Pontoon boats are fun and easy to operate, and provide plenty of family boating fun. But if you’re considering buying one, here are some helpful hints about what to look for:
The pontoons. Start at the bottom and check the quality of the welds on the pontoons. Check the spray guards. Is there a keel protector on the bottom of the pontoon? How are the pontoons connected to the deck? Are they bolted, screwed, or riveted in? How many stringers run between the pontoons, and how far apart are they (the closer, the stronger is the general rule of thumb)?
Wiring. Inspect all the wiring on the boat. Is it stapled to the wood, running through stringers or run through a tube or plastic protector? Are the wire connections water tight?
Motor pod. Check the connections between the motor pod and the stringers. Is it bolted or screwed? How many connections are there? Again, if your boat is to encounter any kind of rough conditions, the more connections, the better.
Ladders. Check the ladders. Stainless steel or aluminum? Rusty or good condition?
Flooring. Is the boat covered in carpeting (will get wet and moldy) or vinyl or wood (easy to keep clean and dry)?
Interior. Check out the helm and controls. Plastic or fiberglass? Lift the seats and examine the seat bases. Are they plastic, which will hold water, or wooden, which will get wet and may eventually rot. Is there an aluminum frame to allow airflow to help keep things dry?
Much depends on how and where you intend to use your pontoon boat. If you plan to boat her mostly on lakes and ponds, the construction doesn’t need to be quite as tough as a pontoon boat designed to boat on larger bodies of water or even the ocean.
Think of ten years or so of wave action, weather, twisting and turning motion and imagine what your pontoon might look like in the end.
As always, if you have questions, stop in to see us. We’re here to help.
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