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Reflections on 1st Season of Ownership

Discussion in 'Pontoon Forum' started by Bronco, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Bronco

    Bronco Member

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    First, thanks to everyone on this forum where I've been lurking on all of the critical information. You all helped me enormously to make decisions in buying a new 22SSBXP swingback tritoon, with a 150 Yamaha and SPS hull. Salt Water Series. It was a fantastic summer and she is safely stored away for the winter.

    Given all of the assistance from which I benefited, I'm posting for the first time in an effort to maybe help someone else who is new to pontoons/tritoons sort through the numerous options and layouts. I could not be more happy with my selection.

    Layout: I got L shaped seating and a table across from the helm. The swingback with this configuration really helped to maximize seating for my many relatives who summer near my place. I also really appreciate the center toon storage, even though I dock my boat right at my backyard dock and can just carry stuff from the house. Having the extra space was huge, whether for tubes (we tubed a lot), gear, life jackets, fishing rods, etc, etc. On the Swingback- we LOVE this configuration. It has a lot of storage and people really enjoy lounging out back there with their own built in cupholders, We also have the keeper rail so people can spot tubers and skiers or just sit back there while underway. For how we use the boat, the wingback and keeper rail are must haves. Others of course use their boats differently and Bennington has a huge number of layout choices to match those needs beautifully.

    Motor: We tubed a lot and the 150 was plenty of HP to do this. We also deal with some strong tides (more about this later) and it still handled everything that we threw at it. It can move, is really quiet and sips the fuel when you are simply cruising and aren't at full throttle. It is a great mach with the SPS hull. I did not get power assist on the hydraulic steering. I don't think I needed it, as the boat handles very well and easily, even at speed. This is a personal preference and many folks have differing wants, needs, etc.

    Extended Decks: The SSBXP layout came standard with bow and stern extended decks. I highly recommend them, especially if you have a tow/tubing bar, fish or just jump off to swim. Getting in and out is a breeze, as is removing and adding the cover. We have Seagrass flooring and we really like it, though the teak flooring looks really good. I don't think that there is a wrong choice here. Easy to clean and not hot to the touch. We also have 2 large dogs, and it makes it easier for them to get on and off board quickly.

    Lighting: I got the toe kick lights, cup lights and lighted speakers, but no exterior or underwater lights. I know that people love them, but I really didn't miss them at all. The kids really enjoy the interior lightshow. I didn't get the Bimini lighting. My dealer's rep said "If you are out at night you don't need the Bimini, so you won't see the lights." I don't miss them, though I do see people use them and they seem to enjoy the look and it is a nice effect. Total personal preference.

    Stereo: I got the kicker system with an upgraded Wet Sounds amp and sub. It pushes out more than enough sound, even at speed. I did not get the rear speakers even though we beach at sandbars and remote beaches nearby. That may be something I would reconsider, but I haven't missed them yet.

    Toon Protection: I added some Vantage Pontoon Guards and wrap. I'm not sure that I needed to, but they gave me peace of mind, especially as this is my first pontoon and learning to navigate it the first few days resulted in some dock bumping. My dock is on a large tidal river right off a small harbor which leads out to Buzzards Bay and Rhode Island Sound. It is a notoriously difficult spot due to wind and strong tides, rip currents, rocks, sandbars that move every year, etc. (Its notorious-Privateers, smugglers and pirates used to hide out here from pursuit back in colonial days). Knowing that the guards are on helped my mental state in challenging conditions, as well as rafting up to other boats. I also bought larger bumpers than what came with the boat. A few Nor'easters later, I'm glad that I did.

    Seat covers: It came with the Simtex, and I don't have much to compare it to, but it has been easy to clean and no protectant is required. No staining, even with Cheetos!

    Privacy Enclosure: We never used it. A "nice to have" but not a "must have"
    I guess. No portable toilet, but they seem very easy to come by if we ever decide we need one. I just have to make sure it will fit under the Swingback.

    Extra cupholders: We got a few of the movable cushioned ones that slip into the seating and stay put. I would recommend getting at least one. They saw constant use and are easy to stow if not needed.

    Battery: I have 2 batteries. I would recommend it, as I needed the second battery once. Also, it is the cheapest of the options that I added. No brainer.

    Elevated Helm: I did not get this. I wouldn't say that I need it, but in retrospect it would have been nice to have.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  2. cwag911

    cwag911 Moderator

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    Nice write-up and congrats on your boat.
     
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  3. Bronco

    Bronco Member

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    I almost forgot--SPS performance package, under deck painted. Standard depth gauge/fishfinder and stereo head unit that came with the tritoon
     
  4. Stevez

    Stevez Active Member

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    Thank you for the great information! Wonderful review. I'm going to be buying one soon and you have helped me. Thanks.
     
