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“Great Days Out on the Water!”
Review of Pontunes

Ranked #4 of 5 Nightlife in Key Largo
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Fee: Yes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We've rented from Pontunes on three occasions and all three days out on the water were good to great! One of the occasions (January 2012) was a father/son outing in the back country in one of the open boats...admittedly, the boat was "well weathered" from lots of use and the cumulative effects of the hot Florida sun -- but the engine ran fine and the overall day was exactly as we'd hoped for. Long run down to Buttonwood Sound and back, spent a few hours catching mangrove snappers along Dusenberry Creek, and most importantly enjoyed some quality time with my dad and brother in this sliver of paradise called Key Largo.

The other two more recent rentals occurred in December 2012 and January 2013 and were on the bigger pontoon boats. They were newer boats and in great condition. One day spent in similar back country fishing, with a short excursion out to the Ocean just to say we did it. The other day was spent primarily in a back country run to view the diverse bird assemblages and enjoy the overall mangrove and tidal creek habitats associated with Blackwater and Buttonwood Sounds. We carried the boat's full capacity on this latter date, and the boat/engine served our needs perfectly. No complaints from this quarter.

The future renter should of course be forewarned to be a cautious boater in these shallow waters. If you are not familiar with the area, it would behoove you to stay in the channels so you don't have an unfortunate "prop to bottom" encounter. Rely on the GPS units to help in navigation within sufficiently deep waters, and enjoy the onboard stereo system if you wish to provide some additional atmosphere. The awnings provide some much needed relief from direct sun exposure, and the standard safety features provided with the boats are there to provide sufficient peace of mind for safe operations.

Bottom line -- plan your days out on the water, and with some help from the Pontunes folks and their equipment, great days can be had. We're looking forward to returning to Key Largo and again expanding our list of Great Days Out on the Water. Hope your experiences are as good or better than ours (so far)!

1  Thank Steve G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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16 - 20 of 31 reviews

Reviewed July 1, 2013

We rented a boat for the day from Pontunes, being very mindful of reading the reviews on our phones before popping down there and picking one up without making a reservation. The staff were average, there is one old guy (the owner I think) who was very rude, but the younger guy was alright. We'd seen reviews saying that people had been stung for charges on bending the propeller. As a result, we insisted the propeller was raised before touching the boat, we also took photographs of it. We took the boat out for the day and the boat was alright for the money, and included a stereo and a sat nav. We spent a lot of time floating around looking at the dolphins swimming around and spent only a small amount of time 'ragging' around at full speed. We were surprised to be stung with a $38 fuel bill when we returned. I'm not an expert on boating, but it seemed very excessive, especially when we rented a bigger and heavier boat in North Carolina the year before and had it and used it for 5 days straight, and only spent about $60 on fuel. I think we were conned there, but we had no way to contest it so paid it. A tip for people wanting to rent: Check the propeller BEFORE getting on the boat and take a photograph, and ask them to fully top up the tank with fuel (and watch them do it), and then do the same when you're back so you can calculate it yourself. Basically, don't trust them. But for the price, not too bad.

3  Thank Tom G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Rented 21' boat 3 weeks in advance. We Arrive and boat does not work. Told us boat does not work and mechanic is not here. Ruined my vacation! If i had a baseball bat...

3  Thank vpadfsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

We just got back from renting a pontoon boat from Pontunes and actually had a lovely day, even though the old thing would stall from time to time. We tooled around and had a tasty lunch, swam a little and generally enjoyed the great outdoors.

But when we returned one of the Pontune guys immediately pointed to the engine propeller and said we had bent it. Shaking his head, he walked away while we all stood there feeling foolish. We did not crash into anything at any point. When I said that to one of the guys he just said "these aluminum ones bend easily and you might not even notice it." Uhm, ok, so…? So now we owe $260 for the part. Really? We sort of stood around- we had no way to contest it. We couldn't "prove" it was bent when we left; of course we're not experienced enough to check/notice that and they knew it.

He then offered us a "discount" so we would only have to pay $180, we paid in full.

Maybe we had bad luck, maybe this almost never happens. Maybe the part actually costs them $260 but they took an $80 loss to help reduce the sting.

Just didn't feel right.

4  Thank sara c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 31, 2013

If you are looking for a boat rental in Key Largo ... Pass your way!
The boats are in terrible condition: poor engine, poor seats, everything was falling apart.
We had to change two times our boat before reaching the conclusion that they do not have secured and working boats.
We thought that all rentals were like that (that was our first rental) but when we rented a boat in Miami (Primetime) or even in Naples (Naples Bay Resort) it was much much Betty with a real service provided.

Only good point: when we asked to stop trying every boats (and realising that they were damaged!) they agree not to charge us the rental. We lost one day because of them (the way return fom Miami + the time lost on the water).

To be not recommended

1  Thank jeremysylvia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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