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Traditional pontoon boating pastimes like fishing, swimming, skiing, and tubing are always good for hours of summer fun. And the merits of just plain relaxing cannot be overstated. But seasoned boaters at times find themselves asking, “How can I shake things up and break from the norm?”

Because of their size and large decks (in some cases double-decks) pontoon boats are vessels meant for festive gatherings. Whether it’s an adults-only party or camping with the kids, pontoons provide a venue for a wide variety of good times on the water. Below are just a few creative ideas.

Floating Pontoon Dinner Party

Pontoons can be equipped with all kinds of grilling and food-storage artillery, so it’s easy to host a dinner party on the water. The possible themes are endless. You can choose an ethnic or regional theme like Japanese or Midwestern, or go nautical and serve “Flank Speed Flank Steak” and “Buntline Bunt Cake,” or just take an old standard like the simple fondue party and modify its traditions — anyone who loses bread in the pot buys a round of drinks at the dockside bar. There’s no shortage of ways to get creative.

You could also reduce your prep time with a potluck dinner party. Or, get everyone into the on-deck cooking with a floating competition à la Iron Chef.

Get Your Game On, Pontoon Tournament Style

Breaking out the cribbage board or chess set on the pontoon is often a spontaneous thing, but such games are also perfect for tournaments, which can serve as the focus of the gathering and keep conversations flowing and seats shuffling. The games help fill in conversation gaps and maximize the mingling.

Also, a simple invite to “spend the afternoon on the boat” can be aggrandized into the “Seventh Annual Lake George Pinochle Tournament,” for example. It becomes an event traditions can be formed around.

If you have a friend with a pontoon on the same lake, more extravagant tournaments are possible, such as bean-bag toss with cornhole boards placed on separate, anchored boats. (If you miss the pontoon with your toss you have to dive in and get it, of course.) For other games you can have winner- and loser-bracket boats.

(picture by Harrisboats)

Birthday Party On A Pontoon

In addition to being a respite for parents, pontoon boats make terrific kid-party venues. Don’t limit yourself when throwing a birthday bash on the water. Deck your pontoon in a fun theme like tiki Hawaii or pirate shipwreck to make your child’s birthday party a fantasy adventure. Kids having too much fun can slide down “the plank” if your boat has a slide.

Pontoon Club Gatherings

Any kind of club can convene on a pontoon boat, making the meeting all the more entertaining and memorable. Cruise the open waters as your book club discusses the most recent read. Or, get a beer and wine club together and sample cocktails under the setting sun. Where better for an environmental studies or bird-watching club to gather?

Pontoon Boat Block Party

Pontoon boaters tend to have several like-minded friends who frequent the same waterways or docking areas. A pontoon boat block party operates just like a regular block party, with the added fun of boat hopping to chat with the “neighbors.”

Kick the pontoon boat party up a peg by making it a progressive dinner party where boaters start on one boat for appetizers and aperitifs, then move on for the first course, then to another boat for the main course, and then to another boat for dessert.

A riff off that idea is to have each boat feature different cuisine from different regions of the country or the world, or for each boat to prepare a different seafood dish. The possibilities are endless.

Pontoon Camping Adventures

Pontoon boat covers provide plenty of protection for sleeping under the stars on the water. Grab a group of friends, a bag of marshmallows to toast over the grill, and some flashlights and spend the night sitting on the deck telling stories about what lurks beneath the surface. This is also a fun thing to do with the family or with children’s parties or scouting groups.

Personalize It

With limitless options for fun on the water, the most important thing is to make your pontoon party suit your style. Take these ideas and make them your own with twists that match your personality. Or, let this be the guide that sparks your imagination to develop your own uniquely branded pontoon extravaganza.

Post your pontoon event pictures to our Facebook or on your Instagram with hashtag #MariDeck. We would love to see your photos and will even share if they catch our eye.

By: HarrisBoats

5 Ways to Enjoy Your New Pontoon Boat

5 Ways to Enjoy Your New Pontoon Boat

We may still be in the midst of winter, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped thinking about having fun on the water! In just a few months, the boating season will be upon us once again—and we’ll all want new, exciting things to try once we hit the water.

In today’s blog, we are looking at five ways to enjoy your new pontoon boat this coming season.

Pack a picnic

Of the best ways to enjoy an afternoon on the water is with a freshly packed picnic for the family. You can rest easy knowing that your pontoon boat has plenty of space for food storage and, of course, seating and tables to enjoy the picnic itself. The only thing you need to worry about is what food you’ll be bringing!

For picnics on the water, light (but tasty!) meals and snacks are the best way to go. Prepare yummy sandwiches, do-it-yourself trail mix, fruit salads any other treats for yourself and all your passengers. Top it off with a few cool bottles of water and you’re ready to go.

