Back this hitch up into the water
Untie all the cables and rope
Step onto the astro turf
Get yourself a coozie
Long before the pop-country group Little Big Town introduced its No. 1 hit, "Pontoon," last summer, pontooning had become been a part of the boating community in the United States.
Its roots go back more than 60 years to a Minnesota farmer named Ambrose Weeres who came up with the crazy idea of putting a wooden platform on two columns of welded steel barrels and spending his lazy summer afternoons fishing on a nearby lake.
But those no-frills pontoons, like Hula Hoops and Silly Putty, seemed to be a fading remnant from a simpler time.
Now, they're making a comeback with a few modern frills.
"It's exploded. Pontoons are selling much better than fiberglass boats," said Brian Schneider, whose Tradewinds Marina in Middle River has been selling pontoons the past two years.
In an industry struggling with the economy, pontoon boat sales now account for half of Schneider's income in boat sales.
Using the same Minnesota-based boat manufacturer that made the pontoon for Little Big Town's music video — as well as for Kid Rock's video of the 2008 song "All Summer Long" — Schneider said that popularity of pontoons is based largely around the fact "they're almost 100 percent usable space."
Who said anything about skiin' ?
Floatin' is all I wanna do
You can climb the ladder
Just don't rock the boat while I barbeque…
Dan Naleppa of Salisbury is considering buying one of Schneider's pontoons after seeing them at the Baltimore Boat Show, which opened at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday and will close Sunday.
"It's like you're riding in your living room," Naleppa said while attending the show on Friday.
Certainly if your living room is stocked with plush couches and other accoutrements, though Naleppa said the 25-foot pontoon he is thinking about buying will not have a barbeque, minibar or some of the other amenities that seem to find their way on what many consider to be the best kind of party boats.
"They've come a long way," Naleppa said. "They're pretty roomy and they can go fast. I also like the fact that you can ride them year 'round, unlike some of the inboard-outboard motorboats I've had."