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Sylvan S3 (2014-)
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Sylvan S3 (2014-)
Sylvan S3 (2014-)

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The Sylvan S3 is just not another 25’ pontoon boat. Rather, it is a carefully-designed platform with stylish lines, a versatile interior, and a large aft deck for launching watersports. Most important, its unique RPT pontoon design has less wetted surfave and provides more lift giving the boat obvious advantages when it comes to speed and fuel consumption.

Key Features

  • Hydraulic steering
  • RPT tubes
  • Concealed mood lighting
  • 28-oz carpet
  • AM/FM stereo with auxiliary port for MP3 player and speakers
  • Walk-in changing room
  • 8'6'' Bimini top
  • Single reclining helm chair with slider
  • Rotocast furniture bases
  • Table with cup holders

Specifications

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Specifications
Length Overall 24' 10''
7.57 m
Dry Weight 2,100 lbs.
953 kg
Beam 8' 6''
2.59 m
Tested Weight N/A
Draft N/A Fuel Cap 30 gal.
114 L
Deadrise/Transom 14-deg. Water Cap N/A
Max Headroom open Bridge Clearance N/A
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Engine Options

Sylvan S3 (2014-)Engine options
Std. Power Not Available
Tested Power Currently no test numbers
Opt. Power Six Yamaha engine options from 115-hp to 250-hp
Three Evinrude BRP engine options from 115-hp to 200-hp
Five Mercury engine options from 115-hp to 250-hp
Five Honda engine options from 115-hp to 250-hp
Four Suzuki engine options from 115-hp to 250-hp

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Captain's Report

Sylvan S3

The Sylvan S3’s curved side railings help give the boat a stylish look. She is 24’10” (7.57 m) long, an 8’6" (2.59 m) beam, and a dry weight of 2,100 lbs. (953 kgs.) dry weight, without engine.

Mission of the Sylvan S3

The Sylvan S3 is a fully customizable, all-purpose pontoon boat that is designed for both entertaining and watersports. With upgrade packages, including a wake tower and premium sound system, this boat can be built to accomplish a wide range of applications and amenity levels. The boat’s RPT hull system is designed for superior performance.

Distinguishing Features

Revolutionary Planing Technology (RPT) Hull. This pontoon tube shape is unique in the pontoon industry and has a V-shaped toon under the waterline instead of a traditional round pontoon. (See below for more information.)

The "Lifetime + 6" Warranty. Sylvan has a 6-Year warranty on all components, carpet, upholstery and electronics which can be transferred to a second owner.

5 Interior Trim Colors. The S3 comes standard with a choice of 3 exterior paint treatments and 5 different colors for interior trim.


Sylvan S3

The S3 has plenty of seating for anyone ready to enjoy a day on the water.

Major Features

28-oz carpet and Sylvan Sea Weave aft deck flooring
Polk AM/FM stereo with MP3 input and speakers
Pull-up deck cleats
Stainless bow rail
Removable table with built-in cupholders
Rotomolded seat bases with storage
3/4” thick 7-ply marine-grade decking
LED lighting
Walk-in changing room
Bimini top
Docking lights
Hydraulic steering

Sylvan S3

At 24’10” (7.57 m) the Sylvan S3 is a large platform for both entertaining and watersports. A tow pylon is optional.

Standard Propulsion System

The Sylvan S3 is offered standard with a 115-hp (85.7 kW) outboard. Outboard options include 4-strokes from Yamaha, Mercury, Honda and Suzuki, as well as 2-stroke offerings from Evinrude. In the standard dual-pontoon layout, the S3 is rated for 150-hp (112 kW), and in the triple-toon configuration it is rated for a maximum of 250-hp (186 kW).

Sylvan S3

We like the stern treatment on the Sylvan S3 because the large aft deck provides adequate room to launch watersport activities as well as access to storage under the aft-facing seats.

Features Inspection

At its core, the S3 is a boat designed for entertaining on the water. With a large, comfortable forward seating group and removable table, the bow of this boat is made for enjoying lunch on the lake. The rear of the boat features two rear facing lounge seats with an optional filler pad to convert this entire area to a sun deck. (With the cruising canvas this pad could even serve as a king size bed.) When not in use, the sun pad stows easily in the port seat, and the starboard seat pops up to become a private changing area.

Sylvan S3

The center aisle on the S3 is wide for easy movement fore and aft by the boat’s 11 guests. We’d like to see a little more deck space on the bow to facilitate getting to the forward cleats.

