Advantages of Used Pontoon Boats
Used pontoon boats certainly can be a good starting point for boat buyers. Obviously the main advantage to purchasing a pre-owned boat is in the financial aspect. Pre-owned boats, just like any other vehicle, depreciate over time which could allow you to save money over a new vehicle. New cars and trucks tend to take a significant hit once they drive away from the dealership for the first time. But are new boats the same way? The answer might surprise you.
Although new boats do depreciate just like any other new vehicle, they typically do not depreciate nearly as fast. Boats tend to have a much longer lifespan than vehicles do, especially in certain regions. In areas that have warm summers and cold winters, boats might only be used for 3-6 months of the year. They are also not used on a daily basis like your car or truck is. To touch on the financial aspect, when financing a new vehicle, most banks will give you 5-7-year terms at most. On the other hand, boat loans over $25,000 are commonly financed for 10-15 years, and sometimes even 20! Although this might seem strange to you, banks would not offer these terms if the boats didn’t hold their value that long.
Pontoon boats, like any other boat, have seen a substantial number of improvements in recent years. Take one step into a new boat showroom. You will see that pontoons are much different than they were 10+ years ago. Although some of these changes are just “bells and whistles,” there are also some key components that many people are looking for in a pontoon boat that you just can’t find very easy in used models.
Although tri-toons have been around for several years, they have just had their boom in popularity over the past 3-5 years. This makes finding a used tri-toon very difficult. To top it off, because the market is so limited in used tri-toons, the prices tend to be quite high in most cases. At the price point of many of these used boats, you will find that you are close enough to a new boat price for it to make sense to just buy new. This way you can choose your color, options, layout etc. and get the full warranty without any problems.
Vinyl flooring is another option that has just recently become a common feature in pontoon boats. If you look at pontoon boats that are 5+ years old, you find that most boats have carpeting rather than vinyl. Carpeting can be fine, but there are so many advantages to vinyl flooring that it can be a must have item for many buyers. Check out our article on boat flooring options for more info on the advantages of vinyl flooring.
Most, if not all new pontoons will come equipped with a 4-stroke outboard motor. 4-Stroke motors are much quieter, run smoother and much more efficiently. They are much more dependable as well. Re-sale value is much higher for boats with 4-Stroke motors. If you plan on trading or selling the boat after a few years, keep this in mind. The engine will be a strong factor in how much you get and how easy it is to sell. Older pontoons typically have 2-stroke outboard motors, and this can be another deal-breaker for many buyers.
As you can see, there are many reasons to check out new pontoons if you were originally planning to shop for a used boat. That being said, as time goes on, there will be more and more used boats available with some of these popular features. And there are always those great deals that come along every so often on used boats. These are the exceptions to the rule though. Our recommendation is to keep an open mind and check out what your local dealer has to offer.