Tips for Winterizing & Storing Your Pontoon Boat

Pontoon shrink wrapped for winter storage

Though many boaters are never quite ready to end to their season on the water, at some point we have to admit that winter is just around the corner. Winterizing your pontoon boat is an important part of overall maintenance that needs special attention. The process certainly isn’t as fun as spending a day at the lake. But taking the right steps will protect your investment and ensure your boat won’t encounter problems over the colder months and into the spring. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide on how to winterize your pontoon boat before storing it for the off-season.

Step 1: Clean Your Pontoon Boat

Clean out the Interior

Remove any equipment from the pontoon, such as fishing or water sports equipment, flotation devices, ladders, accessories – anything that’s not bolted down. Leaving these extra items on the boat while in storage creates a risk for mildew to form with any moisture that becomes trapped.  

You should also remove remove non-factory installed electronic equipment, such as external audio players, depth finders, or anything with batteries, and store these indoors to prevent damage or theft.

Give the floor and cushions a thorough cleaning, removing any dust, dirt, and food crumbs. Wipe everything down with a mild polish and let surfaces dry completely. This will reduce the chances of any mold or mildew growing in the interior of your boat and make your pontoon less inviting for any rodents looking for a place to call home during the winter.

You can leave a few mouse traps or poison out for prevention, but be sure to clean them up in the spring so any children or pets are not the first to find them. A non-toxic option is peppermint oil, which is a natural mouse repellent; mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and spray the cracks and corners of the boat where rodents might make their nests.

Clean off the Exterior

After taking your pontoon boat out of the water, check the exterior for any plants or mussels attached to your boat, as they will be much easier to remove now than in the spring. Spray down the boat’s exterior and let it dry before putting a cover on. You can also apply a polish to the sides and beneath your pontoon boat to reduce the chances of any rusting and so your pontoon will look great when you unveil it in the spring.

Step 2: Winterize the Engine and Fuel Tank

Since your engine will be dormant for a span of months, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly protected. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on preparing your engine for storage.

In cold temperatures, any lingering water in your pontoon boat’s engine will expand, resulting in cracking and damage. Once your boat is out of the water, you will likely need to drain all water and the coolant from your outboard or inboard engine and replace it with an antifreeze product that is propylene glycol based.

Lubricate the engine cylinders by spraying fogging oil into the carburetors and spark plug holes, following directions on the fogging oil package.

Finally, you’ll want to store the boat with a fuel tank that’s about 3/4 full. If the fuel has ethanol, add a fuel stabilizer to protect the fuel. This will prevent phase separation, which causes buildup at the fuel pickup over time, creating real problems if the engine if you start up the engine in this state.

Step 3: Charge and Store the Battery

If you plan on taking your pontoon boat out of the water, remove your battery and store it in a dry environment that’s close to room temperature, like your basement or storage closet. Make sure that the battery is fully charged before you store it away. You can take it to a marina, or sometimes an auto center, for them to test the battery and charge it up if necessary.

Step 4: Use the Right Winter Cover

Putting a tarp over your pontoon boat is better than having no cover at all, but there are many pontoon boat covers designed specifically for handling extreme temperature changes and lasting through a harsh winter. A good cover should be able to fit your boat snugly and should be able to expand and contract slightly to avoid ripping from temperature changes.

You’ll want to patch or repair any cracks or holes in the cover to prevent rodents from entering, and spray the cover with repellent to prevent chewing. Mice love to make nests in seat cushions on pontoon boats, which typically results in damaged cushions and a mess to clean up.

The biggest concern if your boat will be left out in the open is the potential for a pooling effect on the cover. If water collects on your cover, it can weigh down on the cover and damage it, or leak through to your pontoon boat. You want all moisture to slide right off, which is why many covers come with poles to prop up the cover. Throughout the winter, check to make sure there isn’t any pooling on your cover, and tend to it the best that you can if there is.

