Tips For Buying A Used Pontoon Boat
Purchasing your first pontoon boat is an exciting time and making the decision to buy used can be a smart one if you take the time to do a bit of research as well as gain knowledge of what to inspect prior to purchase.
Before shopping begins, determine the budget that you want to stay within as pricing can vary based on size, engine, and accessories included and getting caught up in the purchase or being overwhelmed can happy easily.
Decide how many people will be using the boat as well as the size of the body of water the boat will be generally used in as this will determine the size of pontoon boat that should be purchased. Pontoon boats can be as small as 15′ and as large as 30′ – the larger the boat, the larger number of people it can hold and the better it will hold up in rough waters. Bigger isn’t better but it does determine what you can do with the boat. Also decide what type of purpose the boat will be used for – recreational, fishing, both? Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help determine what accessories you want to look for as part of the used boat purchase or if these items will need to be purchased separately.
When a boat has been found to inspect, there are a few things you want to make sure you look at:
Hull: The most important things to inspect is the hull, or the body of the boat. If the boat is sitting in the water, ask for it to be removed to sit on a trailer so that you can thoroughly do an inspection by walking around the boat and being able to look at the bottom. Look for any cracks or areas that appear to be “fixed”, which could eventually lead to leaks and eventually breakdown of the hull.
While inspecting the hull, pay attention to the pontoon logs to make sure they are straight.
Engine: Ask the owner how many hours the engine has on it and request to take the pontoon boat out for a test drive. While out, pay good attention to how the engine sounds and feels when running the boat. While driving, check the gauges and make sure they are stable and not bouncing. Stop and restart the boat to make sure it performs as expected. Physically look at the engine to see if there is any corrosion or indication of oil leaks.
Turn it on: If there a switch, test it. Make sure the bilge pump is working, the lights come on, sound comes from the stereo, etc.
Upholstery / Furniture: Are there any cracks or tears in the upholstery or the stitching edge starting to or is undone? Does the fabric look as though it is sun rotted? If so, all these could mean that the boat was not stored properly when not in the water.
Deck / Flooring: Look for mold or mildew on the deck of the boat as well as any soft spots.
Buying used can save a fair amount of money and if purchasing a pontoon boat for the first time, can be a rewarding purchase for years to come. Plan to spend an adequate amount of time inspecting the boat so that you have peace of mind that the boat is in sound order.