YOUR pontoon ideas!

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Tell us your ideas for new pontoon floorplans, features and concepts. Have you seen something on another boat that you would like to see on a Bennington? Do you have a "vision" that should become a "reality"? Is there a non-marine idea that could be adapted to marine? Please let us know and we'll share the ideas with our R & D team!

READY, SET, ROLL!
 
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Butchkid

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That's pretty nice.

Hey, as long as y'all are trying different ideas, how about this...

You start with a rear-recliner/center-walkway boat that has both Port & Starboard doorways, pull out all the couches up front and replace them with reclining captain's chairs.

You may need to do that on a 28 footer to really do it right.

I'm picturing this on a I/O with a rear deck swim platform and ESP with center log storage.
I think Eric had a good idea on the GBR thread. I picture it like first class on a private jet with a table in between the seats for drinks.
 

ericscher

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Well, looks like you saved me some work. Danke!
 

Toonafish

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I just purchased a 2012 SF 24' thought about putting the lounger in the back but was told this was not an option, my thought to this was I fish while my wife sunbathes and we would have the best of both worlds, looks like I would have lost alot of the L shape seating though which I wouldn't of liked.

Would there be any way to make a pontoon more aerodynamic, and this would be on and off the water, I kid around with people when they ask, what is it like to tow a pontoon, I tell them to tie a parachute to their vehicle and drive down the highway, and sometimes it feels this way.

I love the question though, my true thought is how do you make a great boat better and a manufacturer with outstanding customer service excellent, this might take me a while I hope there is no time frame, Just kidding, I was always told be yourself and everyting else will come natural, this is how I see Bennington Pontoons it just makes sense, just be Bennington.
 
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firsttoon

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What are the pros and cons of tubes made out of something other than aluminum?
 

Wild and Free

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What are the pros and cons of tubes made out of something other than aluminum?
Along with that a different more dent resistant side panel material too that can be replaced without having to replace the entire frame work with it. :rolleyes: . Full set of gauges on all boats, tach, trim, voltage, oil pressure, water pressure, engine water and or oil temp, speedo. I would like side gates on both sides as well especially when you boat on strong current rivers it makes docking a challenge when boarding and disboarding when having to dock on the non side gate side when you have to keep the bow of the boat aimed into the current.
 
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ericscher

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I would like side gates on both sides...
Already have that. You simply have to be selective about what your base boat is.

A Starboard gate is available or not depending on how much space you take up with assorted other options and of course, how long the boat it.

One of the advantages of an all "captain's chair" seating arrangement like the one I suggested is that you preserve the ability to have a gate on both sides.

Imagine a Center Walkway boat with 4 chairs in a 25 foot model or 6 in a 28 footer. Plus, chairs can be taken out and put back in without tools; giving you the ability to have a completely open deck forward of the helm.

Of course, my ideal is equipped with ESP and a Blown 377 Mercruiser, but as I said... I'm a velocity junkie.
 

ericscher

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What are the pros and cons of tubes made out of something other than aluminum?
Such as?

I mean, I know you could make them out of any malleable metal, or even wood. Or fiberglass.

I'm just wondering what you were thinking about.
 

kaydano

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I'm impressed TB has asked this question. I love the open mind attitude. I also like the challenge, and will think about it over the next couple weeks as I have time...

I was about to press "post" and a couple very high-level thoughts just came to mind:

1) Think "Transformers". Couches and loungers that turn into tables and bars. Somewhere I saw a boat where the rear lounger morphed into a picnic looking table (one table, with a couple benches on each side). When it folded up, it became a double wide lounger in the center of the rear of the boat. I wish I could remember where I saw that... But I think that sort of thing is the next "new wave" in pontoons. Everything else has "been done".

2) Along the lines of the above, think "Legos". I'm thinking modular seating. I like the lounger concept, but sometimes I like how the SLi looks with the sundeck. Right now, I can't have both, but would like to. So, if you had SOME limited amount of modularity to the boat, maybe the owner could purchase different pieces of furniture and use what you want when you want it. Whatever piece of furniture you didn't want to use would just stay in the garage. One week, you might use the sundeck. Next week, the lounger. Most of the boat's furniture would have to stay fixed, obviously, but maybe SOME pieces could be moved around and the OWNER could sort of design his own boat (or more like change the layout from time to time). Such as removing one lounger, and replacing it with a small bar table with two seats facing each other. Pieces would have to be somewhat quick release, but some amount of "nuts and bolts" to keep things safe would be just fine. You wouldn't change it often so much as you'd be ABLE to when you wanted. This might be something you change only a couple times a season, depending on the crowd you were entertaining (such as a bunch of kids one time and a bunch of adults another time). I'm babbling, but maybe it will trigger some thoughts.

