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.
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.
and Sylvan Sea Weave aft deck flooring
Polk AM/FM stereo
with MP3 input and speakers
Pull-up deck cleats
Stainless bow rail
with built-in cupholders
Rotomolded seat bases
3/4” thick 7-ply marine-grade decking
Walk-in changing room
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).
At its core, the S3 is a boat designed for entertaining
on the water. With a large, comfortable forward seating group and
, 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
. (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
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.
The boat comes equipped with a
and a great deal of lighting, including
LED-illuminated cup holders
all within arm’s reach of all seating areas, and LED
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!