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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!