Another great option is to shrink wrap the pontoon. This ensures there is no space for water to pool or leak in, and you don’t have to worry about damage to the pontoon cover that you may use throughout the year. Shrink wrap kits can be purchased at marinas and online, but many pontoon boat owners choose to have a professional do it for them.

So there you have it! You’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your pontoon boat inside and out for storage over the winter. Now the countdown to next year’s boating season begins.

This article was originally posted on November 20, 2013. It has been updated with additional information on the winterizing process.

Pontoon Boat Names

While choosing a name for your pontoon boat may not seem very important, many boat owners consider it a critical step in getting a new boat. With all the money, maintenance, and care involved in boat ownership, and all the great times you’ll have on your new pontoon, it just seems right to give it a name. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite names for pontoon boats that we found or made up ourselves. While some names are fit for all boat types, many on the list are fit for pontoon boats only!

If you know some other great names for pontoon boats, tweet us at @manitoupontoons or post to our Facebook page, and we’ll be happy to include them here!

Auto-Toon

B-4 reel

Blue Toon

Branch Office

Break Time

Bull Fish

Called in Sick

Crave-a-Wave

Crewless

Dances With Waves

Dark Side of the Toon

Drivin’ Miss Lazy

Eat Drink and Remarry

Finally A Wake

Fish Tank

Fishful Thinking

For Play

For Reel

Get Reel

Good Toons

Harvest Toon

High Toon

Hot Air Pontoon

Knot So Fast

Knot Too Shabby

Knot Working

Lead Pontoon

License 2 Chill

Liquid Assets

Looney Toon

Man of the Toon

Men Who Stare At Boats

Miss Behavin’

Murphy’s Lure

National Pontoon’s Vacation

No Plane No Gain

O.Y. Knot

Over the Toon

Pond Toons

Post-it Boat

Reel Time

Rest-a-Shore

Shenanigans

Sick Day

Social Networking

Sunburn

The Incredible Hull

Thing 1 | Thing 2

Toon Machine

Toon Much Toon Soon

Tooned In

Tooned Out

What’s Knot to Like?

Y-Knot

This article was originally posted on December 4, 2013. It has been updated to fix broken formatting and include more names.

 

How Fast is a Pontoon Boat?

Manitou X-Plode Tritoon

A typical pontoon boat will travel at a rate of about 18 to 25 miles per hour. It may surprise you that these speeds are more than fast enough for a pontoon to be used for most water sports, like waterskiing and tubing. How fast a specific pontoon can go depends on the number of tubes beneath the deck, the size of the engine, and the load the boat is carrying. Pontoons aren’t usually known for their speed, but we’re doing what we can to change that.

How does a pontoon compare to a fiberglass boat?

Pontoon boats have a multi-hull aluminum structure and float through the water’s surface with a shallow draft. Pontoons can climb above the water and get to plane almost immediately when taking off, and they don’t experience as much horizon loss as speedboats and other fiberglass boats do when accelerating. Pontoons are designed to have maximum deck space and options for seating and entertaining, making them ideal for taking large groups out on the water. Accommodating these features means the average pontoon will be slower than the average fiberglass boat.

V-shaped hulls are the most common shape for fiberglass boats. These hulls have a deeper draft and are designed to displace water at lower speeds and lift the boat to plane at higher speeds. Boats designed to reach higher speeds have to sacrifice deck space, seating capacity, and other features to be more aerodynamic.

Fast pontoon boat design

Even if pontoons aren’t as fast as the average fiberglass boat, that doesn’t mean they have to be slow. Traditional two-tube pontoons are great for slower cruising speeds and a leisurely day on the lake. We’ve found that adding a third tube will not only make a pontoon more stable and buoyant, but with the right design, it can make a pontoon faster.

