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Hi all,
I just moved to a lake house and have 0 experience with boats but def am buying one. I wanted to buy a used, inexpensive and reliable pontoon, especially to start.
One of my neighbors works at a local marina (who i trust) and found a 2013 Bennington 20 SLX with a 70hp Yamaha with 140 hours.
It's been tuned and gone through with all necessary repairs, new radio and speakers, and cosmetics.
It looks like a great starter boat with what i think (I'm a complete amateur) is a great price.
Does this seem like a good newbie boat?
What should I be looking out for?
What options are must haves?
Welcome to our group! Congratulations on the lake house and looking ahead to boat ownership. How exciting!!!

I think in part to answer your question, it might be helpful to understand how you intend to use it: fishing, socializing, watersports, hanging out at a sand bar or tied off with other boats and friends, solo or partnered outings or hosting a huge group regularly, adults or family with kids, etc?

Additionally, to provide any feedback specifically on the 2013 you are looking at, it would be helpful to know what options it already has on it. That would help to advise if it’s a good starter boat. Any pictures of the 2013 you’re looking at? I heard they can represent a 1,000 words…grin.

In the end, if it’s in great shape, and at a good price, then it easily could be a great starter boat - depending on what you want to be able to do with it. If a normal bi-toon 20SLX, it should be good for cruising around a lake or river, fishing, hanging out on the water, etc. Probably best in less volatile bodies of water, or predominately calmer bodies of water vs larger and rough bodies of water

The beauty of pontoons in particular is the incredible versatility in useage and options they provide. However, a lot of that is geared towards different usage situations. So advising on a good boat for someone, IMHO, is inextricably tied to their budget and intended usage.
Thanks for your reply!
Well probably try all of the above activities but primarily it will be used for cruising and exploring the lake. We'll prob try fishing at some point but we are not fisherman and maybe we'll tow the grandkids on a tube. The water hasn't gotten rough scribe we lived here and we wouldn't go out in inclement weather.
Safety and reliability are the most important and I know you can't speak about reliability but I read that Yamahas are fairly reliable.
Since it's shrink wrapped I don't have pics. It has a zipper/door so I climbed in and I was surprised how nice it was cosmetically. I know the radio and speakers were replaced by the dealer and it had a full tune up and maintenane. It has a bimini top but we want to add an additional top to the front to give full sun protection.
It has a
What options should I ask about our look for? What are options that are important because I have no idea.
Since I've never owned a boat or even been on one for many many years I don't know.
The price is $15k (I'm in the Northeast if that matters for price) so it's is and will be winterized and stored every winter. No trailer, but no trailer needed since the dealer will pick up and drop every season.
The price sort of makes me suspicious compared to others I've seen listed.
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Welcome! Depending on your Lake size and what you are using your boat for like Vikingstaff mentioned would matter. Personally I think a 70 h.p. is a little small. Have you looked at other Bennington's ? It is nice to trust some one but buy the Boat that you need and want. Maybe wait? Boat Shows are coming up soon people will start to trade in. On this Forum we say " Buy your last Boat first" Good Luck!
Maybe I'll look around.
Because I'm a novice buying from a dealer that tunes, goes over the boat and warranties it appeals to me. Also they will pick up, store and deliver which is a convenience that works for me also.
I can wait to see what else comes available but also boats tend to sell fast this time of year.
$15k seems like a good price but IDK.
2013 ,with 140 hrs . I'd jump on it if I were in the market for a used Bennington.
That helps!
I'll contact the sales guy and see if I can get more more details. I thought at that price I can add extras that I might (and didn't know) want and still be low budget.
Just don't want to be penny wise.........
If this was a car, which I feel much more knowledgeable about, I would be much more confident.
I suggest the key points: If you have a bigger lake and plan to ski/tube behind it - then you probably don't have enough power (seems 150hp is low-end sweet spot). If you do plan to ski/tube - then a TriToon is significantly better than a BiToon - the performance differential is substantial. And you would need a tow bar if you plan to WakeBoard/Ski - for tubing there are other options. I would check to make sure it has a Bimini if that is important to you. If you are mostly cruising, have smaller kids to tube once in a while, and the lake is on the smaller size - then what you have found sounds perfect.
I would suspect that a 150hp would be out of my budget and haven't seen any prob because I haven't looked at anything over the $25k+/- range.
This one does come with a bimini but we plan to put on the extra top so that the entire boat is covered.
We on the forum are very good at spending other people's money.
This being your 1st boat , you have to start somewhere. We started with a 90 hp , didn't even know if we would like it .
For the price you posted, write the check and start your accessories list .
Seems like a good price! If in good shape, with such low hours, it sounds like a solid, workable, traditional pontoon. The price for what you would be getting would be very good IMHO.

