The Incredible Expandable Island ‘Toon
A father-son brainstorming session a year ago has resulted in the world’s first expandable pontoon boat. Island Boats’ 18 and 22 foot models carry a beam of 7’ 4” for trailering and expand to a traditional 10 feet wide once launched.
“My father and I were discussing better ways to fit a pontoon boat on a trailer,” explained Island Boat President Tim Poppell when I asked who came up with the idea for an expandable/retractable pontoon boat. As owners of the popular Float-On brand boat trailers, the Vero Beach Florida-based father-son team have a special interest in making boat towing easier – and can act on ideas that appear practical.
“It suddenly dawned on dad that you make the pontoons adjustable — to be able to be moved closer together while trailering. The next thought was to make the entire boat retractable for easier trailering and storage, and expandable once on the water.”
The result is the two-model Island Boats line-up that is in production now, following a favorable introduction at the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year, where the design won an NMMA innovation award. The Island 180 and Island 220 models use an electric-powered, patent-pending R&E Slide mechanism to expand and retract, a process that takes about a minute and a half, according to Poppell. He said that for a 180 model boat, motor and custom trailer package, the price will start at about $35,000. You can see photos of the innovative pontoon boats and get more information at islandboats.com.