how to cover a pontoon boat for winter

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Winterizing Your Pontoon Boat: A Comprehensive Guide to Effective Covering

As winter’s icy embrace approaches, pontoon boat owners are confronted with the crucial task of winterizing their beloved vessels. Among the paramount steps in this winterization process is ensuring that your pontoon boat is meticulously covered. A well-executed covering strategy not only shields your boat from the unforgiving elements but also acts as a robust defense against potential damages induced by freezing temperatures.

The Significance of Winter Covering

Why is it imperative to cover your pontoon boat for the winter? The answer unfolds in a series of protective layers:

  1. Exterior Armor: Shielding your boat from snow, ice, and the biting cold ensures the longevity of its exterior. This preventive measure is particularly crucial in safeguarding vinyl or fiberglass surfaces from the perils of cracking or fading due to prolonged exposure to the harsh winter weather.
  2. Unwanted Guests Barrier: A securely covered boat serves as an impregnable fortress against unwanted pests or critters attempting to turn your boat into their winter abode. It also acts as a deterrent against potential damages caused by debris such as fallen leaves or branches that might find their way inside.

Step-by-Step Guide for Effective Winter Covering

1. Thorough Cleaning and Drying

Embark on your winterizing journey by ensuring that your pontoon boat is in a pristine state – thoroughly cleaned and completely dry. This proactive step is instrumental in preventing the growth of mold or mildew during the period of hibernation under the cover.

2. Gather Necessary Materials

Equip yourself with the arsenal needed for this winterizing battle:

  • Boat Cover: Opt for a boat cover meticulously designed to snugly fit your pontoon boat. The cover must be crafted from durable, waterproof material to withstand the winter onslaught.
  • Support Poles and Straps: Depending on your boat’s unique features, consider employing support poles to prevent potential canopy collapse. Additional straps fortify the cover, ensuring it remains steadfast against the whims of strong winter winds.

3. Secure the Cover

Initiate the covering ritual by delicately draping the cover over your pontoon boat. Pay meticulous attention to centering the cover and ensuring comprehensive coverage. Subsequently, employ straps or tie-downs to secure the cover in a steadfast embrace, preventing any untimely dislodgment in the face of robust winter gusts.

4. Use Support Poles (If Necessary)

For pontoon boats adorned with canopies or structures susceptible to the weight of accumulated snow, strategically position support poles. This precautionary measure mitigates the risk of structural damage due to heavy snowfall.

5. Check for Gaps

Conduct a thorough inspection of the cover, scrutinizing it for potential gaps. Seal any voids that might serve as entry points for moisture or debris using additional straps or bungee cords. This extra layer of vigilance ensures an impenetrable shield.

6. Snow Removal

For pontoon boat owners residing in regions blessed (or burdened) with heavy snowfall, adopt a proactive stance by routinely removing accumulated snow from the cover. The excess weight from snow accumulation poses a potential threat, capable of causing damage to both the boat and its protective cover.

Additional Winterizing Tips for Pontoon Boats

  1. Drain Plug Removal: Before initiating the covering process, ensure the removal of all drain plugs. This simple yet crucial step allows for the drainage of excess water, preventing freezing and potential damage to the hull.
  2. Moisture Control Measures: Combat the insidious growth of mold or mildew by strategically placing a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers inside the boat during its winter hiatus.
  3. Consider Custom-Made Covers: Elevate your winterizing strategy by investing in a custom-made cover tailored specifically for your pontoon boat. This bespoke approach guarantees a perfect fit, maximizing protection against the winter elements.


Devoting time and effort to the meticulous covering of your pontoon boat for winter serves as an investment in its prolonged health and performance. By adhering to this comprehensive guide and incorporating additional winterizing tips, you fortify your pontoon boat against the seasonal trials of winter. Regularly check on your covered vessel throughout the winter months, ensuring its continued security and cleanliness. As you bid adieu to the bustling boating season, revel in the peace of mind that emanates from knowing your pontoon boat is cocooned in a protective embrace. Happy winterizing!

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