Help with a new pontoon purchase

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PontoonNewbie2017
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Help with a new pontoon purchase

#1 Post by PontoonNewbie2017 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:50 pm

Hello I'm Looking to purchase a new pontoon boat, and even after reading lots of information on this site, as well as other websites, it's a daunting task. Hopefully someone can offer me Some good advice.

I went to the boat show the other day, looked at lots of boats, and was overwhelmed with lots of information. I know that I want to buy around 22- 23 feet,I know that I need to have at least 150 hp motor. I know enough to know that I should get a tri toon...
What I don't know is what manufacturer to buy. I don't want to buy an entry level boat, nor do I want to pay a ton of money for something I don't need. If we were talking regular boats, I don't want bayliner and I don't want to pay for a Regulator. I need to buy something in the middle. I looked at several Manufacturers , like Sweetwater, Bennington,Crest, premier. Honestly I don't know the difference Most of these models were in the mid $30s, boat show priced
When I went home and started to do some research, it seems like play craft builds the best boat, and they powder coat everything on the boat as an option, which is very enticing to me. However we're talking at least a 50% premium in price, I'm not sure that's worth it for me

I guess what I'm looking to find out is, what is the best boat is to buy to use in the salt water, with sea conditions that can be a little rough, without buying junk, and without spending a ton of money. Thanks in advance for your advice
Last edited by PontoonNewbie2017 on Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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zoom650
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#2 Post by zoom650 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:44 pm

Choosing a new toon is a daunting task and a 22-24 tri-toon with a 150 is a fine package.

If you'll surf to the manufacturer's web site and look at the "features" or "build your boat" section, you'll see if a salt/rough water package is available. Look for anodes for each pontoon and engine (any metal not connected to an anode must have it's own anode), reinforced nose cones on the pontoon bows, and reinforced fencing on the bow. An under skin should cover the frame to waves.

You didn't mention Harris, so I'll give them a shameless plug. I own one. Mine handles great in sloppy bays, running the pass, and in moderate seas of the Gulf.

From reading some other's experience when trying to special order a boat, you may want to start calling dealers to see if they've already ordered a boat that meets your specs and try working with them.

Fair winds and following seas.
Michael and Laura
'12 Ford F150 Lariat SuperCrew Ecoboost
'14 Harris Solstice 220, P3 tritoon, Mercury Verado 150, Enertia 14p.
prior boat: '02 Century 2600CC, twin Yamaha EFI 200's, full instruments.

Bamaman
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#3 Post by Bamaman » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:37 pm

Let's start here:
How large of a lake are you going to be boating on?
Are you going to be trailering your boat when you use it?
Do you have a proper tow vehicle?
How large is your family and what's the maximum number of people you'll expect to carry with you?
Are you expecting to do some water sports like pulling skiers or tubers?
What brands of pontoon boats are represented in your retail market? Are any dealers more competitive than others, and what brands do they sell?

While pontoon boats appear to be generic aluminum barges with the same engines, there's a big difference in fencing, seating and general quality. And there are a dozen different brands of boats that'd do the job for you. Expect 22' to 23' tritoons with lifting strakes on the toons and 150 hp to be more like $40K with a trailer--or even more.
'12 Bennington 24' SSLX Yamaha 150

PontoonNewbie2017
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#4 Post by PontoonNewbie2017 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:17 am

Zoom650, I actually did look at a Harris, The HCX22, 150 4 stroke, performance package, about $2K in options, the dealer wanted $39,000 for it, which was barely discounted. Thanks for the advice

Bamaman, I am going to use the boat in Buzzards bay, MA. It will not be trailered, I would expect to put 8-10 people on it at maximum. I am definitely going to tube and ski off it, hence my need for at least a 150 4 stroke engine. I know I want the walk through seating. Local to me are Harris, with the price noted above
Crest, who want $37,000 for their 220 SLC with the CPT Standard performance tube option (about $4,000)and saltwater package with about $1,000 in misc. options.
The Premier230 Sunsation with a 150hp, tritoon, and about $4k of misc options is $57,000MSRP or $49,900 boat show, a huge jump from the Harris or the Crest
Southbay, Sylvan, Bennington and Sweetwater all have local dealers, I did not get pricing for any of those.
And I figured there were big differences in quality, I need guidance as to what is a quality boat that doesn't carry a premium price. I don't want to pay for a name. And if it matters I don't need fancy seating or a ton of options, but I want a quality Boat.
Thanks!!
Last edited by PontoonNewbie2017 on Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gonefishing
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#5 Post by Gonefishing » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:42 am

