The Finer Things In Life Qwest LS 820 Lanai Cruise
We all enjoy the finer things in life—those simple pleasures with a touch of elegance and luxury mixed in. Whether it is a five-star meal or a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, we all enjoy some sophisticated quality in our lives from time to time. Qwest recognized this universal tendency to seek out classy comforts, and it definitely shows when you take a look at their Qwest LS 820 Lanai Cruise.
Qwest Pontoons are known for their high-quality vessels and this high-end, luxury pontoon is the perfect example of what helps their brand stand out. Every boat this manufacturer builds is designed and engineered in-house at their factory in
The PDB staff was lucky enough to test drive the 820
Light As A Feather
The triple tubes coupled with the lightweight design and furniture allow the boat to ride impressively high in the water, and the SeaStar hydraulic steering makes turning the boat a pleasure. In addition, it also has a great turning radius. Plain and simple, it’s just an all-around fun boat to drive.
The captain’s area is enough to make any pontoon enthusiast swoon. Stepping up to the helm, the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar Color Combination GPS/fishfinder is the center focus. It’s situated in the perfect location, always providing necessary information. Then you’ve got your other gauges with rocker switches on either side, along with the Infinity PRV Bluetooth stereo system controls just to the right of the steering wheel with a convenient USB port alongside it. Additionally, the handsome stainless spoke steering wheel offers soft grip and wood-grain accents along with an adjustable tilt steering system.
Having a smaller helm definitely saves some space in the cockpit, but despite its compact size, everything you need is still right in front of you at your fingertips. The helm is an all-fiberglass design with a lovely wood grain dash that also matches your table and some of the other panels. The gauges are all stainless steel, and the Infinity stereo comes standard with four speakers that are ready to get the party started.
The helm offers a personal stainless cupholder for the captain with a dry storage right above it for boat papers or other personal items. The RAM universal cell phone mount is also a convenient feature, giving you easy, hands-free access to your phone. Then don’t forget the PTM Edge rearview mirror. We feel like all pontoons should come standard with a mirror like this because it makes it much easier to keep an eye on things for water sports or even just cruising around.
Going right down to the very threads of the furniture in the 820 Lanai Cruise, the hand-crafted quality and innovation could not be more apparent. The Ultra Flow seat ventilation encourages optimum air flow inside the seat bases which helps to dry items stored beneath the seats. This prevents mold or mildew from forming and helps keep your boat spick and span. The seat bases are made from proprietary Dura-Lite composite material which keeps the boat lighter and stronger while providing generous amounts of storage space.
Even the mount pedestal for the wood grain table is worth noting for its low profile that stays out of the way when not in use. You’ll never have to worry about stubbing a toe because it’s flush with the floor and it’s even got a nice little rubber cap for when it’s not in use.
Naturally, all of the tables and posts store comfortably under the seats, so everything’s nice and out of the way but still ready to use whenever you want it. The boat also has Diamond Seagrass luxury woven vinyl flooring which is a lovely touch. All of these details make it easy to see why this is part of the Luxury Series from Qwest.
From Front To Back
The 820 Lanai Cruise is packed with tons of great features from bow to stern. The boat is rated for up to 11 passengers which is a fantastic capacity for its size, supplying plenty of comfortable, soft-touch vinyl seating throughout.
At the stern of the boat in the swim deck area, there’s a large bench-seat section with great storage below. As mentioned before, the pontoon comes with a solid ski/tow bar, and our test boat was equipped with a big Suzuki engine that provided the boat its ample power.
It also has a comfortable contoured aluminum rear ladder which has four big steps that swing out. This is actually the same ladder Qwest used for its Avanti model last year. Qwest had such success with this particular ladder they decided to bring it over to the Luxury Series along with the stainless steel corner caps. This ladder has been hailed for the ease that accompanies getting up and down out of the water. This is yet another example of one of the luxury items that became standard in this series.
Qwest clearly infused its LS 820 Lanai Cruise with comfort, performance and sophistication, never straying from their reputation for quality pontoons. Right down to the details, the boat is peppered with small luxuries that contribute to a fantastic boating experience.
From the lightweight design to the fit and finish, this boat quite simply provides pontooners with some of the finer things in life.
