Boat shopping for the family can be quite a challenge — especially when you're on a budget. On one end of the spectrum, there's the stripped down "bargain" boat that offers virtually no creature comforts. On the other end is the hoity-toity deluxe model that is loaded with a lot of extras you don't need — and don't want to pay for.
Somewhere in the middle is the Premier 210 Gemini, a quality-built boat that offers a good selection of luxury features, but without the hefty price tag.
Premier markets its 210 Gemini as an upper-end, entry-level boat. If you own a smaller boat and you're looking to move up to a more family-friendly pontoon — but you can do without all the unnecessary bells and whistles — the 210 Gemini is worth a closer look.
Designed to be a multipurpose pontoon, the 210 is perfect for light fishing, entertaining large groups and watersports that don't require a lot of horsepower, such as tubing and wakeboarding.
With regard to comfort, the Gemini outshines its competitors in this price range. The upholstery is soft and supple, and you can literally feel the difference in quality when comparing it to other boat models.
Premier's ability to apply good taste and design to everyday budgets is why we give the 210 Gemini such a high rating in its class.
Quality to the Core
Established in 1992 by marine industry veteran Bob Menne and based in Wyoming, Minnesota, Premier Marine Inc. is family owned and operated. After noticing there wasn't an upper-end pontoon line available to satisfy a growing trend in the boating market, Menne jumped at the opportunity of developing one. To this day, pontoons remain the company's sole product.
Premier constructs all structural elements of its craft to the highest standards in the industry. Workmanship is backed by a limited lifetime warranty on the deck and furniture framework, a 20-year warranty on the Bimini top frame and tube welds, a five-year warranty on the upholstery (as opposed to the industry standard of two to three years), and a three-year warranty on the carpet.
In addition, the warranties on the deck, welding and framework for the furniture and Bimini top are all transferable to the second owner for up to five years.
What's unique about Premier pontoons is that all the furniture is made from 100 percent wood-free rotocast plastic, so it won't rot ... ever. The upholstery consists of 33 ounce vinyl that has a 17 mil surface and a stain-resistant topcoat.
Premier patented the offset hinges used on all of its seat bottoms. By enabling the seats to hinge forward as well as up, the design provides complete access to the underlying storage compartments. Also patented is the J-clip canvas fastening system on the railing, which is designed for use with snapless boat covers.
A Foundation to Build Upon
The 210's base model is built on two aluminum flotation tubes, or "logs," which feature three separate chambers filled with pressurized air. The 23 inch round logs have a .08 inch wall thickness, and are fully vented and drainable.
Measuring 20 feet, 9 inches long — with an 8 foot, 2 inch beam — the base model is rated for up to 90 hp, which provides enough power to pull an adult on skis. Optional equipment includes a ski tow bar, a hydrofoil performance fin and a triple tube.
With a third tube, the 210 can handle up to a 150 hp engine, which gives it the power to tow slalom skiers. Adding a center log not only increases the boat's load weight capacity to handle a bigger, more powerful engine, but it also enhances performance. With a 150 hp engine, the 210 maneuvers with the speed and agility of a runabout.
Start Out Small
You don't need to order the third log and a big engine to enjoy this boat. We tested the 210 Gemini with the standard 23 inch twin tubes and a 70 hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard at Forest Lake, Minnesota. The wind was blowing at around 15 to 20 knots across a wide-open fetch, which resulted in a fairly aggressive chop on the water.
With three adults and 1/4 tank of fuel aboard, the boat climbed rpm quickly and hit 20 mph without delay. We determined that 15 mph was a comfortable cruising speed, which we reached at around 4,000 rpm. The boat topped out at 22 mph at 5,400 rpm. The Suzuki outboard was quiet and provided plenty of power throughout the entire rpm range.
At wide-open throttle, the boat performed satisfactorily in wide, sweeping turns but did not have quite enough power to bank in hard-over turns. A bigger engine would definitely help the boat's top end performance.
Of course, with small children aboard you would not want to make such tight turns at high speed. But if you have speed hungry teenagers who enjoy more aggressive watersports you may want to consider going with the performance package.
The 210 is also available with .090 gauge 25 inch twin tubes, which increases the weight capacity to accommodate a 100 hp engine and also offers a little better performance.
Back at the dock, we played around a bit and found the boat to be extremely easy to handle. Even with just a single engine, it was able to back in a straight line with no problem.
Perfect for Day or Night
The deck layout aboard the 210 is divided to emphasize cruising comfort forward and fishing aft.
The curved settee at the bow has plenty of stowage space hiding under the seats, and a pedestal for a table. A platform with two rotocast fishing seats and storage underneath is located at the stern. Lift one of the cushions on the L-shaped settee in the aft cockpit to find an aerated livewell.
The skipper is provided with a sliding bucket seat, a vinyl-wrapped steering wheel and a fiberglass entertainment helm fitted with full instrumentation and a two-speaker Maxxima stereo system with a cassette player.
Optional equipment includes a sink, a portable head, a Sony stereo with CD player and remote control, and a telescoping stainless steel ladder. With the addition of a full camper enclosure and sleeper seats, the 210 can accommodate four adults on overnight trips.
|Dry weight||1,700 pounds|
|Weight capacity||1,950 pounds (up to 10 people)|
|Tube diameter||23 in.|
|Maximum power||90 hp|
|Base price||without engine||$10,733|
|Price as tested with 70 hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard||$18,766|
|Top speed||22 mph|
|Cruising speed||15 mph|
|Miles per gallon at 15-mph cruising speed||5.5|
|Fuel cost for 100 miles||$20|
|Range at 15-mph cruising speed||121 miles (with optional 22-gallon tank)|
(Fuel cost is based on a fuel price of $1.09 per gallon.)
|Model||DF70 Suzuki four-stroke outboard|
|Bore and stroke||2.91" x 2.97"|
|Maximum engine speed||5800 rpm|
Bimini top, carpet, stainless steel hardware, fire extinguisher, bucket helm seat with slider, handicap accessible gates, vinyl wrapped steering wheel, courtesy lights, navigation lights, aerated livewell with timer, Maxxima stereo system with two speakers, rotocast oval table.
Day or full enclosure, gunnel molding with rubber bumper, helm sink kit, woodgrain or mahogany steering wheel, performance package with third tube, stainless steel telescoping ladder, docking lights, portable head, remote control Sony stereo with four speakers.
For more information:
Premier Marine Inc.
26612 Fallbrook Ave.
P.O. Box 509.
Wyoming, MN 55092.