Here’s how we do it: Our tritoons are built with Manitou’s patented V-TOON hull technology. A larger center tube sits lower in the water, creating an optimal differential from the outer tubes to simulate a v-shaped hull. This means our tritoon boat mimics the physics of a v-hull boat. The tritoon will lift above the water and plane just like a fiberglass boat – only it will get to planing speed more quickly than a fiberglass boat. The V-TOON design also allows our pontoons to bank while turning, like v-hull boats do. Positive angle lifting strakes, available on the center tube on VP models, or all three tubes on SHP models, help our tritoons achieve a smooth plane. The results of these heavily-researched designs are improved acceleration and higher speeds than a typical pontoon boat can reach.

Manitou pontoons also have underskinning to reduce drag from water splashing up beneath the boat. The thick barracuda nosecones on our SHP models make the tubes strong enough to withstand higher speeds and rougher water.

What does all this mean for the tritoon’s speed? Well, with an average horsepower of about 165, our boats reach speeds of around 35 to 40 mph on average. And our 27 X-Plode XT SHP, a new length for 2018, recently reached 71 mph when equipped with two Mercury Racing 400R engines.

So yes, pontoons are generally slower than other powerboats…but they certainly don’t have to be boring! Check out our buyer’s guide to compare our pontoons and see what’s possible.

How to increase the speed and performance of a pontoon

Want a faster pontoon? In addition to the optimal experience a V-TOON hull gives, here are some ways you can maximize your pontoon’s speed and performance:

  • Add a second engine.
  • Add more horsepower.
  • Add underskinning.
  • Lighten the boat’s load.
  • Ensure the pontoons are clean below the waterline.
  • Lower the bimini cover.

 

If you’re interested in our performance pontoons, contact a Manitou dealer near you to start a discussion!

 

This article was originally posted on January 22, 2012 to celebrate the release of our X-Plode model. It has been updated to reflect the recent top speed of our X-Plode XT model.

 

BEL-RAY COMPANY, LLC. PROUDLY ANNOUNCES ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH MANITOU AS THE FACTORY FILL AND RECOMMENDED LUBRICANTS FOR ALL MANITOU PONTOON BOATS.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           

Contact: Debby Neubauer

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.

317-695-8610

debby.neubauer@clmt.com

 

BEL-RAY COMPANY, LLC. PROUDLY ANNOUNCES ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH MANITOU AS THE FACTORY FILL AND RECOMMENDED LUBRICANTS FOR ALL MANITOU PONTOON BOATS.

Indianapolis, Indiana (May 2, 2017) – World-renowned lubricants manufacturer, Bel-Ray® Company, LLC. is excited to announce their partnership with Manitou Pontoon Boats – positioning Bel-Ray Marine Products as the recommended lubricant of for all new Manitou Pontoon boats. Manitou proudly recommends Bel-Ray Marine lubricants for all current and future Manitou pontoon boat models. Manitou customers around the world can be confident knowing that they can maximize their boats performance by using one of the most technologically advanced lubricants available in the market today.

The complete line of Bel-Ray Marine lubricants will be used as the first fill for all Manitou pontoon boats. These products include: Bel-Ray HP Synthetic Blend 2-Stroke Oil, Bel-Ray Synthetic Blend and High Performance 4T Engine Oils, Bel-Ray High Performance Gear Oil, and Bel-Ray Full Synthetic Gear Oil, offering exceptional performance and extended reliability and fuel economy.

“Bel-Ray is proud to be working with the Manitou,” said Bel-Ray Marine General Manager Jim Self. “Much like Bel-Ray, Manitou is recognized as an industry leader and innovative company in boating. Their high performance pontoon boats are a perfect match for our high performance Bel-Ray lubricants.  The synergy created by the Bel-Ray-Manitou partnership is founded on a common desire to provide exceptional performance by making them run better and last longer by using superior products.

Scott VanWagenen, President of Manitou Boats, is the key driver behind the Bel-Ray Manitou partnership. “Both of our companies enjoy a high profile and we need a strong partner for both production and dealer support. Manitou and Bel-Ray are in the top of their respective fields with a passion for performance and a strong heritage as industry leaders. Our shared passion and obvious synergies make this an excellent partnership. We at Manitou look forward to raising the bar once again together with Bel-Ray.”

