how to stop algae from sticking to your pontoons

How to Stop & Prevent Algae from Sticking to Your Pontoons

There’s just a different kind of satisfaction with seeing your pontoon clean and pristine. But with the kind of environment that pontoons are built for, it’s really tough to keep your boat fresh and spotless for long. And while stains on seats and water spots on aluminum might be problematic enough, there’s the added stress of algae build-up.

Giving your boat a disgusting green tinge, algae build-up is more than just an aesthetic issue. And while there are lots of ways to clean the stuff off, isn’t prevention better than a cure? Here’s how to stop algae from sticking to pontoons.

How to Prevent Algae From Sticking to Your Pontoons

sea legs for pontoon boats to prevent algae build up

Obviously, you’re not the first person to ever have this problem. So the pontoon boat maintenance market has already come up with the solutions for this common cleaning issue. As of writing, there are four vetted options for preventing algae from sticking to the bottom of your pontoons, and here they are:

Sea Legs

Okay, so they’re kind of expensive, but if you’ve got the money for it, then it’s definitely an investment. Sea legs attach to the bottom of your pontoon and quite literally work as a set of legs that let you raise your boat out of the water when it isn’t in use.

This is a great option not only for preventing algae build-up but also for keeping your pontoon safely parked and out of the water to prevent other sorts of damage associated with extended exposure to moisture. Of course, the obvious trade-off is that they cost quite a lot.

Sea Lifts

The only difference between sea legs and sea lifts is that the lifts aren’t attached to your boat and are instead fixed to the dock. You essentially park your boat over the lifts, and then operate the lift so that it raises your vessel out of the water.

Are they cheaper than sea legs? Well, not exactly. But if you have an area at home where you can install the lifts, then they can be a pretty great investment.

Dry Docking

So maybe you don’t have the budget for something as expensive as sea lifts or legs right now. That’s totally acceptable. You could always just dry dock such as blocks & stands for your boat. Sure, it’s going to be a tedious process having to haul your pontoon out of the water every time, but keeping it away from moisture prevents algae from building up.

Anti-Fouling Paint

This specialized paint works to smoothen the surface of your pontoon boat’s bottom to give it a slick finish. The result is an ultra smooth area that doesn’t provide a place for algae to cling in the first place.

Keep in mind that anti-fouling paint can be expensive as well, costing roughly $2,000 if you get the service done by a professional. They also don’t last forever, with most coats wearing off after around 3 years after application.

Boat Bottom Wax

For those who are on a really tight budget, there’s boat bottom wax. Like anti-fouling paint, this stuff makes your pontoons extra smooth to prevent anything from clinging to the surface. It’s also dirt cheap, and doesn’t require any technical skill or know-how for proper application.

Remember though that boat bottom wax lasts even shorter than anti-fouling paint. There are also a bunch of factors that can affect how well it works, including the quality of the surface you wipe it on and the water conditions you use your boat in.

Best Bottom Boat Wax and Anti-Fouling Paint

antifouling paint to prevent algae on pontoon boats

There aren’t really a lot of choices for either of these products, but even then, there are a few stand-out picks. For bottom boat wax, checkout the Aurora Bottom Coat VS721 as it's one of the best choice. As a vetted product across the pontoon boat owner sphere, this bottom boat wax prevents a host of problems including algae, barnacles, zebra mussels, & osmosis blisters.

For best results, the manufacturer recommends using at least two coats which they provide instructions for application. The stuff should last for a whole boating season if applied correctly, which can definitely be more than enough if you’re looking to enjoy the good weather.

Anti-fouling paint is even more limited, and choices like Interlux YBA063/PT Trilux 33 Anti-Fouling Paint definitely comes out as the best choice you can find. The powerful paint works well on aluminum and leaves an opaque coat that blocks slime and algae. The stuff also works wonders to protect other fixtures like dock ladders.

How to Use Boat Bottom Wax

aurora alumbrite aluminum cleaner for pontoon boats

Because it is economical, boat bottom wax is often the product of choice for boat owners who want to protect their pontoon from algae and other gunk that might build-up over time. The stuff is pretty easy to apply and doesn’t really require any technical skill. But it helps to know the steps anyway:

Clean Your Tubes

Of course the first step would be to clean your tubes. Algex and a pressure wash should blast it off without a fuss. You can also apply Alumabrite afterwards to give the tubes a more prominent shine.

We recommend the Algex Bottom Clean and Alumabrite Aluminum Cleaner by Aurora.

Prep the Aluminum

The thing about boat bottom wax is that it works best when applied to a clean surface. So after getting rid of the algae, you’re also going to want to apply something like the Aurora Alumetron Clear Plymer Coating for Aluminum and wait four days for the stuff to cure.

Apply Boat Bottom Wax

VS721 works best when applied in two coats. But the manufacturer recommends waiting 24 hours before you apply a second coat. Make sure you get the stuff into crevices and hard-to-reach areas that might not be readily seen. After applying the second coat, wait 48 hours before launching your boat.

Algae-Free Pontoons

There are lots of ways on how to stop algae from sticking to pontoons, but if you’re looking for an economical choice, then boat bottom wax might be your best bet. Easy to apply and easy on the pocket, this swipe on solution might be able to keep your boat looking fresh and clean through the entire season.

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