Pontoon Crazy - Coming to a Lake or Waterway Near You!
By: Pontoon Crazy
Picture Credit - Forest River Marine
Everybody Needs A Pontoon Boat!
They Just Don't Know It...
Until now! With so many families getting in on the Pontoon trend that is growing beyond industry expectations. In 2018 many manufacturers, dealers and Pontoon Rental businesses saw a huge increase in consumer demand. What drives this narrative ? Well we believe it's really simple, so simple that it can actually be summed up in one word- Exposure!
With technology being at the forefront of almost everything we do, the ability to share information is greater than ever. In today's world we can simply slide open the handheld device (formerly known as a cell phone) to a world of information, all coming at light speed. However, to understand how this impacts the Pontoon Boat segment, you need to look no further than your closest form of social media.
Our research shows that Facebook is number one in consumer participation. Pontoon Boat manufacturers, dealers, & rental businesses are starting to also see the value in a healthy social media campaign. Due to our very large web based platform, that is 100% exclusive to the Pontoon Boat category, we have a real good sense of what is working. The number one factor being, participation - do you like to network with others ? Well if yes, you already know the impact it has on you. Pontoon Crazy is just a bi product #LivingTheToonLife
Like our Living The Toon Life group page it is a closed group. What does that mean ? You must register with us, answer a few Pontoon related questions, and your in. Now you can network with like minded people who share the same interest in your favorite past time. We also encourage you to visit some of the other groups that are out there, that provide vast amounts of knowledge around Pontoon Boat ownership. Most have a database full of information that any new Pontoon owner, or seasoned pro could benefit from. These above are just a few of the sites we recommend you visit.
Pontoon-Depot also has a super cool Facebook group, join today 'Pontoon Enthusiast."
Hewitt Brings Their Classic Dock to the Next Level of Class
Hewitt Machine & Mfg. Inc. brings a new customizable color option to their Classic Dock. The same great flexibility of a post and plank dock in a high-strength modular system, but now with sides and ends powder-coated to a color of your
- Custom color options
- Large 4’ x 8’, 4’ x 12’, 4’ x 16’ sections mean fewer parts for faster installation
- Optional wheel kits also available to aid placement and removal
- Aluminum construction eliminates painting and requires little or no maintenance
- Modular design also makes it easy to add on or change the configuration of your dock at any time
The Classic Dock is perfect for people who want to make the most of their recreational time. Available at Hewitt dealers now.
12 Important Things to Look for in a Pontoon Boat
By: Boat Test
First and foremost, a pontoon boat is about having plenty of seating space.
Pontoon boats have been among the most popular models for the past few years and there are no signs of that trend slowing down. Manufacturers are listening to consumer requests for more performance, more styling and more luxury. Regardless of whether a family is looking for a boat to putt around the lake at sunset or a do-everything model that can run fast enough to surprise some bowriders and tow watersports, there are some features that we would want in any pontoon boat.
1. Match Boat Size to Number of Guests
A smart captain knows how many people he’s going to have aboard. As boats increase in size, their passenger capacity usually goes up. For example, Sun Tracker’s Party Barge 18 DLX is 20’ (6.0 m) long and it is rated for nine people. Step up 2’ (0.6 m) and the passenger capacity goes up by one. In other words, it’s a good idea for a captain to know how many passengers he’s planning to have on board before deciding on a size. Most boats have a capacity plate. Check it to verify a boat’s passenger capacity. Do not exceed it.
A capacity plate is the best way to know how many passengers a boat can hold.
2. Seating Configuration
Not only should owners know how many people they are going to be carrying, but they also need to know what their passengers want to do when they’re on board. If maximum numbers are the priority, get as much seating space as possible. If the family is made up of teenage girls who like to sunbathe, get a boat like the Regency 220 LE3 that has aft-facing chaise-style lounges. Got some kids who like to fish? Get a fishing package that has two fighting chairs up front.
What grade of captain’s chair is required? They vary wildly from the basic to the super luxurious.
Where to put the wheelchair? Pontoon boats are ideal for old salts, but you will need a gate wide enough to get them aboard and then once aboard a place to lock them in place.
Sunbathers would love the aft-facing lounges on the Regency 220 LE3.
