SunChaser’s Eclipse 8525 Entertainer is aptly named. This is a pontoon that, though wildly versatile, hasn’t forgotten how to party. In fact, the aft half of the boat is practically dedicated to it. To port, a 4-foot-4-inch-by-2-foot-6-inch bar table dominates the floor plan, with a pair of sleek, pedestal stools on each side inviting passengers to belly on up. The faux granite top keeps drinks steady underway with recessed cup holders, each lit with LED accent lighting. Below, a second level offers a place to stash more munchies when you run out of room. Swivel the aft pair of stools 180 degrees and another smaller bar top occupies the rear port corner, maximizing space by placing its four cup holders on an elevated second level. Both bars feature oversize pedestal bases, ensuring the passengers at the bar stay steady even if the seas don’t follow suit.
Opposite, a welcoming 4-foot-8-inch couch accommodates more guests directly behind the helm. When the party’s not the priority, a rear-facing backrest invites stretching out and taking in the sun. Two more identically sized lounges await forward, placed parallel to each other in classic pontoon-boat fashion along the boat’s port and starboard sides. A traditional pedestal table inserts into a floor socket when desired. Plenty of storage can be found underneath all three couches in the roto-molded seat bases below. Channels around the openings keep contents dry. A pop-up changing room is located within the forward lounge on the port side for convenience.
In addition to the roomy interior, SunChaser also acknowledges boarding fore and aft. The bow platform is a generous 2 feet in depth; the aft is 3 feet 6 inches, with a four-step, stainless-steel boarding ladder and removable ski pylon.
Our test boat was rigged to mix pleasure with performance. An optional performance package adds a center tube to increase the passenger-carrying capacity above, while giving the boat added agility through performance-minded strakes and an under-deck shield. A sensible Mercury 150 hung from the transom. It pushed the boat instantaneously onto plane before ultimately topping out at 31.8 mph. At a comfortable 6.2 mph cocktail-cruise speed, it burned a mere 1.2 gph; at full throttle, it still burned an economical 13.7 gph.
* Portside bar is cleverly shaped, angling back into the boat so as not to interfere with passengers boarding through the side gate.
* Additional center tube creates the space for massive floor locker.
* Impressive list of standards include a 10-foot Bimini top and raised helm with a high-backed helm chair.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 150
Prop: Enertia 15.6″ x 13″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.5:1
Fuel Load: 22 gal.
Crew Weight: 550 lb.
$43,998 (with Mercury 150 and X-Treme Performance Package)
SunChaser Boats New Paris, Indiana; 866-719-7873; sunchaserboats.com