seems that it all starts with Warren Buffett. He owns the Berkshire Hathaway company. So, does this mean that South Bay is really built by Berkshire? Yes and no. South Bay and some other pontoon companies are owned by Forest River, which is owned by Berkshire. Confused? Me too – but that’s okay because I can tell you from having driven one, that South Bay build a high end, beautifully crafted pontoon that is filled with stylish features.
As today’s pontoon boats become more capable and challenge the abilities of more traditional hulls, they are also offering many of the features we are accustomed to seeing in large V-bottom boats. Looking at South Bay’s 25’ sport model you’ll find a spectacular Tri-toon with a performance to match. Recommended outboard horsepower is listed between 450 and 900. There are lifting strakes on the logs and a full center tube. Twin batteries include a switch and charger. A stainless rub-rail is inserted for side protection and a reinforced bumper added to the bow. Rails are reinforced with stainless steel braces.
Sitting in the high back helm chair, you view full instrumentation with a 12.3” Digital touch screen GPS and depth sounder. SeaStar hydraulic steering is moved with a stainless-steel wheel. There is an extended stern with a transom washdown and stainless boarding ladder. Interior lights include blue mood lighting. A privacy curtain allows for clothing changes or even a porta-potty. The swept arch is not just for looks. It houses a fold out Bimini top and lights. For easy mooring in restricted spaces, this arch conveniently folds down with the touch of a button.
When shopping for a deluxe toon, be sure to add South Bay to your list. You’ll make Mr. Buffett happy.
Length: 25’ 10”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Person capacity: 13
Weight capacity: 1810 lbs.
Boat weight: 3140 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 43 Imperial gallons.
Tube diameter: 25”
Power range: 450 to 900 hp.
MRSP: approx. $125,000
For more information: www.southbaypontoon.com