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Old     (That_Guy)      Join Date: Aug 2015 Location: Central Ohio       05-03-2017, 6:41 PM Reply   
Been talking with a couple buddies on going in on a cheap pontoon boat together just as a side piece/etc. Basically cruise the lake and/or take out the kids tubing. No set budget in mind but I'd say we'd like to stay around $7500 total between the 3 of us. None of us have ever owned a pontoon but we've all been on one a few times.

Things to know before buying?

Buy a super cheap one for a couple grand and trick it out ourselves, or try and buy the newest/nicest one we can find?

Is it ok to leave in the water all season long?

I'd say we want a 22'+ and with a 100hp+ based on my brief experiences on one, suggestions?

Old     (dougr)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-03-2017, 7:02 PM Reply   
get a larger motor if you want to do more than 25mph and 7500 is not going to get you far. look at the pricing of pontoons, they are going up, and most people want a tritoon a few of us, in the hood, are contemplating the same thing. We want something our wives can take to the restaurant or take the kids out without them worrying about messing up the wake boats. 4 of us are thinking about going in and 15k is a solid number for a nice, reliable toon that you actually want to be on and will not be another whole in the water.
Old     (Froggy)      Join Date: Nov 2013       05-04-2017, 5:22 AM Reply   
We bought a 97 Tracker 25' with a 130 hp Mercruser IO four years ago for 7000.00. It was mainly for the kids in the family to swim . Its nice to have a beachable boat that can haul all the stuff and still have room for 10 plus peeps. The best part is we carry a gas grill there is nothing better than a hot meal out on the water.
Old     (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-04-2017, 5:56 AM Reply   
I've never owned my own pontoon, but every other member in my family has one so take this advice knowning that.

* 100% okay to leave in year round... only issue is scum / mussels on the toons - easy clean though
* If you plan on just tool around, you can get away with <75 hp motor - my family has gone this route because our lake is only 400 acres and they rarely go faster than idle .... if you want watersports from it, obviously that number has to jump to where you were thinking 150+ hp
* Trailer is much less necessary on a pontoon IMO than a ski boat. My pool of brother, aunts, uncles, mother, etc all share one trailer and there has never been an issue, and loads of places will rent a pontoon trailer for quite cheap ... if you can avoid this to save cost, ONLY if you plan on keeping it on the water, I think it makes sense
* 22'+ is a must if you're looking for more than 7-8 people
* Bimini is a must
* Seats with plastic bases / under seat storage areas are super nice as long as they have drain holes - if not, drill some or everything sits in standing ****ty water
* For seating I think lots of large bench seats > captains chairs ... this is just personal preference though
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       05-04-2017, 7:00 AM Reply   
Definitely want a 150+hp to tow tubes. If you can find a cheap one with a good motor, they are easy to trick out yourself. You can buy the entire interior for pretty cheap. Other than that, they are plywood screwed to two pontoons.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       05-04-2017, 7:14 AM Reply   
I'd say find one 22' or bigger in your planned budget with a good motor and taken care of condition.

Sidekick is spot on in commentary imo.

Fwiw, we have a 50hp on 24 ft, it goes 17mph wide open. It seems about 75hp for us would be plenty to go tubing without running it so hot.
Old     (hunter991)      Join Date: Jul 2016       05-04-2017, 7:35 AM Reply   
It can be left in the water. I leave ours in all summer. The toons gets stained but who cares.

make sure the floor and seat bases are soft or rotted. Other than that, its pretty easy to see everything. I also don't think a 3rd toon is necessary.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       05-04-2017, 7:47 AM Reply   
My buddy has a 90hp on his 24ft and its a dog pulling tubes. You can never have enough HP.
Old     (fouroheight68)      Join Date: May 2006       05-04-2017, 12:47 PM Reply   
We picked up a 2006 Bennington 2275RL (24') at auction last year for $8k. It had been hit in traffic, and the outdrive needed a lower unit. Otherwise perfect shape. We are into it $13k total

Bennington makes the best toons on the market. With that budget you should be looking at a suntracker. Ours is an I/O but its a 3.0 4 cylinder so its kind of a dog (25mph top speed). I added a decent stereo last year, and Im installing a 55" tv this year to stream Giants games off my phone!

Pontoon+wakeboat is the ultimate combo!
Old     (That_Guy)      Join Date: Aug 2015 Location: Central Ohio       05-04-2017, 3:02 PM Reply   
Lots of good info guys, appreciate it!

The ponton restoration thread a few months back got the idea in our heads. And I'm sure we could up the budget but realistically this is something we'd like to make our own, and also have little into it so the wives can take the kids out without any of us ****ting bricks the entire time wondering if our shiny gelcoat got nicked up, lol.

I've also read that some have aluminum floors, is that just the structure or like a large sheet? If a large sheet I'd be interested doing something like seadek/gatorstep/agenda surf on it to get away from carpet. Another idea out of left field I had was replacing the flooring with Trex decking, like the plastic composite stuff, anyone have any thoughts on that? Easy to clean and doesn't rot.

Definitely need a stereo and bimini, and likely a gas grill. Sounds like I want a 150+ motor, I'd like to be able to cruise at 25-30mph occassionally.

For some reason I feel an outboard will be less maintenance/cheaper than an I/O version, yes or no? I've never had either, only inboards.
Old     (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-04-2017, 4:50 PM Reply   
I've also read that some have aluminum floors,
My guess is this is referring to the stringers between the toons ... over that will be a plywood floor that is covered in whatever material (carpet / seadeck /etc etc)
Old     (dougr)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-04-2017, 5:55 PM Reply   
most are plywood floors, harris is, neighbors have 2 and both are really nice, sun tracker i think is now and veranda is also aluminum. Veranda is suppose to be a great lower budget boat, outboard is the way to go. no hassle and you can pull it completely up in warm weather. my other neighbor bought a 115 with his 24 ft and traded the motor in on a 150. in my area, everyone will do trade in's on outboards. Pretty cool concept.
Old     (dougr)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-04-2017, 5:58 PM Reply   
depending on your area, some lakes will rent you a boat for the entire summer. its about 3k a month, and you have to have a deeded dock with insurance, but its an easy way to pitch in and have it from june to sept.
Old     (fouroheight68)      Join Date: May 2006       05-08-2017, 11:14 AM Reply   
This would be a fun project
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-08-2017, 3:07 PM Reply   
I have to admit I saw this post and thought Cool someone wants to talk about pontoons. Then I saw the words "cheep or inexpensive" and multiple partners and that's when I hit the back button. Sun trackers like in the Craig's list add above are the Child Molester Vans of the Water stay away! LOL


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