Pontoon buyers want more power. And the fact that a growing number of boaters are buying pontoons has not been lost on at least one engine manufacturer.
BRP’s Evinrude E-TEC Pontoon Series outboards, announced earlier this month, are the only ones designed specifically for pontoon boats — a response to requests from key boatbuilding clients, Jason Eckman, product manager for Evinrude, told Trade Only Today.
“We certainly see the growth in the pontoon markets,” Eckman said. “We’ve taken a few of our proven platforms for marine engines and made them ideal for the pontoon application.”
“The thing we noticed year over year is that the average horsepower customers are purchasing on a pontoon continues to go up. It’s significantly more today than 10 years ago, and we see that trend continuing,” Eckman said. “People no longer feel like they need to make a compromise on performance. That’s where E-TEC really shines. Some of our key OEMs, their boat has been designed around this in many cases.”
The new line seeks to “specifically address the needs of the pontoon customer” and features a 40 percent reduction of vibration in some cases, improved throttle response for easier docking maneuverability and a remote oil tank. “Based on what we see as the normal annual uses of a typical pontoon customer, we think they likely won’t have to worry about oil for several seasons if they fill up the remote oil tank,” Eckman said.
BRP also sees growth potential in saltwater markets that have traditionally been less receptive to pontoons, although popularity of the vessels in some of those geographic locations is slowly increasing.
“Our strategy is to do what we can to support them, and our growth will come from their growth,” Eckman said. “I think one of their big challenges, and also for us, is having the right network — having a dealer in those markets — and that takes some time to build.”
The E-TEC Pontoon Series outboards are available in 90-, 115- and 150-hp options. The 90-hp engine comes in two models — the E90SL and E90SNL.
— Reagan Haynes