How to Plan a Family Fun Day on a Pontoon Boat

There is nothing better than spending a day on your pontoon boat. With that, it can be very stressful if you don’t properly plan your excursion. Imagine a day on a pontoon boat where you visit the same area and do the same activities as the time before, more for lack of imagination than because of the fun quotient. Not to mention the chaos that can ensue if there isn’t enough food, water, or sunscreen for the party.

 

Aside from the dos and do nots for a pontoon boat day, there are numerous fun ideas you and your family should try:

 

  • Explore: Instead of visiting the same place every time, mix it up and boldly go where you haven’t been before.
  • BBQ: If your pontoon boat has a BBQ on it, why not enjoy a beach BBQ?
  • Scavenger Hunt: Invent a scavenger hunt where you stop at various places and solve clues. Will there be buried treasure at the end?
  • Mega Raft: If your friends all have pontoon boats and families, tie up all the boats together and make a mega raft.
  • Waterproof Camera: There is no better way to capture the day and take some memorable underwater photos.

 

Remember proper and creative planning, and you are sure to have an exciting day on the water.

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Preparing for all Boating Scenarios

Just like in your home, you should implement an emergency preparedness plan on your boat. Regardless of where you boat you should always identify potential threats. Then evaluate what types of resources you will need if any emergency arises. Your needs will vary based on the type of boating you do and the distance from shore that you travel. You should also develop an emergency plan and keep a kit with appropriate items on your boat at all times.

You should always check the weather before planning a day on your boat. Conditions on the water can become dangerous during even small weather events. Weather is also quick to change over the water, it is important to stay aware and return to shore before conditions get severe. Wind, rain, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tsunamis are all potential threats when on the water. Look into what threats your area is susceptible to and how to prepare for them on the CDC website.

Hurricanes and severe storms are usually easy to track. By checking the weather forecast ahead of time you can avoid these types of conditions. If a hurricane is expected you should get your boat to a proper storage facility well beforehand and evacuate the area.

Tsunamis are a succession of oversized waves that occur after the displacement of large amounts of water. They can occur with or without warning, however, a common cause of tsunamis are earthquakes. If you are on the water and notice the trees on shore shaking and other telltale signs of an earthquake, you should evaluate your best course of action. Tsunami waves only break close to shore, if you are in deep water far from the shore, you may not have any indication of the tsunami waves moving underneath you. Become familiar with the protocols for tsunamis and look at the International Tsunami Information Center’s information on what to do while on a boat if there is a tsunami warning.

A good skipper always prepares for the worst and hopes for the best. When preparing you should make a list of general items, but also include things that are specific to your family and their needs. An emergency kit is not one-size fits all, things like asthma inhalers, allergen free foods and insulin are all things that should be considered when preparing. The following are less specific items that any good boat emergency kit should contain.

 

  • NOAA Weather Radio- Keeping track of the forecast and any emergency broadcasts can help you avoid severe weather.
  • Clean water- Salt or lake water are not going to be sufficient if you are stranded and need to stay hydrated.
  • Food and a way to prepare it- Store foods that are high in protein and nutritious. Having a heat source if not only good to keep you warm but also for preparing any foods that need to be warmed.
  • Extra clothing- Extra layers and dry clothes to change into from your wet ones are good to keep on board.
  • Shelter- Shelter from the sun and rain are both important. Many boats have built in shelters, but a tarp or sheet can easily be used as a makeshift shelter.
  • First aid kit- For anything from bumps and bruises to broken bones, bug bites and open wounds.
  • Paddle- In case you encounter engine troubles it is good to have an alternate form of propulsion.
  • Something to bail out water- If it rains hard enough your boat might not be able to keep up with pumping water out of the boat. Having a bucket or two to help bail it out can save your boat from capsizing.
  • Tools- Spare tools and parts for your boat can become vital if you encounter mechanical problems while in the water.
  • Lighting- Not only to help you see but to help others see you in hazy conditions.
  • Compass and map- GPS devices are great but having a backup plan with a map and compass will always be a good idea. Ensure that you know how to use them.
  • Duct tape- Duct tape can be utilized in so many different ways, it’s always good to have a on your boat because of its versatility.

 

Not only should you have a plan and the proper emergency items, but you should also take a class or research about emergency procedures. Things like first aid and boat repair techniques can make the difference between life and death. Having the items is pointless if you don’t know how to use them, there are plenty of resources online to review and learn from.

 

Ally Mann

@allymanneray

SES Floorplan Studio Photoshoot: A Sneak Peek

Today we shot our new SES floorplans at a studio in Auburn Hills, MI. The new floorplans were launched in late December, making it difficult to get outdoor pictures in Michigan. By using the studio, we avoided the weather and were able to shoot each floorplan by plugging components in and out of the boat as we shot them.

SES floorplan

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If Boaters Were Donors…

We recently came across this infographic about 2012 presidential campaign spending as well as the costs of other campaigns in history. Would you believe $2 billion was spent on both Obama and Romney? Few can even imagine what $2 billion could buy, and that got us thinking…

What if boaters were donors? What could $2 billion buy in boating-related supplies? Here are our rough estimates.

13.3 million fishing rods

Fishing Rod

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6 Reasons You Need a Boat Cover

Our friends at SavvyBoater.com shared this great infographic with us about 6 reasons you need a boat cover.

Here’s their description:

Conscientious boat owners realize the importance of putting their watercraft to bed for winter. Failure to winterize your boat can result in a host of maintenance problems – and ultimately can shorten the life of your boat.

One of the best ways to protect your boat during the winter is to invest in a boat cover. When properly fitted, a boat cover can increase the longevity of your craft by up to 30 percent. To help boat owners understand the benefits of using a boat cover, we’ve put together the following infographic:

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ALL ABOUT PONTOON BOATS: FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU BUY

This blog post is courtesy of SavvyBoater, which carries a wide selection of top-quality pontoon boat covers, bimini tops,  boat seats and fenders.

A pontoon boat is great for fishing, family outings and parties. No longer looking as if they were built for your grandpa and his fishing buddies, today’s pontoon boats offer smooth rides and sleek finishes. The purchase of such a boat can be a significant recreational investment, but make sure you know all about pontoon boats before you buy. Use the following to help you make an informed decision:
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5 Ways to Green Your Boat

With environmental concern on the rise, green products and practices are high in demand. Consumers constantly look for items that are both clean and cost-efficient. When it comes to transportation, there is a plethora of information about cars. When it comes to boats, perhaps not so much is available.

Fortunately, a number of steps can be taken by boat owners to employ green practices. Conserving energy and using environmentally friendly products doesn’t have to break the bank, and making just one small change helps. For those looking to get started or make some general changes, here are 5 popular ways to green your boat.

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It’s Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day, and We’re Participating!

In honor of “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day,” a National Safe Boating Week initiative to demonstrate how easy it is to wear a life jacket, some of us here at Manitou Pontoons are wearing our personal flotation devices on the job.

We even took pictures and figured you might enjoy seeing them:

We support the Wear It! campaign!

Don’t forget the National Safe Boating Council encourages participants to post their photos to the “Ready, Set, Wear it!” Facebook Wall or email the photos to outreach@safeboatingcouncil.org. Show others that you “Wear It!”

Remember to stay tuned next week for more stories and safety tips! In the meantime, be safe on and off the water!