I have a 2013 exchurison x23rfc which is made my South Bay. Has a 115 4 stroke Yamaha love the boat. The rear fishing center is to love for has rod holders, tackle center, live bait tank also two fishing chairs. This allowed me to have the best of both worlds. Fishing area in the rear out of the way and plenty of seating upfront for just lounging also has a changing room where I put a porta potty in for the wife. Check out South Bay and look at the exchursion you will not be disappointed for sure. Mine in 2013 was 30,000 out the door that is a 23 foot toon, tandem trailer, 115 4 stroke Yamaha, tow batteries with a battery switch and lowrance fish finder and of course all CG equipment needed. And it has the salt water package
Bob Jacksonville, Nc

2013 Excursion X23 RFC
2013 115 Yamaha
Pulled with a Ford King Ranch

ron nh
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#6 Post by ron nh » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:21 am

I assume you've been to the Boston boat show if you're boating in Buzzards bay? Most off the big names are there right now. Next question is, What makes you want a pontoon if that's where you'll be doing your boating? I see many obstacles to happy boating with a toon there. Especially a lot of people on board, even A 24' pontoon will not be a good time when it's just fairly rough, many days you won't be going out at all. Nobody is a bigger pontoon advocate then me, But I don't know about this one. Some of the guys on here do more boating in brackish waters, they can tell you what to expect. When I go out in great bay I have a hard time getting all the salt off, I think I got it all then my grass dies a week later. Sorry just reread where you went to the boat show, apparently my reading comprehension is slipping with age. Also every manufacturer has entry level to "at least" mid level. Every one will be between 40 and 60 for a solid pontoon with good quality, the price fluctuation will be more motor size and options. You can find boats on there lot and sometimes pay in the 30's for a tri-toon with a 150, but this time a-year that will be rare. unless it's a left over.
2015 Qwest LS 818XRE Tri-toon w/mercury 115.

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mpilot
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#7 Post by mpilot » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:23 pm

If you want a Bennington check out captains choice in Leesville, sc. They are a huge volume dealer and ship boats all over because their prices are good. In fact, rumor is they ship almost as many boats as are bought local.

If you liked the harris look at cypress cay. We got a 23 foot tritoon with a 150, top of the line seating, lighting, double Bimini and full enclosure for mid 30's. That doesn't include a trailer, but the enclosure and double Bimini was a 3000 option you could delete if you wanted to. Basically my boat is the same as one of the harris trim levels except with slightly different rear panels and different decals.

PontoonNewbie2017
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#8 Post by PontoonNewbie2017 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:16 pm

ron nh
This will be a secondary boat that will just be used for skiing/tubing and cruising in a semi-protected area of the bay . I have a nice CC to take out in the rough water.
You bring up a good point though, one that maybe you can better clarify, "every manufacturer has entry level to "at least" mid level", ----on these categories is the "base build?" of the boat the same as the better models? And is the price increases based solely on extra options, or do the entry level models have a lower quality build? It reminds me of my visit to the Chevy dealer, they had new Tahoe's that were $55,000 and new Tahoe's that were $75,000. The frame, engine, transmission and drivetrain were the same, the extra $20k got you nicer interior, better wheels, lots of options. On my pontoon boat I'm not interested in any options, but I want to make sure I buy a quality boat to start with.

ron nh
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#9 Post by ron nh » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:44 pm

