MIAMI – A new boat manufacturing company, Island Boats, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL, with veteran industry insiders Ralph and Tim Poppell of Float-On Corp. at the helm, is making its worldwide debut at the Miami International Boat Show by offering two new, totally innovative pontoon models – the Island Boats 180 and 220. Both models are expected to create major buzz due to their revolutionary, patent-pending design that is unlike anything the industry has seen.
“Our new Island Boats definitely aren’t your grandfather’s traditional pontoons,” said Island Boats CEO Ralph Poppell. “These new boats represent cutting-edge pontoon engineering technology coupled with all the comfort and luxury you’d expect in a higher end product in this niche … with many surprising design features that set them apart and in a class uniquely their own.”
Specifically, Island Boats features its patent-pending R & E Slide, a marine engineering marvel that allows the boat to retract or expand its beam on command. The R & E Slide mechanism allows the boat owner to enjoy many unique distinctions. For one, both pontoon storage and trailering becomes a breeze! When locked into its retracted position, the boat and custom Float-On monohull trailer stores in a standard garage, plus transports easily without the extra wide girth and visibility challenges typically associated with hauling pontoons. Once launched or at the dock, the floor expands in one easy, seamless motion, creating the most expansive pontoon boats by total square footage in their size class and category!
“Our Island Boats series expand more than 27 percent in usable luxury space,” said Island Boats President Tim Poppell. “The 180 offers virtually as much square footage as most 22’ pontoon boats, while our 22’ model delivers virtually as much square footage as most 26’ pontoons. The room and sheer entertaining space is amazing!”
“We believe our boats set a new standard in the industry,” he added. “For the first time in history, boat owners who love the pontoon lifestyle can enjoy all the benefits of a much larger, luxury pontoon while taking advantage of unprecedented small boat efficiency, improved docking, towing and garage storage capability, all at a highly competitive price.”
The Poppells, who purchased Float-On Corp in 1984, have designed, built and supplied thousands of trailers for a mix of consumers, manufacturers and specialty organizations including the government and military. The concept for Island Boats developed organically after many years of addressing the constant complaints of pontoon boat owners who sought a better trailering solution to accommodate their craft.
“After yet another request last year from a pontoon owner to build a trailer that would provide enhanced visibility and storage, Ralph had a vision about building a better and more functional pontoon boat,” said Tim. “We brainstormed together and further developed the concept. Once we had fully fleshed out the idea, we brought in renowned naval architect and marine engineer Jeff Seyler who has been an integral player in the launch of more than 100 new boats to help us. And now, here we are!”
The Poppells researched and tested a variety of name brands for their new boat manufacturing company and new series, but chose Island Boats because it best captured the essence of their new product.
“People who prefer pontoons enjoy a relaxed, recreational lifestyle,” said Ralph. “Their idea of fun is pulling up to a sandy beach and enjoying an afternoon in the sun with friends and family, as well as island hopping. We chose Island Boats because it perfectly conveys what our boats do best, while reflecting the laid back boating lifestyle we deliver.”
The Poppells say the Miami launch of Island Boats represents the start of an exciting new venture. “We have several ideas already in the works to expand and continually enhance this new product offering,” said Tim. “We look forward to serving the needs of boaters, and to be at the forefront of bringing innovation and winning new concepts to the industry.”
The Island Boats 180 and 220 are displayed in Booth 3398 at the Miami International Boat Show. For more information, visit www.islandboats.com.