How Much Do Pontoon Boats Cost?

How Much Do Pontoon Boats Cost? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

January 4, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Pontoon boats cost from $17,000 to over $150,000.
  • The average length of a Pontoon boat is around 20 - 23 feet
  • The costs will vary based on size, amenities, manufacturer, and whether it is new or used.
  • Pontoon boats are outselling every other marine craft on the market.

You are considering the purchase of a pontoon boat, but you’re not sure how much to spend for the kind of boat you want. How much do pontoon boats cost?

Pontoon boats vary in price from $17,000 to well over $150,000, depending on the size, amenities, and manufacturer. Many potential owners have had success looking at pre-owned pontoons, but any buyer should ensure that the boat is in excellent condition with a detailed maintenance record.

Pontoon boats are gaining in popularity every year. According to, pontoons accounted for 22% of all boat sales last year, outpacing every other marine category. The pontoon is a versatile watercraft capable of performing various activities, such as fishing, tubing, skiing, or just cruising around the water. As more and more Americans break out of their Covid funk, analysts expect the pontoon market to continue to grow.


Table of contents

What Do Pontoons Cost?

The first thing you might notice in your search for the perfect pontoon (or Tri-toon) is that many choices exist. Manufacturers are flooding the internet with different makes, models, and packages designed to provide each buyer with precisely the boat configuration they need. Most makers of pontoons allow prospective shoppers to build and price their unique boats online, which can be very helpful in assessing expenses or getting some exposure to the cost of putting a craft in the water.

Pontoon boats range in price from around $20,000 for smaller models to over $150,000 for some luxury units. Owners should decide what size and configuration of watercraft best suits their situation. The worst thing someone can do is to pay over a hundred thousand dollars for a boat that they rarely use or is so big that it can’t be docked at the local marina.

What are The Factors that Affect the Price of a Pontoon Boat?

Several factors go into the price of a pontoon boat, and it is essential for any potential buyer to know what those are.

New Vs. Used

The most significant cost variable in pontoon boats is the decision to purchase a new boat or a pre-owned one. There are advantages to purchasing new (warranty, lower maintenance costs, less likelihood of breakdown, cleaner). There is also a recourse for the buyer should the boat encounter problems (you can simply haul it back to the dealer and make them fix the issue).

While purchasing a used pontoon can save upfront costs (Pre-owned units can vary in cost from $5000 to around $30,000 or more), buying someone else’s leftover can be risky. Buyers should always inspect the boat and the engine, take the boat out into the water to ensure it rides correctly, and demand a detailed maintenance record. If you purchase the boat from a dealer, you likely have a better alternative, should there be a problem. But regardless of where the boat is purchased, spend the extra money for a service contract so that you don’t have to pay for extensive repairs out of your pocket.

Purpose of the Boat

One of the factors in determining the kind of pontoon boat you need is to consider what the watercraft will be used for. If you are looking for a boat to take the grandkids fishing, a smaller pontoon with fishing chairs, live wells, and rod holders are likely the answer. If you decide that you need to take the family cruising or have a boat that can pull a tube, you need a boat that is large enough to accommodate that purpose. (Obviously, the larger the size, the higher the price).


The size of the boat matters. As the dimensions of the pontoon increase, manufacturing costs and prices reflect the price. The average length of a pontoon boat is around 20 - 22 feet, although some smaller pontoons are 17 feet long. Anything over 25 - 28 feet is significant and will be expensive to purchase.

When shopping, consider what size works best for your family's needs. A smaller pontoon will have lower weight capacities and accommodate fewer people (6 - 8), while bigger pontoons can handle many more (12 - 15). If you intend to entertain the office staff every weekend, set your sights on a larger boat. Most manufacturers have various sizes of boats on their websites (from small to medium to large) to help owners decide.


