How to Winterize Your Pontoon Boat

Winterizing your pontoon boat
Photo Courtesy of Bennington Boats

Freezing temperatures and icicles are perhaps the last things you think of when you think about your pontoon boat. Nevertheless, it’s important to prepare your pontoon boat for the worst of the winter months so that you can be worry and hassle-free when the spring thaw arrives at your lakefront home. Although many businesses offer winterization services for pontoon boats, they can be costly; especially when all they offer are easy techniques you can do yourself. If you plan ahead and take these few easy steps, you can save a bit of cash and protect your craft and your investment over the winter months. Also, you’ll have the pleasure of unwrapping a sparkling and ready-for-fun pontoon boat for the spring season.

•  Liquids. First, consider the fuels onboard that can be adversely affected in chilled temperatures.

•  Gasoline. Fill the gas tank on your pontoon to about three-quarters capacity. This minimizes the space for air condensing in the tank, but leaves room for the gas to expand during colder months. Add a fuel stabilizer to your gasoline tank. Also, stave off internal corrosion by switching off any valves and sealing off any exhaust ports.

•  Oil (for 4-cycle motors only). You also need to manage another vital fuel on your pontoon boat—oil. Turn on your engine for a few moments to warm it up and replace the oil in your pontoon boat with fresh oil before storing it for the winter. While doing this, replace your oil filters. Also, flush your engine to get rid of internal water that could lead to corrosion. Be aware that oil will settle in your engine over the winter months and will expose pistons and valves to damage. Avoid this situation by removing and spraying “fogging oil” into the spark plug holes. Finally, spray the inside of the engine’s carburetor with this same type of spray and replace the plugs without reconnecting the spark plug wires. Don’t turn your motor over with the wires removed, as this may damage the ignition system.

•  Circulate the fluids. If you have an outboard motor, make sure you cycle the motor up and down at least twice. In addition, leave it down when storing.

•  Inspections. Include some preventive maintenance during the winterization process so you can jump right back into the fun when spring arrives. Use this as an opportunity to remove any items that might need inspection, service, or replacement, such as lines, flares, or fire extinguishers. You should inspect the condition of your pontoon boat’s hub and propeller. After a long season of fun on your pontoon boat, your prop and hub can sustain minor and common wear and tear. The prop can suffer bends or nicks and the hub can show wear. If you notice any of these signs, replace the prop or the hub before storing your pontoon boat for the season.

•  Battery . Your battery will need to be charged before storing …

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Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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