  5. lakeliving

    lakeliving Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review! Glad you are having a blast with it.
     
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  6. Vikingstaff

    Vikingstaff Well-Known Member

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    That is a great review that I am sure will be helpful to others considering a Bennington. Have you ever posted any pictures of your boat? If not, please do. I’d love to see it, or if you have already posted them, be reminded of what your wonderful boat looks like. Glad you had a fabulous first season.

    Question for you on the Vantage Guard: After one season has it held up well? Do you have any regrets? Were there any situations where you thought it made a difference, or has it simply been an asthetic and “mental safety net” sort of addition?

    Reason: I had considered adding it when we bought new but didn’t. We then had a toon asthetic blemish/defect that is not being given warranty coverage for from Bennington (long story of avoidance on Bennington’s part). My dealer offered to discuss a “deal” on the Vantage Guard to cover up the toon blemish, but I haven’t followed up with them about it...yet.
     
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  7. sjhorner9475

    sjhorner9475 Well-Known Member

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    Well written and informative review. It will surely help others with their purchase especially first timers. Thanks and +1 on the request for pictures of the boat.
     
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  8. Michiman

    Michiman Well-Known Member

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    Bronco, thanks for the write up and welcome to the "club". It sounds like you have a real nice set-up that should provide many, many years of joy. +2 on the pictures.
     
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  9. Stevez

    Stevez Active Member

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    I'd like to learn more about the Vantage Guard. I've looked at the Bennington build site more times than I can count. Built dozens of sample boats and looked at the options, but I don't recall that at all. Any help appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  10. Vikingstaff

    Vikingstaff Well-Known Member

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    It’s an aftermarket product. You could check with local dealers. My description would basically be a film/rubbery covering product for your toons in a variety of different colors or in clear.

    https://www.vantageprotectionproducts.com/pontoon-guard
     
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  11. The Wanderer2

    The Wanderer2 Well-Known Member

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    Any idea what it cost to have this product applied to your pontoon? It looks to provide much better protection than shark hide.
     
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  12. Stevez

    Stevez Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing; sorry, I could have done a search but thought it was a Bennington product. I like the look of this protection. I didn't see that many dealers close to me, but still I like the idea of protecting the toons for sure. Thanks.
     
  13. Vikingstaff

    Vikingstaff Well-Known Member

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    I want to say its in the 2k range. I was quoted right around that amount when ordering my boat new. Not sure if it varies much by toon length or what not.

    However, I had read at least one user in these forums saying theirs have had to get reapplied a couple of times. I was not sure if it was improperly put on the first time or not as I have not come across any other similar complaints.

    I’m still in the fact finding phase - year 2. lol
     
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  14. Kevin1741

    Kevin1741 Active Member

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    Hello, Do you have a picture of the vantage kit on your boat?
     
  15. SEMPERFI8387

    SEMPERFI8387 Moderator

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    Excellent write up. I would argue one point with your dealer, you might use the bimini at night if it starts raining ... so lighting is nice to have .... we ordered it just in case on ours. Still haven’t used it .... :D
     
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  16. lakeliving

    lakeliving Well-Known Member

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    We're never out at night so ours has been used maybe twice in 5 years.
     
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  17. Bronco

    Bronco Member

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    On Vantage Guard (plus a wrap product) I don't have my paperwork at this house but if memory serves it was about 1500-1700 combined. I think it is worth it as I have no toon damage and the guards still look new. They are black and match well with my Havanna Gold boat. Personal preference but I like the look.

    If your budget is tight, I'd go with other utility options instead if you are on placid waters and are careful. Our waters are fairly challenging, as I mentioned, so for me it made sense. No regrets on the purchase. Only downside is that if the boat sits in the water for a bit you get some growth in the ridges in the guard, but it's easily scraped off.

    I'll have to dig up some photos- she's off sleeping for winter.

    Again, thank all of you for the advice, technical info and recommendations. It was invaluable
     
  18. Spoiledrotten

    Spoiledrotten Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the new boat. Very nice write up.
     
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  19. Bronco

    Bronco Member

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    The Vantage Guard wrap and guard look exactly like the ones in this video (but on a much nicer looking Bennington LOL).



    They still look like that. A little power wash after taking the boat out of the water and they still look new, even after being in in salt water.
     
  20. Michiman

    Michiman Well-Known Member

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    With regard to Vantage Guard, it also comes in "clear" which I would have loved to have had put on my brand new Benny. Due to a botched acid wash, my dealer is installing the black version on my boat so this spring I'll be able to share some pictures and next fall perhaps a few comments on how it has performed.
     
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