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100-mph Pontoon Boats: Because They Can

How a pair of pontoon boats reached 100 mph at the recent Lake of the Ozarks Shootout isn’t much of a mystery: Their owners put a whole lot of power in them and held down the throttles for one mile. Still, after watching these ungainly vessels hit the impressive 100-mph mark—I was on-hand to cover the event for Powerboat magazine—I did have one question.


To find out, I went straight to the sources, meaning Ken Gouty, who reached the big number in a 27-foot-long PlayCraft powered by a 1,200-hp supercharged engine and Brad Rowland, who hit the mark with triple 300-hp outboards on the back of his 25-foot-long Forest River model. Here’s what the two drivers, both from Illinois, had to say:

Gouty: “Our lake is full of cats and V-bottoms. It’s just a lot more fun going by a Fountain or a Baja in a pontoon than it is going by them in another Fountain or Baja. I’ve had a guy tell me straight out, ‘There’s no way I’m racing you. If I beat you, I beat a pontoon boat. If I foul a plug or something and you beat me, I’ll never hear the end of it.’”

Rowland: “People think you’re nuts until they take a ride with you. My pontoon boat is just so stable—it will go over anything. I like the ride of a pontoon boat and I like the room. It’s so spacious and plush. This is the third one I’ve owned, so it’s in my blood I guess. One of these days if I get done with the pontoon deal I’ll buy a cat and put these motors on it.”