How to buy a used pontoon boat? Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

How to buy a used pontoon boat? Are you interested in purchasing a used pontoon boat? If so, it’s important to do your research and ask lots of questions before making any decisions. Buying a used pontoon boat can be a great way to save money, but it is also important to make sure that you are getting the best quality for the price.

How to buy a used pontoon boat? Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

How to buy a used pontoon boat? Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

In this blog post, Scott Ewart will cover some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat. With this knowledge, you can get an amazing deal and enjoy your time out on the water worry-free!

How to buy a used pontoon boat?

Step 1: Determine what kind of pontoon boat you want

Step 1: Determine what kind of pontoon boat you want

Step 1: Determine what kind of pontoon boat you want

Choosing the right pontoon speed

Some common speeds for pontoons are:

  • 150 HP: It is suitable for ideal cruising, and it can pull skiers.
  • 200 HP: The speed is as fast as most bowriders or deck boats on the water.
  • 300 HP+: This speed is suitable for larger pontoon boats and waterskiing activities.

Selecting the appropriate pontoon layout

Fishing pontoon layout: This type of layout features a rod holder, a live bait well, plenty of storage, and seating.

Party pontoon layout: Party pontoons are designed to allow you and your group to relax, socialize, and have a good time. It has extra features such as a sound system, and storage compartments.

Relaxing pontoon boat layout: pontoon boats are ideal for a leisurely cruise on the lake. These vessels feature luxurious single and double lounges, perfect for lazing in the sun or taking a soothing cruise down the river.

Traditional pontoon boat layout: Traditional pontoon boats have a basic layout with seating and storage. This arrangement has two sofas in the front, an L-shaped couch in the back, and the helm station on the starboard (right) side mid-ship (middle of the pontoon boat).

A pontoon boat includes, generally, pontoons that support a boat deck that, in turn, accommodates the passengers. Pontoons on such boats are generally designed as displacement structures


Step 2: Search for places to buy a boat

Step 2: Search for places to buy a boat

Step 2: Search for places to buy a boat

Find the pontoon boat online

You can look at local boat dealers, online classifieds, and online auction sites like Boat Trader,, and Make sure to research the boat you’re interested in so you know what options are available and how much they cost.

Is a used boat right for you? It will a good selection if you know how to correct types and good condition. When searching for a used pontoon boat online, check the condition of the boat by reading reviews and inspecting photos. Also, pay attention to the options included in the boat and determine if they meet your needs.

Visit directly a few local dealers

By going to local dealers, you’ll be able to look at the boat and ask questions in person. Ask the dealer to show you everything that comes with the boat about its accessories and important documents. You also ask for any extra features like a canopy or other customizations. It is more expensive if you  buy a used pontoon boat directly from a dealer, but some dealers offer warranties on their boats.

Step 3: Inspect the condition of pontoon boat

Step 3: Inspect the condition of pontoon boat 

Step 3: Inspect the condition of pontoon boat

Before purchasing a used pontoon boat, it is critical to inspect the boat thoroughly. Here are some what to look for when buying a used pontoon boat:

Check the components part of boat

Hull’s condition: Look for cracks, dents, blisters, or other blemishes.

Deck surfaces: Check the wood decks and floor coverings for signs of rot or water damage.

Carpet: Inspect the carpet for signs of wear, stains, and tears.

Furniture and flooring: Check the condition of furniture, flooring, and other accessories.

Shift and throttle: Make sure they are in working condition.

Electrical system: Test all lights, switches, and other components.

Gauges’ condition: make sure they are visible and functioning correctly.

Motor condition: Check for signs of corrosion, oil leakage, and other damage.

Outboard engine: Test the engine to make sure it is running properly.

Wiring and corrosion: Pay attention to the condition of wiring and corrosion.

Look for the NMMA certification sticker

National Marine Manufacturers Association-certified boats satisfy the highest safety and quality requirements (NMMA). Look for an NMMA certification sticker on all pontoon boats, and make sure it is not expired or out of date. This will ensure you are purchasing a boat with all required safety features in place.

Step 4: Take a test pontoon drive

Step 4: Take a test pontoon drive

Step 4: Take a test pontoon drive

Once you have inspected the boat, you should take it out for a test drive. This will give you an opportunity to judge how well the engine and other components are working. Make sure to observe how the boat handles in different conditions, such as choppy water and high speeds.

