Pontoon maintenance is a critical part of keeping your pontoon boat in excellent condition. The water, sun, and general use work together to bring grime and mildew to your boat. Knowing what to do and how often to do maintenance will ensure your pontoon boat is the best-looking and functioning boat on the water.
Here are 7 tips for maintaining a pontoon boat:
- Wash your pontoon boat.
- Wax your pontoon boat.
- Inspect the pontoon boat engine.
- Check the pontoon boat battery charge.
- Check the fire extinguisher on your pontoon boat.
- Cover the pontoon boat when not in use.
- Winterize your pontoon boat at the end of the season.
These tips for maintaining your pontoon boat can keep your boat sparkling clean and running smoothly. Perform these services weekly, or as needed, to ensure your boat is in tip-top shape.
1. Wash Your Pontoon Boat
You should plan to wash your pontoon boat weekly when in regular use. You can use the same soap as you use to wash your car. This soap can clean the fiberglass portion of the boat. Using a soft bristle brush, you can gently clean away dirt and debris build-up. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Washing the Pontoon Aluminum
Cleaning the pontoon bottom aluminum will keep the rust and corrosion from damaging the boat bottom. Use a cleaner such as StarBrite Cleaner and Restorer (available on Amazon.com). This solution returns the aluminum to its original shiny beauty. It comes in a handy spray bottle for easy use.
Another option that is environmentally friendly to remove oxidation and stains is Bio-Kleen Aluma-Kleen (available on Amazon.com). This cleaning formula is biodegradable and won’t harm the water or its ecosystem.
2. Wax Your Pontoon Boat
Waxing your pontoon boat each season prevents corrosion, rust, UV damage, and grime build-up. The appearance of your pontoon boat is a source of pride, and regular waxing will ensure your boat is sparkling and gorgeous.
Choose a product like StarBrite Marine Polish (available on Amazon.com). This isn’t the only reputable marine polish, yet it does offer the features needed to maintain the finish on your boat.
Look for the following in a pontoon boat polish:
- Maximum UV protection and formulated for aluminum, fiberglass, and painted surfaces.
- PTEF that leaves the surface slick and can increase water speed.
- PTEF inhibitors repel dirt, grease, and water deposits.
As you wash and wax your pontoon boat, look closely for any cracks or holes in the exterior. Sometimes, you can hit a rock or log and not realize the pontoon sustained damage.
3. Inspect the Pontoon Boat Engine
Aside from the boat itself, the engine is an essential part of your pontoon. You should plan to inspect your boat engine once a week and perform the following:
- Evaluate the engine cowling for leaks. The cowling is the removable metal cover that protects the boat engine.
- Check the fuel tank for leaks and corrosion. Ensure you have clean gas in the tank.
- Test the fuel line for leaks.
- Spray the engine with an anti-corrosive conditioner to repel rust.
- Flush the engine to remove dirt.
- Check the fuel primer bulb for cracks.
- Check and change the oil if needed.
4. Check the Pontoon Boat Battery Charge
Getting stranded in the middle of the water because the battery dies is not what you have in mind for a fun day on the pontoon boat. Regularly check the battery charge with a portable battery tester. At the same time, check for battery acid leakage, which will corrode the battery.
5. Check the Fire Extinguisher on Your Pontoon Boat
While it might seem counterintuitive to check your fire extinguisher (after all, you’re on the water if a fire breaks out), inspecting the gauge, nozzle, and pin on the canister makes good safety sense. Extinguishers also have expiration dates and require replacement from time to time.
6. Cover the Pontoon Boat When Not in Use
Protect your pontoon boat when it’s not in use by covering the boat. Many boat owners have custom covers to minimize UV rays, dirt, and bird poop which can eat away at the paint. If you don’t have a custom cover, a canvas tarp can usually get the job done.
7. Winterize Your Pontoon Boat at the End of the Season
Caring for your pontoon boat during the boating season is crucial but winterizing the boat for the cold weather of winter is equally, if not more, important. When you take the proper steps to winterize your pontoon, you can enjoy many years of water fun.
Clean the Inside of the Pontoon Boat
The first issue you should address is removing any mildew inside the boat. Use a bleach/water solution. Combine one cup bleach, one-quarter cup dishwashing soap, and one gallon of warm water. Place the solution in a spray bottle and saturate the boat’s interior. Let it sit for fifteen minutes and use a hose to spray the interior clean, and let it dry in the sun.
Use gentle dish soap to scrub the dirt, food crumbs, and other grime from the boat’s interior. Rinse well and let dry.
Clean the Outside of the Pontoon Boat
Pontoon boats are made of aluminum on the outside and need regular cleaning to prevent oxidation. Using ordinary soap like Dawn dish soap or Tide laundry detergent and a soft-bristle brush, dilute the soap one cup to five gallons of water. Gently scrub the aluminum to remove dirt and anything attached to the pontoons. Rinse well with fresh water and let dry.
Prepare the Pontoon Motor
Since your pontoon boat will be idle in the winter months, correct preparation protects the motor from damage.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Fill the gas tank three-fourths of the way to allow for expansion and contraction.
- Change the oil filters and replace the oil.
- Spray the carburetor and spark plugs with fogging oil.
- Replace the coolant with a non-toxic, propylene glycol-based antifreeze to keep any toxins from leaking into the water when you return the boat to use.
Remove the Pontoon Battery
The pontoon boat battery is a costly part of the boat. The best plan is to place your pontoon boat batteries on a trickle charger. This type of charger provides the battery with enough energy at a slow amperage in order to keep it operational.
Cover the Pontoon Boat
Cover the boat with a custom cover or have the pontoon shrink-wrapped. Something like Konelia Pontoon Boat Cover (available on Amazon.com) is great since it’s waterproof and highly durable. Now your pontoon boat is secure for winter and ready for summer when the warm weather returns.
Find out what happens if you don’t winterize your boat.
Regular Pontoon Boat Maintenence – Summary
Performing regular pontoon boat maintenance and upkeep is an essential part of boat ownership. By following these tips for maintaining your pontoon boat, your boat will be in tip-top shape and ready to hit the water any time you are.