I’ve been the proud owner of a pontoon boats for 3 years now, and it has been one heck of a journey! When I look back on my experiences as a first-time buyer, I can’t help but wish I had known more about the industry before making any big decisions.
Now that I have learnt the hard way and come out the other side, I want to help others looking to make their first pontoon boat purchase – hence part of the reason I developed the Pontoonopedia website.
There is a huge amount of information available on here, so use the search function to find out specifics as I’ve answered virtually every question that would ever be asked about a pontoon boat on here.
But, if you just one some very quick information on what you should know about a pontoon boat, then I’ve pulled together just three tips for the moment that I believe are the most important things to consider before you buy – including the right questions you need to be asking!
Trust me, this guide will save you hundreds of dollars, and a lot of valuable time!
Why Do You Want a Pontoon Boat?
If you are reading this, then you obviously have an interest in Pontoon boats, and perhaps are looking to buy your own. I don’t blame you, what’s not to love?
Not only are Pontoon boats a great mode of transport, but they can also be used for a range of activities from fishing to water sports.
With some brand-new pontoon boats being available at prices as low as $14,750, it’s not as out of reach as it once was, so I can understand why you might have found yourself here.
However, all that being said, if there should be one golden rule to buying a Pontoon boat, it should be this: Know WHY you want one, before you start shopping around!
You know how it is, you start looking around a show room, and before you know it you have agreed to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars, for something that is all singing, and all dancing!
Now – if this is what you are looking for then great, however if you go in with no idea in the back of your mind about what you want, then you are more likely to be persuaded into getting something out of budget – take it from me, I’ve seen it happen to friends.
Do your research, if you have a big family who will all be benefiting from your purchase, and then it makes sense to get a larger boat. However, if all you want is to use it for the odd fishing trip by yourself, then you know you don’t need to be parting with masses of money for a giant boat – you might instead want to look at something smaller.
Is It Fit for Purpose?
You’ve done your research, and know exactly what you are looking for in your first pontoon boat, but hang on a minute. Let’s say for example, that you want a boat that accommodates your large family (which consists of teenagers).
With this in mind, you may be looking at a larger Pontoon boat, with all the fixtures and fittings to keep your teens happy. That should include aspects such as:
- Tow rope for pulling skis and inflatable tubes
- Boarding ladders so they can climb in and out of the water
- Plenty of seating
- Cooler, grill, and possibly even a subwoofer for great bass
Pontoon boats range in price, and likewise range in amenities. While there is not a lot you can’t buy nowadays for the top the range boats, it is important that you are buying the right kind of amenities to fit you and your family.
When you enquire about any boat, make sure you are asking the important questions, the boat of your dreams may look great, but you don’t want to find out a month down the line that it is the most uncomfortable transportation you have ever experienced.
Questions to Ask a Pontoon Boat Seller
Here are my top 5 questions to ask when it comes to your boat being fit for purpose:
- What material is the seating made from? (You want comfort as well as weather-proof material!)
- How old is the boat? (If you are buying second hand, then you want to make sure the extra mod cons actually work!)
- How many hours on the clock – read this additional advice
- Does it have a sound system?
- Does it include with the legal must-have items for a pontoon boat?
- Does it have an enclosure top? (Take it from me on this one, it is worth the extra money to ensure you all stay warm and dry during those colder trips!)
- How much does it weigh, and can your vehicle pull it? (see this calculator)
- Have the pontoons been treated with anti-fouling paint or wax?
Remember that any reputable seller will also let you test out many features of a boat, to ensure you are happy before parting with your money!
Above all, find out how many hours are on the boat. If the seller can’t or won’t tell you then walk away. I’ve have extensively written about this in a blog post about pontoon boat hours.
Is the Pontoon Boat Safe and Has it Been Checked Over?
Throughout the last three years, I have stumbled upon many minor issues with my boats, which can quite rapidly become very costly and at times dangerous!
What I would say as my final big tip is to ALWAYS quality-check a boat before making any deals. Don’t be embarrassed about searching high and low for faults or asking dozens of questions. It is well worth the grilling later down the line.
Here are the key areas to be wary of when checking the quality and safety of your potential Pontoon boat:
- Does the boat have an anchor? Many Pontoon boats do not come with an anchor, you will need one.
- Is the boarding ladder fit for purpose? Checking it has a sturdy build and ask what weight it can sustain.
- Inspecting for damage in the following areas will help you out big time; cracks in any of the boat should be a concern, loose seating, mildew or mould, faulty seatbelts.
- Always check the engine.
- Ask for an oil test and check.
There are many sources of information out there about Pontoon boats, and what you need to know. However, many sites get incredibly technical about a variety of aspects, which can become confusing and off-putting!
I don’t regret buying my pontoon boat, and have taken so much from my experiences, which has led me to this guide. Each experience is likely to be a very personal one, and hopefully I have enabled you to go out there with a little more confidence and know-how.
Please do explore the rest of Pontoonopedia for more guides, reviews, and essential items you should have. There is a wealth of information on here on things to know about pontoon boats. I hope you find the website useful.