Pontoon boats are a favorite for lazy days on the lake, whether you use them for fishing or entertaining. Winter weather can be rough on these boats, so they are usually dry docked for winter storage. The following tips can help ensure your pontoon is properly stored so it will be ready for spring.
Tip #1: Winterize the Engine
This is by far the most important aspect of storage prep. First, make sure all water is fully drained from the engine area. You don't want this to freeze, expand, and cause damage. Next, change and replace the oil and filters, along with the coolant. Finally, disconnect the spark plugs and spray a fogging oil into the plug holes. Just make sure to reconnect the spark plugs come spring!
Tip #2: Keep Your Battery Ticking
The best place to store the boat's battery is outside of the boat. That's right – disconnect it completely. Next, bring the battery to a full charge with a battery charger and make sure the posts are clean. You will need to top off the charge throughout storage to ensure the battery never goes completely dead. You can either do this by recharging the battery once a month or so, or by hooking a trickle charger up to the battery.
Tip #3: Drain the Pontoons
The pontoons can become weighted by water, which can freeze and expand in the winter. This is bad, because it can lead to cracks and leaks on the pontoons. After lifting the boat out of the water, dry down the exterior of the pontoons. Now examine them closely to see if you can find any leaks. If so, you will need to purchase a patching kit and make a repair. Next, open the drain plugs on the bottoms of the pontoons. Allow any water to drain out before closing them back up.
Tip #4: Hit the Deck
Finally, make sure all upholstery and life boats on the boat are completely dry before storage. Next, scrub down the decks and inside of the pontoon with the cleaning solution of choice. You may want to apply a marine protectant to the boats interior, as well. Finally, store the cushions and life vests either in the boats storage compartments or in closed storage outside of the boat. You don't want these items exposed to sun or weathering over winter. When you're done, place a boat cover or tarp over the entire open deck to ensure it is also protected from winter weathering and sun.
For more information about storing your summertime recreational equipment, contact a facility such as Rock Solid Storage LLC.