Proven performance and protection are the hallmark of Bel-Ray specialty lubricants. Boating enthusiasts worldwide can now find these products at thousands of marine dealers via Bel-Ray’s worldwide distribution network located at. www.belray.com. For more information about the Manitou Bel-Ray partnership and the extensive Bel-Ray Marine lubricant product line, please contact Jim Self at jim.self@belray.com.

About Bel-Ray Company, LLC.

Bel-Ray Company, LLC. was founded in 1946 and serves the lubrication needs of marine, powersports, industrial and mining customers worldwide. The Bel-Ray superior Marine lubricants line that delivers top quality Made-in-the-USA lubricants and service products to marine vehicle enthusiasts around the world. Bel-Ray products are available at marine dealers worldwide. Visit BelRay.com for a complete dealer listing. Find the right lubricant for your equipment with Bel-Ray’s Lubricant Advisor. Like us on Facebook.com/BelRayCompany or follow us on Twitter/Instagram.

About Manitou

Manitou, leading pontoon manufacturer of high performance pontoon boats, leads the way with their tradition of delivering exquisite style, luxury, and industry-defining performance. From luxury models and leisure models to angler models with hundreds of options and superior customization, Manitou Pontoon Boats are the choice of high performance luxury pontoon boats in the industry today. For more information about Manitou, visit http://www.manitoupontoonboats.com.

When Water Sports Meet Pontoon Boats

What’s better than floating along in your pontoon boat? How about waterskiing or tubing behind the back of it while your friends drive you around? When you’re out on the lake cruising around, you can take things up a notch with a number of pontoon-friendly water sports, including wakeboarding and kneeboarding. There is more to it than just cranking up the speed, though. It is important to always put safety first and stay at the appropriate speed to keep things fun and friendly.

While traditional waterskiing is best done with the boat going between 21 and 26 mph, slow it down to about 16-20 mph when tubing. You should also equip your pontoon with an engine that is capable of reaching the speed you need, as well as equipment storage solutions and a tow bar. With the right gear on your pontoon, you and your friends will be able to enjoy your favorite water sports in no time!

5 Things Your Dog Needs to Go Pontoon Boating

There is nothing better than spending time with family and friends out on the water. While you’re enjoying the sun and the water, why not bring along your dog to join in on the fun? Before heading out on your pontoon boat, though, it is important to get your furry friend the stuff he or she needs so your dog can have fun and be comfortable, too.

Start by purchasing a doggy life jacket, which will make it easy for your dog to float around in the water even if he is not a strong swimmer. Next, be sure to add a floating dog ramp to your boat so that your dog can easily get back on board without issue.

Everyone knows that dogs love jumping into water, especially when you throw their favorite toy. A floating ball is the perfect accessory because you can easily keep the game of fetch going all day. When on the pontoon, your dog also needs a tether and harness to stay safe, as well as a cooling bed to keep from overheating. Learn more about how to get these accessories from Manitou!

Manitou Sweeps McKainer Barrel Race Again

Our race team has grown accustom to winning the Pontoon & Deckboat Magazine barrel races having done so the last three years. Perhaps these 3 previous years of domination have kept the competition away; only one other company arrived to see how they stacked up to V-Toon Technology. Even the new, dual engine category, could not entice any competition out to the event. The entire article about last September’s event from Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine can be read below.

To find out more or subscribe to Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine follow this link www.harrispublishing.com/pontoon-deck-boat

National Manufacturing Day

Lansing, MI – On October 7th the Capital Area Manufacturing Council (CAMC) conducted multiple tours of local manufacturing companies to recognize National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). The goal of this event was to expose Middle and High School students and teachers to the strong Manufacturing Industry in the Lansing, MI area.  Manitou Pontoon Boats was 1 of the 18 manufacturing facilities that participated in this event by hosting two groups of students and teachers.  The group that came learn about and tour the facility was the engineering, welding, and machining students and teachers from the Capital Area Career Center Mason in Mason. For more information on CAMC follow this link www.camconline.org/mfgday.php

img_5120 img_5112 img_1875 img_1874 img_5114

How to Launch a Boat the Right Way

There’s nothing worse than hitting the lake and realizing you don’t know how to properly launch your boat. By the time you pull up to the ramp, it’s too late to take a crash course in maneuvering. Instead, save yourself both time and embarrassment by taking a moment now to learn how to launch your boat the correct way.