More Seating. Aft of this is the swim platform, which can be equipped with optional jump seats and comes standard with Sylvan’s stylish Sea Weave decking material. The seat bases are made of roto-molded plastic and incorporate storage underneath. All told, the seating on the S3 is sufficient for its maximum passenger rating of 11 people, or 2,200 lbs. (998 kgs.), whichever comes first.

Sylvan S3

Under each seat is full storage. Note the forward hinge on the seat. The aft jump seat is optional.

Sylvan S3

On the port side is the “admiral’s seat”. An optional seat has a recliner and foot rest.

The boat comes equipped with a Polk stereo and a great deal of lighting, including LED-illuminated cup holders all within arm’s reach of all seating areas, and LED mood lighting which looks cool at night. The S3 also has large forward and aft entrance gates, as well as a thoughtfully designed stainless 4-step ladder which should make boarding easy.

The standard Bimini top provides 8’6" (2.59 m) of shade and can be folded back when everyone on board wants to catch a few rays.

Sylvan S3

LED mood lighting will certainly grab attention on the lake at night. Who wouldn’t want to be invited to a party on this boat?

Anchors Aweigh? As with virtually all pontoon boats, there is no dedicated storage for an anchor on the S3. This is an industry-wide phenomenon which we have never been able to understand. Even though most pontoon boats are used in protected water, nonetheless the loss of an engine can have the boat blown onto a lee shore or out to the middle of a lake.

We recommend that all pontoon boats be equipped with proper ground tackle. In addition to safety reasons, the ground tackle will come in handy for those who would like to anchor out either to use the boat as a swim platform or simply to enjoy one spot for a few hours. One of the forward under-seat compartments can be used as an anchor locker.

Standard pop-up cleats are standard at all four corners of the boat, which means that whenever anchoring, the boat will sit diagonal to the sea if only one of these cleats is used. A bridle between these two cleats would probably be best (we’d have one made up in advance), or a single, center-line pop-up cleat can be installed in the aftermarket. Since it would be right by the front gate, it would be easy to access.

Sylvan S3

The helm area features a tilt wheel and Hydraulic steering. All of the instruments needed are provided as well as space on the centerline for a moving map display.

The Helm

Adding to the S3’s sporty look is the ergonomic helm station. Sitting in the helm chair, all instrumentation, switches and electronics are within arm’s reach and easy to see. The back-lit, fog-resistant gauges are flush mounted in custom panels and there are even “throw-areas” to hold cell phones and small items. The boat’s systems are controlled by a series of LED rocker switches which help tell the captain which items are turned on.

The captain’s chair serves double duty both as a comfortable helm chair, but also when at rest, it swivels to face the guests. A pop-out footrest like a living room recliner, is an added feature.

Sylvan S3

The hull and chines of the RPT pontoon help lift the boat out of the water and should cushion the ride.

Revolutionary Planing Technology (RPT)

The RPT toon shape is one of the main features that distinguishes Sylvan’s lineup of pontoon boats from its competitors. RPT essentially means that the shape of the boat’s main pontoons is changed from a traditional full-circle to a circle on top and a “V” on bottom, akin to what might be found on a modified-V monohull.

Sylvan S3

The 2014 models incorporate the RPT 2.0 tube design. This is a third generation RPT tube design that incorporates .100 materials with an improved nosecone internal support structure. As customer needs changed with more demand for higher horsepower, speed and performance, so has the RPT tube design.

This unique tube design was introduced by Sylvan about 6 years ago and has proven itself over the years. It is made from a single sheet of 100-gauge aluminum and is actually bent in such a way as to create the V-bottom shape, then a single weld is made, just as before with the round tubes. The 14-degree deadrise design provides more lift than a traditional deep-V monohull, but keeps much of the ride cushioning effect.

Because the V-shaped tube displaces less water and has less wetted surface than a round tube, it has less resistance and drag and produces greater speed with less horsepower than a traditional tube shape. This means the boat can go faster and use less fuel, all things being equal. It also means that the S3 will have slightly less buoyancy which can affect carrying capacity.

Sylvan S3

Sylvan has kept the top portion of their tube the same but has radically modified the bottom shape. This is essentially the shape of pontoons designed for float planes in the 1920s and which was adopted by Ray Hunt for deep-V offshore race boats in the early 1960s.

Soft Ride Design. The reason the “V” shape works better is a multi-part answer. First, when a boat is on plane, it is bound to have parts of the hull exit and re-enter the water at regular intervals. A “V” acts like a knife of sorts, parting the water as the hull re-enters and giving a shock-absorbing characteristic. Alternatively, the bottom of a circle, where a traditional pontoon would re-enter the water, is more likely to slap and pound. The bottom of a circle is flat.

