No PADS here. Ever. (Finally!)

AuthorizedUser

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SEMPERFI8387

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DejaWiz

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It doesn’t help that the term is only 3 years. The upside is I have a built in excuse to go fishing anytime I want - “but honey, look how much we’re spending on this thing!”

Genius. For real.
 

Vikingstaff

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I think before you decide that a 26 foot pontoon is good for you and your wife, sit in one. When I sat in the 22-footer, I knew that was just too big for my needs. I knew that I wanted a 20-footer, no shorter and no longer. Will there be days when I wish we had a longer one because we have more people who want to come? Probably. But those days will be very few and far between. We were fortunate in a way, to get our slip. The dealer from whom we purchased the boat is also the largest Marina at the north side of our Lake. He only leases slips to people who buy boats from him... the demand is that great on our lake. He has 100 people on a waiting list who will never, ever get a slip at his marina. So, I actually didn't get the greatest deal I could have negotiated on the boat because I wanted to slip as badly as I wanted the boat. It's all what is important to you in life and what you are willing to pay for.

I think here are two really great takeaways here from AU’s post that resonated with me. First, the important of being able to look at in person and sit on actual boats/pontoons. See everything in person. Touch the materials. Crawl around and under the various boats, decks, toons, hulls, etc... Doing so and getting real life insights is invaluable!

Investing in the travel time to see boats in person is HUGE in making the most informed final decisions, just like in this post. By dong so in 2017, we saved money in some areas (size of boat, and a few options), spent more in other areas - probably too many other areas. :D

I spent 6 Saturdays over a 2 month period looking over pontoons/tritoons in person at three different dealerships in Nov. and Dec of 2017. That was after 6-8 months of online research and market pricing. Exhausting at times when mixed with home, work and kids! However, we did better dial in our wants and needs, and it led me to committing to our Bennington vs. the Sweetwater Premium, Avalon, Harris, Tahoe, and Manitou we were otherwise considering. This was going to be a one and done boat purchase, and I wanted to insure the best fit and most boat for our budget.

Second, we all want the best value in our purchase, but it can mean more than just the % off MSRP - although I’m still a big advocate at negotiating hard for the best deal possible. Other factors can impact a purchase being the “right” purchase: such as the value in getting a slip in the above post. Facets like dealer trustworthiness and knowledge, intangibles such as other support services, accessibility of dealer when help is needed, etc...

I just really wanted to chime in on these ideas because sometimes they get lost in the mix, and I think AU’s experience and insights here are a nice reminder to perspective boat buyers.
 

lakelifeMN

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I think before you decide that a 26 foot pontoon is good for you and your wife, sit in one. When I sat in the 22-footer, I knew that was just too big for my needs. I knew that I wanted a 20-footer, no shorter and no longer. Will there be days when I wish we had a longer one because we have more people who want to come? Probably. But those days will be very few and far between. We were fortunate in a way, to get our slip. The dealer from whom we purchased the boat is also the largest Marina at the north side of our Lake. He only leases slips to people who buy boats from him... the demand is that great on our lake. He has 100 people on a waiting list who will never, ever get a slip at his marina. So, I actually didn't get the greatest deal I could have negotiated on the boat because I wanted to slip as badly as I wanted the boat. It's all what is important to you in life and what you are willing to pay for.
Excellent advice as always. I’ve been researching the Bennington‘s for a couple years but most of the dealers around here only have a handful on their lot and typically cater to the S, SX, or SX premium series. Anything G or higher was a special order so it never got to the show room. Going to have to drive for five hours to go to a dealer with some inventory once they get their new inventory in for 21. Also, with all the dealers out here none are on the lake so I have never been able to do an actual water test. At the biggest dealer in the area you just pick up your boat at the show room and that’s it. They’re not on the water. I have been using this forum to try to narrow down my questions so I can get everything answered when I do go to the dealer and make my final decisions.

As far as the marina goes I understand your situation. Our lake is similar in that the main marina is owned by the local boat dealer so unless you buy from them you will never get a slip on the lake. I even ask the dealer if I bought a $10,000 boat lift from them if that would qualify for a slip but they said no.Unfortunately, our dealer does not stock Bennington so I won’t be getting a slip anytime soon. The other marina has such a long waiting list for the few slots that come open I would be surprised if one was available within 10 years. I’ve been on the waiting list for 3 to 4 years now and haven’t made much progress down to about 82 now.

Just figuring out what our best options are and again I will be very happy and proud to call my boat my BENNINGTON.
 

