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Author Topic:   Shifting Boat Preferences
jimh posted 08-18-2015 09:36 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
There seems to be significant increase in interest in pontoon boats among new boat buyers. Sales of pontoon boats are reported to be strong. An article in a Minnesota newspaper cites data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA):

Pontoon and other aluminum boats were the first to recover from the hard-hitting 2008 recession sales slump. Only pontoon boats are back to pre-2008 sales levels.

According to NMMA president Thom Dammrich:

What's driving pontoon sales is consumer interest in a multi-purpose day boat. People want a great day with friends on the water, followed by a great night's sleep on shore in their own bed. The pontoon boat provides that.

The article also comments:

Sales of aluminum-tube pontoon boats have been so strong that even longtime fiberglass boat builders have begun to wade into the market.

As an example, they cite LARSON BOATS, COBALT BOATS, and CAROLINA SKIFF.

An article in a Lansing, Michigan, newspaper announced that local pontoon boat manufacturer TRITON INDUSTRIES is moving manufacturing to a new plant with three times the space of their old facility. Triton makes the MANITOU brand of pontoon boats.

Sources: a-minnesota-invention-the-pontoon-boat-is-redefining-modern-boating/ 311478851/ pontoon-boat-maker-relocating-lansing/31527819/

knothead posted 08-18-2015 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     

A personal story along these lines.

I just sold a 14 year old pontoon boat with a 2 stroke motor earlier this spring. The boat was kept in the water for 9 of those 14 years. The floor carpet was replaced 3 years ago when we started storing it in a metal building. Replaced the power pack on the motor 3 years ago, bought a Stiletto prop from Tom Clark 5 years ago. The trailer was a used home-built that was used twice a year to go 8 miles each way. It looked and was terrible. That's it.. The boat wasn't abused, but it was no queen. Maybe a 4 to 5 on a 10 point scale.

I thought I would have problems selling it. Ha, it was on Craigs List for less than a week and sold for full asking price which was $500.00 more than it initially cost. To say the least, I was totally amazed. I mean I thought I'd just put a crazy number on it to gauge the response. Ahhh, as the old boating joke goes, one of the happiest days of my boating life.

Upon talking with some boating friends who had been to a local boat show, they remarked that the dealers were saying that all the interest was in pontoon boats and wakeboard boats. On the lake these two types comprise easily 70% to 75% of the boats on the lake. That kind of amazes me.

Still have the Montauk, though it doesn't get the workout it used to. Too many irons in the fire, err, boats in the water.


knothead posted 08-18-2015 05:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     

Also, to your point, the buyer was totally new to boating. Thank goodness the old 2 stroke Johnson fired right up!

regards--- knothead

msirof2001 posted 08-18-2015 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for msirof2001  Send Email to msirof2001     
To me, pontoon boats are atrocious eyesores that look like big pieces of trash on an otherwise beautiful waterway. At least Whaler has the dignity and respect for the boating hobby by limiting the extent of the multi-purpose boat to within the confines of the Vantage line. I'm glad that I go out to the open ocean so that I don't see them.
Hoosier posted 08-18-2015 06:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
This may be indicative of the overall health of Brunswick's boat operations. Here in Fort Wayne Harris-Kayot, Brunswick's pontoon manufacturer, moved, two years ago, into a new plant that was more than twice the size of their old one. I think it's over 360K sq. ft. I saw one this past weekend at a dealer's and it had a full built-in propane grill (Kuuma), RV fridge, and sink with running water. It gives a whole new meaning to "Party Barge". A Harris pontoon runs from 50 - 90 K$....on sale....

boatdryver posted 08-18-2015 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
They forgot to put a gold necklace around the driver's neck and three big gold rings on his fingers. (sorry, the devil made me do it)

JimL :)

contender posted 08-18-2015 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
They are comfortable lake boats with lounge chairs to take the family & friends for a ride and maybe some not see many of them crossing the straight...they are used for what their design was each their own...

Ridge Runner posted 08-19-2015 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ridge Runner  Send Email to Ridge Runner     
You can see the shift in the industry. Brunswick with Bayliner has been successful with the Element XR7 - a ~26 foot boat that has a deck boat layout on a fiberglass hull. aspx#overview

jcdawg83 posted 08-19-2015 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
On the lakes around here, there are three types of boats that probably make up 80% of all boats you see. Pontoon boats with groups of old people or families, 20-22' bass boats with 5000 hp fire breathing outboard engines on them and one or two guys on them and wake board boats with giant speakers mounted to the wake board rack and 6-8 tatted up people in their late 20s to early 40s.
Jamber posted 08-20-2015 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     
We are a family of 5 (3 kids under 11 years old), our 15 foot Whaler is fine for just us. But we wanted to entertain friends and family. So about three years ago I purchased a used 22 foot pontoon with a Yamaha F60. It had about 3500 hours on it. I purchased it for $1,800 from a boat rental company. It ran great but had several cosmetic issues. The previous owner showed me detailed maintenance log for the boat. It was a risky buy with those hours, but the price was too good to pass up. I noticed the rental company has a $180 half-day rate. I figured 10 times out on it and it pays for itself. Three years later (lost count of the number of outings), 230 hours of run time and we are still enjoying it. It is slow, ugly, full of dents, faded and cracked upholstery but is it relatively cheap to run and lots fun to be out in the water with friends. It has started up on the first crank every time. I have only had to put a new bimini top, oil/filter changes, replaced some loose rivets, fuel and annual FL DMV fees / insurance. I think I could sell it for at least half of what I paid for it. I know I am over due for a water pump, it needs new upholstery and possibly a floor. Might be time to sell it.