The kinds of extras you can put on a boat these days are mind-boggling. The possibilities are endless from changing rooms, reclining chairs, powered tops, and upgraded stereo systems with Bluetooth to high-powered engines. Most luxury manufacturers have packages that can offer these comforts and conveniences in bundled ways. Of course, buyers should be mindful of the details, so they don’t buy items they don’t want or need. The addition of amenities can be expensive, depending on what they are. (For example, a larger engine can add around $2,000 to the purchase price).


As much as it pains me to say it, the name on the side of the boat can affect a price. Just like you might expect to pay more for a Ferrari than a Ford, there are pontoon boat owners who focus on building luxury units exclusively. A handful of companies cater to the luxury market, like Bennington and Barletta. The most reasonably priced pontoon boats are Sun Tracker and Sea-Doo, which make much smaller fishing pontoons that seat around six and start near $17,000.

Additional Costs

Unfortunately, the cost of owning a pontoon boat continues beyond the purchase. There are maintenance fees ($300 annually), insurance costs ($150 - 200), boat licenses $50 - 75), and fuel costs (vary depending on usage). If you have to dock your boat at a local marina or tow it back and forth to the water, then you should plan on additional costs. A marina slip can cost around $2000 a year. Towing your pontoon boat to and from your home means fuel costs for the boat and the truck. (It also means the investment in a trailer).


The costs you will infer in owning a pontoon boat aren’t just one-time expenses, but are paid yearly over the boat's lifespan. Most pontoon boats have a decent longevity of about 10 - 20 years, so any calculations you have made for expenses need to be with the understanding that you will pay them as long as you own your pontoon.  Remember that used pontoons will likely have shorter shelf lives than new ones, so plan accordingly.

How Popular Are Pontoon Boats?

Pontoon boat sales have been growing steadily over the last several years. In fact, according to boating, registrations for pontoons were up 16% in 2021 over the previous year. A simple drive to the lake will reveal how popular these boats are quickly becoming.

A pontoon boat is versatile in that it is helpful for various activities, whether boating and cruising or fishing and swimming in your favorite spot.

What are the Advantages of Owning a Pontoon Boat?

There are many advantages to pontoon ownership. We’ve listed a few of them below.

Hauls more passengers

The appeal of the pontoon boat across the country depends on the number of passengers these watercraft can carry at a time. While the amount varies with the size of the pontoon, even the smallest pontoons can carry more occupants than most standard bass boats. With dedicated lounge areas or fishing chairs, the pontoon boat has become one of the most versatile watercraft ever to grace the waves.

Easier for cruising

Due to their flatter configuration, pontoon boats are made for cruising around the lake, not for speed. While there are pontoons and tritoons that have huge outboard motors on them and can bolt across the lake, most pontoons cruise around 25 mph (depending on the size of the motor attached to the stern).

Lower Fuel Costs

Because they tend to move more deliberately on the water, pontoon boats generally use less fuel than traditional V-hulled boats. While the amount of gas you will end up paying depends on how often you use the boat, the average fuel costs can be significant.

What are the Disadvantages of Owning a Pontoon Boat?

Here are a few things to consider when owning a pontoon boat.

Slower Speeds

A pontoon moves more slowly through the water than almost any other boat. Slower speeds mean it takes longer to get to your favorite fishing hole or spot in the sun.

Harder to Maneuver

The size of a pontoon means it has to make more deliberate actions when entering the dock to navigating certain areas. The boat isn’t something that you can speed in, so plan on plenty of slow turns where you plan your move long before you reach the place to execute it.

Smaller Wake

The pontoon has three smaller wakes (motor and two pontoon tubes) which are great for tubing but not so much for wakeboarding or waterskiers. The trouble is that the wakes are generally smaller on a pontoon boat, which prevents skilled achievers from getting any height on their jumps.

Maintenance and Cleaning

While there are cleaning expenses for every kind of boat, the increased deck size of a pontoon boat means you will be swabbing the deck probably more than you like. Footprints and debris can easily be tracked on the boat, which can wear down surfaces over time. Most pontoon boat owners wash their boat after every use with a power sprayer and wipe down the deck and furniture. Deep cleanings should happen at least twice a year.

How Much Do Pontoon Boats Cost?
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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