Here's the Cost of Owning A Pontoon (Expense Breakdown)
Ever dreamed of owning a pontoon boat but unsure about all the costs. Well, you’ve come to the right place as we’ll break down all the expenses and general costs of owning a pontoon. There’s no easy way to say this but owning a pontoon is an expensive hobby.
If you’re in a rush and just want the breakdown:
Upfront Costs of Pontoon Ownership
There are a number of upfront costs associated with owning a pontoon boat. Some you might not have even thought about. Upfront Pontoon ownership costs can be divided up into:
- Boating Education Fees
- Price of the Pontoon
- Pontoon Trailer Costs
- Boating Gear Expenses
- Marine Inspection Fees
- Tax, Title & Registration Fees
Let’s dive into these costs in more detail.
Pontoon Training Costs
In order to be able to operate a pontoon, you’ll need to take some boating education courses. Typically for first time pontoon owners, this will mean taking:
- General Safety and Theory course
- A VHF Course
- Other relevant Online or In Person Courses
You can simply contact your local marina or state boating body for information on completing these courses. Usually, prices range between $100 - $200 to get up to date with the courses you need to do.
Price of Pontoon Boat
The largest expense you’ll have will most likely be the price of the pontoon itself. The price of the pontoon will vary based on:
Usually you can pick up a pontoon between $5,000 on the low end for a pre owned one to $50,000+ for a top of the range new one. If you’re in the market for a pontoon, you can read our guide on places to buy a boat. This should give you some great ideas on where you might find a bargain or a cheaper option.
You can also read our boat buying guide for tips when purchasing a new boat.
Pontoon Boat Trailer Cost
Another expense new owners forget is the cost of buying a trailer for towing a pontoon to and from the water. You can find pre-owned trailers for around $1,000 with new trailers priced between $1,200 - $6,000.
The price of the trailer is usually dictated by the size and weight of the pontoon you buy. Obviously, a larger pontoon will mean you need a larger trailer to tow it.
Boating Gear Expenses
Next on the list of costs is boating gear expenses. When you buy a new pontoon, there are a number of items you’ll need while out on the waters. Common items to consider include boating life jackets so you and your passengers are safe, boat jackets incase the weather gets bad while out pontooning.
You might need other equipment like an anchor for mooring out on the water, ropes and lines for when you’re in a marina or boating coolers to store your drinks if you party onboard. You’ll also need boat cleaning supplies to keep your pontoon looking great. The average cost of gear for your boat trips is $300 with the larger expense coming from life jackets.
Pontoon Inspection Fees
If you’re buying a pre-owned pontoon, you’ll need a marine surveyor or a professional to check out the boat. These people will check the boat from top to bottom to ensure everything is in good condition and in full working order.
For pontoons, you can hire someone for between $200 - $350 to check everything and provide you with a report and value for the boat. This is a great option because you’ll know exactly how the pontoon is in condition and it’s; true value.
No nasty and expensive surprises after buying the boat!
Recurring Costs of Pontoon Ownership
There are also a number of recurring costs of owning a pontoon. These include expenses like:
- Maintenance Costs
- Fuel Costs
- Boating License Fees
- Marina/Storage Expenses
- Pontoon Cleaning Expenses
Let’s dig into these ongoing recurring pontoon costs in detail.
Pontoon Maintenance Costs
Let’s face it, things break on a boat. Regularly towing your pontoon and moving it around sometimes rough waters means things need to be repaired or replaced. Factors like the condition of the pontoon, age and environment will affect how much your maintenance bills you have.
On average, you’ll spend between $1,000 to $1,500 on ongoing maintenance. You’ll regularly need boat parts (which are expensive) and you’ll need to hire someone to do the maintenance if you don’t plan on doing it yourself.
Pontoon Fuel Costs
If anyone has ever owned a pontoon, you’ll know that these boats love to drink fuel! A regularly used pontoon boat will cost between $300 - $400 per month average on fuel.
Factors affecting the cost will obviously depend on your use, the condition of the boat, the cost of gas and the size of the engine.
State Boating License Fees
This is fairly straightforward and should cost between $50 to $100 on average.
Marina Fees (Where applicable)
This cost will probably not apply to most of you but for those looking to moor their pontoons in a marina, the average cost is $200 per month. This varies massively depending on the marina and the size of your pontoon. Typically, marinas will charge on a per ft basis.
Pontoon Insurance Fees
Boating is obviously quite risky and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. While boat insurance might not be required in some states, It’s best to be protected from any scenario. Boat insurance costs will vary a lot from person to person.
You can pay as little as $300 per year or up to $2000 per year based on individual circumstances. It’s always best to shop around for a quote.
Pontoon Storage Fees
During the winter months especially, you’ll want to ensure you winterize the vessel properly. If you store the boat on your property, this will be a lot cheaper than having it stored somewhere else where you’ll pay a monthly fee for storage (e.g. marina)
Pontoon Cleaning Costs
You should always ensure your boat is clean. A buildup of dirt can damage the boat and stop it from functioning properly.You can clean the boat yourself which will cost you approximately $100 per year in cleaning products or have a professional clean it for you which can cost $100+ per visit.
So there you have it. We’ve broken down the most common costs, fees, expenses associated with buying and owning a pontoon boat. As you can see, pontoon ownership isn’t cheap but it can be such an enjoyable hobby with friends and family.
If you are shopping around for different types of vessels, you can check out our more broad costs of boat ownership guide to give you a more general view of boat ownership costs. Either way, owning a pontoon can be so much fun! These types of boats are great for heading out on a lake or soaking up the sun off your local coast.
They are also great for partying with built in stereos and some coming with onboard grills too. Hopefully, these costs aren’t too high for your budget and you are able to find the best pontoon for your circumstances.
Either way, have a great time on the water whenever you make that pontoon purchase.