CLDave

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Excellent advice as always. I’ve been researching the Bennington‘s for a couple years but most of the dealers around here only have a handful on their lot and typically cater to the S, SX, or SX premium series. Anything G or higher was a special order so it never got to the show room. Going to have to drive for five hours to go to a dealer with some inventory once they get their new inventory in for 21. Also, with all the dealers out here none are on the lake so I have never been able to do an actual water test. At the biggest dealer in the area you just pick up your boat at the show room and that’s it. They’re not on the water. I have been using this forum to try to narrow down my questions so I can get everything answered when I do go to the dealer and make my final decisions.

As far as the marina goes I understand your situation. Our lake is similar in that the main marina is owned by the local boat dealer so unless you buy from them you will never get a slip on the lake. I even ask the dealer if I bought a $10,000 boat lift from them if that would qualify for a slip but they said no.Unfortunately, our dealer does not stock Bennington so I won’t be getting a slip anytime soon. The other marina has such a long waiting list for the few slots that come open I would be surprised if one was available within 10 years. I’ve been on the waiting list for 3 to 4 years now and haven’t made much progress down to about 82 now.

Just figuring out what our best options are and again I will be very happy and proud to call my boat my BENNINGTON.

LakeLife - if you want to run down to Crosslake in the next couple weekends I'd be happy to take you for a run in my R25. We're taking it out of the water on the 15th.
 

Maynard G. Krebs

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@AuthorizedUser, you're getting a NEW boat with 90hp. That looks pretty sweet to someone (me) that bought a used boat with a smaller motor and thrashed interior. But you know what? When I'm drifting out on the lake with the stereo playing and the bbq going, I don't think about or care what anyone else has. My boat fit my financial expectations and suits my needs perfectly. I've had it for eight years and have never suffered from any PADS symptoms at all.
 

AuthorizedUser

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@AuthorizedUser, you're getting a NEW boat with 90hp. That looks pretty sweet to someone (me) that bought a used boat with a smaller motor and thrashed interior. But you know what? When I'm drifting out on the lake with the stereo playing and the bbq going, I don't think about or care what anyone else has. My boat fit my financial expectations and suits my needs perfectly. I've had it for eight years and have never suffered from any PADS symptoms at all.
Excellent! The right frame of mind. It just took me longer to get there... but I'm there now, baby! :cool:
 

Tomc

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The boat and motor you have will be awesome. I looked on this site for a year before getting my basic 21’, 2 log, 115 hp 2 years ago. I knew what I wanted and disregarded the luxury upgrades, expansion and 3 toon recommendations. I did not care if it was 90 or 115, I took what the dealer had in stock. We LOVE the boat. You’ll notice most everyone on here likes to spend YOUR money. It’s easy and fun to do, but don’t feel bad about ignoring that stuff. But you will have a blast with what you got, there is nothing like cruising on a pontoon with friends, just enjoying the cruise, sunsets, sunrises and the calmness of being on a lake. Can‘t enjoy the company if you‘re going 45 mph. We also have been on very rough waters, and the 2 toon handled it really well. I’m sure a 3 toon would be better, but there really is not much room for improvement. Just get the right speed, get the right angles, and the ride is smooth as you can hope for. You made a great choice, nice couple changes, and you will absolutely love the boat. Enjoy!!
 

AuthorizedUser

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The boat and motor you have will be awesome. I looked on this site for a year before getting my basic 21’, 2 log, 115 hp 2 years ago. I knew what I wanted and disregarded the luxury upgrades, expansion and 3 toon recommendations. I did not care if it was 90 or 115, I took what the dealer had in stock. We LOVE the boat. You’ll notice most everyone on here likes to spend YOUR money. It’s easy and fun to do, but don’t feel bad about ignoring that stuff. But you will have a blast with what you got, there is nothing like cruising on a pontoon with friends, just enjoying the cruise, sunsets, sunrises and the calmness of being on a lake. Can‘t enjoy the company if you‘re going 45 mph. We also have been on very rough waters, and the 2 toon handled it really well. I’m sure a 3 toon would be better, but there really is not much room for improvement. Just get the right speed, get the right angles, and the ride is smooth as you can hope for. You made a great choice, nice couple changes, and you will absolutely love the boat. Enjoy!!
What a great reply to my OP. So happy you're loving your Benny. I'll be there with you come April!
 

BigKahuna

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It's not what I can afford, it's what I am willing to spend on a boat. The build I chose will be extraordinarily easy to pay for. I had no desire to spend $800+ each month for the next 15 years on a boat like so many of our bretheren on this forum. I do have a life outside of boating! That's where that money goes. :)
That's what I mean. Spend what you want to spend. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses! Our current boat.......Put half down. Then we sold our Bennington I/O and paid the balance. My wife doesn't like payments.....
 

warrior999

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An amazing post and I know this is a “Boat” forum but Kudo’s on your choice; your financial choice! I will preach to kids, whenever they will listen, about being smart with their money. I think my track record is about 1 out of every 40 will listen. ;) I think one of the worst things people do is live vicariously through their children (usually sports). My wife will tell you I’m guilty as charged...... but with finances. My girls, 23 and 25 are early in careers out of school and I’ve harped on them about saving and investing. They still come around often for advice so I guess I haven’t been too intrusive.

