What Lies Beneath - Quality Trailers for the Long Haul
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Brazilian Luxury Pontoons: How VCAT is Building on its Legacy
Third Time's a Charm: Tennessee Family Finds the One
Honky Tonk on the Water: Welcome Aboard the Pontoon Saloon
June 2024
June 2024 | Volume 29, Number 6
VCAT Continues To Build On Its Legacy
Nashville Family Lovin’ Their Latest Qwest
Trailer Manufacturer Continues To Innovate
Long Haul Trailer Option
Nashville’s Pontoon Saloon
NOWAKE Outdoor Shoes
man and woman standing on their boat parked near a waterfall
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Executive Editor Brady L. Kay
Assistant Editor Rebecca Blackson
Editorial Staff Nicole Richens, Roy Sparks

Editorial Correspondents
Dan Armitage, Sky Smith


Advertising Executives
Greg Larsen, glarsen@pdbmagazine.com
Kevin Malcom, kevin@pdbmagazine.com
Taylor Bowen, taylor@pdbmagazine.com


Circulation Director Chuck Harris


Lead Designer Lavon Horne

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Publisher Brady L. Kay
Executive Editor Brady L. Kay
Circulation Manager Chuck Harris
Controller Clayton Ward


Founder Darryl W. Harris
President Jason Harris
Vice President Chuck Harris
Vice President Ryan Harris
Treasurer Clayton Ward

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By Brady L. Kay
Captain’s Chair
“When Neto and Valéria first started thinking about getting into the boat manufacturing business in their home country, pontoon boats were as foreign as a bottle of Mountain Dew to the majority of the population of Brazil.”
Brady Kay in blue Pontoon t-shirt
The Thrill Of Brazil
I’ve always marveled at just how friendly boaters are, regardless of where my travels have taken me. In my decades at the helm of this publication I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of truly amazing people in the boating industry. Yet it still astonishes me how in just one week I went from formal handshakes and smiles (while fighting a language barrier) with complete strangers at an airport greeting, to sincere hugs and tears of appreciation to my new life-long friends as we left the home of the VCAT Pontoon owners.

This March Harris Publishing president Jason Harris and I were graciously invited to visit São Paulo in Brazil to see for ourselves the evolution of this pontoon manufacturer. The red carpet treatment we received was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

Like No Other
dad driving a boat with his two daughters and their dog sitting on the backside
man and his wife on their boat
BB: Better Boater
By Rebecca Blackson
By Rebecca Blackson
For a quick weeknight cruise to watch the sunset, I’m able to launch my boat just a few miles from home at little Gem Lake. But when I want to enjoy an afternoon of mountain scenery, I need to drive an hour to Palisades Reservoir situated in a scenic valley with forested hillsides. And of course, for the week of summer when it’s time for a vacation to Bear Lake, often called the Caribbean of the Rockies, the drive takes me and my family across state lines.

All of this freedom is possible with a boat trailer. When you’re not confined to a single marina, your vantage points are only limited by as far as you’re willing to drive. To help with the many considerations to make when purchasing a trailer and the technical aspects of towing, launching, and loading with a trailer, I’ve culled my favorite pointers to help those new to boating.

NWZ typographic title in bold blue letters
two young men play with a basketball hoop attached to the side of a pontoon in shallow water
On The Water Hoops
Designed to seamlessly mount to the side of your pontoon boat, this innovative basketball hoop brings the excitement of the court to the open water. Equipped with secure foam-padded hooks and a protective backboard, your boat’s exterior surface stays pristine while you perfect your shots on the water. Designed for pontoon boats of all sizes, the Aqua Shot ensures both safety and entertainment. (www.thewaterwayssports.com)
Expanding the Reach of Luxury Pontoons typography

Brazilian-based VCAT continues to build on its legacy

By Brady L. Kay
Expanding the Reach of Luxury Pontoons typography

Brazilian-based VCAT continues to build on its legacy

By Brady L. Kay

If you’ve ever traveled internationally then at some point you’ve probably discovered something in a foreign country and thought, “I think this would be popular back home.” Maybe you’d like to have a Japanese toilet, one of those Australian utes (small truck), or perhaps just an imperial pint of European ice cream in your freezer. While some smaller products such as ketchup potato chips from Canada or the popular Brazilian soft drink Guaraná Antarctica are easier than others to bring home in a suitcase, realistically some of the best foreign discoveries may never be available in other countries.

Fortunately for Brazilian natives Benedito Prado Neto and his wife Valéria De Fusco Pereira, they were determined not to let the daunting task and monumental challenge deter them from taking something they had discovered in the US and bringing it to their country.

The Third Time's A Charm typography with a clover
Nashville Family Lovin’ Their Latest Qwest
By Rebecca Blackson — Photos by Brady L. Kay
The Third Time's A Charm typography with a clover
Nashville Family Lovin’ Their Latest Qwest
By Rebecca Blackson — Photos by Brady L. Kay
On a lake surrounded by cyprus, cedar, and redbud trees, a married couple from Tennessee sips Sangrias and watches the sunset from their new Qwest pontoon boat. Glimpses of the bank reveal a timid deer hiding in the leaves or an egret in the shallows dipping his neck to catch a tasty bluegill. Away from the office, the phone, and busy traffic, Jeff and Poppy Whisman feel like they’ve arrived. The worries of home and work can wait another day while they enjoy relaxing on the water right now.
Phoenix Rising typography
By Brady L. Kay
Chip Schwein (R), the CEO and founder of Phoenix Trailers talks with PDB Editor Brady Kay at the Michigan facility.
In classical mythology, Phoenix was a legendary bird which according to one account, lived 500 years and burned itself to ashes on a pyre, only to rise alive from the ashes to live another period. For Phoenix Trailers its product offerings are not quite that dramatic – nor do they involve ashes – but the Michigan-based manufacturer strongly believes each new trailer it builds raises the bar a little higher in its quest to build the best trailers possible.