Shown here is the bow of the Sun Tracker Fishin’ Barge 22 DLX, complete with fishing chairs, rod racks and a trolling motor.
This is a pretty conventional floor plan layout for a pontoon boat with the focus on providing as much seating capacity as possible.
3. Raised Helm
A captain needs to be able to see over the passengers sitting in front of him, so we prefer boats with a raised helm like the one found on the Regency 220 LE3 Sport. The captain’s chair mounts to the elevated fiberglass console, putting the driver in a position that gives him better all-around sightlines.
This helm station is raised 3” off the deck, which puts the driver in a better position to see over the people seated on the lounge ahead of him.
4. Boarding Gates
Pontoon boats are about convenience and one of their most attractive attributes is that they are easy to board. Most have a minimum of three gates, bow, stern, and port (or starboard) side. Additionally, you should also make sure that side boarding gates are wide enough (32”) to accommodate a wheelchair.
Gate latches can be easy or somewhat difficult to operate. Make sure you like the device on the boat you buy.
Side gates make it easy to board from the dock and should be at least 32” (0.8 m) wide to accommodate a wheelchair.
5. Bow Deck
It is surprising how many pontoon boats are on the market that have no bow deck. That is to say that the fencing or superstructure goes right up to the bow so there is no deck upon which to walk to tie-up or to set an anchor. Obviously, this has been done to maximize seating space and keep costs down. That is a trade-off we don’t recommend. Every boat needs a bow deck and a 12” (0.3 m) minimum fore-and-aft measurement for this purpose.
A small platform on the bow makes it much easier to board a pontoon and to work with dock lines. The deck seen here is the minimum size we recommend.
6. Provision for Storing and Setting an Anchor
Every boat should have an anchor and a dedicated place to keep it. That includes pontoon boats. Yet, virtually no pontoon-boat builder makes provision for one. Obviously, one reason for this is that most users take their pontoon boats from dock to dock, or from the launch ramp, back to the launch ramp — and don’t anchor out much.
Required for Safety. Nevertheless, there are times — even on protected lakes when going from marina to marina — when an anchor might be a required item of safety equipment. What if the engine fails and the boat is being blown onto a rocky shore, a marina, or toward a dam on a water reservoir? What if the boat is being used in a river, the engine has failed, and the current is strong? The times when an anchor is necessary are too numerous to mention.
Further, there is no boating pleasure quite so fine as anchoring in a cove for lunch or anchoring for sundown cocktails with family and friends. It cannot be done without an anchor.
We recommend that the forward, portside seat locker be used as the dedicated anchor locker. Be careful to keep the rode coiled properly and not tangled with the anchor. Most pontoon boats have small cleats for mooring lines on the two corners of the bow, and they will have to do, as we almost never see a proper anchor cleat on the bow centerline. We would like to see a stout pull-up cleat for this purpose. Alternatively, a bridle using the port and starboard cleats will probably work best.
7. Reboarding Ladder
The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) guidelines call for a re-boarding ladder on all boats to extend 22” (0.56 m) below the waterline. So that is the minimum requirement. Additionally, we’ve seen ladders made from sturdier material and larger stanchions with heavier-duty grabrails. Not everyone is an agile 150-lb. (68 kg) teenager and having a heavy-duty ladder makes it easier for a larger number of people to use it.
There is a great difference in the ladder and re-boarding apparatus from one boat builder to the next. Check them out before buying.
This is a good example of the heavy-duty re-boarding ladders that more pontoon manufacturers are using. Notice the thick handrails that will be easy to grab and will support a large person.
8. Two Pontoons or Three?
Recreational Pontoon boats had just two pontoons in the beginning, but 20 years or so ago builders started introducing tri-toons. Tri-toons cost more but they have many advantages when it comes to load capacity and speed.
Twin-pontoon boats rarely can plane and generally are design for slower displacement speeds. They are fine for cruising around the lake at sedate speeds and to provide a stable platform for swimming and entertaining. Putting large engines on a twin-toon boat will make it go marginally faster, but generally, it will not provide satisfactory performance for tow sports.
Tri-toons, if properly powered and propped, can go as fast as most sport boats and can get on plane fast. These boats make good platforms for tow ports, but don’t expect them to make big wakes for wakeboarding. However, they are fine for water skiing and tubing.
