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Old 09-26-2023, 04:05 AM   #1
thinkxingu
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Default Lifespan of Pontoon Boats/Motors

Does anyone have input on the lifespan of my 2016 20' Harris Cruiser tritoon and Mercury 150 outboard?

It's in immaculate shape with something like 350 hours, but I'm wondering when it might make sense to look into replacing it.

I'm relegated to a 20' vessel for where I keep it, and it looks like there have only been minor advances in that time (200 HP max now vs. 150, slightly better performance packages, etc.).

Thoughts?

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Old 09-26-2023, 06:32 AM   #2
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My first 2 boats (not pontoons though) lasted/have lasted 20 yrs. The first was traded in when I started having engine problems. The last is still running. A good yearly maintenance plan and proper storage goes a long way. I guess it also depends on whether you want a boat for good solid transportation or to impress.


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Old 09-26-2023, 06:37 AM   #3
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As for life span, mine turns 40 next year…Harris.
If you are happy why replace it? My motto “just because you can write the check does not mean you have too”!
Performance…it’s a pontoon boat!
If it’s skinned, straked, and fuel tank in the center toon it is what it is!
What is a 2016 performance package going to do over 2024 package with the 3 items mentioned above?
I have a 150 on mine, you can go bigger but it goes to diminishing returns… HP to speed to fuel usage.
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
Does anyone have input on the lifespan of my 2016 20' Harris Cruiser tritoon and Mercury 150 outboard?

It's in immaculate shape with something like 350 hours, but I'm wondering when it might make sense to look into replacing it.

I'm relegated to a 20' vessel for where I keep it, and it looks like there have only been minor advances in that time (200 HP max now vs. 150, slightly better performance packages, etc.).

Thoughts?

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The question is why do you want to replace it....

I have owned two pontoon boats since 2018.....
The first was a 1999 Sylvan 24 elite, that was in fabulous shape when I boat it at 19 years of age, with to notable exceptions, the cover needed to be replaced and it need more then its 60 H.P. engine (my opinion only)... I was going to repower it and get a new cover made, when I found a 2004 Crest, roughly the same size, with a 90 H.P. engine, and a cover in great shape... If fixed both my problems.. and with the sale of the 1st pontoon actually saved me money.. Both these boats where being sold because the owners just didn't use them enough.....

At 7 years old and 350 hours, you average around 50 hours a year..... average use in my book....but at this point the age of the boat is the detractor in the sale.... the engine has plenty of life left in it....

My point is this, if your boat full fills your needs and is not in need of any major repairs due to age... all your doing is spending money, and allow someone else to reap the rewards of you taking the depreciation hit.....

Currently I have an older boat, in great shape and I owe nothing on it....
I couldn't replace the boat even with a used one for any less then probable 30K....
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Old 09-26-2023, 07:08 AM   #5
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Generally boats aren't like cars. People keep them a lot longer.
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Old 09-26-2023, 07:14 AM   #6
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1500 hours is pretty easy to achieve on an outboard if maintained well. If you prop it for max RPM at WOT with a typical load on the boat, and then run it at or below 75% max RPM, it can last way longer. 350 hours is not much even if you run it hard all the time, assuming it's well maintained.
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Old 09-26-2023, 07:55 AM   #7
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Default New boat itch

Sounds like Think has the new boat itch, nothing wrong with that we all get that itch from time to time with boats, cars, trucks etc... Or he is looking for an excuse to tell the wife it is on it's last leg we need a new one, LOL.
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Old 09-26-2023, 08:06 AM   #8
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Default Still will be a 20 footer

I'm relegated to a 20' vessel for where I keep it, and it looks like there have only been minor advances in that time (200 HP max now vs. 150, slightly better performance packages, etc.).

Think, from your initial post, your 20 foot "toon", if well maintained, doesn't really owe you anything. I personally wouldn't spend money on a new boat if the "old" one is low cost on maintenance annually.

Just enjoy the Oldie But a Goodie!

Dave
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Old 09-26-2023, 08:08 AM   #9
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If you take care of it, it will last forever. Usually, the first thing to go is the interior but that can be reupholstered, a 2016 is not that old.
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Old 09-26-2023, 08:09 AM   #10
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Default Keep It!

Think;

350 hours is nothing for that motor. Usually the first thing to go on a pontoon are the seats from being exposed to UV rays / the sun. It sounds like you have kept it covered when not in use and properly applied 303 or similar on a regular basis as you say its in "immaculate shape". Those things are critical!

