Pontoon boats are notorious for being one of the slower personal watercrafts on the waves. With average speeds of up to 25mph, they're sold under the banner of 'family friendly.' But times are changing, and pontoon boat manufacturers are looking to break the stigma and give their buyers a little more excitement.
These days, it's not unheard of for pontoon boats to reach speed boat velocity. In fact, the fastest pontoon boat in the world can go faster than a jet ski. Find out more about this lightning fast pontoon boat and other swift pontoon boat models up for grabs on the market with this comprehensive guide.
What's the World's Fastest Pontoon Boat?
The title of the world's fastest pontoon boat is held by none other than a humble hobby boater just like any other guy you'd find at the dock. Brad Rowland is a plumber by profession, but the guy just loves boats and everything about them. And while the pontoon boat holds a place in his heart, Brad just felt like the boats went a little too slow for his taste.
So he took his South Bay pontoon boat, upgraded its center tube and added a third outboard motor and upgraded engines to give the boat more glide and power. What he ended up with was an ultra fast pontoon boat that was pushing 100 miles per hour (mph) when he debuted it at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
The world was stunned at the impressive display, and the South Bay manufacturer was so pleased with all of the publicity that Brad Rowland was getting that they built him a custom pontoon boat to go faster than his first one. They released their custom boat to the humble plumber in 2015.
Named the Tooned In 2, this custom pontoon from South Bay broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's fastest pontoon boat with a whopping recorded speed of 114 mph. Talk about power. This record breaking run took place just two years after 2015, when our guy got a hang of his brand new custom boat. His performance at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout has yet to be topped by any other pontoon on the market. Rumor has it that Rowland is looking to top his record by hitting 120 mph.
Fastest Pontoon Boat Models You Can Buy
It's no doubt that the Tooned In 1 and 2 have started a craze among pontoon boat owners who want something that can push speeds like 114 miles per hour. Now, the South Bay pontoon boat isn't available for purchase to the general market. And there aren't any other pontoon boats out there that can churn out speeds of 114 mph. But even then, there are lots of pontoon boats that closely rival the Brad Rowland Tooned In world record.
If you're looking for a pontoon boat that can serve serious power with upgraded engines, motors, and exteriors, here are the top 5 fastest pontoon boat models you can buy today.
PlayCraft PowerToon X-Treme 2700
PlayCraft is popular for their performance custom pleasure crafts that deliver power, speed, and effortless handling. The 2700 PowerToon X-Treme is their fastest premier pontoon boat model, featuring a 27'6" deck sitting atop a tritoon construction and powerful engines at the top of their class. The triple tube structure provides excellent buoyancy during your ride while cutting through the waves using the boat's pointed surface-piercing nose.
The engine is rated at a whopping 450hp, able to push the boat to speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour. Of course, that's not going to win you the world's fastest pontoon boat title, but it's definitely more than enough for recreational use. It also comes with a range of impressive features like hydraulic steering, foam flotation interiors for each pontoon, and wide heavy duty extended aluminum side deck bumpers.
Bennington 25 QX Fastback
Boasting beautiful lines and symmetry characteristic of the Bennington brand, the 25 QX Fastback is a premier pontoon boat that touts a 350 hp outboard Yamaha motor. The gorgeous boat boasts a sporty aesthetic and luxury interiors that improve the comfort experience. In terms of speed, this pontoon boat can reach up to 50 mph.
If there's anything else that makes prospective buyers march into dealerships for this particular model, it's the high-tech captain's console that features a wide touchscreen control panel for seamless operation. The twin captain consoles leave room for two heads of the vessel so you can have a designated skipper. The interiors are also impressively spacious, using finishes and upholstery that exude luxury and sophistication.
Harris Crowne 270 SL TE
Equipped with a set of two Mercury 400 outboard motors, the Harris Crowne 270 SL TE can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. The sleek tritoon comes with a beautiful captain's console and enough roomy comfort to accommodate up to 13 persons.