Sylvan S3

The 14-degree deadrise surfaces and the hard chines can be seen in this image. Note how the hard, square chines throw water out horizontally rather than letting it roll up a rounded tube.

More Efficient Shape. The “V” is also more economical because there is more lift produced by the hull. Throughout the entire beam of each hull, there is the same (or similar) deadrise, producing uniform lift. And since the “V” shape incorporates sharp bends (what are called chines on planing hulls), the water has a clean exit point and does not use surface tension to hold onto the hull and reduce efficiency as happens on a traditional pontoon (to say nothing of lifting spray).

Further, the hard chine flats on either side of each toon act as running surfaces, much like the strakes on a monohull – and there are six of them altogether, much like what is found on an offshore performance fiberglass monohull.

With a circular pontoon, lift is greatest at the centerline of the pontoon and diminishes quickly as the deadrise rapidly increases to 90-degrees vertical at the sides.

Sylvan S3

Form meets function with the Wake Tower Package – not only does it add utility to a day of water sports, but it looks stylish, too.

Construction

Sylvan has upgraded its aluminum tubes from 80-gauge to 100-gauge to handle the stresses created by larger outboard engines and higher speeds. Its nose cones are now built with two transverse hat sections and two transverse bulkheads, both of which are welded in. These changes plus other welding techniques have created the RPT 2.0 system.

Stainless steel safety rails are used for increased strength and reliability. Powder coated railings provide a clean look and easier maintenance. The boat’s fencing is foamed-backed to stop rattles and reinforced for extra strength. Spacers below allow water to run off the deck.

The deck is made of ¾” 7-ply pressure-treated marine plywood which has a limited lifetime warranty. Transverse support beams are double through-bolted on 24” centers.

Options to Consider

While the standard S3 comes perfectly well equipped for an enjoyable day on the water, there are some notable options to consider when shopping for this boat. Sylvan has grouped some of the major ones into two packages – the Premium Sound Package and the Wake Tower Package.

The Premium Sound Package includes upgraded speakers, two subwoofers and an amplifier, the combination of which should produce impressive sound. The Wake Tower Package includes the attractive wake tower, Bimini top, light bar, speakers and board rack.

Sylvan S3

We think all boats should have Bimini tops and we like the standard one on the Sylvan which has an attractive arch design and over 8’ (2.44 m) of shade. However, Sylvan offers options for a double Bimini with connecting zipper, plus both full and half camper enclosures.

Amenities. Sylvan also offers a great deal of other options, including a choice of upholstery colors and six upgraded flooring options. Seating can be augmented with optional jump seats on the stern as well as a filler cushion to make a large sun pad or bed. A second, optional table can be ordered, along with a cooler cocktail table. A 30” (.76 m), wheel-chair accessible, gate is also available.

Sylvan also offers a 0.060 marine-grade aluminum underdeck liner upgrade. This is an important option when going high speed over a chop as water hitting the deck’s cross members can create noise and a washboard effect.

In addition to these manufacturer-specific options, there are a great deal of typical pontoon boat options to explore – trailers, electronics, etc. For these options, it is best to sit down with a Sylvan dealer to properly customize a boat to a specific application.

Sylvan S3

The changing room under the starboard settee is great for when swimming time becomes dinner time.

Sylvan S3

The optional changing room is larger than some we have seen on other pontoon boats.

Price

According to Sylvan’s website, the standard 2014 S3 has a listed MSRP of $42,270 with a 115-hp motor, plus freight, dealer prep and taxes.

Observations

Overall, the Sylvan S3 packs a lot of punch into a package of this size, including all of the amenities needed for entertaining on the water. Sylvan’s RPT may even help convert some traditional planing hull owners into pontoon boat owners. Because, for the discerning boat owner who does not want to sacrifice performance for the ability to carry more passengers (all in comfort), the S3 may prove to be a compelling solution.


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Standard and Optional Equipment

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Marine Electronics
GPS/Chart Optional
Systems
CD Stereo Standard
Head: Portable Optional
Washdown: Fresh Water Optional
Exterior Features
Carpet: Cockpit Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Tower: Watersports Optional
Canvas
Bimini Top Standard
Camper Back Optional

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Warranty

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.

Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Price

Sylvan S3 (2014-) Price
Pricing Range $42,270.00
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

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