Now that the colder months have arrived, it’s time to prepare your pontoon boat for storage. Although this task can appear daunting at first, carrying out these basic maintenance jobs can help to keep your boat ‘ship shape’ for many seasons to come.
Here’s how to prepare your pontoon boat for its winter hibernation:
1. Deep Clean
The first thing to do is give your boat a thorough clean. Take off everything which is not a permanent fixture to make the process quicker, and give all seats a good wipe down, using a solution of washing-up liquid and water. This will get rid of any moisture, muck, and sunscreen.
When the boat is out of the water, use a pressure washer to blast any barnacles and sediment off the hull. When the hull is dry, apply a protective polish to the aluminium.
If you have an outboard engine, disconnect the battery and lower the engine to protect it from accumulating rainwater. For both inboard and outboard engines, drain the engine block as per the boat’s owner’s manual.
Most manufacturers recommended applying fogging oil before winterising your boat. You can obtain fogging oil from your local marine supplies outlet; just follow the simple instructions on the packaging. Next, top up the engine with antifreeze. Avoid using brands that contain ethylene glycol, as it can release damaging toxins into the water.
Next, top up the engine with antifreeze. Avoid using brands that contain ethylene glycol, as it can release damaging toxins into the water.
3. Oil and Fuel
It’s important that you leave your fuel tank about three-quarters full. This prevents condensation from building up inside the tank. Add a fuel stabiliser. Switch off all the valves to the engine and seal the exhaust ports.These steps help to prevent the tank corroding on the inside. At this
Switch off all the valves to the engine and seal the exhaust ports.These steps help to prevent the tank corroding on the inside. At this
At this stage, it’s a good idea to replace the oil and filters, following the owner’s manual for guidance. If you prefer, you can leave this job until you get your boat out again in the spring, but it’s worth doing now, so that your pontoon is all set for use next season.
Now, drain the lower unit oil and inspect it for consistency. If you can see a milky fluid in the oil, this could be an indication that water is getting into the engine, and you will need to ask a qualified mechanic to have a look at it for you.
You can either leave the battery on board or take it off and store it separately for the closed season. If you remove the battery, be sure to store it somewhere dry and where the temperature will remain above freezing. If you leave your battery on-board, you’ll need to disconnect it and leave it connected to a trickle charger, so that it doesn’t go flat.
If you’re new to pontoon boat ownership, you can prepare your vessel for its winter holiday by following the tips given above. You should also have your pontoon boat serviced professionally by a qualified engineer before you put it into storage to ensure that the spring season starts without a hitch.