There are differences for sure, even within a manufacturer. some of there entry level boats won't have the same build specs as there higher end. Read there construction area on the web sites. You'll see patterns and differences. Some will use thicker or thinner "hat" connectors, some cross members will be closer or further apart, closer of course more sturdy like house building. There are some that use thicker aluminum for tubes (not many). Then there's just plain old quality of build, Thats the one where you really have to look closely underneath and all around, you won't notice that on the web site. For example, if you by a Bennigton or Premire you know that's high end, But the other brands Also know that and usually have the same specs, but can they pull it off? I'm sure some do,I'm sure some don't. The high end company's all build entry level, But they may cost close to the same as the mid level of mid tier company's. Like Sylvan, Starcraft, Avalon and others. Theses manufactures make damn good boats as well, they've been doing for a long time..That's where I feel personal preference really plays a roll. The high end boats also hold there value better. It's a lot to consider for sure. The good thing is that it's a pretty basic hull, so researching isn't that difficult when you get the basics. Good luck! Oh, to answer one of your questions, much of the upcharge is in the options, just like the Chevy, for example, you can buy a sylvan mirage tritoon built the same way for 35k to probably 55k (mostly motor) but they are the same frame. But thats where the reading of web site and brochure comes in.
2015 Qwest LS 818XRE Tri-toon w/mercury 115.

Bamaman
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#10 Post by Bamaman » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:59 pm

For the most part, the difference between manufacturers' entry level boats and their high line boats are in the fencing and the seating. Unless you're going ultra high performance hulls, the toons and framework is essentially the same on different price points of most brands.

If you feel comfortable with your Harris dealer, go with it. It's one of my top 4 brands (with Bennington, Manitou and Premier). But there are another dozen brands that are perfectly good.

You're fortunate that you have so many brands represented in your retail market to choose from. Most of the country doesn't have that many brands in one place.

If I was looking for a new boat, I'd be going to Boattrader.com and filtering by distance (from zip code.) It's not too hard to figure out who the more aggressive dealers are--willing to compete for your business with a fair price. And you can easily tell which dealers are trying to cut your head off on pricing--taking advantage.
'12 Bennington 24' SSLX Yamaha 150

captain28570
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#11 Post by captain28570 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:41 pm

I just called them today. Some of the nicest and knowledgeable people I have talked to. They are a high volume dealer. One one Bennington's top sellers.

The salesman told me that Benn gives them kick backs for selling so many of a certain model boat. Captains choice doesn't keep the money,instead they put it back into the discount of the boat giving you the best deal possible.

He said Benn customer service and standing behind the 10 year warranty is what makes them so successful. They take care of their customer and stand behind their product.

He said a 22 Tritoon SX model with the performance package and 150 Yamaha was around 32K. That's a lot cheaper than where I'am at.


[quote="mpilot"]If you want a Bennington check out captains choice in Leesville, sc. They are a huge volume dealer and ship boats all over because their prices are good. In fact, rumor is they ship almost as many boats as are bought local.

If you liked the harris look at cypress cay. We got a 23 foot tritoon with a 150, top of the line seating, lighting, double Bimini and full enclosure for mid 30's. That doesn't include a trailer, but the enclosure and double Bimini was a 3000 option you could delete if you wanted to. Basically my boat is the same as one of the harris trim levels except with slightly different rear panels and different decals.[/quote]
2017 22 Manitou Aurora LE SHP Tritoon Evinrude G2 HO 150

mrlouis
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#12 Post by mrlouis » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:56 am

the Boston Boat show was great this year we were there for 2 and a half hours and we only looked at pontoon boats, if you know what you want go back today as today is the last day of the show, because of the storm last weekend and Wednesday they didn't get the traffic they normally get so they need to sell boats and will be willing to negotiate lower than the price shown
good luck
Don

PontoonNewbie2017
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#13 Post by PontoonNewbie2017 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:20 pm

mpilot
I contacted Captains Choice for a price, thanks for the lead

Ron NH
Lots of good advice, thanks!

Bamaman
The local Harris dealer only wanted to discount the boat $1,000. I found that ridiculous for a boat show price?!

Captain 28570
If they'll sell me a 22SX with tritoons and the sport package for $32,000 that makes my decision easy. We'll see what they say....

ron nh
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#14 Post by ron nh » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:25 pm

That's as good a deal As I've ever seen.
2015 Qwest LS 818XRE Tri-toon w/mercury 115.

PontoonNewbie2017
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Re: Help with a new pontoon purchase

#15 Post by PontoonNewbie2017 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:27 pm

I priced it out on their website, it's a $50k plus MSRP I think there's no way they'll sell it for that. We shall see though....
UPDATE- They won't....
Last edited by PontoonNewbie2017 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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