That means preparing ahead of time by disconnecting electrical outlets and stowing all safety equipment, transom straps, and mooring lines inside the boat. It also means learning how to back up into the water slowly and in a straight line, making only fine-tuned corrections until the water is just above the wheels of the trailer. To get the best results, practice your moves ahead of time in an empty parking lot. That way, you’ll be ready for launching the moment you pull up to the ramp.

Follow these simple steps outlined in our infographic, and you won’t have to fiddle haphazardly with your mooring lines and winch straps to the tune of honking horns and the shouts of impatient drivers.

Wireframe_Infographic_Manitou-Pontoon-Boats_Aug-2-2016_KP-2

 

Manitou Expands – Moving forward by moving in (Complete article can be read by scrolling to the bottom of the page)

Work smarter, not harder was the general idea behind the decision to relocate Triton Industries and the pontoon manufacturing plant to a larger building after years of working in a tight 50,000-square-foot building while still producing beautiful boats. In 2011, demand was growing for its high-end Manitou pontoons and the Delta Township facility in Michigan could no longer keep the secret quiet, relocating was unavoidable. President Scott VanWagenen was hesitant to break the team into two shifts and knew it was just a matter of time until they would be forced to move if they wanted the company to continue to grow. “We couldn’t stay where we were,” recalls the Triton Industries president, stressing the difficult choice for the company that was founded in Lansing in 1985 and then relocated to the Delta Township building ten years later. There was also pressure to move near suppliers in Indiana and the sad reality was the innovative designs its R&D team was coming up with couldn’t be easily produced in their current facility at that time. But then a building went on the market in nearby Watertown Township in the spring of 2014 and new hope was discovered. With the help of Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Lansing Economic Area Partnership and grants that brought sewer lines to the building, the $6 million, 144,000-square-foot facility became Manitou’s home. Transformation Triton Industries now owned the building and the 10 acres of land that came with it, but it wasn’t exactly turn key ready. The building previously owned by Wolverton Industries needed to be converted from a pet food distributor warehouse to an updated pontoon manufacturing plant and that wasn’t going to be easy. “The biggest steps were electrical, like running the power we needed for all of the machinery and a fire suppression system, along with an access road all the way around the building for the fire department,” says Greg VanWagenen, the director of marketing and communications at Triton Industries. “Then air hoses, power lines, as well as a heavy modification to the offices that were in really bad shape. There hadn’t been a lot of upkeep over the years so we had problems with the roof, painting outside, plus adding offices inside the actual plant. It really looks like a new building now and some people might think that if they didn’t know the history of it.”

PDB (2 of 3)

PDB (2 of 3)

 

Manitou Expands

Moving forward by moving in

By Brady L. Kay

 

Work smarter, not harder was the general idea behind the decision to relocate Triton Industries and the pontoon manufacturing plant to a larger building after years of working in a tight 50,000-square-foot building while still producing beautiful boats. In 2011, demand was growing for its high-end Manitou pontoons and the Delta Township facility in Michigan could no longer keep the secret quiet, relocating was unavoidable.

President Scott VanWagenen was hesitant to break the team into two shifts and knew it was just a matter of time until they would be forced to move if they wanted the company to continue to grow.

“We couldn’t stay where we were,” recalls the Triton Industries president, stressing the difficult choice for the company that was founded in Lansing in 1985 and then relocated to the Delta Township building ten years later. There was also pressure to move near suppliers in Indiana and the sad reality was the innovative designs its R&D team was coming up with couldn’t be easily produced in their current facility at that time.

