There’s a lot to consider when buying a pontoon boat. But while prices, warranties, and features might eat up most of your mental bandwidth, other factors like storage should also receive unique attention. Pontoon boat maintenance is no simple feat, so having a safe, secure, and clean space to store your pontoon during the off-season can help keep it in tip top shape.
Of course, your first instinct would be to haul that thing into your garage, but you might be underestimating your pontoon boat’s size or overestimating your garage space. So, it pays to ask -- can a pontoon boat fit in a garage?
Here’s what you need to know.
Ideal Garage Size for Pontoon Boat Storage
To better determine how much space your garage has to have, it’s important to know how big pontoon boats are in the first place. Keep in mind though that these measurements aren’t set in stone, and manufacturers are free to design their pontoon boats in various sizes without having to follow a specific blue print.
Length in Feet
Small pontoon boats
12 to 19 feet
Medium sized pontoon boats
20 to 40 feet
Large pontoon boats
30 to 60 feet
And that’s just the length. While it is possible for your garage to be long enough to fit a pontoon boat, your entryway will determine if it can accommodate your pontoon boat’s width. Pontoon boat’s can measure anywhere from 8 feet to 12 feet in width, with some boats stretching the limits to 14 feet and beyond.
Of course, your boat is one thing, but the trailer it sits on is an entirely different consideration. According to manufacturers, your trailer should be an average of 4 feet longer than your boat (see our guide to pontoon trailer lengths). It also helps to factor in the added height when you toss your pontoon boat on a trailer, which can be anywhere from 3 to 5 feet.
Tips for Fitting a Pontoon Boat in a Garage
So maybe you did the math and on paper, it looked like your pontoon of choice would fit perfectly into your garage. But now that your shiny new boat is here, it seems your garage might be a little too cramped to accommodate it.
Before you head back to the dealership and downgrade to a smaller boat, here are some tips you can try to fit your pontoon in your garage.
Get Rid of Clutter
Maybe there’s just too much stuff eating up floor space in your garage. Get rid of clutter on the floor and try to utilize your vertical space a little more. Install shelving units along the upper edges of your garage walls to make room down below.
It also helps to remember that lots of little critters might try to make a home of your pontoon boat while it’s in storage. So getting rid of any clutter, old boxes, and whatever else you have lying around in your garage can help deter creepy crawlies and pests that might be looking for a cozy place to call home.
Try a Swing-Away Tongue
That tongue hitch at the front of your trailer takes up a good foot or more, despite being really nothing more than a reinforced metal tube. If your garage is a tight fit, then perhaps swinging away that tongue can give you enough room to push your boat and trailer all the way so that its tail end doesn’t jut out of the door.
Not all trailers come with a swing-away tongue, but you should be able to get one installed. Once swung out of the way, you can have over a foot of extra space to fit your pontoon boat and trailer snugly in your garage space.
Optimize Your Strategy
If you’ve got loads of garage space and a wide open driveway, then you might not need to do too much practice to get your pontoon boat to fit. But if the driveway leading up to your garage curves or turns right before the entryway, or if your garage space is just enough to fit your boat, then you might have to come up with a parking strategy.
Move slowly and consider the angles as you go along. Even better, you can try getting an assistive device like a Trailer Valet to move your pontoon boat in place with exact precision. What’s particularly effective about the Trailer Valet is that it lets you move your boat more accurately, allowing you to maneuver tight spaces and make sharp turns.
Take Out Some Tire Air
Interesting fact: pontoon boats can measure over 11 feet tall when sitting on a trailer. That said, the minimum garage door height for a pontoon boat should be a few inches more than 11 feet. Now, not all garage spaces are designed to accommodate vehicles of that size. So you might find that your boat scrapes your ceilings when you try to get it in.
If there’s only about a few inches of contact, you can remedy the situation by simply taking out some of the air from your trailer tires. Do note that this will be a delicate process, and you might not see a height difference of more than an inch or two. But if your boat is just about the right height and in need of just a little extra clearance space, this should do the trick.
Renovate Your Garage
When everything’s been said and done, and your pontoon boat just can’t fit, then it might be time to get a renovation done. Some boat owners have a pontoon boat shed built just for the purpose of off-season storage. Even if it might cost you an extra penny today, that dedicated storage space can save you three or four times its cost in pontoon boat maintenance and repairs.
And That’s on Storage
Can you store a pontoon boat in a garage? Well, that all depends on whether or not it fits. No doubt, keeping your pontoon boat properly tucked in for the season can help prevent a sundry of damages that could cost you a steep price. But if your garage is just a little too snug, you can try these actionable tips to get your pontoon boat and trailer safely stowed away until spring rolls around the corner.