Any input?


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Nancy, Ky
We have a house in Venice, and are thinking about getting a pontoon to use when we're there. We'll want to fish, but also just cruise. I'm thinking we'll be mostly inland, but would like to be able to go at least a little way offshore at times. I'm looking for input from anyone who has a Bennington in similar use. We have a 2550 RCL with a 300 Verado in Kentucky (great boat), but we use it very differently. For the Florida boat, is a pontoon the way to go Vs a boat? The Port Charlotte dealer suggested a 22 foot SFX with a 150. Is that enough boat for an occasional run offshore? What pontoon configuration (sps, elliptical, ESP, etc) is best? Is an S ok or is it better to get the heavier/stronger structure of the G? Are there good marinas in the area with storage capability? Any other input?
I have the FSX Bennington set up for fishing.  I have been out 8 or 10 miles off shore from Crystal River.  It was calm when we went out, but the return trip we had 2 foot seas but with 18' model it was pretty rough.  On my 18 footer I have the biggest motor approved, but is only 60 HP.  If I were doing it over, I would have gone for at least a 20 footer, but my wife wanted to downsize from our 22 foot Hurricane deck boat.

I would also think tri toons, might be a good idea, for going out in the gulf.  Of course, with only 1 engine and still a pontoon, I wouldn't think you would want or should go out very far.

I also have the Lowrance HDS - 7 , which is a very good gps unit.
I have a 21slx with a Yamaha 115. Took it from Crystal River to Cedar Key this past Memorial Day. Trip up at about 10 miles off shore we experienced 3 footers with some whitecaps. Had 8 people on the boat and ran most of the way wot. She blew right through it! Other than slowing me down a bit it performed better than some v hulls I've ridden. We stayed dry and boat ride was pretty smooth for the seas we took. Mine is sps tri toon with salt water and rough water packaged. After that trip I am completely comfortable taking it off shore.
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I am on L. Michigan, which for those who have not closer to an inland ocean than a big lake. Except our wave frequency is much much tighter. I have a 22' R series with SPS, rough water pkg, and a 200hp. It is a proper and capable setup for big water and tight 3's and the occasional 4-5 swell. I stay within sight of land, maybe 10 miles out tops. I wouldn't go farther than that without twins.