Here another thought. There's been a lot of talk on this board lately about the split loungers with the center walk-through vs the single double-wide lounger of the SSL. What if you made a system where you could have both? What I'm getting at is you could have the split loungers, but make it so one of them could slide over to the other to turn it into a double-wide like the SSL. They could be slid together for the wife and kids (or couples) to snuggle. And slide back apart for the guys to use...

How to get a poker table on my boat has been something I've been thinking off and on about for a while. I've not come up with much other than a miniature hold-em style table, just big enough to hold the community cards. The players would have to hold their own cards, but the 5 community cards would go on the table. Some kind of chip-less chip system would be needed. Can't have stacks of chips on a boat (that moves). My thoughts have gone from a high-tech electronic chip scoring system (not likely something I could make) to a simple white board (also a "not", but something in the middle has got to work, I've just not come up with it yet). Anyway, a poker table is probably not the kind of idea you were looking for here, just thought I'd mention it as something I've been thinking about. Maybe you might be interested in it. Hold-em is VERY popular... It would make for a great "guy" outing.

This one's also a bit "out there" (like the poker table idea) but kids love slides. Maybe an optional piece of furniture might be a slide? Detachable? Wouldn't have to be huge, just something for them to play on. Matter of fact, take that a step further and imagine a water park on a pontoon boat. We bought our boat largely for our kids, but there's not much "kid stuff" on ANY pontoon boats I've seen. Sure, there's pulling tubes and stuff like that, but there's nothing "cool" to a little kid on the boat anywhere. Not sure where I'm going with this, but water parks are HUGE money. They're a ton of fun. Kids love them. So do parents. A pontoon boat is on the water, so you're halfway there just being on the water. The thing is NO ONE SELLS A KID FRIENDLY BOAT. "Friendly" isn't the right word. Maybe I should have said "kid-like". Something along those lines would certainly be unique, possibly enough so to sell...

I have to go, but I'll keep thinking. What you should do (and what I plan to do) is think of different things you like to do, and see if you can merge whatever that is with pontooning. You might come up with something "shattering"... Ha Ha.
 

BulldogsCadillac

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Hey Kaydano, the poker table thing probably wouldn't be too hard. Think of the large ottomans that you see in homes that the top flips open and there is storage underneath, well take that and have it so when the ottoman lid flips open it can be made solid somehow (leg under lid so it isn't flopping and pressure put on hinges) then have another piece that slides out of the top to cover the opening ( think of some countertops that have a cutting board slide out or desks that have a solid surface slide out above a drawer for writing on) it could be covered in the green felt with little "pockets" of some sort, like the bottom half of the cards can slide into to hold them down so the wind doesn't blow them away. Like a clear vinyl, kinda like your wallet where the drivers license goes, but only halfway up the card so it is easy to get in and out and can still see all the card. And since I'm pretty sure Bennington already makes a large ottoman, just a matter of customizing the top, although I've never seen it in person so not sure on the way it opens for storage access.

As for the pontoon being 'modular' I don't really know that it would work that well, simply because when items are made to be 'easily' removed, they usually also don't feel as solid in normal everyday use. Which lets face it, the reason we all bought Bennington's was because we love how well they are made and feel, if your lounger didn't feel solid when you sat on it, you would worry about it in the longterm.

As for doors on both sides, though I admit sometimes it would be nice to have one, it would mean that my front lounger would be that much shorter and uncomfortable, for now, it is the most preferred seat on the boat since you can lay down and stretch out, I would hate to have to be hauling a 28' just to have that same level of comfort. Not to mention that having the boat be that much longer would in fact make it that much tougher to load and unload everyday. Keep it as an option in floor plan, but please don't ever make it mandatory.

Just my 2 cents!
 

BulldogsCadillac

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I was thinking torpedoes for when that other boat cuts in front of you at the launch!!
 

ericscher

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I was thinking torpedoes for when that other boat cuts in front of you at the launch!!
Nahh, these are pontoons. The torpedoes would just go under. I would opt for the 16 inch guns, but having seen the way they toss around a 58,000 ton Iowa class Battleship, I'm pretty sure I would dry-dock my little 22-footer every time I fired a salvo. :D
 

kaydano

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I like the card-holder idea. My goal is "table-less". Your card holder idea caused me to think of 2 spin-off ideas: Cardholders (non-transparent) for each players down cards, and the community cards could be put on an 18 inch 1x6 piece of wood, with a single strip of clear plexiglass an inch wide and 18 inches long, screwed to the board at each end (like an old plastic ruler). The cards would slip right under the "ruler", and be easily removed. Thanks for helping me with this.

As for the modular thing, I agree. If it can't be done solidly, don't do it at all. But there are lots of quick release clamping devices every bit as solid as a nut and bolt. Vice grips and quick release bicycle axles come to mind, neither of which you'd use on a boat, just an example. The targa tops on the old Toyota Supra is another (although not real quick). I had an '86.5 years ago. Loved that car.

