Given that apps and social media play a role in Boating’s boat tests, I was pleased to discover a USB charging port installed at all seats as well as at the helm aboard Barletta’s L25UC. I was just as tickled to slip the lines, head for open water and put the throttle down.
Powered by the hulking new 300 hp V-8 Verado Pro XS from Mercury Marine, the L25UC accelerated with great authority, reaching a top speed of 47 mph and doing so while carrying full fuel and a crew of six adults. The Pro XS is fitted with Mercury’s HD gear case, a 5.44-inch beast that houses super-robust gears and bearings intended to stand up to offshore boats punching through big waves. It is a good choice for pontoon duty where those same gears may be tasked to carry the boat and as many as 14 people over a wake-roiled lake weekend after weekend and year after year.
Barletta crafted a luxuriously functional command center for the L25UC, one that at once evokes the very best in top-end automotive styling while still retaining a marine vibe. It’s black, which looks cool, especially with the chrome trim, and also won’t create glare. It features a sun-shading brow to house the tach and speedo. On the left is a stereo, and on the right a Simrad 7-inch touchscreen for engine data and navigation. A battery of brushed-chrome toggle switches provides lighting and systems control; illuminated, these will be easy for the captain to use at night.
The layout too is opulent marine, what with faux-teak decking underfoot and high-grade Dolce brand marine vinyl used to upholster the furniture. Check the details like the stitching, underseat vents and the optional underseat mood lighting, which are part of the RGB package ($1,700 with Yeti-ready cup holders and RGB lights). The aft lounge serves as back-to-back seating, a flat tanning pad, and a transom lounge. Forward lounges port and starboard feature stowage within, and the helm seat is a recliner.
Aft, we discovered a rugged tow-sports cage constructed of pipework tested for safety and durability.
Barletta deserves a look for any boater seeking a luxury pontoon.
- Fast-back-styled aft rails provide a racy touch.
- Full belly skin and risers with an extra-large footprint are just two of the reasons we deem this pontoon ruggedly built.
- Pet food and water bowls are a big hit.
- Table that folds out from the forward lounge is a great innovation.
- We’d like to see the aft cleats moved farther aft, which would make crossing lines in a slip possible without dock lines chafing on the outboard.
- Since the aft lounge backrest is not a wedge shape, if you sit in it facing one way, you will bonk heads with any crew sitting and facing the opposite way.
- Compass should be standard aboard any boat.
Check Manitou’s 25 SES FLIP SHP ($84,237, powered like our test boat).
Price: $84,655 (with test power)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: 300 hp Mercury Marine Verado Pro XS
Drive/Prop: Outboard/16" x 17" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 900 lb.
Barletta Pontoon Boats - Bristol, Indiana; 574-825-8900; barlettapontoonboats.com