A Zip-Lock bag provides protection from the elements for an exposed fish-finder while this pontoon boat is docked between trips.
Pic By: Manitou Pontoon Boats
One of the many perks of owning a pontoon boat is the number of features, add-ons and upgrades available to customize your boating experience. No two boat owners want exactly the same set up and pontoon boats are a great canvas to build on.
It can be difficult locating exactly the right components for your boat during the spring and summer seasons, as demand for these features tends to be much higher. The off-season is a great time to consider upgrading your pontoon boat as many items are restocked and become available.
Here are some upgrades to consider for your boat or as a gift for a boat owner this fall and winter.
Summer is a popular time for upgrading sound systems and speakers. Often boat owners do not think about this feature until the first time they start their boat up for the season and that can make it difficult to get the model you're looking for. Contact your dealer in the fall to give yourself plenty of time to get your system ready for the following year.
Food and beverage related features are also extremely popular in the summertime. Take some time to consider what you plan on doing with your boat the following year and explore these options with your local dealer. Remember to plan for the size of the group you expect to have on board, you don't want to cook burgers for 12 people on a 2-burger grill.
Not only will you see great deals on towable tubes, water skis, wakeboards and other fun toys in the off-season, but these items will be easy to store and a pleasant surprise when you open them for the first time the following year or as a Christmas present.
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…
It may be more affordable for you to restore your old pontoon boat instead of replacing it with a new one. This article discusses the components that you should pay attention to during that restoration project.
The deck is arguably the most essential component of any pontoon boat. Inspect the deck carefully so that you identify any defects that can shorten the service life of the restored pontoon boat. Check for signs of rot, such as sponginess. Use a flashlight to look underneath the deck to identify damaged sections on the lower side of the deck. You can even pull up parts of the carpeting to take a closer look at the areas that seem to be affected by rot. Replace the damaged sections with marine-grade plywood.
Check each of the pontoons carefully for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Remember that a previous owner may have masked a corroded section of a pontoon by painting over it. You should, therefore, be keen and spot any painted areas that don't look identical to the surrounding areas. Use an appropriate material, such as putty, to fix any holes that you see in the pontoons. Weld any areas that are corroded.
Pontoon boat furniture plays a vital role in the aesthetics and functionality of the boat. You should, therefore, give this feature sufficient attention during the restoration project. Pay special attention to any furniture that has wooden frames since wood rot may have affected them. Check the upholstery for rips and tears. Base on the inspection results to decide whether to replace or conduct repairs to the furniture. Remember that it may be easier and less costly to replace the degraded furniture instead of trying to fix numerous defects in it.
The restoration project should be regarded as an opportunity to add the features and adjustments that will make that pontoon boat to be better suited to your needs. For example, you can add ladders, an audio system and extra table space to make the boat more user-friendly. A lot of careful planning and budgeting should be done before the restoration project begins. This will save you from spending more money trying to restore an old boat than what you would have spent if you had opted to buy a new or used pontoon boat.
Consult experienced pontoon boat owners or repair professionals about the suitability of each major decision so that you don't make a mistake during the restoration project.
By: Pontoon Graphics
Taking a spin on your pontoon boat is a great way to stay cool and have fun. However, if you want your pontoon boat to last for more than one summer, you have to take care of it. But how? What do you need to do? Starting a maintenance routine isn’t difficult, and the information below will help you decide what to tackle.
Check the Fluids
Always check the oil before you venture off into the water. Is the oil dark in color? Have you reached a service interval for your engine? Change the oil. Some people avoid doing this out of fear of causing damage to their boat, but it’s an important task that every owner needs to learn how to perform. Changing the oil for a boat is easier than changing the oil for a car and takes under an hour to complete.
Clean, Clean, Clean
When you bring a group of friends out on your pontoon boat, you’re going to end up with a mess after the party concludes. Empty cups and other debris could litter the table and floor, and you can’t let them sit there for too long. This is a safety hazard – if something is blocking an exit point, escaping during an emergency will be difficult. Taking a few minutes out of your day to clean can make a big difference.
Lubricate the Steering
The intense temperatures present during the summer can jam or rust the steering parts on your pontoon boat. You need to do what you can to keep this from happening. Lubricate the steering linkage as thoroughly as possible. If you’re worried you may forget to do this, set a date for the task and note it on your calendar.
Pontoon boats bring entertainment, but they also need care in order to
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