As far as boaters are concerned, the arrival of winter is a dreaded time of year. For most of us, it means preparing our boats for winter storage and the process of winterizing our pontoon boats.
In this article, we will discuss ways you can winterize your pontoon boat and get it ready to safely survive until warmer weather arrives and next year’s boating season begins! Let’s get started.
Why is it necessary to do Winterize Your Pontoon Boat? If you are a boater, the season is probably over for you with the arrival of winter. Therefore, you must protect your investment and keep the engine and other components of your boat in good condition during the coldest months.
You can easily hire professionals to winterize your pontoon boat, but that can mean a higher cost. You can save some money doing it yourself with less investment.
Cost to Winterize a Boat
Winterizing a Boat requires a series of steps or processes that include cleaning the boat, conditioning the engine, fuel, reconnecting components and more.
As we have previously indicated, you can winterize your pontoon boat yourself or hire a professional.
One of the most expensive aspects is engine preparation. It should be noted that costs can vary depending on the size of the boat.
Prices range from $ 100 or less for smaller ones to $ 600 or more for larger ones. Another factor to consider is where you live as that could add additional storage costs between $ 30 to $ 500 or more.
The average price for winterize a pontoon boat is $ 300 and may vary according to what we have mentioned above.
If you want to hire someone to carry out the process, you should bear in mind that it may take more time than doing it yourself because you would have to transport your boat.
If you take it to a boat mechanic, you may have to pay between $ 150 and $ 200, and if you take it to a boat store, the prices could vary between $ 300 and $ 400.
Many people will think that it is not worth investing that money to winterize your pontoon boat.
They are wrong since leaving your boat exposed during cold months can cause damage, and therefore you will have to make more investments.
Steps to Winterize a Pontoon Boat
Clean the Boat
It is basically the first thing to do. You should clean the boat both inside and outside before storing it for the winter.
Before starting the cleaning process, you must disassemble any part or accessory that the boat has such as electronic devices, fishing items, etc. That will allow you to clean and store them one by one and they will also empty an extra space in the boat where you can move more quickly to continue the process.
Start by cleaning the inside or outside of the boat. Choose the part you prefer as you will have to clean everything in the end.
If you start cleaning the inside of your pontoon boat, be sure to remove any dust, grime, mold, rust, barnacle or any kind of dirt on the structure, carpets or seats.It is also crucial that you remove the remains of food as they can attract rodents, insects or any other type of animal.
Try not to use powerful substances as you could damage the structure of the boat. You can choose a special protective interior cleaner. It will allow you to clean any surface safely in addition to the protective properties against the sun’s rays.
Once you clean the inside of the boat, you should start with the outside of it. In that case, you must take your boat out of the water and carry out the same process of removing any dirt through a protective cleaner.
Commonly, the exterior structure of your boat is covered with marine plants or barnacles. The cleaner you use should also remove and counteract rust.
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Winterize Boat Motor
It is the most delicate part since if you do not carry out the process correctly on the motor (internal or external), you could damage it. A good idea would be to check your engine owner’s manual beforehand.
The first reason you should maintain your engine is that it will be idle for several months. According to the owner’s manual, you will need to follow specific steps to prepare your engine for storage properly. That is done to prevent damage that can be caused by water retention during winter.
The first step is to disconnect or remove the battery so that it is not exposed to water. Subsequently, you should drain all the water contained in the engine block.
It is important that you spray fogging oil into the carburetor and the spark plug holes. Remember to follow the steps in the manufacturer’s manual carefully.
The next step is to fill the tank with gasoline (at least half full) before storing it for the winter. If you keep the tank empty, the space inside the container will start to condense due to temperature changes.
That could cause problems when starting the engine again in the spring. You can control that by adding a fuel stabilizer.
You also need to prevent internal corrosion of the tank by closing all the holes that include the valves and exhaust ports. Also, that is an excellent time to change the oil filters. You must be prepared to prevent any problems during the winter.
Save the Battery
You can decide whether to leave the battery in the boat or remove it. We have already seen that the most recommended is to remove the battery.
Once you remove it, store it in a dry place, so it is not exposed to water during winter. You can store it in your garage, basement or a deposit in your house. Before storing it, you have to fully charge it to avoid any damage.
Many people choose to leave the battery connected when they do not take the pontoon boat out of the water. In that case, it is essential to connect it to an onboard battery charger to prevent.
Cover Your Boat
The best option to avoid any damage to your boat and protect your investment is to take it out of the water during the winter.
You can’t leave it exposed to those temperatures for a long time because cracks could form on it. Its repairs can be costly. So make sure you keep it dry.
Before covering the boat, it is recommended to seal the cracks and use repellents to prevent some animals from entering the boat and making nests.
You must choose the correct shrink wrap that is large enough to cover your boat. There are many covers specially created to withstand temperature changes.
Shrink Wrap Pontoon Boat
It is one of the best options to protect your investment. Before installing it, it is essential to create a support structure by taking the appropriate measurements.
Measuring the height will allow you to position the support posts that will be used to install the shrink wrap. Depending on the size of your boat, you will need poles of a specific format.
You must now make the modifications and configurations to keep the structure stable. You could additionally add some posts at the bottom to maintain air circulation and avoid damage to the boat structure.
Now that you have a fairly stable and secure support structure, it is time to install the shrink wrap. Place it on the supporting structure and slowly cover your pontoon boat without skipping any space. If there are still excess parts of the cover, you can proceed to cut them.
You should finish by adding some bands and pressing them to tighten them at the ends and prevent the cover from moving.
You should keep in mind that even if your boat is completely covered, it needs ventilation. In that case, you can add some vents over the shrink wrap.
Take Saftey Precautions
One of the fundamental factors in any area of life is security.
Unfortunately, society is exposed to vandalism activities anywhere. It will have been useless to invest to protect your pontoon boat during the winter if you are robbed in the end.
You must apply the most basic but most efficient security measures. High-value items are the first target of criminals.
Save any small valuables you can remove from the boat. Obviously, you will not be able to take out certain things like electronic equipment.
An easy way to secure your boat is to take it out of the water, mount it on a trailer and remove its tires. In this way, it cannot be displaced back to the sea.
There are boat insurance policies that cover certain aspects, including theft of the boat.
Unfortunately, most of them do not offer coverage plans for objects or accessories that are not part of the boat.
Go Back to Your Activities
After several cold months, winter must end. At this point, you can return to your normal activities, but you must first inspect to verify if any damage has occurred.
Carefully remove the shrink wrap making sure it is not damaged and put it away. Surely you will need it for next winter.
Now, check every part of your boat to make sure there are no new cracks, holes, leaks, or wet sections. In that case, fix everything quickly.
If there is an accessory in poor condition, replace it immediately. Before that, check if those new components are working. Clean your pontoon boat a little as it has been stored for several months without maintenance.
Now you can go back to the water and start a new work season.