My 1993 15 foot Whaler is apart in my garage as I s-l-o-w-l-y refinish the wood and get ready for a re power. I don't seem to have the time to finish it because we are out enjoying the pontoon.

jcdawg83 posted 08-20-2015 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
[CHANGED TOPIC. Began to discuss the durability of outboard engines and fiberglass boats.--jimh]

Jamber, your post should be required reading for people who think they need a new engine because theirs has 1000 hours on it and they need a new boat because of cosmetic issues. Boats and engines will last a very, very long time with minimal maintenance.

oysterman posted 08-20-2015 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for oysterman  Send Email to oysterman     
I have seen more pontoon boats here on Hood Canal this summer than I have ever seen in the past. Some are pretty elaborately rigged out.
n1ywb posted 08-21-2015 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for n1ywb  Send Email to n1ywb     
I admit I was thinking about a pontoon before I got my Boston Whaler boat

--maximum deck space
--excellent initial stability

--typically (but not always) slow
--poor seakeeping (non-concern on small lakes)

There's a guy at my lake who's always skiing behind his tri-hull pontoon. It dwarfs my Boston Whaler boat at the ramp, but I bet it takes less damage when he pulls it up on the beach.

jimh posted 08-21-2015 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A modern hull design pontoon boat with three main tubes is often very seaworthy. Speed is a function of power to weight, and some of the modern pontoon boats are very much faster than your typical classic Boston Whaler boats which usually top out below 40-MPH unless really powered at the maximum or above the maximum recommended horsepower. I don't really want to go upwind into six-foot head seas in a pontoon, but I really don't want to do that in my 24-foot Boston Whaler boat, either.
superdave_gv posted 08-22-2015 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for superdave_gv  Send Email to superdave_gv     
[I] could not agree more with this observation [of significant increase in interest in pontoon boats among new boat buyers]. We rent a pontoon almost annually, and the rental fee is worth its cost for a group outing on a inland lake. You just show up and [the pontoon rental boat] is waiting at the marina dock. Everyone has a seat, plenty of shaded seating too. Most of the two-stall boat houses on the lakes have a pontoon and a ski boat or Whaler. I love my classic 16 but have wondered what it is like to trailer a pontoon or just keep the Whaler and rent pontoons. Then I start getting an allergic reaction akin to owning a minivan. A pontoon is the minivan of the sea. You can always rent a pontoon but rarely can you rent a Whaler.
Landlocked posted 08-24-2015 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
A friend of mine recently purchased a brand new $40,000 higher end tri-toon with all the bells and whistles. Like being out on the water in your living room. I believe he has a 150 on it. A couple months ago I thought I'd blow by him in my old 1977 Montauk so I could give him grief back at the dock about all the money he wasted. I was wrong - apparently he was cruising somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 throttle. To use one of my son's slang terms, I got schooled....


Landlocked posted 08-24-2015 04:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
And I'll add, you see [pontoon boats] running in and out of the pass at Panama City, Florida all the time.

Last fall we made a three-day trip down without the Montauk and I decided to rent [a pontoon boat]. After motoring around with a paper bag over my head so no one would recognize me for the first couple hours, [the pontoon boat] grew on me. It has tons of space, was extremely comfortable, was easy to beach, and the kids loved jumping off and being easily able to climb back up the ladder (which was more like steps). Quite frankly, other than the rentals being horribly under-powered and slow, there is not a lot negative to say. I'll [rent a pontoon boat] again when we go on short trips and don't want to fool with the Whaler. Don't worry, I'll leave my Continuous Wave T-shirt at home those days.

EJO posted 08-25-2015 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for EJO  Send Email to EJO     
The new Tri-toon boats are seaworthy. I think it was a Premier brand 25-foot pontoon that ran from Chicago to Detroit with only a couple of gas stops a few years ago. Now they offer twin motors, too, and 60-MPH. As said before, it's the minivan of the day-boats with the comfort of much larger cabin cruisers.
EJO posted 08-27-2015 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for EJO  Send Email to EJO     
Here is a standard "pontoon" boat that will leave any and all our Whalers in the dust. It will come to a marina near you. premiers-900-horsepower-pontoon-boat?cmpid=enewsh82715&spPodID=030& spMailingID=23366457&spUserID=NTg3MDA1OTM1MQS2&spJobID=622634666& spReportId=NjIyNjM0NjY2S0

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