I think you are good for your uses except tubing/water sports. 70HP on a dual pontoon doesn’t get up on plan well with much weight on board or tubing/skiing. That‘s really the only potential snag with it.

If your grandkids are younger, and you just want to tow them behind you at a slower speed, you should get by with the 70HP. If they are bigger/older, or they want a more adventurous ride with turns, that 70HP on dual toons is going to bog down and not get up on plane.

The above said, does it have a tow bar? If not, you’d need to add that to try to tow the grandkids.

IMHO, at that price, it’s a great starter boat price. I feel like if it is too little boat or HP, it is one that gets you experience and comfort on the water, and you can just sell it for what you have into it and get something more IF you want or need to.

…AND if it checks all your boxes, then cool beans, you’re set at a great price.

Options for what you mentioned for uses that would be worth asking about: You already mentioned putting on a front bimini. So that leaves:

- Tow bar or turbo swing? Can’t tube without one or the other.
- Extended aft deck? more space on back for fishing or assisting with getting tubers on/off/set.
- Decent fishfinder/GPS/Depth find? How serious are you on fishing, and how well do you know your lake depths for safety, helps with both, but how “good” of one is dependent on the first part.

These three would have practical uses for your stated purposes. But if everything is pretty casual and it’s pretty much just for cruising and being on the water, none of them (other than the tow bar for tubing grandkids) is frankly essential. Other options would likly be “bells and whistlers’ for you, so nice whatever they are, but at $15k, nothing essential in my mind for a first boat/starter boat/potential long term boat.
It does have a tow bar and deck and I haven't fished for years and if I start it would be very casual.
I was wrong about the hours.
It has 270 hours (nit140) on the 70hp Yamaha which doesn't seem like too much.
We live on a man made lake (dammed) that is a flooded river valley in CT. Long and not very wide. The guy selling us the boat (who works at the marina) lives on the sand lake and has a 23 ft pontoon with a 90hp which he said is good for the family and a tube but not for skiing.
I'm def leaning toward buying this boat and if it doesn't fit the bill I could prob take a relatively small loss and upgrade next year.
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Welcome Audiophobe! From your name, I can’t figure out if you like music or not, not that it matters. Sounds (Pun intended) like you’re all in on a new lifestyle, however!

I think I’d agree with you that at $15K, it seems to be a bit on the low side, but maybe your neighbor can shed some light on that. Being a Bennington, you can be assured that it’s going to be a solid boat and if it’s in nice shape, that’s a bonus. I certainly wouldn’t be scared of the engine hours if it’s been properly serviced.

Obviously, you’re not going to have a ton of room for large groups of family and friends or the horsepower to quickly get around, but it will get you out on the water where you’ll quickly discover the living is easy.

Of course, keep us posted on what you ultimately decide to do!
It's a one owner boat. I believe the people moved and sold it. It's been inspected and is structurally sound and when I climbed in the shrink wrap (it had a zipper door) it seemed in good cosmetic shape.
The engine was tuned and winterized. New radio and speakers. It has a tow bar so they were obviously towing a tube.
After listening to the comments on this board I think I'm going to put a deposit down. My sales guy said I could change my mind if something better comes in. If we find that it isn't a great fit most of the depreciation hit is gone so I can trade up.
With the money we saved we'll put the extra front bimini top in and buy all the vests and all the other stuff that I don't currently know I'll need (which I KNOW will add up fast) plus a few kayaks.
I will update as things go along and I'll have a ton more questions.
I know from the car forums that I'm on that a thread like this can help others, like me, get started thanks to the experience that you all share.


Audiophobe is a name I picked at the beginnings of the internet (hard to believe how long ago that was on my Gateway computer!) when I was on audio forums (a past hobby) trying to be clever.
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