Among middle class Americans, buying and using a private boat is a very popular pastime, especially given how around 95% of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a navigable body of water. It is estimated that 72% of private boat owners live in households with income under $100,000, meaning that there are plenty of well to do Americans owning these vehicles. For prospective buyers, finding a good boat dealer is essential, whether a retail company or a private seller with a used boat to offer. Used boats for sale can be a good deal, although buyers must be wary of any damage or wear and tear from previous use. Pontoon boats, meanwhile, are bigger than most other privately owned boats, and buying one has its own list of strategies when buying from a boat dealer. Boats for sale in Michigan, for example, can be easily used in some of the Great Lakes.

Boats sell well in the United States and are part of a huge industry. For one, the industry of recreational boating makes an economic impact around $121.5 billion every year, which includes direct, indirect, and induced spending, and all the while, it supports close to 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs, and supports some 35,000 small businesses. By 2016, the combined sales of boats, marine products and the services related to them hit $37 billion, and that amount may only grow in the future. Most of these boats being sold are a manageable size: 95% of owned boats, such as powerboats and sailboats, are under 26 feet in length, and this allows them to be trailered by a vehicle and brought tot local waterways.

Buying a Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are among the largest privately owned boats, and such a boat with just one occupant in good conditions can reach 31 mph, and some may be even stronger still. According to Boat Test, there are some 12 criteria to look out for, and some will be illustrated here.

Pontoon boats for sale should, for one thing, be chosen based on the predicted number of passengers. Too small, and a pontoon boat cannot fit all the intended passengers, and if the boat is too big, it is wasted space (and money). To help out, these boats typically have a capacity size marked on the side for number of people and/or total weight. The chairs, too, should be considered based on intended activities, from sunbathing or lounging to fishing to regular seating. Also, some pontoons boats may or may not have a boat deck on them, a platform around the edge where people can walk on and off the boat. Having one can be a great convenience.

Another major factor is whether to get a pontoon boat that has the traditional two pontoons, or the newer three pontoon models. The two pontoon models are slower, and are best for recreational boats that do not need much speed. Three pontoon models are nearly as fast as sport boats, and can be used for water skiing or tubing. Similarly, the boat’s engine power should match the boat, whether it has two pontoons or three. A big engine is wasted on a two pontoon boat, since the speed boost is minimal. Finally, getting a Bimini top is essential for the boat, and any boat dealer should be flexible about this. Such a cover can block UV rays from the sun and prevent degradation of the boat’s surfaces.

Used Boats

According to Cottage Life, there are strategies for buying from a boat dealer for used vehicles. Cracks in fiberglass above and below the waterline can present a problem unless fixed, and loose seats suggest either rotting boards (a big problem) or simply stripped screws, which can be replaced. Also, the boat should not have too much mildew; upholstery can be replaced, but extensive mold could be impossible to completely purge from the boat. Also, the engine should be turned on and the oil checked, to ensure that there is no troublesome vibrating, weak power, or smoke. Replacements for old parts or engines may be necessary. But if a used boat is clear of these problems and other wear tear, it can be a great deal, and the boat will be ready for the water.

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