Sold in four different colors, this luxury tritoon also makes a great choice for fist time owners looking for something that's easy to handle. This is made possible with the boat's Mercury Joystick Piloting system that offers intuitive controls that makes docking, steering, and tight maneuvering as easy as pie.
Lowe SS 250 WS
If there's anything that makes the Lowe SS 250 WS truly enjoyable, it's the smooth, hitch-free power steering feature that lets you glide and slide over the water like a hot knife through butter. The powerful Mercury motors are rated at 300 hp, and definitely won't allow speeds of 114 miles per hour. But they will push the boat to reach speeds of 51.6 miles per hour which is double the speed of the average pontoon.
The interiors of the triple tube pontoon boat use premium upholstery with full high grade marine vinyl covers and plush high density cushions that enhance the comfort experience. But despite its power and premier features, the SS 250 WS comes at an attainable price that makes it a friendly choice for buyers who might not have too big a budget.
Manitou 25 Legacy SL
You can't really talk about premier pontoon boats without mentioning Manitou. Being one of the most popular brands out there, Manitou found it fitting to join in on the fast pontoon bandwagon with their top bet, the 25 Legacy SL. This boat comes with a 300 hp Evinrude G3 that churns out speeds of up to 48 miles per hour. So maybe it's not fastest pontoon boat in the world material, but for personal, private use, it's definitely worth the penny.
They also have an option that comes with a Mercury outboard motor depending on what you prefer to enjoy on the water. The manufacturer also offers a wide range of other performance add ons like their Manitou Sport Handling Package set that allows effortless banking and turning so that your pontoon becomes more sporty and athletic on strong waves.
How Can You Make Pontoon Boats Faster?
Watching all of those sporty boats zip by, it's not uncommon for a humble pontoon boat owner to pine for a little extra speed. But just like good ol' Brad, you won't actually need to buy a brand new pontoon boat if you want to max out your boat's speed.
Here's how to pull a Rowland to break your boat's speed record and enjoy the lake with a little more excitement.
Install a Third Tube
First of all, a third tube between the two existing should be your top priority. The reason adding a third tube should help increase your miles per hour is simple - it lets you sit higher on the lake. With less resistance from the water dragging your boat back the way that it would on two tubes, you can expect to power through the waves at a higher velocity. Most services will charge around $4,000 for this upgrade, so it's going to be a major expense.
Keep Your Tubes Clean
And that actually goes for the rest of your boat. Bumps, divots, and other inconsistencies on the two tubes surface can increase drag and pull your boat back as you zoom over the lake water. Streamlined, polished tubes cut through the waves more efficiently, paving the way for the fastest performance they can allow.
Minimize the Weight
Adding weight to your boat will obviously sink you lower in the water and will essentially make it more difficult for your pontoon boat to move. Avoid overloading your boat and keep weight evenly distributed across the deck. Some experts even suggest just filling up your gas tank up to 50% full to cut back on the weight of the added fuel.
This one's pretty controversial and might not actually improve your miles per hour by a lot. But when combined with other speed enhancing upgrades, underskinning can help your boat go as fast as it possibly can. We wrote up a comprehensive guide on underskinning to help you find out more about the upgrade and how to do it yourself.
Upgrade Your Motors and Engines
Of course, one surefire way to go as fast as possible would be to upgrade your motor. But make sure you consider the horsepower rating on your capacity plate since it might be illegal to exceed the suggested hp rating. Remember - you're not out here trying to break a world record or anything like that, so try not to overdo with the motor power. Adding ten mph to your standard speed should be way more than enough to get the party started.
Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
Maybe you can't buy the fastest pontoon boat in the world, but that doesn't mean you won't have options. The fastest pontoon boat models for sale won't compete with the Rowland Tooned In and they won't break the world record.
Heck, you probably might even have a run for your money at the next Shootout. But with increased speed and improved handling, these premier pontoon boats could make even Brad himself grin from ear to ear. March on over to your nearest dealership to ask about their fastest pontoons.