Bowrider & Pontoon Boat Buying Myths

Boater's Chat Boat Buying Information Muskoka

Common myths, old wives tales and confusion abound about buying a bowrider, pontoon boat or fishing boat at The 2015 Toronto Boat Show….absolutely…lots of them!   Heading to the 2015 Toronto Boat Show?   Here is an opportunity to consider some of the misconceptions, myths, just wrong thoughts and information you may have come across.  The first and major confusion involves the purchase itself!  All boats are created equal so price should be the deciding factor.   This is wrong on so many levels!  Bowriders, Pontoon Boats and aluminum fishing boats are not built-in China or sold a Wall-Mart yet!  take a few minutes and review the construction based articles in Boater’s Chat on Fiberglass Boats Created , Vinyl Ester and Polyester Resins and not to leave out the pontoon buyers Pontoon Boat Buying…All The Same?  Forget the splash (graphics and colour or “The Deal” and concentrate on value, quality, construction standards and no…..all boats are not built with the same materials in the same way!  Lets take a look at some other misconceptions.

Common Myths and Confusion on Bowrider, Pontoon and Fishing Boat Purchasing 

  • All boat canvas is the same and therefore should not be considered as additional value.  Hardly anyone spends any time actually looking at the provided canvas.  Canvas replacement is not cheap and when the builder is not providing a high level of canvas and/or poor stitching you will be looking at replacement cost sooner than you expected.  In Boater’s Chat later there will information on boat canvas.
  • My family had a Grew Boat in the 80’s and it was great….I am going to buy one of these because of that.  Yes we still here that a lot and you can substitute a number of brands.  A Brand or a model built 20 or 30 years ago is not now using the same materials as they cannot be used due to environmental legislation plus the staff and management have all gone to the great marina in the sky or retired.  Grew, Doral, Thundercraft (Canadian boat builders) plus Four Winns, Glastron,  Crownline, Rinker and Godfrey Pontoons to name a few have either gone into Chapter 11 in the US, changed hands in some cases more than once,  are presently owned by a hedge Fund Company or are simply not the same company from a decade ago or just a few years ago.
  • I have decided to buy a smaller motor for my boat as I will save gas.  Here this all the time….absolutely false in fact it will consume more fuel and the engine will have a shorter lifespan.  Remember that a boat operates against 5 times more frictional resistance than a car for comparison!  If it has to work harder…it will burn more fuel.
  • Pontoon boats do not perform well, cannot water ski or wakeboard with them.  Not even close!  I can sell you a pontoon that will turn so hard as to throw you out of your seat and can do 50 MPH and do any watersports you want.
  • At a boat show the seating overall upholstery feel will be the same underway on the water.  Nope!  One of the common boat show buyer mistakes.  Soft foam seating can and will provide a harsh ride when impacting waves.  Seats should multi density foam based to act like a shock absorber with compression a factor of the stress placed on it.  Too soft seating foam means your butt may bottom out harshly on a hard surface underneath and the builder is saving money.
  • All pontoons are basically the same.  The actual pontoons which are the logs that are used to float the pontoon boat are built differently by manufacturers.  The best are sealed pressurized pontoons and these are also the most expensive to build as the welding has to be perfect in order for the pontoon to be sealed for pressurization.  There is also a wide range of nose and transom shapes that can add significant amounts of cost to the build.  Couple of years ago I did an article on just pontoon transoms and the difference.   The cheapest looking one at that time in my opinion was the G3….looked like they spent 15 minutes on it!   Upcoming I will revisit pontoon transoms and nose cones with new shots and data from the 2015 Toronto Boat Show.
  • One of my favorites is the claim that we sell for less!  I have been in this business for essentially 3 decades competitive advantage does not exist on price when you actually get through the smoke and mirrors.   All dealers and boat builders use essentially the same profit mark up because they have to.  Many of the larger marine retailers belong to a group called “Spader Business Training” and know what the margins have to be to survive.
  • Jet Boats can operate in shallower water that an outboard or sterndrive!  This one is really working the edges!  While it is true the propeller drive leg is not as low in the water, the jet pump is a giant vacuum and as such sucks up any debris, rocks, sticks or sand in shallow water which can result in significant repairs.  Outboards and sterndrives do not like to be hit as well but an aluminum prop is cheaper to repair in most cases than a jet pump.
  • Jet boats and Jet pumps are efficient!  No…they burn in the area of 40% more fuel than a comparable outboard or sterndrive and a sterndrive or outboard will outlast a jet pump by as much as 100% in terms of time.
  • Aluminum construction…..H34 or H36 or no name or welded or riveted?  Huntsville Marine represents Crestliner which is an all welded boat.  Did you know that Lund and Crestliner are built-in the same plant by the same people?  The aluminum is the same but one is old school riveted and the other the more modern welding.   Rivets are better….why?  Because airplanes are riveted!  Putting a thousand holes in a boat then making sure each one does not leak is better?  In the second world war very quickly most warships changed to welding as they were stronger and absorbed more punishment.   The new commercial jets are not welded any more.

There are more legends, myths and misconceptions about bowrider, pontoon and aluminum fishing boat buying the above just covers the ones I here most often.