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Are New Boat Prices Getting Out of Hand?

Boats are getting pricey.  This pontoon lists for $185,000.

There is an old saying that says nothing is guaranteed except death and taxes.  I’d like to add one more thing to that list:  The price of new boats rises faster than the price of anything else.  Yes, we all know that it’s a fact of life that prices generally go up.  A loaf of bread today costs more than a loaf of bread when I was a kid.  It should then be no surprise that a new boat today costs more than a new boat did 10 years ago.  If you have been around boats for as long as I have (or even just a few years), you know that to be true. 

Is it just me or does it seem that the price of new boats is rising exponentially?  Sure, the newest floating toy does have technology that older boats do not but prices seem to be getting a bit out of hand.  This cannot be more true than when looking at some of the newest pontoon boats on the market today. 

The first time I realized this was earlier this year when I made my annual pilgrimage to the Atlanta Boat show.  While not the biggest or best boat show in the country, for me it is a great way to get my boating fix in the dead of winter as well as buy a few new gadgets for my floating man cave. 

One of the boats that I saw there was a twin engine luxury pontoon boat.  Pontoon boats have become quite popular because they are simple, easy to operate compared to other boats and they tend to have a higher capacity compared to other boats of similar size.  They really are perfect for you to spend a day on the water with a bunch of friends or family.  This particular boat was 30 feet long and caught my eye because it was nicer than the average pontoon boat.  It had twin 300HP engines, LED accents, plush seating and a premium sound stereo.  It also had a small bar with two stools and an arch that presumably could be used for wakeboarding.
I have never been much of a pontoon boat person but I had to admit that this was a nice toy and I could see why someone might buy it.  That was until I looked at the price tag.  At first glance, I could not believe my eyes, so I had to look again.  Yep, that is what I thought it said . . . One Hundred Ninety Two Thousand Dollars!!!  And that was the boat show price!  The list price was over 200K!!  And you still had to pay extra for the trailer if you wanted one.  

“You gotta be kidding me,” I thought. It was a nice boat but it was still a pontoon boat.

Yes, I know that Yamaha 300’s go for about 25k a piece (and that is being generous).  But even considering that, are you telling me that the rest of the boat is worth over One Hundred Forty Thousand??

Of course, not all pontoon boats are this expensive but I can’t help but wonder why someone would buy this one.  Let’s take this into perspective and look at some of the other things that you could buy with that amount of money.  Since this is a boating blog, we won’t talk about things like . . . uh, a house.  We’ll just stick with things that float.  These are all boats that I found for sale online and the prices listed are before any negotiation that would most likely get you the boat for less.  

How about a 2019 35' Beneteau Sailboat for $185K

Or maybe a 2006 38' Regal Commodore is more your style at $129K.

If you like speed, this 2019 35' Shockwave might do the trick at $164K.

Maybe luxury is your thing.  Check out this 1998 51' Bluewater at $169K.

Like fishing?  This 1979 60' Hatteras might be for you at 175K.

I realize that not everyone wants a go fast boat or a sailboat or even a cruiser.  Other people are also just more comfortable buying a new boat than a used one.  For me, I just like to look at what you get for your money.  For that kind of money, I would like to think that I could get something that I could spend the night on should I not feel like going back to shore.  But that’s just me.

I’d like to know your thoughts.  Please put your comments below.  Would you or have you spent that kind of money on a luxury party barge?  If so/not then why?

Happy Boating

Captain Frank
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