Looking at 20SLV "Join the family" pontoons

Douglas685

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Hi guys, I'm looking to get my first pontoon. I'm from Mid Missouri and I was pretty much set on getting a Lowe pontoon, as they are literally 30 miles from my house at Lake of the Ozarks (and no, Marty Byrd doesn't live down the street from me, and yes I think Dierberg's sells Pistachio ice cream).. anyway, I began to price the 20SLV and I'm pretty shocked.. $23,500 with a 90hp Yami on the back, national no-haggle, with decent standard options to boot. That said, the main dealer at Lake of the Ozarks is a very upscale dealership ($100k+ boats are very common at the Lake, I've seen ultra-luxurious tritoons with 6-figure MSRP's, plus I'm pretty sure they have Yachts for 500k to a million or more).

I know that the base price is no haggle, but then dealers are allowed to charge "Freight and Prep" fee's. According to Bennington, the freight should be around $500-$600 from the factory in Indiana to the Lake of the Ozarks.

What do you guys think is a fair freight+prep fee for this? I'll be at the lake this 4th of July week and I plan to hop around to some dealerships.. I actually would love to buy this boat from the dealer at the Lake (in 6-12 mo's, I know dealers hate my guts) but I just don't want to get laughed at or have a dealer say something absurd like "4 grand" for prep and freight.

So guys, what do you think is fair? Also, I would possibly be interested in dealer-adding a 3rd log to this and making the cheapest tritoon in existence (it's needed at the lake, the water routinely has 3-4 waves from the yachts), anyone know how much their Benny dealer costs for a dealer-installed triton upgrade? Also, are any of you awesome dealers who will charge something fair, say $1,000-$1,500 for freight+prep near me? I wouldn't mind a third log upgrade if the price were around $2,000 or so.

Thanks guys!
 

lakeliving

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Not sure on prep costs but I wouldn't rule out looking around for a leftover from last year. You might be close to what you'd pay for the 20+ modifications. Worth a shot. And don't do what I did, went cheap on the first one not knowing what my needs were. Sold it 3 months later and ordered one that truly ticked all of the boxes.
 

Alicedream

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Hi guys, I'm looking to get my first pontoon. I'm from Mid Missouri and I was pretty much set on getting a Lowe pontoon, as they are literally 30 miles from my house at Lake of the Ozarks (and no, Marty Byrd doesn't live down the street from me, and yes I think Dierberg's sells Pistachio ice cream).. anyway, I began to price the 20SLV and I'm pretty shocked.. $23,500 with a 90hp Yami on the back, national no-haggle, with decent standard options to boot. That said, the main dealer at Lake of the Ozarks is a very upscale dealership ($100k+ boats are very common at the Lake, I've seen ultra-luxurious tritoons with 6-figure MSRP's, plus I'm pretty sure they have Yachts for 500k to a million or more).

I know that the base price is no haggle, but then dealers are allowed to charge "Freight and Prep" fee's. According to Bennington, the freight should be around $500-$600 from the factory in Indiana to the Lake of the Ozarks.

What do you guys think is a fair freight+prep fee for this? I'll be at the lake this 4th of July week and I plan to hop around to some dealerships.. I actually would love to buy this boat from the dealer at the Lake (in 6-12 mo's, I know dealers hate my guts) but I just don't want to get laughed at or have a dealer say something absurd like "4 grand" for prep and freight.

So guys, what do you think is fair? Also, I would possibly be interested in dealer-adding a 3rd log to this and making the cheapest tritoon in existence (it's needed at the lake, the water routinely has 3-4 waves from the yachts), anyone know how much their Benny dealer costs for a dealer-installed triton upgrade? Also, are any of you awesome dealers who will charge something fair, say $1,000-$1,500 for freight+prep near me? I wouldn't mind a third log upgrade if the price were around $2,000 or so.

Thanks guys!
I will send you a private message. There is a dealership on the way to the Ozarks from Kansas City that has some of the best pricing around and they just give you a price which includes prep and freight. Their prices are excellent
 
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Mike31406

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With the conditions you describe on the lake I think you would be much happier with a tritoon. You haven’t said what you intend to us it for. If it includes water sports you should strongly consider a 150. “Buy you last boat first.” It is much cheaper that way. Welcome to the forum, lots of great information available here. Spend some time reading through the forum before you buy.
 

SEMPERFI8387

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You’ll pay a LOT more for a third log if they’ll even do it. It must ship with a load of boats (or separately). You are probably looking at $4-5K plus, if they’ll even quote it. The whole purpose of the SLV is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to do. If you want a tritoon, buy a tritoon out of the gate ...
 

