How Much is a Pontoon Boat – Average Cost of Ownership in 2020


pontoon boat cost

You have finally decided to buy a boat but now comes the hard question. How much is this boat going to cost you? It is a good question and I am going to try and answer that question for you today, hoping that you can make a better, smarter decision after reading this and informative article.

How much is a pontoon boat?

The average pontoon boat cost is between $15,000 and $60,000, depending on the boat and accessories that come with it. Well equipped pontoon boat such as Party Barge 22 XP3 sells for just above $32,000.

However, when you are buying a house, a car or a boat, you do not realize the true cost of ownership right away. You get caught up in all of the shiny and swanky things and you overlook the hidden cost. And most of those costs are not cheap.

Some of those costs include:

  • Boat trailer cost
  • Annual mooring fees
  • Winter storage cost
  • Insurance
  • Taxes and other fees
  • Pontoon accessories

So in this article, I am hoping to bring some insight into the true cost to own a pontoon boat and how you can better prepare financially for your new toy based on my own experience.

Let’s begin!

Questions to Ask About Pontoon Boat Cost

The initial payment of a pontoon boat can be done through a personal loan, paying it in cash, or paying it in installments through a financer. At times, many pontoon sellers will offer different pontoon ownership deals at different rates or in partnership with a marine financing company. This is a topic for a different day!

Now, these are the key questions to ask when looking at the cost to own a pontoon boat?

What is the Length of the Boat?

The length of the boat will determine the initial price of the boat and the boat slip needed to dock it. A 16-19 foot boat is best for small bodies of water and can accommodate up to eight people. A 20-22 foot pontoon is best for small lakes and rivers and a 23-27 foot is best for rough waters.

What Will You be Using it For?

The use of your pontoon boat will determine the size you should get and the quality materials used. For example, a pontoon used for fishing may be smaller than a pontoon for large groups of people. However, a fishing pontoon may offer more technological advances, which can bring up the price. This brings us to the next question!

What Are The Specifications of the Pontoon?

Specifications do not only include the size of the boat but also the quality build and wiring behind the pontoon. The cost to own a pontoon boat is higher depending on the gas tank size, the electronics involved, and the floating of your pontoon. For example, carpet flooring requires more maintenance than vinyl flooring, which can lead to heavier costs down the line.

How Much Does it Cost Initially?

calculating boat cost
Close-up image of architect caculating estimated construction cost

The price you pay for your pontoon boat is the initial cost, also known as the purchase price. The secondary costs are gas, maintenance, docking, and ‘extras’ you eventually add on your boat. Below is a small break down of how much you can expect to pay for a pontoon. Of course, the maker of the pontoon is a big factor.

  • $14,750 gets you a small pontoon.
  • $25,500 is how much you can expect to spend an average of 8-10 people pontoon.
  • $35,000 is an average 22-foot pontoon boat.
  • $41,000+ is how much you can expect to spend for a higher-end, quality-filled pontoon boat with added amenities.

This, of course, does not include the upgrades you eventually add over time!

Secondary Cost of Owning a Pontoon Boat

The secondary costs to own a pontoon boat includes all of the things you pay for after you purchase your pontoon boat. This is where some people can underestimate the costs of a pontoon boat. Much like a car, a pontoon boat requires insurance, maintenance and more.

Let’s break down the cost to own a pontoon boat so you can be better prepared. I know if I had this list when I started it would have made the process much easier.

Average Annual Mooring Fees

Mooring fees are the fees attached to being able to dock your boat. This is important to note when picking out the size of your pontoon boat. An important question to ask yourself is, will I be keeping my boat on my property or docked?

This question will determine if you need a trailer or harbor space. With this in mind, a harbor space can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a month to thousands. In fact, the average annual mooring costs range from $3,000 to $15,000 per vessel.

Now, your mooring fees dependent on the size of your boat, the city, and state that you live in, and the type of harbor space you need. It is important to shop around for harbors in your area and compare the prices.

You can skip this process if you have a trailer big enough to keep your pontoon parked on your property. Which brings us to the next cost to own a pontoon boat.

Boat Trailer

A boat trailer, without a doubt, is the cheaper route to go! A boat trailer ranges between $2,000 and $5,000. However, this all depends on the space you have on your property.

Winter Boat Storage

How Much is a Pontoon Boat
Old Wooden Abandoned Rowing Boat Covered Snow Near Wooden Fence On Coast In Sunny Winter Day. Forsaken Boat

I have talked a bit about winterizing your boat and winter boat storage can be costly. Unless you live in Florida, California, or other tropical places, you will most likely need a location to store your pontoon during the winter months. This can be costly, not only because of the fees to store your boat out of the water but other expenses such as:

  • General winter maintenance.
  • Shrinkwrapping.
  • Oil and fluid changes.

Boat Insurance

Much like a car, boat insurance is essential unless you have a home with a private lake. The reason for this is because the expenses of a water-vehicle accident can cause a big fat hole in your wallet. Insurance aids in the case of such situations.

With this in mind, boat insurance is not that expensive. It can cost a couple of hundred dollars a year for a smaller economical boat. However, the pricier the boat, the costlier the insurance. Other factors that determine the cost of a pontoon boat insurance are:

  • History of the person.
  • Credit score.
  • The insurance company you go with.
  • Age of the water vehicle.
  • Price and quality of the water vehicle.

Annual Boat Fuel Cost

If you have a pontoon, like any other vehicle, expect to pay for gas. With this in mind, most boats eat gas like it’s candy! It’s important to note that the price of fuel for water vehicles is much more expensive than land vehicles.

For the sake of example and math purposes, let’s make the fuel cost $2.00 per gallon.

If your pontoon has an average tank of 25 gallons, the price to fill it up is $50. Now, this is completely sucked up every hour of use. Therefore, a 5-hour trip is now costing you $250 of gas per 5-hour use. In the case that you use your boat once a week, the total monthly average cost is $1,000.

It is important to note that a slower pontoon will use gas slower. Therefore, the costs range depends on the size of the pontoon, gas tank, and fuel used per trip.

Boat Taxes and Other Fees

When you consider the cost to own a pontoon boat taxes and other fees come to mind. It is important that you register your vehicle, get a proper license, and depending on your state, you may have to pay water vehicle taxes.

Now, this also includes your license for a water vehicle, alongside classes to learn how to use your pontoon.

Pontoon Accessories

The cost to own a pontoon boat can drastically go up the more you want to add to it. This includes if you want a state of the art pontoon GPS system, a quality pontoon changing room, or some cool pontoon boat accessories. With this in mind, it is important that you calculate all of these costs ahead of time so you are better prepared.

Pontoon Boat Cost Conclusion

A pontoon boat, like any other major purchase, can become overwhelming if you are not prepared. The best thing to do is to take your time, become knowledgeable, and learn from other people’s experiences.

For me, it was important to take into consideration the costs over the shiny extravagant parts of the boat. Although shiny and extravagant is nice, eventually you want to enjoy your pontoon more than feel like it is a burden.

I want to hear from you! Are there aspects of owning a pontoon boat that I did not mention that you feel are worth noting? I always appreciate your feedback!

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