What To Avoid When Buying A Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are great boats because they are so versatile and they are fun for the entire family. If you have been renting out pontoon boats a lot and are thinking about an upgrade and purchasing your own new or used boat, then you might have a lot of questions and worries. After all, buying a new boat is expensive and it is an investment the same way buying a car or a home is an investment. If you have been looking into purchasing a pontoon boat but want to know what to avoid, then we have got you covered.

Let’s get started!

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Why Buy a Pontoon Boat?

Now before we get started on what you should avoid when buying a pontoon boat, let’s take a quick look as to why you should even invest in a pontoon boat in general.

This is important to note because when people see pontoon boats or when they rent one for the weekend, they almost fall in love with the idea of a pontoon boat. However, buying one is no small investment, pontoon boat owners know that it comes with a whole set of new issues to deal with. In fact, let’s find out how much an average pontoon boat costs.

According to a great article by Better Boat, prices for pontoon boats vary greatly but the ballpark prices are between $18,000 and $60,000. That is quite the range, right? However, no matter how you look at it, even on the “cheaper” side of the spectrum, you are still looking at paying $18,000. And that is not even including tax!

Better Boat also notes:

“The most popular pontoon boats on the water cost about $35,000 new for a 22′ boat with a 90 or 115hp engine. Buying a pontoon boat is tough because most of the manufacturers do not allow retailers to advertise prices.  Doing so would allow other potential buyers to see how much the boat costs from dealers in other areas and expect the same price from their dealer–driving the price down. Some pontoon boat manufacturers such as Avalon at least show suggested retail prices, but often the MSRP is significantly higher than what you can expect to pay in a negotiated deal.”

This means that while that is the ballpark price, there are probably many pontoon boats that are sold for less…however, that also means that there are pontoon boats that are being sold for a lot more.

Before you invest in a pontoon boat, we advise really looking into it and understanding why pontoon boats are for you.

● Fun for the Entire Family

  • You are probably tired of hearing this but yes pontoon boats are super family-friendly.
    • This is because they are spacious which allows children to move around freely.
    • If you and your family are into fishing then pontoon boats are the perfect boat for that! There is plenty of storage space for your fishing gear as well as space for a cooler, towels, safety equipment, and other accessories for the day.

● Great for Beginners

  • Pontoon boats are one of the great starter boats if you have never driven a boat before.
    • Pontoon boats are super easy to drive compared to other boats because they have simple control panels and steady handling. They are known for their stability.
    • If you are also new to docking, then pontoon boats are a great choice as well.
    • Think of pontoon boats like the “training wheels” boat for the water.

● Very Versatile

  • Another word you might be tired of hearing but you better get used to is, versatile. Yes, pontoon boats are super versatile.
    • What else would you call a boat you take day-fishing in the morning, grill on during the day, and then host a party on at night? If that is not versatile then we do know what is.
    • Oh, and a quick tip, pontoon boats make excellent vessels if you just want to lounge around and relax under the warm sun.
    • Pontoon boats are a great bang for your buck because you will be able to do so much with just one boat.

What to Avoid When Purchasing a Pontoon Boat

Now that you have the basics of why pontoon boats are worth the investment (or maybe you realize that they are not worth the investment), here are some quick and easy tips for what you should avoid when purchasing a pontoon boat. Whether you are purchasing your first pontoon boat and need some advice or whether this is not your first rodeo but you want a refresher, we have got you covered.

What To Avoid When Buying A Pontoon Boat 1

● Buying the Wrong Sized Boat

  • Now, this first tip may come off a bit strange but trust us, it is so important to avoid buying the wrong size boat. Pontoon boat ownership is a longterm commitment, so be sure consider all the size options before you buy.
    • For example, if you want a boat that can seat ten people on the deck then you will want to avoid buying a new pontoon boat that is within the 18 feet to 20 feet zone. Knowing the number of people you’ll usually have on board is an important consideration. Below is a good scale for measurement that you should be familiar with.
      • For 2 through 6 people= 18 feet to 20 feet.
      • For 6 through 10 people = 22 feet to 24 feet.
      • For groups larger than 10 people = 24 feet or larger.

● Not Knowing There Are Different Types of Pontoon Boats

  • Yes, there are a variety of different pontoon boats and what type of pontoon you will want to get should depend on what you plan on buying the pontoon boat for. Consider the type of boat you want and how you’re going to use it.
    • For example, if you want to purchase a pontoon boat for fishing then avoiding buying a model that is meant for rough waters and water sports. You’ll be slowly cruising around in calm bodies of water to avoid spooking your fish.
    • If you want a pontoon boat to go fishing, then stick with a model that is built for cruising. You’ll also want to look for ones that come with rod holders and is built for easy access all the way around the pontoon tubes.
    • If you want a pontoon boat for watersports, then stick with a model that has at least 90 horsepower. You’ll need more engine power to haul your toys. You’ll be able to take your pontoon boat out into a rougher body of water than one with lower hp.
    • If you want a pontoon boat for swimming, sunbathing, or simply to relax then look for a model with lounges and other amenities to accommodate that.
    • Avoid buying the wrong type of pontoon boat for the activity that you want it for.

● Not Knowing What Brands Are Good

  • If you think all pontoon boats are created equal, then you are mistaken.
    • You would not buy just any car right? You would want to invest in a car brand that is known to be reliable, comes with a good warranty, and is also worth the price. The same planning should go for buying a pontoon boat.
    • Here are some popular brands that consumers love: Bennington, Manitou, Escape, Lowe, and Harris.
    • Each brand has its own pros and cons but determining which one is right for you depends solely on…well, you. A con to one person may not be a con to another, it could also be a pro, or it could be a neutral, moot point.
    • You will not know until you do some research. Do not worry, this research is not the same research that you had to do for school. Learning about different pontoon boat brands is actually quite interesting, and who knows? You might end up being introduced to your new favorite brand.

● Timing is Everything | Do Not Pay More When You Do Not Need To

  • Have you ever heard the phrase “timing is everything”? Well, the same applies to boat buyers when it comes to buying pontoon boats.
    • This is because pontoon boats (like all boats) have their on and off seasons for sales. In the warmer months where people tend to flock to the waters, the prices of pontoon boats will rise. However, during the colder months where most pontoon boats are put away, you will be able to get a great deal on them.
    • Know when the off-season is in your area, and start planning then.

In Conclusion | Before You Buy

Pontoon boats are a great investment because they can be used for so many water activities including (but not limited to) fishing, sightseeing, and even grilling. Pontoon boats are great recreational watercraft that are great for people with big families or those that enjoy going on trips with a lot of their friends.

What Do I Need To Know When Shopping For A Pontoon Boat?

However, before you invest your money in a pontoon boat it is important to note what you should avoid when buying a pontoon boat. Aside from these tips, you should also look into pontoon boat safety rules as well.

Most people might not think pontoon boats are dangerous because they are so mellow and not used for high-risk water activities. This is true; however, the dangers do not come from the boat themselves but the passengers.

Now that you know what to avoid when you are buying a pontoon boat, be sure to take the time to look over safety rules and guidelines for your pontoon boat.

If you know someone who is looking into buying a new or used pontoon boat, be sure to send them this article.

Happy boating and happy shopping!