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.

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.

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.”

How the Pontoon Boat Is Redefining Boating

When many people think of pontoon boats, they see a wooden platform stabilized on wooden or steel barrels. While these were definitely the start of pontoons decades ago, the technology has advanced to give people a faster, smoother, and more luxurious experience out on the water. Nowadays, pontoon boats are made entirely with fiberglass to reduce weight without sacrificing stability. Like in other types of boats, pontoons now have traditional hulls to help with steering, and furniture built into the fiberglass to maximize space and efficiency.

Luxury pontoon boats are growing in popularity because they allow families to take part in all of the activities they want. In addition to fishing, you are able to use your pontoon boat for entertainment and watersports. Newer models come equipped with fire pits, cooler space, a barbecue grill, and even a waterslide. Rather than having to slowly float on the water, a 300-horsepower engine allows you to travel up to 65 mph. Learn more about how pontoon boats are redefining boating today.

 

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Traits of the Best Pontoon Boats

What makes a great pontoon boat? If you are looking for a new boat to buy, or want to upgrade your existing pontoon, there are a number of features to incorporate to ensure that you have everything you need when you next go out on the water. Here are some features that make Manitou pontoon boats stand out from the competition.

  • 24-can cooler on board
  • Portable table to relax
  • Marine Vinyl furniture
  • Powder coated walls and rails

When picking out a pontoon boat, you want to be able to infuse your personality, as well. You can add on a BBQ grill for your pontoon, to cook for family and friends, as well as a water slide. If you’re interested in floating out on the lake in the evenings, you can also add a fire pit to keep warm. One of the best reasons to get a pontoon boat in the first place is that it gives you the opportunity to do the things you love whenever you are out on the water.

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How to Turn Your Pontoon Boat into the Ultimate Summer Retreat

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Now that summer has officially started, it is time to get your pontoon boat back into the water. When the temperature creeps up, there is no better way to spend time with family and friends than by making your pontoon the ultimate summer retreat. You’ll have the perfect weather for tubing, wakeboarding, water skiing, and more, so make sure that you have everything you need to rule the water this summer.

In terms of water sports, you’ll need a pontoon boat with an engine that can get speeds up to 26 mph. A 90-HP engine is a good start, while having 115 HP gives you a little extra. Interested in lounging on your pontoon all day, instead? Start by having the ultimate cookout at home and bringing a picnic aboard the boat, complete with sandwiches, burgers, salads, and drinks. Decorating your pontoon with themed accessories is the perfect way to throw the ultimate floating party.

For adults and children alike, ensure that you have plenty of life vests, and that everyone is aware of boating safety guidelines before you leave the dock. Remember to obey all laws and regulations concerning boating; doing so will allow you to turn your pontoon boat into the one-stop place for fun this summer.

Getting Your Pontoon Ready for Spring

As soon as the cold weather starts to lift and the snow begins to melt, it is the perfect time to take your pontoon back out on the water where it is meant to be. However, it is important to first make sure that you have done everything you need to de-winterize your pontoon in order to ensure that it is in prime shape once spring rolls around. When preparing your pontoon to get back into the water after winter, be sure to give it a thorough inspection.

In addition to checking the oil and flushing the cooling system, check all aspects of the motor and fuel line for any cracks or other damage. This way you will be able to get any necessary repairs completed beforehand to avoid causing further harm to the engine and boat. Spark plugs, shifters, and safety mechanisms should also be closely inspected for wear and tear.

Being thorough with your pontoon will allow you to get ready for spring so that you do not miss a single day out on the water when the time comes. Make your checklist now to start preparing.

Getting Your Pontoon Ready for Spring

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How to Winterize Your Pontoon

Now that the winter is rapidly approaching, it is time to take the necessary steps to winterize your pontoon and ensure that your boat is in top shape when you get ready to take it back out on the water. Although it sounds like a no-brainer, the first thing you’ll need to do is secure a location for your boat out of the water.

If you decide to keep your boat in the water, keep in mind that you may notice decreased performance due to the colder water. Be sure to check your battery and fluids to ensure that they are clean before putting the boat away for the winter. Other steps to take when winterizing your pontoon include:

  • Replace the oil and oil filters before storing.
  • Drain all coolant and water, and replace with antifreeze.
  • Remove all valuables so they are not damaged or stolen.
  • Clean your pontoon inside and out.

The most vital step in protecting your pontoon this winter is to choose the right cover. Whether you store it inside or outside, having the perfect cover is essential. Once you have completed these steps, you will be able to keep your pontoon secure and protected throughout the winter.

how-to-winterize-your-pontoon

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Make the Most of your Summer on the Lake

Fun in the Sun
Summer is here and that means months of fun. Since the summer heat doesn’t last for long, it’s important to make the most of your summer. The best place to do this is on the lake. If you live on or near a body of water, here are a few things you can do to have a summer full of fun.

Water Tubing
One of the funnest activities to do on the lake is go water tubing. People of all ages can enjoy this activity since it does not require much skill or ability. This is a great activity to do with larger groups since more than one person can get on the water tube.

Boating
Boating is another lake activity that can make your summer complete. Pontoon boats especially are great for relaxing days on the lake. You can usually fit a lot of friends and family comfortably. Also, if you get warm while on your boat, you can take a quick dip in the lake since pontoon boats are easy to get in and out of. And if you own a pontoon boat, there are tons of accessories you can add to make your boat customized to your liking.

Make the Most of your Summer on the Lake

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