Do Pontoon Boats Hold Their Value? You Might be Surprised

Picture of our newly purchased pontoon boat "Betty" tied to the shore in our backyard

If you’re thinking of purchasing a pontoon boat, one of the questions you’ll undoubtedly have is whether this boat will maintain its value. I’ll tell you in this article, so check it out!

Do pontoon boats hold their value? Pontoon boats will not hold their value over time, especially compared to other boats. Within three years of ownership, the boat’s resale value plummets by up to 30 percent. You can take measures to help the boat maintain its value.

In today’s informative guide, I’ll walk you through the rate of pontoon boat depreciation and compare that to the normal rate of boat depreciation. As mentioned, I’ll also provide some tips that should help your boat maintain its value over time, so make sure you keep reading!

The Rate of Pontoon Boat Depreciation Year Over Year

As I made clear in the intro, the value of your pontoon boat will not hold. Just how much depreciation are we talking about here? A little over the years or a significant drop?

It’s a fairly significant drop when it comes to pontoon boats, unfortunately. 

Within two or three years after the fateful day when you bought your pontoon, its value will have already decreased anywhere from 25 to 30 percent.

Ouch. That’s already a steep drop in value, but it doesn’t stop there.

From the fourth year to about the 10th year, the value of your pontoon boat will continue going down more and more by a rate of $400 to $500 every year.

Then, by year 10, the depreciation in value graciously plateaus.

The average cost of a pontoon boat is anywhere from $18,000 to $60,000.

Let’s say that you spend about the middle-range cost of $42,000 for your boat.

If its value drops by 25 percent within three years, then your boat value is now $10,500.

But remember, your pontoon boat is only three years old, and its value will continue dropping to about year 10.

That’s seven more years of depreciation at a rate of $400 a year, which is another $2,800. 

By year 10, your pontoon boat would be valued at around $7,700. 

The depreciation doesn’t stop after that, per se, but slows considerably. 

How to Determine the Value of Your Pontoon Boat 

The above math is just an example to give you a better idea of how pontoon boat depreciation works.

I don’t want boat depreciation to be a mystery to you, even though it can be confusing. Thus, I thought I’d dedicate this section to the factors that determine how valuable your boat is.

The higher the value, the lesser the rate of depreciation your pontoon could experience. At the very least, your boat will be worth more after surviving years of depreciation. 

Brand Name

Are you thinking of buying a pontoon boat from a reputable name in the industry or from a smaller mom-and-pop company?

Although the latter will save you money on your purchase, the rate of depreciation will be accelerated. 

If you turn around and sell your boat after only a few years, there may not be much boat value left for you to recoup.


The additional amenities you request when ordering your pontoon boat can affect the boat’s long-term value one way or another.

If the features you add are largely considered valuable to pontoon boat buyers (and provided those features remain in good, workable condition, of course), then your boat value could be a smidge higher than if you skipped those amenities. 

However, if the amenities you’ve added are largely extraneous and not something that a buyer deems profitable, then your boat value could depreciate slightly more.


Age is one of those factors that you just can’t help. 

Your pontoon boat is naturally going to get older whether you use the boat several times per year or keep it out of the water forever.

Boats are sort of like smartphones or computers in that the next model coming down the pike will always be a lot better than what’s already out there. 

The new boat will have an improved engine design, better fuel capacity, and more features than your boat. 

That makes your pontoon boat less valuable as the years add up. 


The condition of your pontoon boat is something you can help, and you should! 

This is something I’ll talk more about a little later, but the better the pontoon’s condition, especially over time, the higher its resale value could be. 

Is It Normal for Boats to Lose Their Value? 

You might be reading to this point wringing your hands. You’re nervous about buying a pontoon boat because of its depreciation. 

How normal is the pontoon’s rate of depreciation? Is this something that happens to all boats?

Yes, of course. All boats depreciate, whether we’re talking jon boats, sailboats, pontoon boats, or anything in between.