I see no benefit to upgrading especially where you are relegated to a 20' max boat where you are at. If you wanted something bigger or a different floor layout then I could understand but that 20'er you have with the Merc 150 must go right along and I am certain you have years left of enjoyment with her.

Have you seen the prices on new pontoons?? They are crazy!!

Enjoy your toon for many more years!!

Edited to add: Dave R response regarding propping is spot on and crucial for motor longevity!

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Old 09-26-2023, 08:30 AM   #11
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A couple notes (#3 might answer some questions):

1. I have it stored indoors and serviced my Melvin Village Marina every year and always follow their recommendations (oil and lube, plugs, etc.).

2. The upholstery is perfect as, as Dan mentioned, it's covered when unused and treated with 303 twice a summer minimum.

3. The main reason I'm asking is not because I need/want something new but because my wife and I are debt-free and want to remain so. To do that means no more loans, which means saving cash ahead of when things are needed...including replacement cars, golf carts, boat, etc etc.

So, I was mostly wondering how many years I have left before starting to save!

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Old 09-26-2023, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
A couple notes (#3 might answer some questions):

So, I was mostly wondering how many years I have left before starting to save!

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Based off your excellent standards for storage and upkeep...I would estimate you have 12 - 15 years left of good life on your motor...my opinion of course...

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Old 09-26-2023, 09:02 AM   #13
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350 hours is nothing and the Mercury 150hp 4 stroke is a solid motor. Our new (new to me that is) 2013 Bennington had 390 hours on the Yamaha 300hp when we bought it this summer. My 2020 Eastern with a 150hp had 300 hours on it at the beginning of this season. Both will run for years to come.
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Old 09-26-2023, 01:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
A couple notes (#3 might answer some questions):

3. The main reason I'm asking is not because I need/want something new but because my wife and I are debt-free and want to remain so. To do that means no more loans, which means saving cash ahead of when things are needed...including replacement cars, golf carts, boat, etc etc.

So, I was mostly wondering how many years I have left before starting to save!

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Here is my thought as you are evidently in a wonderful place with no debt.... If you take the Money, that you would have felt comfortable with spending per month on a boat, and put that into a "Boat" savings account.... when you need to think about a new or newer boat you should have the money to do so.... I would anticipate a well cared for pontoon, to last 25-30 years.... my experience tells me that isn't out of the realm of possibility in your case...
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Old 09-26-2023, 03:12 PM   #15
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A few years ago, we wanted a new (bigger!) boat. The first step was to get a bigger slip. THEN we went boat shopping. If you're happy with the current slip, no need for a new(er) boat.
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Old 09-26-2023, 05:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Descant View Post
A few years ago, we wanted a new (bigger!) boat. The first step was to get a bigger slip. THEN we went boat shopping. If you're happy with the current slip, no need for a new(er) boat.
But...........As the kids get older and want to bring their friends more room would be nice! More horsepower would be nice too.

One thing I have found with pontoon boats is the diameter of the pontoons makes a big difference. As with boat size, bigger is better. My first pontoon boat had two 19 inch pontoons. The current one has three 27 inch pontoons with lifting strakes, way better.

A 20 foot pontoon boat is a little small for some conditions on the lake so picking and choosing when you will venture far from home becomes important. It is too bad that that the length restriction is in place. That limits opportunities to move up.
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Old 09-27-2023, 02:58 PM   #17
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But...........As the kids get older and want to bring their friends more room would be nice! More horsepower would be nice too.

One thing I have found with pontoon boats is the diameter of the pontoons makes a big difference. As with boat size, bigger is better. My first pontoon boat had two 19 inch pontoons. The current one has three 27 inch pontoons with lifting strakes, way better.

A 20 foot pontoon boat is a little small for some conditions on the lake so picking and choosing when you will venture far from home becomes important. It is too bad that that the length restriction is in place. That limits opportunities to move up.
I have seen many 20 ft. pontoons on the lake, and do quite well even in adverse conditions..... As you eluded to the toon size is important.....I have ended up in the 25ft area with my pontoon, not because I was concerned about the conditions of the lake, but because I wanted room, to have my sons girl friends, and the grand parents to be able to spend the day on the water with my wife and I...... of course that happens rarely, and as the boys have gone out on their own.... going back down to a 20-22 ft. boat with performance toons, wouldn't hurt my feelings... Anyways I digress, my first pontoon had smaller 20" logs there where times that was an issue... the newer boat I picked up last year has 26" logs.... and yep much better ride...... but what I have is paid for..... and I like not having a payment.... so I will keep the longer boat....
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Old 09-27-2023, 03:19 PM   #18
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20’ tri toons are ok. Dual toons not so much


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