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Pontoon boats are fairly expensive non-commercial vessels. They generally set people back a pretty penny on purchase. Many people can handle the initial investment, but they are concerned about the maintenance cost. I’m guessing you are one of those people and want to know everything about maintaining them.
Pontoon boats are not high-maintenance per se. But you will have to do some maintenance at least once a year. But the good thing is, most of their parts are cheap and easily available. So, it won’t cost you a fortune.
“Are pontoon boats low maintenance investments?” – Many people ask that question hearing about how easy maintenance pontoons are. This is true for the most part.
But they are still transportation devices with all sorts of moving parts. And that means it will require some maintenance at some point.
And as a pontoon owner or buyer, you should educate yourself on this matter.
Is Owning a Pontoon Boat Too Much Work?
You will be happy to know that the answer to that is no. Pontoon boats are common, so the market is saturated with necessary parts. You won’t have to scour the market for spare parts if your vessel ever gets damaged. It’s also very cheap to get insurance for a pontoon boat, significantly cheaper compared to PWCs.
The first extra expense of owning a pontoon is the under skin. Most manufacturers do not supply the under-skin, and the ones that do can’t compare to aftermarket quality.
Under-skinning helps increase the speed, durability, and stability of the boat. That’s why, most people consider it a necessary investment on a new pontoon.
Whether or not are pontoons easy to maintain is the first thing people wonder before making their purchase. So, now you can rest assured.
List Pontoon Boat Essential Maintenance Requirements
Here is a list of maintenance tasks you will need to complete to keep the pontoon in tip-top shape:
1. Servicing the Engine
The engine is one of the most crucial parts of a pontoon boat. Boat engines need servicing more than cars because they run under extreme conditions. You can do this yourself if you are mechanically inclined.
The process involves cleaning the engine, replacing the filters, oil and checking for any residual damage.
Most people can do the oil change by themselves because it is a fairly easy thing to do. But they generally leave the more technical stuff for the actual mechanics.
You’ll need to go through this process at least once a year to keep your boat in perfect working order. An average pontoon boat should have a 100hp or larger outboard motor.
It takes a few hours to run maintenance on such an engine. The process will cost you a hundred to a few hundred bucks depending on your engine condition.
That kind of money is not much of an expense since you will only need to do it once or twice a year. Of course, there’s also an additional cost for your oil and spare parts (if necessary).
The oil prices change fairly frequently, and you will need octane 89 or something better depending on the kind of engine you have.
You’ll also need to go through a few additional steps against saltwater corrosion. But that would only happen if you run your pontoon on the sea.
2. Electrical System Check-up
Checking the electrics from time to time is an essential maintenance step. These things tend to break down faster than anything else on a pontoon boat. The cost of this type of maintenance is ambiguous at best.
You might not need to spend a penny if everything is in working order, or you might end up with a thousand-dollar repair fee for a faulty battery and/or other electrical replacement.
Marine batteries need more care than car batteries because they stay dormant for the majority of the year.
A pro tip for battery, never let it do a full discharge in storage. You can bring it back to life once or twice from a full discharge, but it will run out of life after that. The best solution for long-term storage is disconnecting them from the system.
Also, try to charge them fully before placing them in any kind of storage. That will reduce the chance of a full discharge. A well-preserved battery will last you at least a couple of years.
Winterizing is one of the more expensive maintenance tasks for a pontoon boat owner. Thankfully, you’ll only need to do it once every year.
Winterizing is not that technical, but I suggest getting professional help if you are not sure what you are doing.
Winterizing is crucial for protecting your boat. Any mistake with this process will lead to significant frost damage on your pontoon. Start by winterizing the fuel tank, followed by the engine.
If you have a running water system for some reason, you’ll need to put some antifreeze in there too.
You will need to add fuel stabilizers to the fuel tank and run the engine until the old fuel runs out. Store the engine in a safe place, preferably far away from the cold.
Try to keep it as upright as you can because storing an engine in a tilted position can and will damage it. After that, cover the boat with something to protect against the snow.
4. Upholstery Maintenance
The upholstery is the least technical part of a pontoon boat, so anyone can do its maintenance. But you can’t slack off though, the upholstery condition is crucial for keeping a pontoon boat’s price up.
You can clean most boats with some upholstery cleaner every few weeks and be done with it.
You might need a steam cleaner if you have top-quality upholstery. Sometimes, you will need to use it for regular furniture too to remove unwanted stains and whatnot.
No one wants to experience any olfactory or visual reminder of what happened on your last boat trip.
After cleaning though, you need to give it enough time to dry completely before covering the boat. If you cover it while there’s still moisture on the furniture, it can lead to molding.
It will also trap the rancid odor and you do not want to smell that on your next trip (trust me).
5. Cleaning The Hull
You’ll need to check the hull every season to make sure there’s no damage or anything. Cleaning the hull is also a crucial part of maintenance. Most people time their cleaning session with winter.
You can do this by yourself quite easily because there are no technical complications involved. Some simple car washing soap and clean water will get the job done.
However, you will need some marine wax and aluminum cleaner to add the finishing touches.
Those things make the boat look shinier and also increase the corrosion resistance of the metal parts.
If you are doing it yourself, then all you need to spend is the cost of cleaning supplies and a little bit of your time.
Are pontoon boats low maintenance investments? I’m sure you can answer that yourself by now. There’s some work involved, but it’s more of a seasonal chore.
The yearly maintenance, and the short checkups and cleaning sessions after each trip should not take too much time or money. The overall maintenance cost is also fairly low for such a large vessel compared to other boats.
If you want to learn more on pontoons and all things boating feel free to check out my other articles. Have a nice day!