Carefree Boat Sales conducts trials on Lanier

Drivers pushed Premier tritoons to their maneuverability limits in recent tests. Photo: Premier Marine/Paul Zirbes

Ask David Rothwell of Carefree Boat Sales how much difference an additional 50 or 100 horsepower will make and he’ll read you the book. In early December, Rothwell brought together outboard and propeller manufacturers to get to the bottom of the question.

He says it’s the question manufacturers and boating media have wanted to ask for years. And the results will help consumers looking to purchase motors.

“When you compare outboards from four different manufacturers at the same horsepower, all on the same model boat, you’d be surprised at the difference,” said Rothwell, who also owns Carefree Boat Club, based at Lazy Days Marina. Depending on the make, you may get better handling or less noise, more fuel efficiency, quicker acceleration, or top speed. As Carefree Boat Sales did each round of testing, it also changed the total weight in the boat. After completing the traditional two-person, limited-weight tests, testers put six people aboard and then 12 people on the boat to reflect who people use their boats.

“We wanted to test four of the top manufacturers against each other and quantify these and other questions. Are people really willing to pay more for another 5 to 10 miles per hour or better fuel economy when they purchase a boat? That, among other things, is what our trials will tell us.”

The trials took place over two days in early December in Big Creek on Lake Lanier in front of Holiday and Lazy Days marinas. Using a slalom course set up for the event, certified drivers took to the helms of 12 brand-new Premier Tritoons. Each was equipped with a 250 hp, 300 hp or 350 hp motor, provided by Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Mercury. They also tested several twin-engine setups up to 700 horsepower.

The weather was brisk and clear both days. The drivers pushed the limits of the motors, documenting maneuverability, fuel efficiency, acceleration, and other data. “People don’t understand just how much it costs to go fast,” Rothwell says.

“Now that we’ve done this testing, boat and motor dealers will have more data to share with consumers as they make their purchases.” The complete results will be published in Pontoon and Deck Boat magazine, a national publication that reports on news in the boating industry.

For more information, contact Carefree Boat Sales at 678 725-3749 or