This Sun Tracker tri-toon has multiple chambers. Note that the diameter of the toons is 26” and the center toon has a flat “pad” on the aft section of the center toon. This will aid in planing and provides an ideal well for the outboard.
9. Match Outboard Engines to the Task
Twin-toon boats require little power, depending on the load and the speed required. Outboard engines of 50- or 60-hp can generally push an 18’ to 20’ (5.4-6.0 m)twin toon at 15 or 16 mph. That is about as fast as they will go and putting a larger engine on and winding it up will make the boat go a little faster, but it will do little more.
For those who want to go fast or tow skiers and tubers, we recommend a tri-toon with a 150-hp outboard or larger. Larger tri-toons can easily handle 300-hp engines and some models now handle two large outboards, and we have even tested a 32’ (9.75 m) tri-toon with three large outboard engines.
High Torque Matters. . All pontoon boats are hard to get moving fast and this fact places a premium on outboard engines that have high torque in the low RPM ranges. Owners who want to engage in tow sports would do well to consider 2-stroke engines or those with superchargers. Both are well-known for creating greater torque at the low end. That, together with four-blade props will probably provide the best performance for nearly any pontoon boat application.
This 2-stroke Evinrude E-TEC G2 250-hp outboard engine pushed the 25’ tri-toon pictured here at over 46 mph. It went 0 to 30 mph in six seconds.
10. Pontoon Tube Size Matters
Pontoon boats obviously get their buoyancy from the pontoons, and the greater their diameter generally the more satisfying the experience. 23” (0.58 m)pontoons are about the smallest diameter we see and they are generally on smaller boats, those under 20’ (6.0 m). More typically we see 24”-25” (0.6-0.63 m) pontoons on both twin-toon and tri-toon vessels. Occasionally, on some of the more expensive boats, we will see 26” (0.66 m) toons.
In some tri-toon models the center toon is of a greater diameter. This aids in turning with a slight inward lean, as well as giving the boat the buoyancy it needs to go fast.
The greater the size of the diameter of the pontoon the more stable the boat will be and the faster it will go. All pontoons should have three or four air-tight chambers. This not only gives the tubes more integrity but also provides a measure of safety should a chamber be punctured.
This Sun Tracker has a 24” pontoon diameter. Note how it rides with four adults and one child aboard.
11. Bimini Tops Are a “Must Have”
Virtually all pontoon boats have a Bimini top available either as standard or as an option. They are important to the guests’ comfort and we recommend getting the biggest one available. Look for one that is easy to deploy. Some boats even have power Bimini tops. Make sure to operate the Bimini prior to purchase as some can be aggravating to set and put in their boot when it is time to call it a day.
All boats should have canvas to protect the upholstery from UV degradation to say nothing of the soot and grit that might be in the air. Those living near highways will be familiar with the light rain of tire rubber and unburned diesel carbon that settles on everything. While a playpen-style full cover might seem like a good idea (they are certainly the cheapest), individual seat covers are much easier to deal with. Unless a boat is stored in an area where the deck can get covered in leaves or pine needles, go with seat covers.
This Bimini top provides some protection but consider the optional Bimini extensions that some builders offer.
Individual seat covers are easy to handle and stow.
12. Comfort Amenities Are Important
Boaters should think about family and guests and ask themselves how they can get the most enjoyment out of the boat they plan to buy. Heading our list of welcome amenities is the changing curtain so that guests can wiggle out of wet bathing suits and get into dry cloths. Most builders make these available as an option, if not standard. Also, a Porta-Potti can be fitted in some of them, but not all.
Other convenience items worth mentioning are portable cup holders that sit on the seats and pedestal tables. Generally, the pedestal tables are small and are limited to drinks and snacks. Those wanting to serve dinner al fresco will need to find a boat with a proper table and a grill.
These days builders of pontoon boats are providing more and more amenities. Sinks, running water, refrigerators, gas grills, and more are available in the premium-level pontoon boats.
These cup holders can be moved anywhere on the boat and are quite handy.
A table adds to any boat’s versatility. On most pontoons, there are receptacles fore and aft for a table.
Coveted for the privacy it provides, a pop-up changing curtain is often a welcome feature on a pontoon boat. Some are large enough for a Porta-Potti.