Luxury and fishing features combine to make a nice handling pontoon boat in the Premier 251. Our Capt. Steve is still trying to decide if the seats are the most comfortable... ever. And with triple tubes and the PTX performance package, this is a toon that everyone will be able to enjoy, whether fishing, tubing, or just cruising to nowhere.
11'' Bimini top
Flexsteel 7-star helm and bow chairs
Signature by Premier couches
Rear Deluxe fish chairs
Humminbird 385ci color GPS
Foletto steering wheel
Sony stereo with 4 deluxe speakers
Aft vinyl floor
Rear fish station
Deluxe fiberglass rod locker
28 gallon fuel tank
Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) Specifications
8' 6'' 2.59 m
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.
We tested our Premier 251 with the Evinrude E-TEC 150 two-stroke doing the heavy work. Top speed, 37.2 mph. Best cruise had a 2.8 gph fuel burn.
Boarding is via a portside entry gate, and a non-skid strip lines the edge of the deck at the gate. I'm happy to see that the gate opens inward, as when it's in the closed position, falling against it will not cause you to fall out.
A second boarding gate is at the bow, and we'd like to see a beach boarding ladder here.
There's one aspect of the Premier that sticks out as unusual, at least from most pontoon boats on the market: it's a center console. I rather enjoyed this feature as being in the center of the boat while operating always had appeal to me. I just have a much better feel for the perimeters of the boat, particularly in close quarters, when operating from the center of the deck.
No problem finding the battery switch on this boat. Also notice the vertical rod holders, which are on either side of the center console.
This setup still leaves ample working room around the console, and around the boat, and the captain is more in the center of the action, rather than a casual participant off to the side.
A wrap-around grab handle surrounds a fairly small windscreen, but it's still effective at keeping the wind out of your face. On the port side is the battery switch, right out in the open where it belongs. I've always wondered why some builders choose to hide these switches. They're never hard to find and will prevent no one from unauthorized turn-ons, but they remain hidden nonetheless – and on some boats they are hard to get to.
The helm itself is elegant in its simplicity. Basic gauges and rocker switches. The stereo is also present as opposed to a remote. As usual, the controls are mounted at an unhandy 45-degree angle. A snap-in canvas panel at the rear allows for access to the interior of the console. The gauges are all from Faria and are fog-proof with chrome bezels.
Our test boat was fitted out with a fish package which included a Humminbird 385 ci fishfinder/GPS combination in addition to the vertical rod holders on both sides of the console, and an aerated livewell in front of the console. The switch to activate the aerator was right in the accidental hit zone of the captain’s left knee. There are three more vertical rod holders secured to the fences to either side of the aft seats.
Oh, That Comfort
Two comfortable loungers lie forward and opposite each other. Believe me when I tell you that they are every bit as comfortable as the pedestal seats and among the most comfortable, or one of the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in. By pressing your hand into the seat you'll see that it just sinks into the cushion.
Just look at how far my hands sink into these ultra-soft cushions. These are made for distance cruising and your guests will love them.
Multiple pedestal bases allow you to move the four pedestal seats about to whatever position suites you at the moment. Between the two loungers is storage that is only available with the triple tube PTX package.
There are four pedestal bases both fore and aft so you can configure the seats to multiple tastes. The loungers are as comfortable as are the pedestal seats.
With the triple tube PTX package you also get deck sole storage.
There's only one boarding gate, and it's on the port side. I was happy to see that it opened inwards, which means if you should fall against it, it remains closed and not accidently opens to dump you overboard.
All the fences are mounted roughly 1/4" above the deck which means any rain or hose water will flow overboard.
All deck corners are reinforced. Novice skippers will appreciate this as this is likely the first point of contact in a botched attempt at docking. Now it's a no-worry event.
Our test boat was fitted with an Evinrude E-TEC 150 two stroke that brought us to a top speed of 37.2 mph at 5350 rpm. At that speed we were burning 15.7 gph and getting 2.37 mpg for a range of 60 miles. Pulled back to a more economic cruise of 2500 rpm, we were running at 13.4 mph while burning only 2.8 gph. Now we were getting 4.81 mpg for a range of 121 miles.
The PTX performance package gave us a quick time to plane of 4.9 seconds, we reached 20 mph in 5.2 seconds, and accelerated through 30 mph in 7.7 seconds.
If you're looking for comfort, and features, then the Premier 251 Explorer may be just the ticket for your good times on the water.
Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) is 37.2 mph (59.9 kph), burning 15.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 59.42 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) is 13.4 mph (21.6 kph), and the boat gets 4.81 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.05 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 121 miles (194.73 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) Warranty
Premier 251 Explorer (2011-) 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!
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