Boating is a common leisurely activity today, and if a person is not using a boat for their occupation such as a crab fisherman, they may want to take pontoon boats or speedboats onto the water. Humanity has long since had a close relationship with water, and boats have been in use since long before the written word. In pre-historic times, boats were small and wooden, and later, larger ships such as caravels and galleons were in use, such as by the Spanish, Portuguese, and British Empires. By the 19th century, steam-powered metal boats had arrived, and now, as of the early 21st century, many fishing boats, pontoon boats, and power boats can be found at any interested customer’s local dealership. Used boats for sale may vary in their price and shape, and pontoon and speedboats are best used for different activities. What is the current state of the American boating industry, and what should a customer expect when they’re looking for pontoon boats for sale?
The American Boating Industry
It is safe to say that the American boating industry is in good hands, and in fact it is enjoying some growth in the 2010s. Most of these boats are native-built, with 95% of boats sold in the United States being American-built. Overall, the recreational boating industry across the United States has a yearly economic impact exceeding $121.5 billion, including direct, indirect, and induced spending. This mammoth industry also supports nearly 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs across some 35,000 small businesses. Marine products and services for boats increased in sales about 3% in 2016, to reach a total of $37 billion, and that trend may continue throughout 2018 as well.
Who is buying these boats? Generally, boating is a middle-class activity, and 72% of boat owners in the United States today live in households with incomes under $100,000, but not a lot less. As with cars and homes, older Americans in their 40s and older are the most robust boat buyers, since they have stable incomes and have had time to save up for such items. All the same, younger adults are showing plenty of interest in buying speedboats and pontoon boats as well, such as those of the Millennial generation (born 1982-1995). Millennials are now in their mid 20s to late 30s or so, and they can now afford some major purchases in many arenas. This gets the attention of many industry leaders, including those for boats. Boat sales may soon reflect the preferences and interests of these Millennial buyers in the next few years. But whether a Millennial or that generation’s Baby Boomer parents, a boat buyer should always look out for a good deal.
Buying Pontoon Boats and More
A buyer’s interests may reflect what sort of boat they get, since pontoon boats and speedboats are not interchangeable. Speed boats do not have much deck space, but they are streamlined in shape and can reach high top speeds (hence the name), in addition to sharp handling and creating a large wake behind them. This makes them a fine choice for racing and sports such as wakesurfing and wakeboarding. Meanwhile, pontoon boats are slower and have more deck space, and they may even have an awning that can fold over and be retracted again. Pontoons also have enough space for couches, chairs, and small tables and cup holders, and they are a great option for a floating picnic or fishing, or simply sightseeing.
A new boat may cost the most, but it meets modern standards of power, speed, and features, and will have all of its factory warranties in place and probably will not have any repair or maintenance issues. Used pontoon boats and speedboats have to be looked over and tested before a purchase, and may need some repairs, but they can also be bought for a greatly discounted price. The buyer may take them for a test run to ensure that the engine is in fine shape, and check the hull for any problems and also replace some of the boat carpeting if they need to. Old, worn carpeting can be torn right off and a boat owner can get new carpeting from a marine supply store, and install it themselves.