However, not all boats depreciate at exactly the same rate.

Pontoon boats are considered to have a worse depreciation rate than other types of boats. 

Perhaps it’s due to their specialty shape or other possible factors, but pontoons usually don’t hold their value as well. 

This means two things for if you’re still serious about buying a pontoon boat.

First, you should go into the purchasing decision with both eyes open being fully aware that the value of your boat will depreciate with time more than other boats. 

Second, if you’re interested in selling your pontoon, you should generally plan to do that within the first couple of years if you want to maximize its resale value.

Ways to Help Your Pontoon Hold Its Value 

I do want to stress that pontoon boats aren’t useless after the three-year mark. Far from it! 

The following tips will help you maintain your pontoon’s resale value over time so that you could sell it later and make a profit.

Buy a Pontoon from a Known Brand

I mentioned earlier that the pontoon boat brand you select plays a major role in the boat’s long-term resale value.

I won’t pretend that pontoon boats are cheap. However, for the long-term value of your boat, you’re better off delaying your pontoon boat purchase just a little bit longer so you can save up for a full-priced brand-name boat than you are buying a boat from a small manufacturer right now.

Those who are interested in buying your pontoon boat years from now will know that a big-name brand has longevity. They don’t have to worry that their new investment will fail them a year or three after they buy it.

They don’t get those same kinds of assurances with a smaller brand. There are simply too many unknown variables. 

Buy New Right Out of the Gate

Another means of maintaining your pontoon boat’s value is to always buy new.

Like a small-name pontoon is alluringly affordable, the same is true of a used pontoon. 

However, the used pontoon has already spent several years depreciating in value when it was in possession of the original owner. 

For the time the boat spends with you as the owner, it will continue to depreciate even further, or its depreciation will plateau but not necessarily stop.

By the time you turn and around sell the boat to what will be its third owner, you’re getting a fraction of what the boat was originally worth. 

Maintain the Pontoon Boat’s Condition

You’ll recall from earlier that I said your pontoon boat’s condition is one of the factors that you can influence. 

Maintaining its condition doesn’t mean you should never use your boat. 

Its value will depreciate nevertheless because new boats have come out since that have a better design, an improved engine, or more features.

Thus, you might as well enjoy your pontoon boat when it’s in your possession. 

Some light wear and tear is to be expected over time, but you should know that your boat’s value will diminish even further if the pontoon was involved in a major boating accident or even several smaller accidents.

Keep the Boat Clean

One of the easiest things you can do to make your pontoon boat attractive to potential buyers year after year is to keep up with the cleanliness of the boat.

Before the active boating season gets underway and when the season ends, you should take the time to clean your pontoon boat inside and out. 

If you’ve been enjoying some oceanic seafaring on your pontoon, you should rinse all the metal components immediately after exiting the beach. The saltwater could kickstart the process of corrosion.

Repaint and Reupholster as Necessary 

Even if you clean your pontoon boat regularly, time will still cause the quality of the boat to gradually degrade.

If the paint job is looking chipped or considerably faded from the bright colors you remember when you first bought the boat, then do yourself and the future owner a favor and touch up the paint. 

You shouldn’t try to paint ornate details like a decal or a logo, but you can refresh a single-color layer of paint easy enough in an afternoon.

Although more expensive, it does pay off to reupholster your pontoon boat furniture if the furniture is flat, dingy, and just in bad shape overall. 

You’d have to remove the current furniture, order new furniture that meets the specs of the original items, and then install them.

Upgrade the Accessories

I saved for last what is the biggest and best tip for maintaining the value of your pontoon boat, and that’s upgrading its accessories every couple of years.

From the Bimini top to the fishfinder and everything in between, leaving the original accessories ages your boat terribly.

Between upgrading the accessories and refinishing the boat, you will spend a good chunk of change every few years. I just want to reiterate that. 

The money you put into your boat will be worth it when its value is higher than the depreciation of pontoons would otherwise suggest!

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