Humanity has a long-standing relationship with water, and boats predate the written word by many millennia. In fact, many parts of the world are only inhabited due to boat use, such as Australia and the rest of Oceania. Today, boats are built with recreation, water sports, and power in mind, and pontoon boats, speed boats, and fishing boats can be found at many retailer outlets. Premier pontoon dealers can offer fine models for higher end customers, and used pontoon boats may be a fine option for other buyers, too. Pontoons are a poor choice for racing or wakesurfing, but their wide bodies have room for couches and chairs, tables, and more. Speed boats, meanwhile, are narrower and faster, and they create the wakes needed for wakesurfing and wakeboarding alike. What is the current state of the boat industry, and who is looking to buy speed boats or pontoon boats across North America?
The Market for Pontoon Boats and More
Only certain individuals actually make their living on boats, while the rest are buying pontoon boats and speed boats for recreation out on lakes or along ocean shores, such as in Florida or California. This leads to a healthy and robust market for boats and their accessories alike, and the trends show that Americans simply love boating. Back in 2016, for a recent example, nearly 981,000 pre-owned boats were sold across the United States (whether by private transactions of at retailers), for a total of a huge $9.2 billion in sales. In that same year, some 11.9 million registered boats were found across the United States, and that number is growing among younger buyers, too. On top of that, from 2015 to 2016, total recreational marine sales grew 3.5%, and ended up as $36 billion in 2016, from boats to their accessories such as decals or new carpeting.
Who is buying all these boats? In general, boats tend to be associated with middle-class households, those that make under $100,000 a year (but not necessarily a lot less than that). Many boat owners tend to be men aged 40-55, but today, many younger boat buyers are making their presence known in the market, too. A similar trend is playing out in the automotive and real estate markets too, since young adults of the Millennial generation (born 1982-1995) are now old enough to afford major life purchases such as these. Retailers and agents in these markets may want to pay close attention to the interests and spending habits of those young adults to keep pace, and this may shape those markets in the coming years. Within 10 to 15 years, a similar trend may take place for members of Generation Z, born 1996-2010 or so. But young or middle-aged, a boat customer should find the best possible deal for a marine vehicle, and there are some fine options to explore. How can this be done?
Buy the Boat
Like with the automotive market, a buyer may choose between new or used models, and there are good reasons to take each route. A new boat will not only look attractive, but it will meet all modern standards of power, features, comfort, and safety, something that upper end customers will almost certainly be willing to pay for. These new boats will also have all of their factory warranties in place, another appealing point to them. New boats may be trendy and catch a buyer’s eye right there in the dealership.
In other cases, buying used is the preferred option, and some customers may not have the budget for a brand-new boat anyway. A used boat may offer a generous discount on price, which is the primary appeal, but care must be taken with this. Used boats may have some maintenance issues about them, so a buyer should look over the boat with their own eyes before committing to a purchase. Used boats may have cracks or holes in the hull, and the boat should be taken for a test drive to check for motor problems. In some cases, though, the maintenance issues may be minor and easily fixed after the boat is purchased, such as carpeting. Old, worn out boat carpets can be torn off and replaced with new carpeting.