Owning a pontoon boat is a great way to spend your summers. There’s nothing like it, whether you’re fishing, swimming, or just cruising around on the water. However, one of the biggest headaches for a pontoon boat owner is keeping the boat free from water when covered.
Here’s how to keep a pontoon cover from collecting water:
- Use custom canvas by a professional.
- Have a professional shrink wrap your boat.
- Use a boat cover support pole.
- Use a suspension system.
- Install bow and socket.
- Try a pole and strap kit.
- Install a support frame.
If you don’t take proper precautions, your pontoon cover will quickly become filled with water and start to sag. In this article, we’ll discuss five different ways to keep your pontoon cover from collecting water!
1. Use Custom Canvas by a Professional
If you want to ensure that your pontoon cover doesn’t collect water, the best way to do it is by using a custom canvas cover. A professional can create a cover that fits your boat perfectly, ensuring that there are no gaps where water can seep in.
A custom canvas cover will also be made out of high-quality materials, which will last much longer than a standard tarp or vinyl cover. If you’re looking for the best possible protection for your boat, using a custom canvas cover is the way to go.
Having a professional cover your boat with canvas is an expensive solution in the short term. However, because of the high quality of materials used, it can be reused the following time you moor your boat. You can also use it several times under mild weather conditions.
The first time you have the canvas installed, it’ll be handled by the maker. It’ll be your responsibility to cover it yourself the next time you need it. Canvasing a boat can be a big job, so it’s recommended to have some help while you do this.
One thing you’ll need to do is check the boat every so often to make sure that everything is still secure. Canvas covers can start to loosen up after time, so they’ll just need a quick tug to tighten them up again. You’ll notice this happening if the fabric begins to sag, and if it does, it could lead to water pooling on the cover and in the boat.
If you outsource this job to a professional, they’ll bring the support framing and build this for you. Some contractors may also provide you with a manual you can refer to when setting it up again for yourself.
How Much Does Professional Canvas Cover Cost?
The bulk of the cost is made up of the size of the fabric and how much time the laborers will spend on the job. Therefore, the price you’ll pay really comes down to the size of your boat.
You can expect the costs to be somewhere between $800 and $3000 for materials in addition to the labor costs for a sailboat. This may not sound budget-friendly, but it’s important to remember that they can last up to 10 years if well maintained.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can also have a professional shrink wrap your boat.
2. Have a Professional Shrink Wrap Your Boat
While a custom canvas cover is the best way to keep your boat from collecting water, it can be an expensive option. Thankfully, shrink wrapping is a more affordable option that’s just as effective at keeping your pontoon cover from collecting water.
Shrink wrapping your pontoon boat during the winter is a great way to protect it from the elements, and it’s especially useful for boats that are in storage. A professional will use high-quality materials to wrap your boat tightly, ensuring no water can get in.
This method still needs a support frame, but your laborer will sort this out as part of the project. The support frame elevates the shrinkwrap, so any falling water will slide off the shrinkwrap instead of pooling in any dips.
Before the handymen start shrink-wrapping the pontoon boat, be sure to talk to them about venting. The inside of the boat will need some airflow as otherwise, moisture could build up inside and create a hotbed for mold.
Also, ask your professionals if they can install a doorway. This will allow you easy access to your boat if you need to climb on board for any reason. Shrink wrap is fitted tightly around the boat, so there won’t be any opportunity to enter the boat without a doorway being created.
The downside to shrink wrapping compared to canvasing is that shrink wrap is only a one-time solution. When it’s time to take down the shrink wrap, it will no longer be fit for reuse.
How Much Does Professional Shrink Wrapping Cost?
Just like canvas, the cost is mainly affected by the size of your boat, as the bigger the boat, the more material it will need. The typical price per foot for shrink wrapping is $12 – 25, and there are a few things that affect this, including:
- Length of your pontoon boat
- Whether you have an entrance installed
- If the boat is trailered
- Unusual shapes on your boats
There may also be a $100 – 150 premium for shrink wrapping if you want your boat wrapped while in the water.
Overall, shrink wrapping is the cheaper option of the two professional choices. However, it only lasts once, so it may not be the most cost-effective option long term.
Now let’s look at some DIY solutions that are perfect for people looking to save on costs and get their hands a little dirty.
3. Use a Boat Cover Support Pole
Before you can start covering your pontoon boat, you’ll need to decide on the support system you want to use. There are a few options available at different price points. Pick the one that best suits your budget and aesthetics.
