A Zip-Lock bag provides protection from the elements for an exposed fish-finder while this pontoon boat is docked between trips.
By: Dan Armitage
As many of my fellow pontoon boat club members readied their craft for the off-season, I grew intrigued by the DIY, alternative and after-market solutions some came up with for protecting their boats and related gear. Some of these non-traditional apps are put into use by my resourceful fellow boaters during the boating season as well, and are of value for those lucky pontoon boaters south of the Mason-Dixon Line who don’t know the meaning of “off” season and may enjoy their craft year-round.
For example, you will find covers intended for back yard use on chaise lounges and Adirondack chairs protecting the furniture of some members’ boats. The patio furniture covers are less expensive than semi-custom covers designed for the job, wear well under typical conditions, and the fact that the generic one-size-fits-all covers don’t fit all that tight allows air to circulate and the upholstery to breathe a bit, which can help prevent mildew in the damp environs the boats are subject to. And when conditions aren’t typical, and a loose-fitting captain’s (aka: Adirondack) chair cover goes gone with the wind, it’s less expensive to replace.
If you’ve run across any non-traditional uses for items aboard a pontoon —or any other watercraft – we’d like to see ‘em. Meanwhile, here are a few I stumbled across during a recent late-season walk around the local pontoon boat club – and one photo I snapped last winter that reminded me that going with cost cutting alternatives may not be the bargain you, well, bargained on…
There is nothing better than spending a day on your pontoon boat. But as you may know, it can be very stressful if you don’t properly plan your excursion. Imagine a day on a pontoon boat where you visit the same area and do the same activities as the time before, more for lack of imagination than because of the fun quotient. Not to mention the chaos that can ensue if there isn’t enough food, water, or sunscreen for everyone in the party.
Aside from the “dos” and “do nots” for planning a day on the pontoon, there are numerous fun ideas you and your family should try:
Remember proper and creative planning, and you are sure to have an exciting day on the water.
Download our infographic for more tips for family fun on the water.
PROCEDURE FOR TEMPORARILY RAISING PONTOON BOAT OFF TRAILER.
This is a proven method for lifting your boat off the trailer bunks for temporarily working on your pontoons. Cleaning, restoring and protecting your pontoons when your boat is still on the trailer is difficult. You can’t get to the bottom of the pontoons so they stay dirty and covered in marine growth plus the cleaners are likely to damage the carpeting and wood on the bunks and can damage the paint on the trailer. Following is a safe and easy way to lift your boat off the bunks by about 6 to 8 inches so you can protect your trailer with plastic and get to the bottom of the pontoons. If the boat were ever to slip off the blocks, it only has a few inches to fall back onto the trailer so there is no damage. Still, it’s important to work safely.
1. Hydraulic Bottle Jack of a capacity that meets or exceeds the weight of your boat.
2. 9 to 12 cinder blocks or wooden blocks 8" x 8" x 16"
3. 2” x 8” planks cut to 16” length pieces. You will need a minimum 3 pieces, but more may be required.
4. Wooden shims as required
CAUTION: This is a safe procedure when done correctly and with care. If
you do not feel confident in your abilities or equipment to handle heavy
weights, do not lift your boat in this way, get professional help
1. Place the boat and trailer on a firm, level surface [Diag.1].
2. Lower the tongue of the trailer to the ground to elevate the transom. [Diag.2]. You may need a friend to help keep the tongue down.
3. Block the transom using cinder or wooden blocks [Diag.3]. Make sure that there is a 2”x8”x16" wooden plank between the pontoons and the blocks to prevent damage to the boat. If the blocks and wood do not fit between the ground and the boat, you may have to use additional pieces of 2”x8”x16" wooden plank to compensate for the difference.
4. Place a hydraulic bottle jack under the tongue of the trailer and raise the front of the trailer [Diag.4]. When the jack extends as high as possible, you may have to place blocks and wooden plates under the front cross member to support the boat. Then lower the jack and use wooden plates under the jack to give you additional height. Continue jacking up the trailer. This procedure may have to be repeated several times to gain the necessary height.
5. Continue raising the front of the trailer until the boat is level or slightly bow high. Place blocks with a 2”x8”x16" wooden plank on top, under the front cross member to support the boat. [Diag.5]. Start lowering the jack until the weight of the boat is supported on the three columns of blocks and plates. Make sure that the boat is well supported on each column and is stable.
6. Lower the bottle jack. Extend the trailer jack to support the tongue and remove the bottle jack [Diag.6]. The boat should be well supported and stable on all three columns and the bunks of the trailer should be about 6 to 8 inches lower than the bottom of the boat. This will give you clearance to clean and polish the areas normally supported by the bunks.
7. Do not remove the trailer. It will act as a safety device to catch the boat in the event that it slips off the blocks or if one of the blocks breaks or the ground becomes infirm and the blocks sink.
8. Do not proceed to work on the boat until it is well supported and stable.
9. To reseat the boat on the trailer, reverse the above procedure.
By: My West Shore
There’s nothing like a pontoon boat for a fun day on the water!
A pontoon boat is one of the most versatile water crafts available to all kinds of water enthusiasts. It looks like a large platform with guardrails, canopy, seating, storage and, of course, a motor. In other words, a pontoon boat has space for people to mingle like in a living room. Except it’s on water. And it moves!
Think that pontoon boats are a retired person’s leisure craft? Think again! Pontoon boats are increasingly popular with people of all ages. Why? Because pontoon boats now come with more amenities and comfort. They’re suited for a variety of activities, making it easy to stay entertained and engaged on short and long excursions.
