Pontoons: New or Cool Stuff from the 2017 Houston Boat Show

2017 Houston Boat Show

The Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Super Show is the largest indoor show in America.  I visited the show to see some new models and check out other boats that caught my attention.

Reata® by Ranger Pontoon Boats – New Entry with a Quality Name into the Pontoon Segment

Joining a growing trend among boat manufacturers, Ranger boats entered the pontoon segment in 2017 with their Reata® by Ranger pontoon line.  They are introducing three Fish models and 4 Cruise models ranging from 20’ to 24’.

A few things I especially liked about the product:

2017 Ranger Reata

Powder coated pontoon logs

  • Powder coated pontoon logs with lifting strakes. Look nice and actually give the boat a little bow rise like a runabout for greater performance.
  • Easy to deploy bimini top. In talking to pontoon owners over the years, putting up or taking down the bimini is a common frustration and is often a two-person operation.  Not so with the Reata that uses a spring loaded system that makes it easy to do with just one hand.
  • Magnetic door catches. This makes it easy to load gear and passengers since magnets hold the door open without swinging or rattling.  They also will lock the gate automatically upon closing – a nice safety feature.
  • Quality and craftsmanship. This has been the hallmark of the Ranger brand for many decades and continues with the Reata line of pontoon boats as evidenced by the sturdy deck construction, plush upholstery and excellent fit and finish throughout.

Large deck and rear lounge seats

Perhaps the biggest surprise with the Reata pontoon line is the price.   Models range from $25K to $45K – considerably less than that of other premium brands.  If you are in the market for a quality pontoon boat, then the Reata is definitely one to check out.

Additional details can be found on the Ranger website.  BoatTest.com has also produced a nice video walk-through of the product .

Regency® 254 LE3 Sport – Updated model for 2017 for cruising and watersports

2017 Regency 254 LE3

Revised rear lounge area provides excellent views of the water

The White River Marine Group introduced this new “Sport” model in 2017 to make it even more conducive to both cruising and watersports activities.  Key modifications for 2017 are as follows:

  • Revised rear lounge area – two separate reclining lounge chairs are provided (instead of one long bench) for greater passenger comfort. Plus the typical fencing material has been replaced with stainless steel railing to enable passengers to better take in the scenery or watch the action behind the boat.
  • Dual Captain’s Chairs – I like the fact that the first mate now also has a fully adjustable seat of his/her own (rather than a bench). This is a more comfortable way to ride – especially when it is just the two of you.
2017 Regency 254 LE3

Power up/down bimini top

In addition to these things, the 254 LE3 Sport has other Regency features that many pontoon boaters will appreciate, including…

  • Push button bimini – takes the hassle out of putting the top up and down.
  • Large and lockable storage bins – great when traveling or when stopping at your favorite watering hole on the water.
  • LED lighted gauges, storage bins and drink holders – very convenient when cruising at night. They also look cool too.
  • Elevated helm – provides greater visibility when driving the boat.
  • Rear camera – helps to capture the action when skiing or tubing.

At a price of around $70K with a 300 Horsepower Mercury Verado, the Regency 254 LE3 Sport is best suited for families that are active and also like to entertain.

See the Regency website for additional details.

2017 Bennington Q30

Massive 10′ beam

Bennington QX 30 – an on-water “great room”

Ok, this one falls under the heading of “interesting” stuff at the 2017 Boat Show.  Though this model is not new, it is still rather eye-catching because of its massive size.  This 30’ boat has a 10’ wide beam giving you the square footage of many family rooms.  Of course, trailering this bad boy would be a challenge – especially because 8’6” is the maximum trailer width in most states.

2017 Bennington Q30

Powered by twin Yamaha 300s

And powering a boat of this size is no easy feat either.  That is why Bennington packaged it with dual Yamaha 300s.

At a price of around $170K, I doubt Bennington sells many of these but it sure would be fun to hang out on one for a day.

To see other highlights from the 2017 Show, click on the links below:

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