“We’re not the biggest, and don’t necessarily want to be the biggest, but at the end of the day I want everybody who works for me to go home and know they built the best product they could for our customers,” says Founder & CEO Chip Schwein who has been in the trailer industry since 1985. Chip spent nearly 20 years at Eagle Trailers, where he made substantial contributions to the company’s progress before beginning his own business.

Our 10 Roundup department heading
In It For The Long Haul
A look at the key trailer manufacturers
By Rebecca Blackson
A key investment in any pontoon purchase is undoubtedly the trailer. While some owners may simply store their pontoon at home or a storage unit, many want the option to travel to a variety of lakes and reservoirs, whether that means across state lines or just roaming to and fro in their local area. To make sure your trailer is right for you and your needs, we’ve gathered a list of trailer manufacturers to assist you in your search.
Boatmate trailer backed into lake water
Boatmate Trailers
Operating from an 80,000-square-foot factory south of Knoxville in Maryville, Tenn., Boatmate Trailers has been in business since 1983 and are committed to innovation, uncompromising quality, and offering their customers limitless customization.

Each year Boatmate continues to refine the details of their pontoon trailers. Wide transom steps at the back of the trailer not only look nice, but also provide easy access to the vessel. One exclusive feature is their spiral stairway. Noticing that the steps on many trailers required a stepladder to even reach, they designed a spiral stairway with a step that begins below the trailer’s frame and allows easy access to the boat itself.

Rocky Boots
Men’s NOWAKE Outdoor Shoes
By Roy Sparks
Men’s NOWAKE Outdoor Shoes on the floor with toes touching
Men’s NOWAKE Outdoor Shoes on the floor with heels almost touching
Rocky Boots
Men’s NOWAKE Outdoor Shoes
By Roy Sparks
Gear Rating Table
Having fully drainable footwear that has your feet covered in and out of the water, yet still looks like a multi-sport daily use shoe is a win in our book. The slip-resistant, non-marking sole makes it ideal for boating, so for $99 we decided to try a pair out. Besides, who doesn’t love an easy-to-use slip-on shoe?

Built with a recycled fishing net upper and a perforated drainable footbed, water is able to flow through freely without pooling, allowing for quicker dry times. Added grip in wet conditions comes from its non-marking, slip-resistant outsole with drainable rebound EVA midsole which pushes water out with every step. Features such as the integrated neoprene sock construction and locking bungee cord laces with toggle closure add all day comfort and secure support. Rocky is arguably best known for its legendary high-end work boots, but has clearly discovered a truly great boating shoe.

Tackle Box logo with fishing lure
Teaching Grownups
By Dan Armitage
Teaching an adult to fish is a bit different than getting a youngster hooked on the sport.
Teaching Grownups
By Dan Armitage
The first week of June is designated as National Fishing & Boating Week, and it’s no accident that the sixth month of each year is famous for being one of the most productive for anglers across North America hoping to hook a fish in fresh and salt water. Many states celebrate the designation by offering what are called *Free Fishing Days, when the game and fish authorities waive the requirement for adult residents to have a fishing license to legally wet a line in state waters. Other states’ agencies offer for purchase a single-day license throughout the season for adults who want to temporarily test the waters, with the cost reimbursed if the angler enjoys the activity enough to invest in an annual fishing license. Both strategies are in place in hopes of attracting more anglers – and therefore license buyers – into the fishing fold.

But a mere permit does not an angler make, and if you are lucky enough to have adult friends or family members who have expressed an interest in fishing you may be able to introduce someone into a lifelong activity that they will appreciate for years to come.

PDB Adventures
Honky Tonk On The Water
Take a booze cruise in Nashville aboard the Pontoon Saloon
By Rebecca Blackson — Photos by Brady L. Kay
Honky Tonk On The Water
Take a booze cruise in Nashville aboard the Pontoon Saloon
By Rebecca Blackson — Photos by Brady L. Kay
Music City—home to honky-tonk bars and a hub for bachelorette parties—has long been a place where people love to come together and have a great time. And flowing right past the center of downtown Nashville, Tenn., is the wide and free-flowing Cumberland River, which is simply the perfect place to cruise on the Pontoon Saloon.

For nearly a decade, Nashville resident Andrew Ostrowski thought it was strange that he enjoyed the scenic Music City skyline from the Cumberland River practically by himself. Aside from the river cruises offered by the General Jackson Showboat, the major waterway seemed empty of other water-loving crowds. So in an effort to bring people out on the river admiring the views and having a grand ‘ole time, he launched the Pontoon Saloon, a honky-tonk booze cruise like no other.

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By Sky Smith
Boating Tips and Observations with Sky Smith
Is Your Tow Vehicle Up For the Task?
Sky Smith Headshot

In past columns I have mentioned our lake being a Corps of Engineers lake and the fact that we only have one marina. That doesn’t leave the average boat owner much of a choice if you want a slip at the marina.

I never thought it was a big deal. When I owned my 22-foot Venture sailboat, I trailered it to the marina. It had a crank up centerboard and was set up trailering. I assume some of you know the routine. Then I sold that boat and bought a Catalina Capri 22 with wing keel. If you are not familiar with keel sailboats, it usually requires a tongue extension (or chains and dollies etc.) to get the boat backed into the water far enough to clear the trailer. With the drama required to load and unload I realized that any sailing would be a really big chore, so I opted for a slip.

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Thanks for reading our June 2024 issue!