Alicedream

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The 20 SLV is a really small boat for the Ozarks. Even the dealer I recommended youto in the PM would would not want to add a third pontoon and they would charge you a lot for that install if they could do it.
 
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Vikingstaff

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Some very smart and experienced Bennington owners up above with solid advice to consider.
 

Douglas685

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Thanks for the feedback guys. It's good to know that adding the third toon is basically out of the question on the 20 SLV, which means smoother water days would be important. That said, I've ridden on standard dual toons at the lake even in some rough water; it's certainly possible it just takes a driver who knows that they're doing (aka, take waves at a 45-degree angle, go over them, don't crash through, and obviously stay off the water July 4th weekend except early mornings, etc.). The biggest factor is my budget. I'm 31 years old and just finishing paying off student loan debt, a boat for around $25,000 all-in is in budget, but honestly nothing above that. Just the way it is.

That said, I really don't have any issue with going a bit slower on rough days or getting splashed a bit. Honestly my favorite time of year to boat the lake is in the fall in October right before winterizing.. the trees are gorgeous and usually the lake is glass since most people winterize right after labor day (and the lake frees up to locals for about 6 weeks or so). And that's really the kind of boating I like. I don't mind rough water (I like the challenge on a small boat actually) but I also like the chill days as well. Also, most of the coves are now no-wake, so once you clear the channel, puttering out to a cove for a dip or to fish should be a piece of cake.

I mostly just want something to get me out there. I'd really strongly prefer new, as preowned prices really aren't great until something is 10+ years old, but then the maintenance is a real PITA. Honestly, I would have picked up a new Bayliner 175 if I wasn't so concerned I'd sink it with a good wave or two over the bow (small boats get swamped pretty frequently at the Ozarks)

The way I see it, I can comfortably fit about 6 people on the 20 SLV, and it should up get to around 25mph with a 90hp Yami on smooth days. It's certainly not a rough water boat by any stretch of the imagination, but it should hold up to rough waves here and there assuming I don't drive like a moron. An on that beautiful fall day I can run WOT with the biggest grin on my face in the world knowing I've got a boat I absolutely love.
 

Vikingstaff

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Always better to be on the water, than not being on it. And as you said, you know exactly what you can afford, and have experience boating the lake. Whatever final decision you make, welcome aboard the forums. Lots of great ideas tucked away in these posts over the years.
 

Douglas685

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Thanks Vikingstaff. And also, for lake locals to give you an idea, my lift is about a quarter-mile from the grand glaize bridge, which is also no wake, so the main channel would be a monster on rough days, but only for a minute or two until I enter the no-wake zone crossing over to the other side by the state park where waves are big, but certainly manageable (unlike the other side of grand glaize heading towards the toll bridge, where past that I have seen, I kid you not, 6-8' waves. THAT, in a 1988 24' cuddy cabin deep vee with 11 people onboard, was scary).
 

runtpacket

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I just order a 20 SLV. I had an interesting experience shopping for 1. 1st dealer has 4 in stock and a ton of other models. they wanted $29865 for a 20 SLV and 90 HP Yamaha. No wonder they have in stock boats. LOL.

I left and called the next place that had SLV's listed as in stock. They no longer had any but had 4 SLV's on order with build dates this month and delivery "around" the 4th. 20 SLV with 90 HP Yamaha and trailer was 26k and change. Guess who I went with.
 

runtpacket

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Thanks Vikingstaff. And also, for lake locals to give you an idea, my lift is about a quarter-mile from the grand glaize bridge, which is also no wake, so the main channel would be a monster on rough days, but only for a minute or two until I enter the no-wake zone crossing over to the other side by the state park where waves are big, but certainly manageable (unlike the other side of grand glaize heading towards the toll bridge, where past that I have seen, I kid you not, 6-8' waves. THAT, in a 1988 24' cuddy cabin deep vee with 11 people onboard, was scary).

Here's my take. I live on lake Huron. It's a "great" lake (hahah Pun time). We have 2 routes out to the lake, up the st Clair river under the Blue Water bridge's with heavy traffic (this is a calm water day with freighter traffic), or out a very narrow/shallow (1-2" draft) canal (this canal is notorious for killing motors). This lake is more like a sea. in a 20' boat I'm not getting out far enough I can't see the shore. For the last 5 year I have owned a 20' Pontoon with 18" tube. I have taken the big river out 3 times. 2 times I have had to replace the bow corners due to freighter wake. So I know a small boat in rough waters well. Make sure you have all your safety gear, check it often. Don't leave the life vests under a seat. Get them out and within reach.

