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The Fun Never Stops

Once considered to be a poor man’s boat, the pontoon has gained significant stature and popularity among serious boaters.
  • pontoons in the water

Credit goes to the manufacturers who recognized that many families want a boat that is easy to maintain, stable, safe, and carries all their friends, family, and gear in relaxed comfort.

Ambrose Weeres is widely credited with inventing the pontoon boat. In 1952 he theorized that a platform fastened to two columns of steel drum barrels welded together would be more stable than conventional boats. With the help of a few dealers, the Weeres Pontoons became popular in the Richmond, Minnesota, and the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” area where Weeres owned a mill.

At nearly the same time, brothers Ernie and Pete Harris in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had been seeing people making rafts and boats out of 55-gallon barrels and aluminum drop tanks from airplanes. What they saw intrigued them, but they thought that they could do better. In 1957 the brothers started producing Harris FloteBotes with “fencing” and custom steel tubes. They also added a motor mounting bracket that allowed the motor to be raised and lowered.

  • A Harris pontoon towing three people
    At nearly the same time, brothers Ernie and Pete Harris in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had been seeing people making rafts and boats out of 55-gallon barrels and aluminum drop tanks from airplanes. What they saw intrigued them, but they thought that they could do better. In 1957 the brothers started producing Harris FloteBotes with “fencing” and custom steel tubes. They also added a motor mounting bracket that allowed the motor to be raised and lowered.
  • A Crest pontoon
    Other pontoon boat companies sprang up at about the same time, Aqua Patio made by Freeland Co. in Sturgis, Michigan, was acquired by the Godfrey Conveyor Company in the mid ‘50s, and the owners of Kay Auto Parts Company started building Kay-Yacht pontoons changing their name to Kayot also in the mid ‘50s. In Owosso, Michigan, Maurice Schell began production on the first Crest Pontoon designed specifically for scuba diving in 1957, and reportedly the first to use multiple airtight compartments in the ‘60s for added safety.
  • A Harris Pontoon by the shore

    Harris Pontoons had a significant impact on the pontoon industry by introducing built-in, upholstered bench seating In the '60s. It was an innovation that changed the perception of pontoon comfort.

    In the late '80s, companies began experimenting with different ways to improve performance. Various combinations of lifting strakes and center pontoons (tri-toon design) created pontoon boats that handled better than traditional boats both in cornering and in choppy conditions. Many models of tritoons can exceed 60 miles per hour on open water and are excellent boats for tow-sports.

    Today there are a wide variety of pontoon boats from simple day boats to luxurious cruising machines complete with head, shower, and entertainment bars. ”Pontoons are enjoying immense popularity right now because these boats are literally like taking the comforts of your living room on the water,” explained Aaron Kramer, MarineMax Pensacola Store Manager. “And frankly, many pontoon models outperform traditional sport boats and can be set up for fishing, water skiing, wake boarding, cruising, with floor plans that can include kitchens, bars and sport towers. They are the best boats for what people love to do on their boats. Having a blast!”

    MarineMax offers Harris and Crest pontoon boats at several local MarineMax stores. Check with your local MarineMax for availability.

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Take a Glimpse into the World of Pontoons

Harris Life

For more than 60 years, Harris has been serving its customers with the mission of making time on the water better than ever. Our lasting reputation speaks for itself, and our continuous pursuit of perfection means the future is bright. We hope you'll join us on the water!

The Crest Life

Step aboard and discover the crest life you've always dreamed of. 
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Harris Pontoons

Championing expert craftsmanship and genre-redefining designs, Harris has distinguished itself as one of the top pontoon boat manufacturers in the world. New Harris pontoons can be found at numerous MarineMax locations, ranging from Florida to Minnesota. Discover two of the most popular Harris pontoon series below.
  • Harris Pontoons | Crowne Series

    Harris leads the industry in progressive innovation and style with the luxurious Crowne. A sleek fiberglass exterior delivers an aerodynamic look, setting Crowne apart on the water. The long established luxury class has been redefined.
  • Harris Pontoons | Sunliner Series

    The versatile, elegant, and performance-driver Sunliner Series is the epitome of all Harris Pontoons. 

Crest Pontoons

A leader in quality pontoon manufacturing for over half a century, Crest Pontoon has become renowned for constantly striving towards newer, better, more innovative pontoon boats for sale. Available only at select MarineMax stores in the southeastern and midwestern U.S., these remarkable vessels will make your cruising dreams a reality. Explore two of Crest's most beloved pontoon series below.
  • Crest Pontoon | Classic Series

    A place of comfort and escape, the Classic is defined by its unique silhouette and unrelenting demand for attention. Distinct, hand-crafted rails lend to the beauty of this boat, demanding it be known by one name, Classic.
  • Crest Pontoon | Continental Series

    In the spirit of innovation, our engineers integrated a full, walk-through windshield, blurring the line between sport boat and pontoon. As a result, you get the ride of a luxury sport cruiser, the space of a pontoon, and the confidence of knowing it’s everything a Crest has ever been. The introduction of an integrated, full walk-through windshield goes beyond styling, it truly takes the pontoon to a whole new level.
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