How to Winterize a Pontoon Boat? Complete Guideline

With prices shooting up sky high, it’s only normal being a little paranoid about them. You’d want the boat to last decades, so maybe you can gift it to your kids on their 18th birthday.

However, with this age of capitalistic markets, not all companies think about making things last that long.

But a few simple steps can help keep things in top condition. One of them would be to winterize your pontoon before going to the off season. You could also get it done by a professional.

However, if you’ve gone through the trouble of scouring the internet for the best rated pontoon boats, then you might as well read this article.

Why Do You Need it, Though?

Regular maintenance of any vehicle is necessary; most people maintain this with proper usage. However, if you're not using it for a long time, you tend to disregard them. During the winter season, especially, using your boat in the cold is something no one wants to do.


During these months, the cold climate and the dangerous conditions are enough to damage your ship critically. You don't only have to worry about barnacles and moss developing on your hull but also might have to face engine failures, dead batteries, and damages to the exterior of the ship.

Follow these few simple tips and tricks to avoid having to shove out thousands of dollars for repairs.


This is a necessary step that you need to take before storing your boat. It involves cleaning your entire boat from the inside and out.

A thorough cleaning of the interior allows you to take away any form of water that builds upon the deck or on the seats of the boat. This, if left unattended for long, would create mildew, rotting the ship from the inside.


On the outside, the hull attracts a variety of elements. Not only are we talking about the pollution present in the water, but we're also referring to the elements occurring naturally, such as grime, moss, barnacles. You should make sure to give the hull a good rub.

After you cleaned the hull, put a few layers of wax on the surface. This will create a protective layer and prevent any form of build up over the winter. Make sure you get cleaning done before winter, as once the grime and sludge harden, they become challenging to remove.

Clear out the Boat

While you're cleaning, make sure you remove anything that isn't attached or bolted down. Clear out towels, floatation devices, tubes, Wakeboards, and fishing equipment are some of the things you should have a lookout for.

Special emphasis on anything made of foam or cloth, these absorb or might trap water and will develop mildew if not tended to. You should also remove any electrical equipment, as these may not last the cold temperatures or might be stolen.

Engine Trouble

Winter is a nasty time for the engines! Be that a car engine or a boat engine, all face the same consequences in winter. Added your engine will be sitting dormant for that period, makes it even more dangerous.

To prevent the cold from getting the best of your engine, follow these basic steps:


Rust develops quite easily when the engine is kept stagnant for a long period. Run in some fogging oil into the carburetor; this fluid should be put into the engine while the engine is functioning.

The fogging oil might cause the engine to produce white smoke, but don't be worried, this is pretty normal. Run the fogging oil into the engine until you force it to stall. This means that you've been able to spread the oil inside the carburetor successfully. So, you don't have to worry about any rust forming over that season.

Spark Plug

Disconnect and remove the spark plugs from their casing, clean up the casing by blowing some air to remove dust. Once that's done, spray in some fogging oil into the spark plugs cylinder, as well. This will prevent any form of corrosion from taking place in the cylinder.

Once you’ve coated the spark plug cylinders, make sure to run the engine once without the spark plugs inserted. This will spread the fluid and provide a protective layer throughout. Next, replace the plugs without connecting the cables, making it ready for storage.

Gas Tank

Empty your gas tank of the fuel you regularly use and fill up the tank with ethanol-free gas. The ethanol-free gas might be a little expensive; however, it's important as the gas with ethanol in it will gunk up the pipes and the engine.

Also, make sure the fuel tank is filled up 3/4th of the way; this is necessary as an empty tank will be more prone to condensation. Leaving the floor open will cause corroding not only to the fuel tank but also to the fuel pipes and engine bay.


Considering the boat is going to be in very low temperatures, we'd recommend that you switch to propylene glycol-based antifreeze. This is not only better for storage in extremely cold climates. But, it will also provide services to your engine, added that it's also non-toxic, making it better for the environment.


You’re going to want to disconnect your battery if you plan on leaving your boat unused for too long. As keeping it connected will completely drain it out over time. Before you put away the battery, make sure you recharge it fully. Also, keep it inside somewhere that is dry and cool not to damage the battery.

For those who plan on keeping it in the outdoor, fully recharge the battery and keep it connected. This will allow the bilge pump to continue to function when required; in that case, however, you might have to top off your battery once every month.

Covering It Up

The last and one of the most crucial steps is to cover up your boat. If you're keeping the boat outdoors, make sure you use high quality and fitting pontoon boat cover.


This will be the only thing that'll be protecting your boat from nature's forces, so don't cheap out when it comes to this! The cover needs to be securely tightened down, and not to let snow or rain pool up on the boat.

On the other hand, if you're considering keeping the boat inside. Then don't worry; any decent cover will be enough to protect your pontoon from moisture and dust.

However, the best way to protect your boat would be to use a shrink wrap. Taking away any possibilities of the cover sagging or blowing away, a shrink wrap is designed to prevent the boat from being harmed in the worst of conditions.

The only problem you'll face is, you might have to call in an expert, as the tools and knowledge may not be available to you.


Taking care of any machine will help make it last a lifetime. Just make sure you take the time out of your busy schedules to treat things the way they’re meant to be.

Because at the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned boat. And wasting that by not tending properly will not only make you lose out but also the world of its limited resources.

Last Updated on March 9, 2021