Pontoon Boat Hacks: 36 Tips for Maintenance, Storage + More

pontoon boat hacks

Whether you’ve owned your pontoon for a while now or if you’re a first time pontooner, there’s still a world’s worth of pontoon boat hacks left to learn so you can streamline every excursion.

Looking to improve the way you enjoy your beloved boat? Here are some clever hacks you can put into action.

Money Saving Hacks

Get a Caddy

Gas prices at the marina are more than exorbitant. Buy gas for cheap at your local gas station by filling up a gas caddy and taking it on-board.

You can see the best gas caddies for pontoons here.

Do Your Own Cleaning

There’s no need to spend hundreds on cleaning jobs. Sometimes, a little vinegar and some elbow grease is all you’ll need. Also consider making your own cleaning solutions, like our homemade vinyl boat seat cleaner.

Manage Your Weight

Boats that weigh more demand more from your engine. Manage the weight you take on board to improve your boat’s fuel consumption.

Improve Your Maintenance Skills

A lot of the maintenance tasks you pay for can be learned via the web. Train yourself on simple jobs like oil and coolant changing to shave down maintenance costs.

Moor When You Can

Slips are convenient, but moors are cheap. If you don’t mind loading and unloading your boat on the regular, you can save up to 50% on parking fees by choosing to moor instead.

Shop Around for a Marina

Not all marinas charge the same fees. If you’re not too invested in aesthetics and ‘premier facilities’, you can always opt to visit a cheaper local marina for less.

Protect From Theft

Securing your boat and trailer from thieves is important, and will save you money from needing to buy new ones, and on insurance excess.

Use this guide on how to secure a boat trailer from theft for some great tips.

Pontoon Boat Storage Hacks

storage hack for anchor ropes

Keep Flip Flops Organized

Too many slippers on board can feel a lot like navigating a minefield. Wrap a bungee cord around your cooler to serve as a flip flop keeper, or buy a hanging footwear storage rack.

Make Room for Small Items

It’s way too easy to lose keys, glasses, and other small items on a boat. A small marine caddy near your console should make it easier to keep the small things in check.

Hang a Trash Bag

Empty soda cans are the bane of any boat owner after a pontoon party. Hang trash bags on hooks to designate a place for any mess.

Prevent Rope Tangles

You can get a rope boat organizer to hang on the rails so you have a designated place for your ropes. It also prevents tangles, allowing easier deployment of those pesky cables.

For more storage hacks see our pontoon storage ideas, and boat food storage ideas.

Cleaning Hacks

Vinegar is Your Best Friend

The acetic acid in vinegar can clean all sorts of stains. Before you shell out for expensive cleaners, try diluted vinegar first.

Check out our guides on how to clean pontoon boats with vinegar and cleaning boat seats with vinegar.

Avoid Moisture

Any moisture on your boat will spark the beginnings of mold and mildew. Avoid moisture at all costs by keeping your boat in dry storage when you can and drying it out before tucking it in.

Distilled Water All the Way

Unlike other kinds of water, distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals. So it’s not going to cause or exacerbate existing water stains.

Easy on the Scrubbing

If you ever find the need to scrub, use a soft bristle brush. Otherwise, abstain from scrubbing at all. Your boat will thank you later.

Wash Regularly

It’s ideal that you rinse your boat after every use. This prevents stains from hardening and becoming stubborn the longer they sit on your boat.

Food Hacks

docktail for pontoon boats

Choose Wisely

Not all food choices are a fit for pontoon boating. Avoid foods that spoil easily, and those that require specific temperatures to stay fresh.

Prepare Portions

Food that’s kept in ready-to-eat portions are easier to distribute. This also minimizes the risk of spills since you won’t have to scoop stuff out of a serving dish.

See some of the best boat snacks.

Mark Your Cups

Who’s cup is that? Reduce cup confusion and save on your use of plastic or paper cups by marking each cup with your guests’ names.

Try a Docktail

These intuitive tables provide eating space, among others. Install a few around your deck to give your guests a more comfortable dining experience.

Check out these pontoon boat bar ideas for more inspiration.

Pest Control Hacks

Clean, Clean, Clean

Food residue, trash, and other contaminants left on board can attract all sorts of pests. Clean your boat regularly so they won’t have a food source.

Set Up Traps

At the first sign of infestation, set up those traps. There are lots of different kinds you can use depending on the pest your up against.

See how to deal with various pests: how to get rid of termites, flies, ants, cockroaches, seagulls, and rats.

Protect During Storage

Don’t just toss your boat in a dark garage. Protect it during storage by keeping it dry, covering it up, and laying out traps for opportunistic pests.

Prevent Entry

For pests like rats, you can try a few tricks to prevent entry in your boat all together. Disc shaped guards that cover your lines can keep lightfooted rats from walking the tightrope to your pontoon.

Pontoon Boat Fishing Hacks

For some of the best fishing hacks check out our pontoon boat fishing tips for beginners and the best pontoon accessories for fishing.

Try Stainless Steel Soap

Yes, it exists. Some people say that rubbing your hands on stainless steel causes a reaction that dissipates any foul smells, which can work in your favor when handling stinky fish.

Install Rod Holders

Rod holders let you manage multiple lines at a time. Install as many as you want, and you might even be able to troll your pontoon with better results.

Check out the best pontoon boat rod holders here.

Use a Fish Finder

It’s not always that easy to find where the catch might be. Try to use a fish finder to cut out the guesswork.

See the best fish finders for pontoon boats for some great recommendations and how to install a fish finder.

Entertainment Hacks

inflatables for pontoon boats

Set Up Color Changing Lights

There’s no better way to set the mood than with a set of color changing LED lights. Outline the edges of your boat with an outdoor LED strip to really bump up the mood.

See some great pontoon boat LED lights here.

Always Bring the Inflatables

Swimming can get boring. Toss out the inflatables when you make it to your destination to make things a little more exciting.

Here are some inflatable pontoon boat accessories for some inspiration.

Try a Movie Night

Set up a projector and a white screen on board. You can even replicate that theater feel by sending out ticket invites to your party guests.

Driving and Towing Hacks

See our pontoon boat trailering tips for extensive towing advice.

Wipe Down with Dish Soap

Before you tow, wipe dish soap all over your boat’s exterior. This can help prevent bugs from sticking to the surface.

Get Rid of the Wheel

When parking your trailer, you can try removing a wheel as an easy yet effective security measure against theft.

Break Early

With all of that extra weight behind your vehicle, it’s going to take some time to reach a full stop. Break earlier than you normally would to make room for the slow stop.

Maintenance Hacks

Read the Darn Manual

They gave that to you for a reason. A lot of pontoon boat manuals actually teach you the basic skills for maintenance that you can use to shave down the cost of visiting a pro.

Always Ask

Some manufacturers actually offer certain maintenance services for free. Always ask your dealer or manufacturer to find out what they can do for you at no added cost.

Try It Yourself

There are a lot of maintenance chores you can actually do on your own. Before you call a pro, read up and try to figure out if it’s something you’re cut out for.

Hack Your Way Through

There’s a hack for almost everything. Try these pontoon boat hacks to streamline your boating experience, cut down on expenses, and make every trip out on the lake that much more enjoyable.

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