Throw a party

An on board party is a great way to celebrate a family milestone, birthday or simple get together with friends. Throw your own pontoon boat party by preparing music to play, providing fun games or activities for young kids, and gearing yourself up for plenty of fun.

Add a slide

For many pontoon boaters, the flat, stable deck is the perfect backdrop for a fun addition—a water slide! You can purchase a water slide made for attaching to the side of your boat. Watch your family and friends laugh in enjoyment as they slide from the boat into the water below. It’s a great addition that’s bound to provide hours of fun and laughs every time it is used.

Go camping

Few boats are as well equipped for a family camping trip than a pontoon boat. Take your boat somewhere special, whether it’s a favorite lake or coastal marina spot—then set up camp! You can add an enclosure to your boat that serves as a sort of camping tent, giving you a comfortable place to snooze, change clothes or simply enjoy some shade while on your camping trip. In advance of your trip, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and dry clothes for your passengers. It’s a unique experience everyone will enjoy!

Bring some water toys

Finally, for fun on your pontoon boat in 2016, don’t forget the water toys! These can be anything from inner tubes to beach balls to higher-tech toys like wakeboards and water skis. These toys are fun for kids and adults alike, and can provide you, your family and friends with plenty of memories that will last well beyond your return to land.

Which of these ideas are you and your family going to try once the season starts back up? We hope this list helped you find inspiration for fun and adventure on your family pontoon boat.

Boating - It’s Good for Your Soul | Pontoon-Depot

Boating - It’s Good for Your Soul | Pontoon-Depot

You already know you love spending time on the water. Whether you like it calm and peaceful or thrilling and exciting, the joy you, your family and your friends get from boating is undeniable. But if you’re looking for even more reasons to take the boat out - or maybe you need to convince someone else about the benefits of life on the water - read on!

1. It’s a chance to unplug. These days, we’re always connected - social media, text messages, online videos and more. Day to day, we don’t realize how much this contributes to our stress and anxiety. But when you’re on a boat ride it’s a great excuse to disconnect from technology - and reconnect with the world around you.

2. It’s a bonding experience. If you’re lucky, you have amazing memories from your childhood of boating with your family. Boating now - fishing, cruising, skiing, swimming - is a great way to build those same memories with your own family and friends.

3. It’s a great way to learn new things. Explore new experiences - try a watersport you’ve never tried. Kneeboarding, tubing and skiing are fun! Try a new type of fishing. Spend a night out on the water. With boating, the possibilities are endless.

4. It’s healthy! Being in the sun is actually good for you. Yes, you still need to use sunscreen. But some sun exposure allows your body to soak up healthy vitamin D that you need. Plus, being around water is relaxing and can help lower anxiety - studies have proven it!

5. It’s a social activity. Boaters are a community. If you have a boat, you probably have friends who have boats, too. It’s not uncommon for everyone to go out together to fish, ski, or find a quiet cove to hang out and swim. Plus, boaters help each other, and share tips and tricks. If you like people, boating is for you.

6. It’s part of your adventure! In the end, how you’ve spent your life is the sum of how you’ve spent your days. So spend your days wisely - and spend as many as possible doing what you enjoy.
Pontoon Boat: Your Floating Stay-Cation

Pontoon Boat: Your Floating Stay-Cation

You don't have to go too far to get away.

You, after all, are among the elite. You have the hardware required to bring the party wherever you go. You invested in a floating memory-making machine.

You're a pontoon boat owner.

Leave the "all-inclusive" cruises to the schmos who are willing to settle for cramped cabins, crowded dinners and hack entertainment. Let the landlubbers scour Travelocity for the can't-miss, can't-wait deal of the century that comes along every four days. Let the masses pack their SUVs and head to their secret, pristine vacation hideaway that's a secret to everyone except for all the people who have Facebook.

You're a pontoon boat owner. For you, the vacation starts as soon as you shove off from the dock.

On regular boats, kids get bored quickly because they can't move around. Your floating living room, however, gives them all the stay-cation space they need to spread out and have some fun.

What would you do on vacation? Go fishing? Go water skiing?

Check and double check.

Unlike most boats, with their rigid seating structures, pontoon boats are comfy and cozy. Cuddle up and watch the sunset — or sunrise, depending on your stay-cation itinerary. Grab a pair of binoculars and see what kind of birds or other wildlife you can spy from your maritime sanctuary. Explore a channel or tributary you've never cruised before, or cut the engine and just relax, talk and enjoy each other's company — cell phone and iPad free.

The point is, spring is here. The kids will be out of school soon and a vacation doesn't sound like a bad idea. But you don't need to go very far to get away. When you invested in your pontoon boat, you entered an elite fraternity of adventurers and enthusiasts who don't need to travel to find excitement, adventure and relaxation.

You've got a pontoon boat. All of that goes wherever you go.