pontoon buyers guide

Should You Buy a Pontoon Boat? (How Much Do They Cost?)

Written by Boatsetter Team
September 24, 2021

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

A pontoon boat is a flatboat that uses pontoons (or tubes) to float. Pontoon boat heights can be as shallow as eight inches, which reduces the risk of running the boat aground and causing underwater damage. Rent a pontoon boat through peer-to-peer marketplaces like Boatsetter is a good way for you to try the boat before you buy.

Pontoons are the most popular rental due to their easy maneuverability and compact size. And, it’s quite easy to dock a pontoon if you’re looking for a dock n’ dine experience. Once you’ve cruised around in your pontoon boat rental for a day or two, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you may want to purchase a boat of your own in the future.

In this post, we’ll answer all your questions:

  • How much does a pontoon cost?
  • What’re some of the pros of buying a pontoon? 
  • What activities can I do with a pontoon?
  • What destinations are best on a pontoon?

And, give you pro tips. Let’s get started.

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What are some advantages of buying a pontoon?

One of the best things about pontoon boats is their stability on the water. A lot of these boats have three hulls which makes them almost impossible to capsize under normal conditions. As mentioned above, pontoons have shallow boat heights, so you can easily maneuver them through shallow water and near rocky coastlines. This makes them really versatile because you can do so many types of things on these boats. Pontoons offer lots of storage space and this makes them good for families. 

Pontoons are also good for families who are learning how to be out on the water because they are easy to operate and they hold their value well over time due to the steady demand for these types of boats. They’re also great for family boating reunions! Finally, they are some of the most economical boats on the water because they are cheaper to operate and maintain because they tend to use less fuel than other boats.

Any cons to buying a pontoon?

Pontoon boats are quite slow, so it is not a great option if you are buying a boat primarily to go water skiing. The wake shape can be similar to that of a traditional ski boat, but the pontoons on either side also make wakes, which are less “humped” and much wider than you get on a traditional boat. Also, although pontoon boats are generally stable, they can actually be more dangerous than traditional V-hull boats in severe storms. This is because pontoons dive into large waves instead of riding over them. Even more troubling is the high profile of pontoon boats, which can make them impossible to pull on a trailer or tie-down during a heavy storm.

Although pontoon boats sit shallow in the water, they do not handle as well as you might think, which can be a bit of a problem if you are trying to fit into a tight cove to catch some fish. Also, the outboard engines on some pontoon boats can be loud, so when you rent a pontoon boat, try to choose some of the newer engines that are available today, which are a bit quieter, because this is important for fishing. 

READ MORE: Ding, Ding, Ding: Small Catamarans vs. Pontoon Boats

What activities can I do with a pontoon?

As mentioned above, pontoons are especially good for fishing in shallow water and for cruising along with areas where there might be coral reefs or other impediments not too far from the surface. Also, because of their boxy shape, you can generally fit a large crew onboard a pontoon, so they are good for lake parties and also for calm river cruises on some of these sunny fall days that will be coming up soon. It is a great idea to spend some time enjoying the boat with your friends when you rent a pontoon boat through Boatsetter.

What destinations are best on a pontoon?

things to do on a pontoon boat

Rivers, shallow lakes, and areas that are close to ocean shores are perfect destinations when you rent a pontoon boat. As mentioned above, pontoons are really great for lake parties in places like Lake Tahoe or Lake Havasu. Check out some of the best party pontoon boat destinations in the country! We recommend sailing your pontoon boat rental out into the middle of one of these lakes and really making the most of the scenery and amazing weather.

While pontoon boats are generally some of the safest boats on the water, there is always a risk when it comes to any kind of boating. When you are out enjoying yourself on a pretty lake, there is often the urge to drink more heavily than usual and to “let loose” more than you might usually do. Check out this list of helpful tips for staying safe on the water. Always be aware that water can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are not a good swimmer! As one of the bare minimum safety precautions, we recommend wearing life jackets at all times while you are on the boat.

READ MORE: Can a Pontoon Go into the Ocean?

How much does a pontoon boat cost?

how much does a pontoon boat cost

Wondering how much a pontoon boat costs? Like all boats, the price of a pontoon can be really hard to pin down. It all depends if you are looking at a brand new pontoon boat or a used boat. A brand new pontoon boat can cost between $18,000 and $60,000, depending on size, engine, features, and quality. Generally, a popular pontoon boat that you might see on the water will set you back about $35,000. 

Used pontoon boats are a different story. Prices can vary widely. It all depends on your choice of motor or engine, the accessories or optional extras that you choose, as well as the make and model of the boat. There are also huge regional price differences when it comes to buying any type of boat.

Other Costs Associated With Owning a Pontoon Boat

  • Insurance: Pontoon boats must have insurance coverage to protect against accidents, damages, and liability.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance, engine servicing, hull inspections, and unexpected repairs are necessary to keep a pontoon boat in good condition.
  • Accessories and Equipment: Additional costs may include purchasing safety equipment, navigation tools, fishing gear, and other accessories to enhance your boating experience.

We recommend that you rent a pontoon boat through Boatsetter and then go ahead and start browsing a few options to get a good idea of the type of deal you might find for a used pontoon boat.

Pro tip: Rent a pontoon to know what floats your boat 

The goal of any boat is to help you enjoy your time out on the water. That’s why we strongly recommend renting different boat types and styles so that you know what floats your boat. Remember, pontoons can be a great pick for big groups and casual on-water getaways. 

And, keep in mind that the cost of buying a boat is just the beginning. Other boat ownership costs to factor in are fuel, insurance, storage, maintenance, and licenses. This is also why we suggest renting a boat before buying! When you rent a pontoon boat through Boatsetter, you don’t need to worry about any of these extra costs. In fact, you may end up loving it and stick to renting. 

About us

Boatsetter is the go-to app for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Whatever the adventure, we’ve got a boat for that—Set sail, start the party, go yachting, make your trophy catch, and hone your watersports skills! Download the Boatsetter app (App Store | Google Play). Make sure to follow @boatsetter on Instagram, and tag us in all your boat day pictures for the chance to be featured.

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