Buying a Pontoon Boat? Here are your Choices
Purchasing a new pontoon boat is a big lifetime event. Yes, it might take a lot out of your bank account, but it will also provide years of enjoyment and memories while out on the water with friends and family. The boating industry has gotten much better in the past decade, and there are now plenty more options on the market. Here are a few great options for you to consider in this upcoming boating year.
Certainly the most common types of pontoon boats, value pontoons offer all the basics of a pontoon boat at a reasonable price. They are great for first-time boat owners, or anyone who will only take out small groups of people on the water and doesn’t need all the bells and whistles that come with other pontoon models. Most come in lengths of 18 feet or less, and have two pontoons on the hull. While you may envy those who have sleeker designs and more space to walk around on, cost and maintenance will certainly be on your side. Not only will the purchase price, financing, taxes and insurance be less of a burden on you, but maintenance, cleaning, repairs, transportation and storage will be far easier, and can most likely all be done on your own. If you’re really looking to get a great value out of your pontoon, you may want to consider purchasing one that is used. Read our checklist for purchasing your pontoon used if you’re considering that option.
If you assume you need a traditional fishing boat in order to fish properly while out on the water, then you may not have been out on an angler pontoon before. Many pontoon boat manufacturers take their common and best selling pontoon boats and make them angler-friendly. This may include adding live wells, swivel chairs, rod holders, storage compartments, and other accessories to make them ideal for fishing, while also having plenty of space to comfortably walk around. This also makes it easier for kids to partake in fishing trips, and allow people with limited mobility to still enjoy fishing. What owners tend to love most about the angler pontoon boats is that they double as an average daily pontoon boat. Move a few chairs and benches into different positions, put seat cushions over live wells and storage compartments, and you have a party pontoon boat that you can take your family or friends out on.
There are those who just want to get out on the water, and have a fantastic time while out there. They value spacial environments that encourage social interactions, and have all the amenities necessary to create and maintain a relaxing environment. Engineers are faced with the challenge of creating floorplans that achieve all of that, which takes years of listening to customers and making tweaks and adjustments to respond to changing technologies and customer needs. Most leisure pontoons that you’ll find are fully equipped with seating benches, tables, bar stools, sunpads, and other furniture that make for a comfortable environment. Many pontoons also have features that supplement their standard features, including refrigerators, sinks, grills, toilets, and other items that you may find in your living room. If you’re thinking about investing in a leisure pontoon, you may find it a challenge to make your way back into shore at the end of the day.
You may find it surprising, but performance pontoons are the next big thing in the pontoon boat industry. Improvements to hull and tube design have allowed pontoons to cut through waves at higher speeds, making for a smoother ride. Some pontoon boat manufacturers (including us) have introduced a third pontoon for many of their models, which allows the boat to bank into turns like a fiberglass hull would. Manitou has made this a big focus in recent years, with developing a patented V-Toon technology that makes it seem like you’re driving a speedboat. With improved speed and handling compared to ordinary pontoon boat models, water sports become an option with performance pontoons. They are often designed to accommodate the needs of wake boarding, water skiing, tubing, and other water sports, with their large storage compartments and tow bars. Many performance pontoons are grouped together with luxury pontoons, as they also offer additional amenities and features that come with a higher price point.
As you move up in price when it comes to selecting pontoon boat models, you’ll find plenty of more features and options to make your pontoon boat the ultimate machine on your lake. Luxury pontoons often come with customizable floor plans to choose from, allowing you to really think about what you’re going to be using your pontoon for while out on the water. Luxury pontoons typically have high-end seat cushions, driver’s helms, bar stools, audio systems, refrigerators, grills, and plenty more. With all these added features, luxury pontoons tend to stay on the larger side, typically ranging between 25-30 feet.
In the end, you’ll only find out the pontoon boat that you really want by seeing it in person. You can go to your local boat show to take a look at models and options that fit your boating needs. You can also take a look at Manitou’s buying guide to see all the options that we have, and find a Manitou dealer near you using our dealer search tool.
This article was updated on 6/20/2018.