I bought a Creek Company pontoon boat from cabelas 4 or 5 years ago for around $299 or $350 (probably one step up on the food chain from yours). There are definitely spiffier rides out there, but for the money it has done just fine. My father in law (who has the same Creek Company pontoon boat) and I hiked into a lake an E. Washington lake and left our pontoons in his van, he didn't deflate his a little before heading out and the heat caused one of his pontoons to expand and rip out the cover. We e-mailed Creek Company and they sent a new pontoon, no questions asked, without us having to send in the old tube. Received it within a week.
I use it mostly on still water but it has done nicely on the Yakima etc. Great customer service from those folks even if you mess up your boat doing something foolish.
I have a buddy who bought one and has had problems from day one--the bladders are made of vinyl and blow out / leak on a regular basis. He's had blow out's on both pontoons while floating--needless to say very dangerous. The frame has broken in 2 spots twice. We keep telling him to upgrade because every trip we've gone on with him he always has in "issue" with the boat--the fix--lots of duct tape and hold his breath. He's got a wife and 2 kids and it's more of a safety issue than anything else. They're inexpensive for a reason. Not to say you'll have the same experience but as my dad always says: "you only cry once when you buy quality" If $$ is an issue I would at least look at a used Outcast (I've had one for 8yrs w/o one problem) or a Buck's.
yep, better to go used than new and cheap. you will find that fish cat streamer to be a far superior boat for $329. Those funky seats on the cheap pontoons are not good. if you are floating rivers i'd start at $500 and up. and 9' pontoons.
One of the guys camped by me had one on its maiden voyage. Looked like a nice boat. I don't have any info on pontoon materials as far as scraping rocks in rivers but it looked to be well made. I'd check into that and warranty and weight. Jim.