New Ideas:

There are so many faux finishes these days and Bennington is making use of a lot of them (teak floors being the latest AWESOME look). There's one thing on nearly every pontoon boat that looks pretty much the same as it did 20 years ago. It's that big white fiberglass tub that's used for the helm. I really don't get why these have not changed. Boats look nicer than people's houses with all the fabrics and finishes available today, but the helm still essentially looks like a big white tub. Upsidedown. I'm not talking about the dashboard, I love the Bennington dash on my boat. I'm just talking about the big white tub. If you can make that look different, you'd start a new trend for sure...

Throttle: I get why it's the way it is today. A left-over from a long long time ago. Modified to be combined with the shift lever, but still essentially the same idea. Then someone came up with the kill switch and lanyard for safety, which I'm guessing less than 1% use. I'm all for safety, but practicality has to be built in. So, why not copy the car everyone of us has, and use a gas pedal? 100% safety built in (you remove your foot, motor stops).

Fence Rails: Bennington set the standard with style on fence tubing design. Everyone is copying it now, so it's no longer unique. I love that new tower on the other page. Why not go from square tubing to round? Could by either chromed/shiny or the brushed nickle look like today. No body uses round tubing (very much). I get that fence panels would be harder to fasten. But, hey, that's the price of being different. Could use "D" shaped tubing, with one flat side, and put the panel there just like today, but the rest of the rail would be round.

Firsttoon brought up the logs above. Triggered a thought about the number of tubes. Pontoon Boats were born with 2 tubes. Then the tri-toon came along. So, how about quad? 4 tubes would be tight. But, you could make the two inner tubes larger and the outer tubes smaller to make it fit. Perhaps this kind of idea eventually evolved into the elliptical center tube of the ESP...

Missile launchers is actually a GREAT idea. But scale it back (just a little) to water balloons for the kids. Seriously, they would love something like that.

Toonafish mentioned aerodynamics... Very true need. Not sure you can make it very aerodynamic, but you can make it LOOK more aerodynamic. Some designer would have to run with that. The slanted front end of the Q is a great look.

More to come...
 

kaydano

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I just looked out the patio door, and saw the grill (rolled right up to the door so I don't have to go far in winter)...

There are lots of aftermarket grills, but the problem is most LOOK like an aftermarket grill, clamped to a rail, or something. A "built-in" would be better. Far as I know, Bennington doesn't offer a grill... So, there you go. A new product line.
 

kaydano

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And, a refrigerator is needed. My inlaws have one that runs off propane in their camper. Simple enough.
 

kaydano

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I was just sitting in our recliner, and what do you know, new idea: Far as I know, there are no recliner-like foot rests on Bennington boats. You don't need the entire handle and mechanism like a Lazy Boy would have, just the right hinge system with a "click up, click down" type of action. In other words, you raise the foot pad up (with your hand) and it "clicks" into position. Raise it again, and "click" it releases and down it goes. The pad would fit nicely down low on most couches, just in front of the base. Might not even have to modify the couch base to add this feature.

One other thing, the helm doesn't leave much foot room. I can recline in the captains chair, but can't really stretch out the legs. I know it would take away from storage space under the helm, but if a small refrigerator was put in the storage space (where the door normally is) and mounted 6-8 inches off the deck, you could use those 6-8 inches under the fridge to add just a bit more leg room (foot room mostly) for the captain...
 
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kaydano

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Regarding the gates, I really like what Bennington did going from the 22 SSL to the 24 SSL, with regards to the port gate. They kept it very small (might only be a foot wide, at least not much more than that) and used that extra space to extend the front port couch. That was a GREAT move.

As far as starboard gates, my preference was to not have one (again, leaves more room for seating) but I understand others have other preferences. I think if Bennington kept the flexibility in whether you have a gate or not on either side is a good move. Perhaps even have it as an option. I realize you have to have two couch designs (one shorter with the gate, the other longer without the gate) but addressing peoples different needs is a big selling point.
 

kaydano

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I don't have the "wash down" option... I assume that's for washing down a dirty/sandy rear deck, but could you take a quick shower (rinse off) with that the way it is sold now??? Would the hose reach to the edge of the boat (where you'd likely stand) AND still be long enough to raise the nozzle over your head? Does it have a high pressure style nozzle now instead of a "shower" style nozzle?

If not, add some extra tubing, add an adjustable nozzle (like a garden hose would have where you can do high pressure or "shower") and sell it as a "shower" feature. Maybe all that's built into it already. I've just never actually seen one.
 

firsttoon

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Such as?

I mean, I know you could make them out of any malleable metal, or even wood. Or fiberglass.

I'm just wondering what you were thinking about.
Maybe some kind of plastic composite. Not really my idea, Manitou has composite 'toon offerings for 2012 models. Take it a step farther and offer composite stringers and decks. Would it be less expensive? Quieter? Lighter, for better hole shot and top end? Other than that, it is really hard to imagine what else could possibly be done to pontoon of the future. A hovercraft feature so I can get right up the beach would be cool.
 
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