We’ve all heard of winterizing your pontoon boat, but have you ever heard of winterizing an inflatable pontoon boat? Probably not. What you can do however is to properly store it for the colder months or when you're not using it.
One of the perks of an inflatable pontoon is that it takes up much less space than its full-sized counterpart. So when winter rolls around the corner, you can just toss it in storage. But of course, it’s not always obvious how to store an inflatable pontoon boat, and that’s what this guide is for.
Different Ways to Store an Inflatable Pontoon Boat
There are to immediately apparent ways to store a pontoon boat -- the first is fully inflated, and the second is deflated. Here’s what you need to know about both:
Storing an Inflated Pontoon Boat
Now, if you’re like most people who just want to get the job done, then throwing your pontoon boat as is into your garage and throwing a sheet over it might seem like an easy way to tick the task off of your list. But you have a whole winter season to consider.
With time, an inflatable pontoon boat will lose its air, just like anything else. So if you’re going to toss it into storage fully inflated, you’re going to have to come back at regular intervals to pump it back up to its fullest form.
Another thing about storing an inflated pontoon boat is that you may risk some damage over time. As the boat loses its air, different parts can embed into the material and cause holes and tears. Plus, a partially inflated pontoon can get folds and creases, making it the perfect place for little critters to see refuge from the cold.
That said, storing a pontoon boat full inflated with air might not be the best idea. But then again, it’s still doable especially if you’ve got the patience to keep coming back to check how it’s doing.
Storing a Deflated Pontoon Boat
Now we’re talking. A deflated pontoon boat takes up far less space, truly living out its promise to be a compact boating solution for those who don’t have the room for a full-sized boat. Other than that, deflating a pontoon for storage also minimizes the risk of damage.
Once you get all the air out, it’s part of protocol to roll in up and toss it into a storage bag to keep it safe from the elements. This also means that your pontoon becomes less prone to pests that might decide they need a warm place to stay throughout the winter.
What’s more, deflating a pontoon boat means you get to reduce any stress on its hardware, ensuring that the vinyl material stays intact and puncture-free throughout its stint in storage.
How to Properly Store an Inflatable Pontoon Boat During Winter
There’s a lot more to winter inflatable boat storage than you might think. Of course, deflating it might seem like a total no-brainer by now, but you can’t just take the air out, fold it up, and be done with it.
Here’s a quick step by step on what you need to do:
#1 - Clean It
Storing your boat fresh from the water poses a number of problems. For starters, tucking it away with all the dirt, contamination, and moisture means you’re creating the perfect place for bacteria, mold, and mildew to thrive.
Before those colder days come rolling around, make sure you clean your inflatable pontoon boat thoroughly. Go for a cleaning agent like Star Brite (or see some more of the best inflatable pontoon boat cleaners here) to get rid of dirt and debris. Bonus points if you can clean it with distilled water to prevent minerals from resting on the boat surfaces.
And then of course there’s the drying part. The last thing you want is to store a wet boat that just invites bacteria and other unwanted growth. As a general rule, you want it to be completely dry -- and we mean zero moisture.
#2 - Fold It Up
Try to fold it up as neatly as possible, making sure you’re not pulling the vinyl away from hardware that’s fixed on the boat. You don’t have to get it to fold too small, so make sure you try to keep things loose so you don’t apply any unnecessary tension on the material.
Once you’ve got it nice and folded, it wouldn’t hurt to toss it into a duffle bag or a storage bag. Go for something like the Jalousie storage bags. This just helps make sure it stays folded, and that no pests or rodents make their way to the vinyl when the boat is out of sight.
#3 - Find a Place
Although your shed might look like the perfect place to toss in a boat that’s out of season, the harsh conditions in a shed could easily cause damage to your boat via the elements, extreme cold, and moisture. So that’s gonna be a hard pass.
Instead, try looking for a place on a high shelf in your garage. Keeping the boat off of the floor just makes it harder for pests and rodents to get cozy. Even better, if you’ve got storage space inside your house, then keeping your deflated pontoon boat there should keep it even safer from damage.
Ready for Winter
Your inflatable pontoon boat might have seen you through some choppy waters and rough rivers, but that doesn’t mean you can treat it like a tank. Those things needs some TLC just like anything else, and that’s especially true when the cold season comes rolling around the corner. So if you were wondering how to store an inflatable pontoon boat during winter, make sure you keep these tips in handy.