Pontoon Party Perfection

Filed in Recreation by on June 2, 2014

Pontoon-1Planning a party on a pontoon seems simple enough, right? Pack a cooler filled with sandwiches and beer, bring some speakers for your iPod, and make sure you have enough lifejackets. If you want to take your pontoon party to another level though, you’ll want to think beyond the basics. We’re talking top-of-the-line boats, tasty treats, water-themed games, and luxury touches. Follow our step-by-step guide for your next perfect pontoon party.

Get a Righteous Ride

The name says it all: when you get a Premier Pontoon, you and your guests will be riding, dining and playing in style. For a grown-up evening in the coolest vessel on the lake, set your sights on the Grand Entertainer.

Pontoon-2This luxe gem is built for people who like to entertain with class. Check out its full-service bar with cabana top, four stools, stainless steel refrigerator, sink, stemware storage, grill, purse hooks… the list of amenities is nearly endless. With twin 350 horsepower Yamaha 4-stroke motors, you’ll generate enough to power to pass most boats. You can upgrade to a Polk Premium Sound system, portable changing room and rear spotting cameras if you wish. We recommend installing seagrass or other hard flooring to make clean up a snap. At nearly $80K, this pontoon is for those with deep pockets.

If you dream of sitting in the lap of luxury but can’t swing the hefty price tag, you might consider renting a pontoon for your party. Lake Fun Rentals in Brainerd keeps a stock of Premier Pontoons at the ready. “My favorite is our Premier Solaris,” says Eric Peterson, owner of Lake Fun Rentals. “It’s a nice upper end pontoon with an upgraded sound system, ski bar and enough horsepower to pull an adult skiing.” It’s about $1500 to call the boat yours for seven days. Even better, Eric and his team can provide free delivery at the Gull Lake public access by Zorbaz. J&K Marine in Detroit Lakes, MN also rents pontoons.

If you’re planning a twenty-person-plus party, you’re in luck, too. Lalo’s Pontoon Party Barge on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN. has a 32′ X 10′ pontoon that can hold up to 25 folks. At only $40 per hour, this mammoth pontoon is a bargain.

Delectable Delights

If you’re going to shell out for a luxury ride, the last thing you want to worry about is mess-making guests. You don’t want to have to give them the stink-eye for being messy and they certainly don’t want to be ‘that guy.’ Rather than serving meats like hot dogs and burgers that are usually covered with sauces or other full-plated meals that need to be cooked on board, stick with self-serve small-plate treats that you can prepare ahead of time. Some of our favorites include a couscous or quinoa salad (Pinterest or Yummly have super selections), cucumbers and dill, sliced tomatoes with goat cheese, or prosciutto wrapped around string cheese (great for kids). Provide guests bowls instead of plates to eliminate any wayward droppings.

See our Food & Wine articles for tons more great pontoon food and beverage options.

Think about stocking your bar with Tervis tumblers, too. Many models come with covers that can help eliminate drink spills.

Game Time

No pontoon party is complete without stopping for some fun and games. Cheryl Cullen, a sales consultant at J&K Marine, loves hitting a sandbar. “Have a Frisbee, football, floats, or whatever else might generate some activity to break up the cruising mojo,” she advises.

If you’re more into mind games, check out these gorgeous, hand-crafted cribbage boards from Marc Knutson, an artist from Dilworth, MN.

These 3/4″ thick stained solid red oak gems with digital printed graphic are available in Walleye or Pheasant form. They cost just $75 and can be personalized for ten bucks more. You’ll get hours of enjoyment from this timeless game on a truly unique board.

Warm Up

Nothing can ruin a daytime pontoon party faster than heat stroke, says J&K’s Cullen. One way to avoid the sun’s wrath is to provide adequate shade. “I personally don’t get on a boat or dock without a UV blocking umbrella,” says Cullen. “I may not be under it all day but the relief is there if needed.” Check out Coolibar.com for UV umbrellas less than $30.

On the other hand, you might be tempted to pack in your party and head home when that evening chill hits the lake air. You won’t need to if you bring one of these portable (and might we add, glamorous) fireplaces with you. This tempered glass and brushed nickel fireplace weighs 63 pounds and holds up to three cans of FireGlo Gel Fuel. Combined, the three cans will burn for nearly 3 hours and they don’t produce any ash or soot. Obviously, use caution and common sense with a fireplace on a boat but enjoy the touch of class this contemporary masterpiece will bring to your pontoon.

A little preplanning with these tips will go a long way toward creating the perfect pontoon party. We’ll see you on the water!

by Patricia Carlson


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