If you’re searching for a boat to fit a lifestyle, as opposed to a particular make and model, it pays to look at what established builders are doing to break out of their niches and expand into the domains of other builders. In the best cases they bring fresh perspectives, new designs, different materials, and progressive attitudes into play, which often leads to improvements in the whole sector.
Carolina Skiff is a case in point. The builders were known early for affordable, all-fiberglass, square-bow, shallow-draft skiffs. The Georgia-based company has since expanded into other styles, with bay boats, flats boats, and center-consoles. And lately they’ve ventured into the market for one of the most popular boat types today, especially for inland boaters, the pontoon boat.
The builders are doing this with two different hull forms – a wide monohull with pontoon-style amenities in the superstructure, which they call a deck boat, and a catamaran hull with a similar superstructure, which they call a pontoon boat. Leaving nomenclature aside, what’s interesting is that Carolina Skiff is challenging the traditional pontoon-boat world with some really new ideas that spring chiefly from their use of all-fiberglass hulls and decks instead of aluminum “logs” beneath the deck and seating areas, often with marine plywood in between as a fastening layer.
The monohull and catamaran models carry similar comfortable amenities in a couple of different configurations, including lots of seating, pop-up changing areas, and quality instrumentation. And both, unlike standard pontoon boats, offer substantial, deep stowage areas below the deck — room for coolers, fenders, fishing gear, watersports gear, duffle bags, you name it.
The 21’4″ Fun Chaser FGP 2100 Pontoon Cruiser has a beam of 8’6″, is rated for a 175-hp outboard, and can carry 14 people; the monohull models, called the Fun Chaser DS 20 and DSF (fishing) 20, are 20’8″ by 8’2″, and are rated for 200 hp. and 11 people.
For a good look at the pontoon version, read Material Difference: Carolina Skiff Introduces the Fun Chaser FGP 2100 Pontoon Boat, by Charles Plueddeman at boats.com, and check out the video below.