A support pole is a piece of equipment that is used to keep a cover from collecting water on a boat. There are a few different types of support poles that are available, such as wooden poles, metal poles, or PVC poles.
They are affordable and easy to find, but they have a few downsides:
- Wooden ones can rot over time if they’re not appropriately treated with waterproof sealant.
- They can be challenging to adjust and get the right fit around your boat.
- They’re not as strong as other types of support and can break easily if they come under stress.
If you do decide to use a support pole to prop up your pontoon boat cover, make sure to check it regularly, particularly if there is rain in the forecast. If they bend or break, this can lead to pooling.
The cost of a support pole starts from $15 and gets more expensive depending on the material it is made from. More robust materials will be more costly as they will be capable of supporting heavier weights.
4. Use a Suspension System
For pontoon boats with a hard top, you could install a handing support system. This works differently from the other methods as you’re not supporting the cover from the underside. Instead, you’ll connect the topside to your hard cover, so it hangs down rather than being propped up.
Water will fall naturally off the sides instead of pooling on the cover and sagging into the boat. A suspension system is on the cheaper side and is one of the easiest options to set up.
A suspension system is a little more expensive than the support pole, but not by much. However, they are sturdier and will be able to handle heavier weights than the cheaper support poles.
Hanging supports start from around $30 and can get more expensive based on how big your boat is and how much weight it needs to handle. Shop around to find a good deal on a suspension system.
5. Install Bow and Socket
This is a more expensive option that many people choose because it is very effective in preventing water from collecting on your boat cover.
A bow and socket system is made up of two parts–the bow and the socket. The bow is a curved piece of metal or plastic that sits at the front of your boat, and the socket attaches to the back of the pontoon boat cover.
It’s also very strong and can hold up under a lot of stress, meaning it’s perfect for larger boats. You’ll need to make sure to install enough bow and sockets to ensure there isn’t a big gap between them. If there is, it can cause pooling in these areas.
The installation process is a little more complicated than the other options, but it’s still relatively easy to do. You’ll need to have some basic carpentry skills and be able to use a drill and screwdriver.
The cost of this system depends on the size of your pontoon boat and how many materials you’ll need to completely cover the boat. A bow and socket system for a small pontoon will start at around $100, but it can go up a lot as the boat gets bigger. The good news is that this is one of the sturdiest options available, and the materials can be reused.
6. Try a Pole and Strap Kit
A pole and strap kit consists of two poles that stretch across the boat and two straps that go around the boat. The poles are adjustable, so they can be made to fit any boat size.
This is a cheaper option that is easy to set up and use. The poles and straps are also very portable, so they can be taken with you on your travels. One downside to this system is that it can be less stable than other options, meaning it might not be suitable for larger boats.
A cheap kit will be made of less sturdy material such as aluminum. This may not have the strength required to hold the cover up long-term making them prone to bending or breaking. It’s a good idea to check on them regularly to make sure they’re holding up.
Pole and strap kits start from around $30, but they’re affected by the size of your pontoon boat. The longer your vessel is, the more poles you’ll need, which can drive up the price. Still, this remains a cheap option and is more robust than a single support pole.
7. Install a Support Frame
If you’re looking for a long-term solution, a DIY support frame might be the best option for you. This is a frame that is installed onto your boat, and the cover hangs over it.
The frame can be made out of different materials such as wood, metal, or PVC. The benefit of building your own frame is that you can create it to your boat’s specification rather than buying a premade one that doesn’t fit.
A support frame is one of the more expensive options, but it’s also one of the most sturdy. The frame will last many years with proper care and can hold up boats of all sizes. It’s important to measure your boat correctly so you can make sure you buy the correct number of materials.
This method of preventing your pontoon cover from collecting water will take the longest investment of your time. You’ll need to set it up and then take it down when you’re ready to use the boat again.
Support frames vary in price depending on the materials you use. Wood and PVC piping will be on the low end, whereas metal tubing will cost slightly more. The price is affected by the size of your boat.
How To Keep a Pontoon Cover From Collecting Water – Conclusion
It is pretty troublesome to find water pooling on your pontoon cover. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to avoid this problem. No matter which option you choose, it’s essential to take the time to properly install your boat cover.
It also helps to consider your budget and the overall aesthetics of your boat when choosing the materials and method. This will help keep your vessel free from water and looking great for years to come.