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Boating Pontoon Boat Buyers Guide

Boating is the world's foremost magazine for boating enthusiasts. Written by experts for those who love the sport, the editorial covers the waterfront -- from runabouts to sportfish convertibles to luxury showpieces, and everything in between.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
R 57,76
R 216,99
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min

If you live in “lake country”—which covers ground as close to the coast as Candlewood Lake, Connecticut, or as far from the coast as Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Oklahoma—you already know that pontoon boats rule the world. And if you are not aware, consider that the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association reports that 33 percent of outboard boats sold in 2019 were pontoons. That’s more than twice as many as bass boats (14 percent) and center-consoles (17 percent) combined. Notably, outboard boats represent the largest segment of recreational-boat sales, numbering 173,000 against a total of 201,400 boats sold in total in 2019. So, figure about 52,000 new pontoons sold in 2019. Many of these come in saltwater versions. Besides, price and features don’t tell the story of the pontoon boat. That’s…

3 min
fuelish behavior

There’s a crazy boating video that recently circulated around social media and was picked up by several major media outlets. In the video, recorded at a marina in Italy, a woman is seen on the swim platform of a typical sterndrive cruiser, handling lines as her captain eases the boat away from the fuel dock. As the boat pulls away, the woman is suddenly propelled into the air by a violent explosion coming from under the engine hatch. As she lands in the water, a dockhand jumps into the water to help her. Reportedly, all the people involved in the video escaped serious harm, but it is a sobering reminder that fueling your boat is not a task to be taken for granted. Normally, we reserve this page for stories submitted…

3 min
sign language

Understanding the numbers and symbols on electronic paper-style navigational charts. But don’t let the ease of use of today’s navigation technology lull you into a false sense of security. At the very least, before you head out on a cruise where you will be relying on charting software, you should know how to read a chart. Let’s take a look at some of the basic symbols and numbers on charts and what they all mean. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on the official symbols found on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s paper charts. Navigation companies scan these to appear on your plotter’s display as raster charts. For the more dynamic vector charts, some of the symbols, and the chart itself, might appear differently depending on the software…

1 min

SKILL LEVEL 1.5 OF 5 FINISH TIME Approx. 4-5 hours TOOLS AND SUPPLIES • Rigging hose ($79.99 per 10 feet of 2-inch OD, atlanticmarinestore.com)• Rigging flange ($8.29, Sierra Part No. 18-9761 molded plastic, westmarine.com)• Rigging flange with fuelhose port to accommodate fuel primer bulb ($15.95, T-H Marine Part No. RFFHP-1-DP molded plastic, thmarinesupplies.com)• Rigging flange hose union to accommodate fuel primer bulb ($10.30, T-H Marine Part No. RFHU-1-DP molded plastic, fisheriessupply.com)• Outboard rigging port adapter (check with engine manufacturer)• No. 10 stainless-steel screws (3)• Phillips screwdriver• Socket-wrench set• Tape measure• Power drill and 1/8-inch bit• Marking pencil• Marine silicone sealant…

4 min
installing an outboard rigging tube

The bundle of cables, wires and hoses that extend from the boat to the outboard motor(s) delivers essential fuel, electrical power, and throttle and shift commands, as well as providing feedback to the helm on engine performance and health. Outboard rigging tubes protect these critical connections from wear, damage and UV deterioration. The ribbed plastic conduit is flexible enough to move as an outboard turns or tilts yet is sturdy and kink-resistant. It also makes for a tidier motor installation. The first step is to procure the parts, which include a rigging flange (such as the Sierra Part No. 18-9761 or T-H Marine Part No. RF-1CP-DP) for the point where the rigging bundle emerges from the boat, an adapter for the engine rigging port, and the tube. This will be 2- or…

3 min
call signs

It’s probably the last thing you’re thinking about when you leave the dock for your next boating adventure. And even if something might go wrong on the water, you could be thinking that help is just a phone call or VHF hail away—unless it isn’t. What if your phone has no reception and your VHF isn’t working? No EPIRB either? You need another way to let other boaters in the area know you need help or to show potential rescuers where to find you. Here are a few techniques to signal for help when you really need it. FLARES If you’re US Coast Guard-compliant, you already have a set of flares inside your Coast Guard kit. But do you know what kind they are, as well as how to use them? There…