Sometimes it is hard to admit that winter is coming and that boating season is nearing its end. And along with the temperature changes comes winterizing your pontoon.
For some, storing your pontoon boat can be annoying, and for others, it is a fun ritual that is an integral part of owning a boat.
Which group do you belong to? Are you the one who hates doing the work and pays others? Or are you someone who likes to do things on your own? Do you even know how to winterize a pontoon boat?
How to Winterize a Pontoon Boat
If you don’t know how to winterize a pontoon boat but are willing to learn, this article is for you. I am going to give you an easy 6 step process that I use to winterize my boat.
To make the winterization as easy as possible, let’s make sure we have the right supplies before we start. You will need the following:
- Interior Detailer Cleaner – I recommend Meguiar’s G13616 Quik Cleaner.
- Gas Powered Pressure Washer – Westinghouse WPX2700 Pressure Washer will do the job.
- Fogging Oil – Gold Eagle 22003 STA-BIL Rust Stopper is an excellent choice.
- Anti-Freeze – Non-Toxic Anti-Freeze by Star Brite – You want propylene glycol-based anti-freeze.
- Battery Charger – Marinco 36082-12 8 Amp 12 V Dual Output Marine Battery Charger is sufficient.
- Pontoon Boat Cover – pick the one that fits your boat. I have Budge P-1200-2 1200 Denier Pontoon Cover.
Now that you have all the supplies that you need, let’s create a winterizing checklist. Checklists can be tedious, but they exist for a reason, not to forget something. Skipping a critical step when winterizing your boat can be costly, so make sure you have the checklist to do it right the first time.
1. Remove Equipment
Remove everything of any value from the boat and store it in a safe place.
Removing equipment serves two purposes;
- Protects your equipment from being damaged or stolen.
- It makes the cleaning process more manageable.
Ensure that you do not leave any electronic equipment on your boat as it might get damaged by moisture and cold.
2. Thoroughly Clean Your Boat
Once you have removed the equipment, thoroughly clean the entire boat as good as possible. It is much easier to clean the boat now than after the winter.
Also, pay attention to your carpet (if you have one). During the winter months, the air under the cover is a perfect place for mold and mildew to form. Proper cleaning is your best defense.
Read How to Clean Pontoon Boat Carpet for some great tips.
3. Winterize a Boat Motor
There are some differences between winterizing outboard and inboard motors. To make your life easier, I have written an article that specifically addresses how to winterize a boat motor that addresses both motor types.
The steps that apply to both motors are as follows.
- Disconnect the batter
- Fog the engine with the fogging oil recommended above
- Add the anti-freeze
- Replace the oil filter and add new oil
- Fill up the tank to at least 3/4 full
As I said, these are just basic steps that apply to both engines. How to winterize a boat at engine article goes into much more detail.
4. Winterize Your Battery
There are two options that you can do when you are preparing a pontoon battery for the winter.
If you decide to remove the battery from the pontoon boat, you will have to keep it indoors. It is essential to be stored in a place where temperatures don’t go below freezing. The garage or some extra space in the house would be ideal for keeping the battery safe.
On the other hand, if you decide to leave the battery onboard (which people usually do if they choose to leave the boat in the water), you will have to be careful and prepare your pontoon boat for these conditions.
Use a trickle charger to charge a battery fully before you store it. If you don’t have a trickle charger, you can take the battery to the marina or even an auto center to test the battery and charge if necessary.
5. Take Care of The Gas Tank
Add fuel to your tank about three-quarters of the boat’s capacity. Someone would recommend more than that, but this is a perfect medium for reducing condensation levels in the tank.
Add fuel stabilizer and switch of valves and seal exhaust ports. This step is significant because it helps in preventing inner corrosion to the tank.
6. Cover Your Pontoon
Get a quality pontoon boat cover and protect your boat before you place it into storage. Nothing will protect your boat better, so make sure that you get the best pontoon boat cover you can.
Making proper steps in winterizing your boat is one of the most important things if you want to keep your pontoon boat safe and in shape for many years to come. Covering your pontoon with the best possible cover should be a no brainer.
What Happens If You Don’t Winterize Your Boat
The worst thing that can happen to your boat is that water gets into small spaced and hidden areas if you do not winterize. Once the water freezes, it will expand and, if the area can’t handle ice expansion, it will break.
The worst place for this to happen is probably the engine, but any damage due to an uncovered boat is bad, no matter how small the damage is.
So don’t play with this possibility; winterize your pontoon boat, get yourself the best boat cover, and protect your investment.
I hope these tips for winterizing your pontoon boat were helpful to you and if you feel that I have missed something, please let me know.
When Winterizing, Seal Everything
Try to seal all possible tank vents, air inlets, exhaust outlets and crankcase, and transmission breathers as best as possible. You have to prevent the moisture from getting inside your engine as best as you can.
I would also recommend you do this on a dry day; even the air’s moisture could be enough to cause issues over the long winter months.
How Much Does it Cost to Winterize a Pontoon Boat
Winterizing a pontoon boat may cost you anywhere between $300 and $600. It depends on where you live, who is doing the work, and what work they are doing.
If you are not a do it yourself type of person, I recommend paying someone to do the job for you. It is, in my opinion, a lot of work, and if you do not enjoy doing it, it’s best to let others winterize your boat.
This is an essential process in boat maintenance before storing your boat for winter. So do not overlook these winterization steps and read the article multiple times if you have to. Take notes or print it out and take it with you when you decide to winterize your boat.