Sweetwater 2286

The 2286 achieves high levels of performance thanks to its lifting pad.

We Say: I punched the throttle of Sweetwater's 2286, and it popped out of the hole like a rocket at the Bassmaster Classic. That's because the 2286 with the triple-tube package has a lifting pad on the center pontoon, one that gets good results for the whole family.

The aft two feet of the 2286’s center tube tapers to a flat pad, which gives the 2286 immediate lift as you accelerate. Many triple-tube configurations boost performance with lifting strakes, which the 2286 also has, just not running all the way aft. Instead, the pad provides the boost but doesn’t create resistance while trying to turn, allowing the 2286 more maneuverability for banking and cornering. The reason Sweetwater does this is to give the boat more oomph for towing skiers and tubers. Due to the nature of its buoyant tubes, it trims level and steady at 13 mph, so you can go slowly to accommodate the skill level of whomever you’re towing.

Godfrey offers the Sweetwater 2286 at an entry-level price point but installs many of the features found on its premium pontoons, such as GX48 vinyl stretched over cushions filled with three different foams, poly-rotocast seat bases with full-bottom storage tubs, boarding gates with stubless latches and rails with stylish, beveled tubing.

Who'd Want One: Family boaters looking for a pontoon made to pull their kids on water toys.

Another Choice: The Spirit 221 Triple Tube is another pontoon designed with performance in mind at a similar price point, but it doesn't have the lifting pad. Price: $23,600 with a 115 hp Evinrude E-TEC.

Bottom Line: $24,135; godfreypontoons.com/sweetwater