Posted on February 17, 2014
If you’ve recently purchased a new powerboat, it’s likely that you’ve just contributed to the overall popularity of pontoons. That’s because pontoons continue to lead the boating industry’s trend toward recovery and growth, while pontoon lifts like those from ShoreMaster get an updated design.
PONTOON SEGMENT GROWTH AS A PERCENT OF TOTAL MARKET
If you’ve recently purchased a powerboat over 15 feet in length, there is a strong possibility that you’ve purchased a pontoon. Consider pontoon growth relative to the overall market for powerboats 15 feet and above. According to an article in Trade Only Today titled, The Newly Cool Pontoon Boat , you can see that in 2012, a total of 134,169 powerboats in the 15 feet and above size range were sold. Pontoons made up about 25% of the total market in that size range in 2012 with 33,615 pontoons sold. The total number of pontoons sold in 2012 didn’t quite reach its 2005 peak of 43,642 pontoons sold, but consider that in 2005, the total market for powerboats 15 feet and above was 285,502 in all. So, in 2005, or just 9 years ago, pontoons represented only 15% of the overall market for powerboats over 15 feet in length compared to 25% in 2012.
THE NEW PONTOON BOAT LIFT TREND
With so many new pontoons on the market, and so many new pontoon owners, it’s no wonder that dock and boat lift manufacturing companies, like ShoreMaster, a premium aluminum boat lift and dock brand based out of Fergus Falls, Minnesota have introduced a new line of pontoon boat lifts designed to accommodate today’s wider, longer, and heavier pontoons. ShoreMaster has marketed boat lifts suitable for pontoons for decades, including the long and narrow cantilever style of pontoon lifts prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, until very recently, the primary differentiation between a boat lift and a pontoon lift throughout the waterfront equipment industry would be when the dealer would add the appropriate pontoon accessories to a standard vertical or cantilever style boat lift to make it suitable for pontoons. This is still acceptable today, but smart manufacturers, like ShoreMaster, recognized that today’s pontoons and today’s pontoon owners would require something more specific to really represent today’s pontoon market. ShoreMaster’s President, Don Hurley comments “We’ve been manufacturing boat lifts for pontoons for decades, so we have a lot of experience with the challenges and the opportunities that they present. We are always looking at updates to the design of today’s watercraft, and pontoons have definitely been on our radar for a while. We saw an opportunity to take our experience with boat lifts and pontoon accessories and develop a vertical style pontoon lift that solves the challenges of accommodating todays more advanced pontoons and tritoons.”
SHOREMASTER PONTOON LIFTS
Pontoons boat lifts like ShoreMaster’s new 4,000 lb. capacity or 7,000 lb. capacity vertical style pontoon lifts are both longer, and in the case of the 7000 lb. capacity pontoon lift, longer and wider than ShoreMaster’s traditional boat lifts. The additional length and width accommodates the increasing size of today’s pontoons, the new design structure is longer to provide a more stable platform for lifting the pontoon and the bunks are longer to provide better support and guidance when entering and exiting the lift. The structure is also wider, especially in the 7,000 lb. capacity to allow for more room to maneuver and position larger pontoons on the lift. ShoreMaster’s new pontoon lifts take design cues from their time-tested all aluminum double v-side (DVS) vertical lift and match them to the more performance-oriented, sophisticated style, and larger size of today’s pontoons. The double v-side feature really makes it easier for pontoon owners to position their lift so that passengers can board or exit the pontoon from either side of the lift. Additional accessories such as motor stops and guides readily fit the new pontoon lifts to make it extremely easy for pontoon owners to comfortably and confidently guide their pontoon onto or off of the lift.
PONTOON OWNERS SHOULD CONSIDER THE CONVENIENCE OF A CANOPY
Another consideration for new pontoon owners looking to truly make it quick and convenient to use their pontoon is to budget for a canopy frame and cover for their new pontoon lift. Even with the incredible ease of use of the new fastening hardware available for pontoon covers like Premier Pontoon’s J-Clips, nothing makes it easier to protect your pontoon on the lift than a canopy. A canopy allows you to park your pontoon, and raise the lift to tuck your pontoon under the canopy, and then simply move on with your life. A canopy is truly a hands-off, extremely simple form of protection to keep your new pontoon clean, dry, and looking good. The amount of time you’ll save by not having to manually cover your pontoon after every use, combined with the protection a canopy provides is worth every penny you spend today.
PONTOON LIFT COSTS IN RELATION TO PONTOON PRICES
When it comes to the cost of a new pontoon, your options are really only limited by your budget. That can be good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it. There are many brands and styles of pontoons available with power options ranging from small outboard motors to large inboards and all kinds of options in pontoon amenities, seating arrangements and customization. Bob Menne of Premier pontoons says “Premier does well in the $65,000 to $100,000 range, and that market is growing, you don’t sell as many of those as you do in the $20,000 to $45,000 range, but there’s a market there, and more people are entering it.” So while the high end may have gotten higher due to more amenities and more customization, it seems there is incredible value to be found in the lower to middle end of the pontoon price spectrum as manufacturers improve the standard amenities offered in their pontoon lineups.
When it comes to pontoon boat lifts, companies like ShoreMaster have made the budgeting process much simpler by creating pontoon specific vertical lifts like their model 4010PTN or 701168PTN. These two models are set up to accommodate pontoons, and their related accessories are developed to work well with the new pontoon designs. Expect to pay about $6000 to $12,000 or more for a high quality, all aluminum, precision-welded ShoreMaster pontoon lift. When you consider the durability of the ShoreMaster brand of pontoon lifts, how convenient they make it for you and your family to use your pontoon, and also consider that you may own your pontoon lift longer than you own your current pontoon, you can find incredible value by going with a pontoon lift brand that you know and trust, like ShoreMaster. A 15 year warranty on the aluminum structure and welds gives you peace of mind throughout your pontoon lift ownership. When you use the 15 year warranty period as a guide to determine your potential length of pontoon lift ownership, your $6000 ShoreMaster pontoon lift purchase averages out to just $400 per year, or $33.00 per month. Given the fact that your new pontoon lift is protecting a $20,000 to $45,000 pontoon, you can see the incredible value that goes along with the convenience and the protection that a pontoon lift provides.
SHOREMASTER PONTOON LIFTS HAVE BEEN AROUND AS LONG AS PONTOONS THEMSELVES
While some in the industry might say that the pontoon boat lift is a new trend, we now know that companies like ShoreMaster have been manufacturing them for decades. When we talk about the growth of the pontoon market, we know that pontoons are gaining a larger share of the total market, and have been for almost a decade, but we also know that we haven’t quite made it back to the peak sales volumes that we saw in 2005, but the outlook is bright.
For More information on ShoreMaster Pontoon Lifts, Check out ShoreMaster’s Pontoon Lift Page.