“You can live hand to mouth at any Income” One of my favorite quotes from a good friend.

But back to boating and off my tangent. Congrats on the new boat. You will love it!
 

PartyBarge

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Excellent! The right frame of mind. It just took me longer to get there... but I'm there now, baby! :cool:
Yup, we spend a lot of time just enjoying the scenery at 4-5 MPH. What we have now is the third 20 footer at this house and it has more HP than the other two at only 90. The beauty of a smaller/simpler pontoon is that the wife and I can leave the house and be at any one of a dozen island beaches in 15 to 20 minuets (total time). I can easily lift and pull the front onto the sand and usually have no need to tie up. During the summer, we have lunch that way at least once a week. You've got me feeing so good about modest conveyance that I may even remove the stick-on "4" in front of the 90 (pesky kids). AND, a 90 burns so little gas that I'm pretty sure, under certain conditions, it puts gas back in the tank!
 
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BulldogsCadillac

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Maybe I should just stay out of this post! :D:p:D:p;)

Just kidding! 100% agree with everything said! For us, we bought the wrong boat first, we bought based on price and not how we hoped to use it. Although to be fair, we had never owned a boat, hardly ever even drove a boat, and none of our friends had a boat! We quickly realized that I wasn't going to be happy until I could throw my young police officer brother in law off a tube with ease! Even though we hardly used it, after two seasons traded it in for the last boat we would need, and truly it was. Hindsight tells me that we probably should have kept that boat, and maybe we would still have it. But we traded it in because I unfortunately "HAD" to have the tower model for the speakers and the cool factor, but it also came with a substantial increase in loan payments because we went with a 250hp instead of a 200, then spent a ton extra on stereo! We still hardly used the boat, I had a substantial job change and having that much money tied up into something that always sat in my driveway except for 4-6 times a year was moronic.

Point is, know what you want starting out (which you seem very aware of), and be real with the value of having the "bells and whistles (and a loud ass stereo!)"
That being said, I'd buy my old boat back in a heartbeat! Haha congrats on your purchase!
 

Zeeman

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2020 will always stand out as a great year and a terrible year all at once. We got our first Benny this year and it was truly a blessing with all the things that have been going on. We have a “bargain basement” Benny and we couldn’t be happier and we wouldn’t change a thing, it will always be special to us. Anything that gets you out of the house and on the lake is worth it! As for this forum, I love it and appreciate all of you guys and gals for providing this newbie with so much info, y’all rock!
 

Potomacbassin’

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It comes down to being happy.

I was happy for many, many years with my little Kevlar canoe with an electric trolling motor strapped to the back until I wasn’t. Before that I was happy fishing from shore with a backpack full of Budweiser’s until I wasn’t. I’m happy with my current boat until who knows?

I think the point everyone is making is size or cost of boat doesn’t determine happiness, it’s all perspective and properly defining your objectives. For some that’s just getting on the water; for others it’s doing a poker run or being safe in the middle of Lake Huron! To each their own and the great thing about this community is it’s about helping and sharing, not judging or comparing balance sheets.

The same cannot be said for things going on outside this forum...personally I appreciate the lack of BS here, it’s a welcome respite from everything else going on!
 

Alicedream

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It's not what I can afford, it's what I am willing to spend on a boat. The build I chose will be extraordinarily easy to pay for. I had no desire to spend $800+ each month for the next 15 years on a boat like so many of our bretheren on this forum. I do have a life outside of boating! That's where that money goes. :)
Some of us pay cash for toys. No way i would finance a boat .
 
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SEMPERFI8387

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Some of us pay cash for toys. Ni way i would finance a boat .

With today’s interest rates I’d rather pay just a little interest and keep liquid cash under my mattress. I’d rather forego a little interest than have a pile of cash tied up in a pile of aluminum. Absolute worst case scenario, and I mean worst case, bank can have it, but I’d be working 3 jobs to keep it and keep my credit clean.
 

AuthorizedUser

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With today’s interest rates I’d rather pay just a little interest and keep liquid cash under my mattress. I’d rather forego a little interest than have a pile of cash tied up in a pile of aluminum. Absolute worst case scenario, and I mean worst case, bank can have it, but I’d be working 3 jobs to keep it and keep my credit clean.
I'm with you. By financing a portion of the boat, definitely not all of it, and opting for a shorter-term, and making additional principal payments I am able to easily afford a monthly expense while maintaining all of my savings, and only spend a very small amount on interest. That little amount of interest I spend is definitely worth keeping my savings untouched.
 
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