If you want a tritoon buy one, not an SLV, you won't save any money trying to have one added. If you need to handle rough water make sure it has the rough water package and at-least under skinning. (it's not very much to add yourself and is easy to do).

end of the day make sure you and your passengers are safe. Have fun. Buy a Bennington. Make sure it's what you need 1st and Have fun...
 

Douglas685

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Well dang, in doing some research I really think I want the elliptical toons or express (third log) package with the "rough water package". I find it interesting the right on the description of the rough water package it says it was designed for rough water conditions at "Lake of the Ozarks". Too bad the SLV model's don't offer the other toon options or even the $250 rough water package reinforcement for that matter. I'll keep researching. Maybe a recommendation to someone at Bennington to consider offering a 21' "SLV" with an option for elliptical toons or third-log and rough water kit for those of us in rougher areas who want a basic boat to handle the conditions without spending $40k+; just a recommendation!

Anyway thanks to everyone for their ideas; I also go a couple DM's with dealer recommendations so maybe they will be able to help me out in my search. Thanks guys!
 

SEMPERFI8387

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Theres a reason the SL”V” stands for “value” ... what you want is in the standard lines.
 

Tomc

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So I got a two toon last fall with a 115 HP. We’re on a large inland lake, not “great” in Michigan. It can get pretty nasty. We’ve had a couple instances of really rough water. Not 3-4 foot waves. But 3-4 foot swells in the middle of the lake. We have the wave shield (or underskinning), and the boat handled it incredibly well. We take it slow and use the boat to cruise so for our purpose, it has handled our lake well. So depending on how you plan to use the boat, two toons may be enough which will save a lot of cash. I would go for tritoon if needing for watersport towing and higher HP. If not, I believe the two toon with wave shield will perform pretty similarly to tritoon in most inland conditions.
 

Douglas685

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That's good to know. I guess I should clarify the waves are more like swells, they almost never break on the water but they are pretty narrow without much room from wave to wave; and they tend to be very random as they are just wakes coming from dozens upon dozens of boats running here-there-and-everywhere on the very crowded lake.

As for a wave tamer, that's not a listed option for the 20SLV but from what I understand those are pretty simple to install correct? What's the typical cost for those? It's basically just sheet metal bolted to the frame underneath right? Would lift strakes help much at all with a 90hp in the waves?

And yes, going easy and slow is totally an option, hitting large waves at 45 or even 30 degrees is the plan. I don't get seasick so it's more a problem for my passengers than anything else :D
 

Vikingstaff

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Respectfully, I would say a dual toon does not handle anything like a tritoon, inland water conditions or otherwise. Having driven both before buying our boat, I think they are totally different. Not a knock on one or the other, but to expect the buoyancy and handling of a tritoon on a normal dual toon just isn’t going to happen. If it did, people wouldn’t spend more to get the tri’s. Just saying...
 

Tomc

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Respectfully, I would say a dual toon does not handle anything like a tritoon, inland water conditions or otherwise. Having driven both before buying our boat, I think they are totally different. Not a knock on one or the other, but to expect the buoyancy and handling of a tritoon on a normal dual toon just isn’t going to happen. If it did, people wouldn’t spend more to get the tri’s. Just saying...


Fair enough, I’ve only had mine a few months in the water, and never test drove a Tritoon, just the two-toon. So it’s worth a test drive of both. My point is to not rule out two toon out of the gate, as it all depends on water and how you want to use it. Test drive, if possible needs to be with same 90 HP motor, and preferably with the 3-4 foot conditions. I’m quite confident the tritoon will perform better no matter what, but for me though, the two-toon was very good, better than I would have expected, and good enough for our needs. Having said that, if I ever go to a 150HP or higher, I’d only look at tritoons.

As for wave shield, you want to get it either way with two toons or tritoon. Factory installed is with rivets. One could do it themselves, but know the cross beams are coated metal (or maybe some heavy duty aluminum) so there is some work involved to get it on and get it right.
 
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adkboater

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Buy what you can afford based on what you think you need. We can’t spend money you don’t have!! It seems you understand your limitations with a twin log boat, keeping it realistic will keep up and your passengers safe. I’m obviously a triple toon guy and would prefer and recommend that for the the water conditions you speak of, but I’d just try to buy the most boat for the money you have available! Maybe a leftover?? Just my 2 cents.
 
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