Pontoon Boat Buying Guide: What to Avoid When Buying a Pontoon Boat
Owning a pontoon boat comes with many responsibilities. If you’re considering purchasing a pontoon of your own, you’ll want to do your research to make sure your investment is worthwhile.
It’s critical to know what to look for and what to avoid when buying a pontoon boat, which can help narrow down your decision-making to what is truly best for your needs and price range. From storage to flooring materials, there are pros and cons to every option.
The following pontoon boat buying guide will outline which items you should aim to avoid to help you make the best investment for your needs.
1. Buying from a Disreputable Company
Before you start looking at specific boats, it’s best to review the different manufacturers and their backgrounds. Researching a variety of companies – including reading their customer service reviews – will help you make an informed decision about who to make your investment with.
Avoid any company with an abundance of poor reviews, as you’re more likely to get stuck with a subpar vehicle that doesn’t hold up to use. Additionally, check for any recalls or scandals involving the craftsmanship of each company’s pontoon boats.
Knowing that your new investment is up to par with federal regulations and guidelines ensures smooth sailing for you later.
2. Buying the Wrong Size
Buying a boat that’s too big or too small for you is definitely to be avoided. Choose something that suits your individual needs.
If you prefer to get away and spend time with a smaller group of four to six people, you’ll want to get a pontoon boat that’s under 22’. If you want a big fishing deck or to bring larger groups with you, 24’ or larger will be necessary.
Avoid scaling down for price if what you need is space. Buying a new pontoon boat is an impressive and expensive investment, so make it wisely. For hosting, you’ll want a larger boat that can accommodate your guests; don’t sacrifice their comfort to save a few bucks.
On the other hand, there’s no reason to splurge on a huge boat if you’ll only use it for fishing by yourself or with one or two friends.
The purpose of the boat also determines what you’ll need. Avoid purchasing add-ons you don’t need unless they’re something you’re passionate about.
If you don’t plan on fishing, don’t buy additions with fishing rod holders. Instead, purchase the luxuries you’d like and don’t settle for less.
For more information on choosing the correct pontoon size for your needs, read our blog post dedicated to the topic.
3. Straying Outside Your Budget
Everyone has a budget, and a top consideration on our list of what to avoid when buying a pontoon boat is exceeding that budget.
There are scores of pontoon boats available, and that means there are tons of options to choose from and customize to suit your needs. Overspending can lead to unwanted additions or being pressured into purchasing add-ons you don’t want. The Value product category at Avalon contains pontoon models that align with a more affordable price range while still offering quality and luxury.
One of the major expenses over time will be the engine. Don’t cut costs with equipment like the engine; it will greatly impact performance and the lifespan of the boat. Bear in mind that the bigger the boat, the bigger the engine, and the more it will cost.
4. Poor Storage Planning
Determining where to store your new boat presents a new list of things to avoid. While some neighborhoods allow homeowners to store boats on their properties, there are HOAs that will argue against it. In that case, you’ll need to find another place to store the boat long-term.
There are both indoor and outdoor facilities, and either can be fine, but you’ll want to examine the security measures of the facility before signing anything. Are there cameras around? Do they have protections in place to safeguard your investments? What’s included with service?
These details will help you find the right place to keep your pontoon boat safe.
5. Getting Stuck with a Bad Warranty
As with all major purchases, it’s important to go over the warranties and policies associated with your boat. Avoid warranties that are vague or limited in coverage. You want to make sure that your investment is protected from unexpected damage or disasters.
Avoid neglecting these other crucial factors when choosing between various pontoon boats.
New vs. Used
Purchasing a new boat means everything is fresh and has never been used. While this is exciting, it’s also costly.
A new boat may not be feasible or practical for your budget. Instead, you may choose to opt for a used model.
If you’re going the secondhand route, make sure to investigate the engine and other mechanical aspects of the boat. You’ll want to ensure that there’s no significant damage and that the boat runs smoothly. Avoid buying a used vehicle with an old or damaged engine; you’ll likely need to replace it soon, negating the money you’re trying to save.
The condition of used pontoons varies greatly, but you can find a great boat for a better price if you buy used. Just be sure to do your research beforehand.
Carpet vs. Vinyl Flooring
Carpets are an affordable flooring solution for your pontoon, and it’s ideal for a more leisurely vehicle that’s meant for cruising around. It’s soft and comfortable to walk on.
The downside, however, is that it holds water. While some carpet can withstand extended exposure to the elements, you’ll risk mold and mildew infesting the fibers and sun or water damage causing permanent stains.
With vinyl flooring, you get a resistant material that is meant to last. It’s easy to clean with soap and water, making it a practical choice.
The downside is that it retains heat and can scorch the bottom of your feet if you spend all day in the sun.
Read more on our Flooring Options blog post.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what features you’re not willing to sacrifice on your pontoon.
Knowing what to look for and what to avoid when buying a pontoon boat will help you make the best investment for your needs.