Six Tips to Winterize Your Pontoon Boat for Storage
No one wants to leave summer behind, particularly if you are a pontoon boat owner. Days on the lake or river will soon be a distant memory as you start wearing sweaters and raking leaves. Although winterizing your pontoon boat is a necessary chore you do reluctantly, you can look at this seasonal project a different way. That is, to winterize your pontoon boat and store it is to actually gear your craft up for the next great boating season.
Everyone at Hydrofin lives life to the fullest from the decks of our pontoons. In fact, these boats are why our accessory company exists. We make your craft more fun, exciting, economical and engaging for everyone aboard. This is why we also want to help you get it ready for seasonal docking. Below are our tips to winterize your pontoon boat for storage.
1. Thoroughly Clean Inside Your Pontoon Boat
Cleaning a boat for docking or storage is a chore, indeed. You need to start with the interior, removing electronics, fishing gear and water sports equipment. Take out anything not bolted to the boat, itself. Otherwise, you face finding mildewed items at the start of next season. Remember, boats are notorious for trapping moisture because they are made waterproof.
Once you strip the boat down, thoroughly clean the deck and cushions. Ensure you wash or wipe away all debris, dust, dirt and food. Let all surfaces dry and then apply a mild polish. Polishing is an important step to winterize your pontoon boat for storage. It prevents mold and mildew growth while also making these surfaces less inviting to rodents.
Speaking of rodents, consider placing some mouse traps, poison or non-toxic peppermint oil to repel mice, rats and squirrels. Peppermint spray is safest and you have less to worry about when prepping the boat for use next year. Simply mix the oil with water in a spray bottle and spray the corners, cubbies and cracks where these creatures like to nest.
2. Clean the Exterior of Your Boat
Once you take your boat out of the water, remove any attached plants or mussels. Do not wait until spring to do this, as they will be really stuck by then! Clean the exterior by spraying it with water and allowing it to dry. Once dry, apply a rust protectant polish.
3. Winterize Your Pontoon Boat Engine and Fuel Tank
It is important to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for protecting your boat’s engine in storage. This is particularly if your region experiences freezing temperatures.
To winterize your pontoon boat engine and prevent cracking or other damage, you need to remove all water. Drain the water and coolant from the inboard or outboard engine, first. Then, appropriately refill it with propylene glycol-based antifreeze as a protectant. Next, spray fogging oil as lubrication for the engine parts, such as in the spark plug holes and carburetors. Level the fuel tank off at about 3/4 full, using a fuel stabilizer additive for protection if the fuel has ethanol.
4. Remove, Charge and Store the Boat Battery
For dry dock storage, winterize your pontoon boat by removing and fully charging its battery. Store the battery in a dry space that remains at room temperature.
5. Use a Winter-Quality Cover for Your Boat
Winterize your pontoon boat using all of these recommended steps, then apply a good quality winter cover. It does little good to go the trouble of cleaning your boat and preparing its parts for freezing temperatures, if you are going to leave it exposed to the elements.
If you notice holes in the cover during the winter, repair these right away. Ensure you check for rodents and other creatures before reapplying the cover. Spray the material with rodent repellant to keep mice, rats and squirrels from chewing on the material to nest.
If you store your boat outside for the winter, routinely check the cover for pooling water. This weighs the cover down, causes damage to it and can leak water through to the boat interior. Of course, you can also shrink-wrap it to winterize your pontoon boat for storage.
6. Look Forward to Next Year’s Boating
As you work to winterize your pontoon boat for storage, start feeling excited about the next year’s boating season! If you do not already have Hydrofin wings fitted to your boat, you are missing out on the speed and fuel economy you can take advantage of next year. In fact, a winterized boat is primed for the installation of Hydrofin. To learn more about Hydrofin capabilities for upgrading your whole boating experience, schedule a call with us by filling out our quick contact form.