Ok, Premier is known for pushing the envelope in pontoon design — double deckers with water slides, boats with full bars, raised helm platforms and triple 300 hp outboards — but the new 310 Encounter offers something we’ve never once expected on a pontoon boat: a fully enclosed cabin belowdecks. Yes, the 310 Encounter has one.
Premier used a fiberglass component to build a stateroom with 6 feet of headroom into the 42-inch center PTX tube. It features a dinette, a convertible V-berth, and a head with a privacy shade. Access is through a bifold door to port of the elevated helm station. Vented ports to either side provide natural light. Before this, sleeping aboard a pontoon boat required sleeping bags under the stars or erecting a giant camper canvas that needed to be disassembled before moving on to the next cruising spot. The 310 Encounter is a boat you can cruise from port to port and anchor out overnight.
Abovedecks, Premier made creative use of the fiberglass cabin component by building in an elevated sun lounge forward of the helm. Forward of that is a forward-facing bench protected by sturdy stainless-steel grab rails to either side. Access to the lounge comes via wide walkways between the console and the rails to either side. An extended swim platform forward makes a great exit point for beaching or a jumping-off point for swimming at anchor.
Another remarkable thing about the Encounter: How many other 33-foot cabin boats have an instantaneous hole shot with almost no bow rise? Thanks to the PTX performance package, this one does. With the triple 250 hp Evinrude outboards, the 310 Encounter also hit 30 mph in just 4.4 seconds en route to a blistering 59.6 mph top-end speed. The PTX package also gives this boat nimble handling characteristics similar to those of a fiberglass V-hull boat. The helm is elevated to account for the raised cabin component, which results in a clear 360-degree view for the driver. The end result is a pontoon that delivers both above and below the waterline.
*PTX performance package helps achieve smooth, arcing turns, as you’d experience in a fiberglass V-hull.
*Cabin built into the 42-inch center tube has a remarkable 6 feet of headroom.
*Aft cockpit features wraparound seating with a plush backrest and a doublewide boarding gate for access to the swim platform.
How We Tested
Engines: Triple 250 hp Evinrude E-TEC G2s
Drive/Props: Outboards/15" x 19" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 90 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.
$251,137 (as tested)
Premier Pontoons Wyoming, Minnesota; 651-462-2880; pontoons.com