But then a building went on the market in nearby Watertown Township in the spring of 2014 and new hope was discovered. With the help of Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Lansing Economic Area Partnership and grants that brought sewer lines to the building, the $6 million, 144,000-square-foot facility became Manitou’s home.

Transformation

Triton Industries now owned the building and the 10 acres of land that came with it, but it wasn’t exactly turn key ready. The building previously owned by Wolverton Industries needed to be converted from a pet food distributor warehouse to an updated pontoon manufacturing plant and that wasn’t going to be easy.

“The biggest steps were electrical, like running the power we needed for all of the machinery and a fire suppression system, along with an access road all the way around the building for the fire department,” says Greg VanWagenen, the director of marketing and communications at Triton Industries. “Then air hoses, power lines, as well as a heavy modification to the offices that were in really bad shape. There hadn’t been a lot of upkeep over the years so we had problems with the roof, painting outside, plus adding offices inside the actual plant. It really looks like a new building now and some people might think that if they didn’t know the history of it.”

Increased Production

Today with a building that is over two-and-a-half times larger than the former location, the workforce has continued to expand and now includes a total of 118 employees. Manitou’s growth has not only earned it recognition from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, but now quality pontoon boats are being built at a pace of around 40 a week.

“We’re doing on average two more boats in an eight hour day,” says Greg. “In our old building if we were averaging six boats a day we’d be occasionally staying late or working Saturdays and almost all of that was due to the space and the constraints the old building gave us. One of the biggest advantages is our finishing and quality control with the lighting and being able to see any issues with the boats and being able to check them off at the end. If something is wrong we’re able to push the boat aside and wait until we can fix it and get it out the door, where before if one boat stopped it stopped all the boats in the production line because we didn’t have the room to juggle things around.”

Part of the demand to have more pontoons built each week is credited to Russ Hafner, the company’s sales manager who according to Greg has done a great job getting reps in place and building its dealer network, “Russ has done a great job, especially in the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas markets where we didn’t have a lot of representation before.”

Room For Innovation

Besides the overall expanded number of boats rolling off the assembly line each day, the new facility now makes it possible to further explore those innovative designs and features Manitou is best known for. In fact, according to Greg, the new X-Plode XT and Legacy LT models that were released last year with the fiberglass walls wouldn’t have been possible without their new building.

“The XT and LT models couldn’t have been developed and we could never offer something like a twin engine boat that we’ve started working on,” says the marketing director. “The R&D department now has the proper area to test and build new models and workout any kinks those models might have and we didn’t have that in our other building. There was no where to work on a single boat and bring it out and in to tweak things. It was a lot of work before and a lot of juggling.”

Twins?

Intentional or not, news of the twin engine Manitou Legacy was now out, which had the PDB staff that was on hand for the facility tour asking the obvious question, “can we see this twin engine Manitou?”

As we walked into the R&D section of the building we were met by Dave Curtis, the vice president of operations and inventor of the V-Toon who had a big grin on his face. He was beyond excited to show us what he had been working on. Since joining the company back in the late 80s as a welder right out of high school, Dave has been the mastermind behind a lot of other key developments that help distinguish Manitou pontoon from its competitors.

Others in this area who have been instrumental in the development of the twin engine Manitou included R&D engineer Jon Miller as well as Tim Peters who is best known for his driving abilities as the official boat tester.

“Again, part of it is the space,” explained Greg as we walked around the prototype model. “We didn’t have the space we needed before to do some of the things we wanted to do and this twin engine model is something we really wanted to do.”

With room to now grow, the sky is once again the limit for Triton Industries. Looking back on all that Manitou was able to accomplish out of its old building, it’s kind of exciting to imagine what this Michigan-based manufacturer will come out with next.

“This building marks the beginning of a lot of new and fun things for Manitou,” concluded the Triton Industries president. “We’ve done a great job so far but really the future is ahead of us.”