Jim Dorris, founder of PlayCraft pontoons, is also the founder of performance pontoon boating and the first to race them at the famous Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. Today, Jim, son Joe and grandkids maintain the decades-old legacy. PlayCraft’s creations are still at the top of this now-popular genre, posting record speeds at the LOTO Shootout. A 77.6 mph top speed, a 4-second hole shot to 30 mph, and racing graphics and colors demoralize all comers.
The PlayCraft’s most economical cruising speed gave the ship a 177-mile play between gas stops with its 50-gallon tank, with 10 gallons to spare.
Handling was nimble for a big 10-foot beam, and the 30-footer seemed eager to make turns as tight as we were brave enough to command. All this is thanks to the tri-toon’s design, engineered for lift, speed and cornering with a 36-inch-wide center pod flanked by 26-by-24-inch outer pods, all equipped with lifting strakes to plane the boat and heel it inward on turns. And on Lake of the Ozarks’ famous washboard, the 30-foot length spans even the most persistent rollers, so rough-water comfort is quite good.
The PlayCraft’s rigging was all business, from the Bob’s Machine Shop hydraulic jack plates, to the Mercury Racing 450 hp engines with power steering and the lab-finished Bravo FS four-blade propellers.
Cruising and ripping aside, this -Powertoon’s really at home hosting friends and family. The lime-green, Audi-gray and jet-black color scheme really draws eyes; close-up inspection shows it’s well-done. The RGB rainbow mood lighting follows the sound beats, and is carried through the interior and overboard in the underdeck and underwater lights. The interior is plush as well as functional. Reboarding access combines a folding ladder with PlayCraft’s patented steps built into the center tube. The driver’s console features a full flight of instruments trimmed in matching lime-green bezels. As expected, the lounger space is huge.
PlayCraft’s legacy in performance pontooning is secure, and Dorris’ leadership is successfully grooming the company’s younger generations to enhance it.
- Near-80 mph top-end speed.
- Powder-coated tubes, rails and tower look great and resist corrosion.
- Mercury Racing 450R FourStroke tunable exhaust can run quietly and stately, or loud and brash.
Dry Weight: 2,950 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/3,000 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 100 gal.
How We Tested
Engines: Twin Mercury 450R Pro FourStroke 450 hp
Drive/Props: Outboard/Mercury Bravo FS 151/4″ x 26″ 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.60:1
Fuel Load: 85 gal.
Crew Weight: 550 lb.
PlayCraft Boats – Richland, Missouri; 573-765-3265; playcraftboats.com