Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
The Sweetwater 2486 FC is designed for the family which wants to do some casual recreational fishing and cruise around an inland lake or a river without breaking the bank. This vessel is basic and simple, yet it offers 85% of the utility of pontoon boats costing twice as much. She is not luxurious, but that is not what she is suppose to be. Rather the 2486 FC is intended to be a "utility" toon, from which you can fish, swim, tow, cruise and entertain. Most important she is affordable. If it is a choice between a boat with all of the latest gimcracks that is so expensive Mom won't let us buy, and a boat that makes real economic recreational sense, then we go for the latter.
The Build Up
With pontoon boats, there's no complicated layup and curing process as with fiberglass boats, but that doesn't mean that you can cut corners and get away with it. Saddle brackets are the main piece of the assembly puzzle as they distribute the load to the tubes over a wider area. In the case of the 2486 FC the brackets are on 24" (61cm) centers. Another area that we've seen where a builder will cut corners is in the fasteners. Chrome over bronze is a way to make them look good, but they don't have the lasting power of stainless, and stainless is what we see throughout the Sweetwater line. The tubes are 23" (58.4 cm) in diameter and built from individual chambers that get pressurized and leak checked after installation. 25'' (63.5 cm) toons are an optional upgrade.
Your guests (up to 11 of them) will appreciate not only the roomy and spacious layout but the amenities as well. A table at the stern will be the place to enjoy a snack and drinks, while the two-speaker stereo plays some music to relax to. Boarding is via one of three gates, and of course the reboarding ladder at the stern. The "FC" designator means that the 2486 is also rigged for fishing . Of course in the protected waters that this boat calls home, it doesn't take much to add fishing features so you don't have to worry about this jacking the price up. You get 4 pedestal seats, an aerated livewell, and rod storage.
Naturally, as with any boat, there are options to be considered. It starts with the T.O.T.A.L. (Triple Outperforming Tube and Launch pad) Package (add $3,140) that consists of the under deck skin, lifting strakes, an additional 25" (63.5 cm) center tube, and a 29 gallon (110 L) fuel tank.
Letting your new boat get rained on won't help you enjoy the good days, nor will it help your resale value, so the full cover is a must (add $646). If you plan to invite women on your new boat (and who doesn't) then the Porta-Potti will be a welcome addition (add $122). While Sweetwater adds a fair amount of cup holders, I have become a big fan of the removable versions that can transfer anywhere, and they double as convenient armrests, so I'd order a couple of them (add $43 ea) It would be a shame to be sitting on the water having a nice meal and a drink without listening to some tunes, and I'm surprised to see that a stereo isn't on the standard list but here it sits on the options so I'll check it off (add $104).
Speaking of drinks, Sweetwater has some nice logo'd stemware that will class-up your outing (add $61 for set of four). If you've ever driven a boat with hydraulic steering, you'll understand when I say once you've done it you never want to go back. In this case, Sweetwater adds Sea Star hydraulic steering with a tilt wheel (add $1,012). Understandably, it's required for the 150hp engines. Lastly, I'd opt for the hour meter (add $67) as it makes maintenance tracking so much easier.
Power and Price
With the 115 Evinrude, the boat lists for $22,335, and with all of our options you're looking in the neighborhood of $27,530. That still represents a great value in a boat that will pay back more than its share in dividends. If you're in need of more power, then you can opt up to a 150 E-TEC for a base of $25,622, and if you're more budget conscious then you can slide down to a 90 E-TEC for $21,030.
We believe in playing to a boat builder's strong suit. In the case of the Sweetwater 2486 FC it is a basic, no frills boat that will get you on the water at a reasonable price. Would it be better to have all the options? Only if you will really use them. If you will, then by all means, order the options. Some boat companies use options as a way to increase their margin, but clearly that is not being done on the Sweetwater. We've never seen options so low-priced. So go for them.
Standard and Optional Features
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