Before bringing the boat out onto the water, kickstart it and listen closely for any strange sounds. If the engine takes a while to warm up before starting, there may be an underlying issue. Once you hit open waters, experiment with acceleration, deceleration, and turning maneuvers. If anything feels off or unusual, consider your buying decision!

Make sure to take advantage of a 30-minute test drive. This allows you the perfect opportunity to ensure that your engine is running properly and efficiently. You also evaluate how the vehicle performs in different conditions.

Step 5: Close the deal for purchase of your pontoon boat

Step 5: Close the deal for purchase of your pontoon boat 

Step 5: Close the deal for purchase of your pontoon boat

Ask about the manufacturer’s warranty

Once you have decided on the pontoon boat that’s right for you, it’s time to close the deal. Before signing the paperwork, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions associated with the purchase.

  • When buying from a dealer, ask for a guarantee as well as a warranty that will cover the cost of any replacement components.
  • When buying from a private seller, check to see if they have a manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty. Besides, you can ask about any other extras that can be transferred to you if you buy the item from them.

Ask about receipts and courtesy records of maintenance visits

Vendors should always provide invoices and receipts for boat maintenance and additional items. Having the boat’s maintenance record will help you know what components are covered under warranty and if they can be substituted.

Ask for boat ownership confirmation

When buying a used pontoon boat from a person, make sure to get proof that the person owns the boat. Request for them to present you with a title or bill of sale featuring their name as the registered owner and double check that it is up-to-date. This will help ensure your purchase goes smoothly.

A bill of sale, as referenced in this manual generally refers to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) form, but any bill of sale that identifies the vehicle/vessel is acceptable.


Negotiate the price

Here are some tips for negotiating the price of a product or service:

Do your research. Find out about the market price for similar items and services. Knowing what you are getting into will give you an advantage in negotiations.

Be confident in your worth. Establish yourself as a valuable customer, and be sure to express your expectations. This will show the other person that you are serious about negotiations and not just trying to haggle for a lower price.

Hire the picky marine surveyor to check pontoon boat

It’s important to bring in a picky surveyor who has experience and thorough knowledge of boat mechanics. Most sellers won’t lower the price unless there are issues that require costly repairs. A surveyor should be able to spot any mechanical or cosmetic issues, giving you some room for negotiation when it comes to closing the deal on your boat.

Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

Some advice for purchasing a pre-owned pontoon boat

Here are some tips for buying a used pontoon boat. When possible, it is best to inspect the boat in person prior to purchasing.

Have a professional mechanic inspect the boat. They should check about systems, including the engine, steering, propulsion, and electrical. This will give you an idea of any issues that need to be fixed or replaced before taking the boat out on the water.

Choose the best suitable time to buy your boat to optimize the best price for you. Here are information about when is the best time to buy a boat

Make sure all necessary safety features are in place and functioning, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers.

Check the laminate: Inspect the laminate for cracks, bubbles, and other imperfections by running your fingers over it. Keep an eye out for waves, wrinkles, or dips in the laminate, which are signs of a poorly made pontoon boat. Besides, checking for humps or hollows where the hull meets the deck could be an indication of a low-quality vessel.

FAQs How to buy a used pontoon boat

Do pontoon boats retain their value?

Most people know that pontoon boats hold their value better than other types of boats. Not only do they tend to depreciate slower than other kinds of boats, but they also have a much lower initial cost than many larger vessel styles.

What length pontoon boat is most common?

The most popular pontoon boat length is typically between 20 and 25 feet. This size range offers the best combination of features, performance, and convenience for many boaters.

How long does a pontoon boat last?

How long a pontoon boat lasts depends on many things, like the quality of the materials used to build it, how often it’s used, and how well it’s taken care of. Generally speaking, most pontoon boats can last for 10–20 years if properly cared for and maintained.

Is a pontoon boat the safest option?

Pontoon boats are typically seen as one of the safest types of boats due to their wide base and stable construction. However, all boaters should take proper safety precautions when operating any type of vessel. A boat’s high-rail fence prevents falls. Pontoon boats’ weight increases safety.


How do I buy a used pontoon boat? Ideally, when you are ready to buy a used pontoon boat, you want to ensure that you are buying something of good quality and value. Talk to experts in the field who can tell you what specific models offer great performance and features for your needs. With this information from, you can do research on what’s best for you. Go ahead and choose the best paddle boat and start experiencing life on the water!

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