Those of us lucky enough to have spent a lovely afternoon lounging aboard a pontoon boat truly know what heaven feels like. Over the years, pontoons have become synonymous with rest and relaxation on the open water. They are the ideal choice of boat for families and those who just like to take life slowly. But how did pontoon boats come to be? Let’s dive into a short history.
It all started in the 1950s when Ambrose Weeres and a friend decided to build the first model of a pontoon boat using a plywood sheet that sat atop tubes and oil barrels, according to Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine. Weeres also was behind the idea of adding vent tubes in the pontoons to keep them intact during changes in air temperature.
Realizing that he was onto something, Weeres constructed additional models of his pontoon boat and started Weeres Industries as the orders kept pouring in. He gained further success when he famously took his boats to a show in Chicago, and his orders more than doubled again. His business continued to grow until 1954 when he finally sold his business to businessman Ray Knese.
During the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the pontoon business continued to grow as the company was passed from business owner to business owner. Each owner added their advancements to the boats, everything from larger motors to boats that were up to 28 feet in length.
It was during the 1980s and ‘90s that pontoon boats hit their largest sales, and it was also then that manufacturers realized their largest demographic: young families. Boating companies produced their boats with more of a focus on family-friendly amenities and features, and business has continued to grow to this day.
The work of those who brought pontoon boats to life has not been forgotten. In 1991, Ambrose Weeres was inducted into the Minnesota Marine Hall of Fame, according to Weeres Pontoons – the company that still bears his name today. Pontoon owners today owe a lot to these pioneers, and now their boats come with a full range of modern conveniences, including having everything from portable toilets and roof enclosures to CD players and mini kitchens.
Here at Triangle Marine Center, we know how important pontoon boats are to our customers, and our fine fleet of Bennington pontoon boats offers our customers an array of great choices for their next vessel. Interested in a new pontoon boat? Stop in to our showroom and see what we have to offer or call us today at 352-343-6146 to talk about your boating options.