Here are some ideas to help make your pontoon boat adventure a success:
The average pontoon boat holds about a dozen people. So, the next time you’re ready to go out on the water, why not invite some friends and have fun on a pontoon boat?
Hosting a birthday, anniversary or engagement party on a pontoon boat is easy. Even the most basic models have ample storage for food and supplies, a sound system for music, plenty of seating, and even room to dance. You can string lights and other decorations — as long as they are secure and don’t interfere with the vehicle’s operation.
If you’re invited to a party on a pontoon boat and aren’t sure what to wear or bring, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) Discover Boating offers tips on marine manners.
Pontoon boats are perfect for popping in and out of the water. The platform at the back makes it easy to jump in the water, even for kids. And the rails along the side are convenient for holding on to the outside of the boat, if necessary. Following open water swimming safety will help to keep the day fun.
If you’re in an area with lots of marine life, don’t miss out on seeing them “eye to eye”. Have snorkels and masks on hand for a little underwater sightseeing.
Of course, ensure the engine of your pontoon boat is off before allowing anyone to swim, snorkel, or go in the water for any reason.
There will be times when friends and family can’t or won’t want to be in the water. Help them stay entertained and connected by taking along board games and other diversions. Try to avoid games with paper money and other pieces that can blow away.
Instead, take playing cards, trivia games and social games like Boggle, Cards Against Humanity and travel Scrabble for your guests to play when the mood strikes.
The platform at the back of a pontoon boat is a perfect place for avid and casual fishermen to cast a line and relax. The ample storage gives you space for gear, bait and ice chests to keep your catch until dinnertime.
Naturally, be sure all swimmers are out of the water before fishing from your pontoon boat.
Yes, you can invite a lot of people on your pontoon boat. But you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s nice to have a quiet day or afternoon with only your partner or kids.
Being on a pontoon boat with only a few people gives you the best of both worlds. You can be together for activities but have enough room when people need a nap or a little space from each other.
Not sure if a pontoon boat is the right water vehicle for you? Consider these advantages:
Learning to drive a pontoon boat is easy. The steering wheel works like it does in your car: turn clockwise to go right and counter-clockwise to go left.
While contemporary pontoon boats can travel at a good clip, you always want to move at a slow speed when leaving the dock and navigating to open water. The same is true when you’re ready to return.
Most pontoon boats can move a fairly high speed but are not intended for rapid acceleration. But if you are going to push down on the gas, give your passengers fair warning so they can secure loose items, including themselves!
Pontoon boats are very stable but they aren’t exactly nimble. Avoid trying to make sharp turns. And, if you do, make sure gear and people are secure before making the turn.
Pontoon boats sit high on the water. This reduces the chances of denting or otherwise damaging the hull. The same is true if you need to transport it on a boat trailer. It’s good practice to raise up the outboard motor when loading the pontoon boat onto a trailer. But if you forget, it’s usually not a problem because of the high clearance.
If the hull does get damaged, it is generally faster and less expensive to repair compared to a traditional v-shaped boat hull.
After use, pontoon boats don’t need to be wiped down the way other gel-coated boats do. So, at the end of a fun day, you can take your pontoon boat out of the water and get on with land-based activities.
The best feature of a pontoon boat might be its size. With couches, tables, the platform at the back, covered areas and uncovered areas, kids can play on their own yet stay supervised.
This is especially appreciated for kids who invite friends. They usually want some time away from the adults and room to be active. On smaller boats, everyone is always close together and required to stay seated most, if not all, of the time.
In other words, on pontoon boats, kids can be more active and independent. This makes the outgoing more fun for them — and the adults!
It’s more than the size of a pontoon boat that makes it comfortable. It’s also that it’s essentially a floating platform. Higher end pontoon boats may also have an upper deck but generally, they are one level.
Having lots of open space makes it easy to take in views in all directions, spread out, and be active. Also, the amenities on modern pontoon boats are designed for comfort. Seating is usually upholstered. Tabletops make eating and playing games as comfortable as if you were in your own home.
No matter your definition of comfort, lots of storage allows you to take along all the food, games, equipment and clothing you need to make your time on the pontoon boat enjoyable.
Pontoon boats are by far the safest of multi-person water craft. In 2014, there were one-tenth the number of personal injuries involving pontoon boats, compared to open motor boats.
The pontoons are what make this water craft stable. The safety of pontoon boats makes them a desirable option for anyone who enjoys being on the water.
The storage on pontoon boats is outstanding. Its open design allows for a range of storage options for equipment, food and other supplies. Plus, marine craft manufacturers are continually maximizing the use of space and making improvements to match consumers’ needs.
There’s no doubt that it’s easy to have fun on a pontoon boat. To help keep the entire adventure safe and fun, also keep a couple of things in mind:
The size and shape of a pontoon boat gives it a wide turning radius. This means that tight turns are difficult or impossible.
When entering shallow areas or areas with many other vessels — especially speed boats and personal watercraft like jet skis — leave yourself enough space to maneuver safely and follow general boating etiquette.
As mentioned, pontoon boats are very stable. However, in very choppy water and during significant storms, they can be dangerous.
Because of its design, the front of a pontoon boat can easily enter a large wave instead of riding over it. It is also more difficult to navigate in rough water because of its size and structure.
So, if there’s a forecast for high winds or any kind of storm, the best way to have fun on your pontoon boat is to not take it out on the water that day!
The versatility, comfort, and safety of pontoon boats make it easy to have fun on the water. Whether you’re looking for the occasional excursion or a floating cottage to use every weekend, you can’t go wrong with a pontoon boat.
If you want to dig a bit deeper and find out some more information come down for a visit as we have a large selection in stock and on sale – pontoon boats in all shapes and sizes.