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De-Winterizing a Pontoon – Some Helpful Tips

2014_Encore_25_SR_VP_7076Getting your pontoon ready again for the start of the new year might seem like a chore, but it’s an important chore to make sure that you don’t get stuck out on the water fixing a simple problem that could have been taken care of months ago. That’s why we’ve provided some tips for de-winterizing your pontoon to make sure that the spring cleaning of your pontoon boat will go as smoothly as possible.

Engine

The rustiest part of your pontoon boat will likely be your pontoon’s engine. Just like a car that hasn’t run for several months, you want to make sure that your pontoon’s engine is in proper shape and ready for a full boating season.

The wintertime is a great time to do maintenance or make tweaks and upgrades to your pontoon’s engine. Refer to your engine’s owner’s manual and check the spark plugs on your boat. They are relatively inexpensive and can be replaced quite easily. It’s not a bad idea either to keep an extra set on board during the boating season. It’s also a good idea to change the fuel filter on your pontoon boat at the start of the season to ensure the longevity of your pontoon’s motor engine. You should also check the fuel line to make sure that it didn’t crack during the cold winter season.

Likely the most critical part of the engine to check before taking your pontoon out on the water is the oil. Motor oil has a tendency to gunk up in cold weather, and you don’t want to run your engine for the first time this year with dirty oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for proper directions on changing your motor’s oil. While you’re referring to your owner’s manual, check other fuel levels of your motor.

Battery

One of the most common problems all boaters face while out on the water is dealing with a dead battery. Making sure you have a properly working and fully charged battery at the start of the boating season will help to avoid such a headache. Most marinas can let you know the status of your battery, and if you should consider buying a new one. Many marinas can also charge your battery for you. If you have the ability to charge your battery yourself, first make sure that you check the acid levels in the cells of your battery. If they are low, used distilled water to fill them back up. The amount of time you need to charge your battery depends on the condition it was in before. As a good rule of thumb, you should let your battery charge overnight to ensure that it will be fully charged.

Hull

While you likely inspected the hull of your boat before you put it away for the winter, you should inspect it again before you put it in the water. Check for any cracks, dents or blisters in the hull, and make arrangements to get those repaired if need be. Use a hose or power washer to wash off the dirt and grime left over from the winter. Once that is done, and your boat has had time to dry off, you can wax your boat if that is something that you do.

Trailer

If you’re transporting your pontoon boat yourself with a trailer, you certainly want to make sure that’s in great shape to ensure your pontoon makes it to its end location safely. Do a test and check of on all the main parts of your trailer, and replace any damaged or frayed parts of your trailer. Make sure the tire pressure of the trailer’s tires is accurate to what the manufacturer indicates, and that there aren’t any cracks or damages on the tires. To give an old trailer new life, use a lubricant like WD40 on any moving parts and gears of the trailer. Grab a friend and check to make sure your trailer lights are all working, and replace any burnt out bulbs that you may find.

Check Your Equipment

Before transporting your boat, you should make sure that it has all the safety equipment you’ll need throughout the summer. Make sure your life jackets don’t have rips or tears in them, and that you have enough for everyone that will be on your boat. Make sure your first aid kit is properly stocked, your fire extinguisher is back on board, and flashlights and other electronics are stored in water resistant bags. Now is also a great time to stock your boat up on all the recreational equipment you use for your boat. Things like auxiliary cords, sun screen, bug spray, sunglasses, water bottles, and towels are just a few things you can keep on your pontoon in dry places to ensure you don’t forget anything back on land.

Clean Up the Interior

2014_Legacy_25_SRS_SHP_4684 (1)If you are like many boat owners and have problems with rodents burrowing into your pontoon boat throughout the winter, you should make sure that any poison or traps are cleaned up properly – especially if you have children or pets. Do a quick vacuum of any carpets on the boat, and dust off all hard surfaces. Check the seat cushions for any rips or tears, as you will want to fix those before you get your boat on the water. Also inspect the nooks and crannies of your boat for any mold or mildew, or any rodent nests left behind.

Spruce Things Up

De-winterizing your boat doesn’t need to seem like a chore if it’s a process of livening your boat up for the upcoming season. Consider upgrading your pontoon with pontoon boat accessories, like a new ladder, lighting system, steering system, or grill. There are plenty of boat shows to attend as well that occur before the summer season, which can be useful if you’re in the market for any new pontoon boats or pontoon boat parts, or just plain fun!

Importantly, you should also be aware that you should take the proper steps for getting your pontoon boat ready for winter. That will play a huge part in making sure that your pontoon boat can be easily ready for the summer season.

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