Preparing your pontoon for storage can be time consuming, but each step contributes to a smoother launch when you’re ready to get back out on the water. Proper storage is also an essential part of protecting your investment, saving money in repair costs over time and adding years to your pontoon's life on the water.
Whether you are simply looking to protect your boat from winter weather or sealing it up for longer-term storage, the steps below will ensure it’s protected from sun, moisture and/or freezing temperatures.
- Fill the gas tank to at least the 3/4 mark.
- Change and replace oil filters.
- Drain engine coolant and replace it with a non-toxic, propylene glycol-based antifreeze (ethylene glycol base will release toxins into the water).
- Make sure there is no lingering water in your engine that might freeze and expand.
- Remove the spark plugs and replace them without connecting the wires.
- Prepare the engine by spraying fogging oil into the carburetor and spark-plug holes.
- Remove the battery, fully charge it, and store it somewhere cool. You’ll want to top off the charge occasionally or use a trickle charger to prevent the battery from running down.
Gut it, Clean It, Cover It
- Remove lift vests, towels, fishing equipment and other accessories to prevent moisture build-up. Take out and store any electrical equipment to prevent damage or theft. Make sure the bimini top is removed or secured.
- Clean the boat inside and out. Apply mildew and rust protection, and make sure the boat is completely dry before it’s covered.
- Cover the boat whether it’s kept inside or outside. Make sure the cover fits snugly, but has the ability to expand and contract with changing temperatures. Keeping out moisture is critical, so make sure the cover is supported enough to shed water in the worst conditions.
- Use insect/rodent repellent to prevent mice from chewing through the cover.
Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations on storing your model. Above all, make sure you plan ahead. Know where and how you’ll store your boat — and set aside time to handle it all properly — so you aren’t left scrambling and cutting corners. Do the job right, and you’ll save time and money in the long run.