It’s tough to relax on a cluttered boat, but with the whole family in tow, it seems an unruly is just the norm when you’re underway. With bags strewn here and there, empty bottles and cans rolling from port to starboard, and just a jumble of items taking up floor area, it almost becomes impossible to unwind and relax. But you don’t really need to let it be.
Although you might have a few storage compartments on board, they’re usually not enough or even appropriate for some of the stuff you and your guests bring along. So to give everything its own, designated place, you might want to consider these clever pontoon boat storage ideas.
1. Gear Hammock
Designed like a hammock for all of your small items and boating paraphernalia, a gear hammock uses quick-drying material that’s great for use out in the water. Secured with hooks and suction cups, this choice can carry an assortment of items that you might need within reach. The perfect place for things like keys, sunscreen, and even a cool bottle of water. A gear hammock provides ample space and durable performance.
Some of these designs can be pretty big, holding everything from heavy fruit, to canned drinks, and even shoes and hefty bags. Keep in mind though that if you were hoping to use your gear hammock for heavier things, it might be helpful to secure it in place with screws.
We recommend the Gear Hammock by Sea Dog Line.
2. Tackle Box
If you’re out on the water to catch some fish, then you might already have a tackle box at the ready. But these intuitive boxes can be used for so much more than just bait and hooks. Designed with a bunch of small compartments, tackle boxes can hold all of the small essentials you need just in case a repair might be necessary while you’re on board.
Handy pontoon boat owners like to keep things like screws, mounting tape, allen wrenches, and other essentials at the ready. Of course, no one wants to be caught out in the open water with damage to their boat. But wouldn’t it be great to be ready for it just in case?
We highly suggest the Flambeau Outdoors Tackle Box with 3 Trays.
3. Trash Storage
One of the primary rules of boating is to never, under any circumstances, toss your trash into the water. But that also means you might accumulate rubbish on board. While a plastic bag hooked onto the railing might do the job for a while, strong winds can easily toss your trash out of the bag and into the boat or the water.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of efficient on-board trash storage solutions available. There are some designs that feature spill-proof construction and odor-eliminating materials to keep your trash tidy and easy to manage. Then there are others that simplify the design with a mesh bag that’s held closed by an elastic band. Whichever you end up choosing, you can be sure your trash will be tidy until you dock.
For a spill-proof and odor-eliminating option, we recommend the Lusso Gear Garbage Bin or a mesh bag, we like the one from SeaSense.
4. Deck Organizer
Once you’re in the water, it can feel like a chore to get back on the boat just to grab some sunscreen, your goggles, or a drink. But with a deck organizer, you might not have to keep hopping on board once you’re comfortable in the waves. These designs come with a number of pockets and hang off the rails on the side of the water.
Some picks feature spacious pockets and various elastic loops that can hold bottles and wallets among other things. And because they hang off the rails, you can easily access your essentials from where you are in the water.
We love the handy Two Pocket Boat Storage Bag.
5. Console Organizer
The console is your command station, but all of those little trinkets you have lying around could make for a cluttered space. And while that might be pretty common across boat owners, doesn’t make it safe. Having a bunch of items littering your console could actually be the reason for an accident, and no one wants that.
So a console organizer comes out as a must-have for any boat owner. Designed to mount on or hang off of your console, these nifty, compact storage solutions provide lots of different pockets for your essential items. Ideal for keys, wallets, smartphones, and even water bottles, a console organizer can help keep your command center clutter-free.
We recommend the Marine Caddy Storage Bag with Cup Holder by Kemimoto.
6. Document Storage
Boat registration, ID’s, passports, manuals, and electronics all need to be kept in a place where they won’t be susceptible to moisture or heat damage. But a regular old plastic envelope or box won’t do. There are specialized document storage bags that use reinforced material and construction to provide your sensitive, fragile items extra care and protection.
One specific pick uses fireproof fiberglass that’s also resistant to water. The design comes in a range of sizes and can fit anything from a passport to a full-sized laptop, so you can keep all of your valuables and important documents safe and sound.
Keep your documents dry and fireproof, we recommend the Document Storage Bag from The Good Stuff.
7. Marine-Grade Cooler
Maybe it’s time you put those random baskets and eco-bags to rest, and invest in something that really gets the job done. Cluttered food and drink makes up a large chunk of the mess on a pontoon, so it helps to make sure you’ve got an organized space for all of your snacks.
If you want to go all the way, a stainless steel cooler provides maximum durability and cooling performance. Some designs keep ice cold for up to four days, making it great for drinks or for storing a fresh catch. For winter storage, a cooler can also help keep drinks and food warm. A standard cooler that’s built for use out on the water can also provide a clean, spacious storage solution to keep all of your food crisp and neatly tucked away while you’re on board.
We highly recommend the Igloo Stainless Steal Cooler as it keeps ice cold for a long time. Or if you're on a budget, the Igloo Marine Cooler will also do the trick.
8. Boat Bar Caddie
Cool drinks and a gentle breeze go together like cookies and cream. But when the waves start to pick up, it’s almost impossible not to spill a drink or two. Sure, you could always just put a cap on your bottle and toss it back in the cooler until the waves subside. But wouldn’t it be so much easier to have a holder in place?
While your standard cup holder might get the job done, a boat bar caddie can be loads of functional fun. It lets you keep drinks and snacks safe and secure even while your boat is underway. The fixed tray can be mounted to the railing or rod holders, and uses reinforced material that’s built to last a lifetime.
Check out the Boat Bar Caddie from Docktail Bar.
9. Shoe Organizer
While removing your shoes before walking all over the deck can help prevent muddy stains and dirt, keeping them organized can be a bit of a pickle. And because no one wants to have to keep kicking shoes, slippers, and sandals out of the way while they get in and out of the boat, a shoe organizer should be a smart solution.
There are tons of designs available, and of course, a standard shoe rack secured to the railing with cables or cords can be a good choice. But if you want something low effort that minimizes the chances of having shoes launch out on the waves, a hanging shoe organizer latched on the rails might be what you’re looking for.
We recommend the Hanging Organizer by MISSLO for easy set up.
10. Hooks and Drying Racks
Dripping wet swimsuits and clothes make up the bulk of the after party mess. Sure, you could just toss them all into a bag. But the sandy, soaked garments can be tough to manage nonetheless. And that’s where hanging racks and hooks come in.
Some clothes pins come with a hook attachment that lets you loop them over the railings or a rod on your boat. This can air dry your clothes while you eat lunch, making it easier to store them until you can toss them into the laundry. There are also drying racks that can secure to your boat via a suction mount, giving you temporary hanging provisions for towels and clothes.
We really like the Portable Drying Rack by Changing Lifestyles or these handy Laundry Hooks by Zelta.
11. Laundry Basket
On the topic of soiled, soaked clothes, there are better alternatives than just tossing them in a bag and forgetting about them until you reach your washing machine. Collapsible laundry baskets can hang on a hook and provide ample space for all of your used clothes. They’re also ideal for keeping things like aqua shoes, goggles, snorkels, and other swimming essentials.
What’s particularly helpful is that these baskets can fold down neatly for storage. Taking up minimal space, these baskets won’t really eat up too much of your area until you actually take them out and hang them up.
Check out the Collapsible Laundry Baskets by EddHomes.
12. Collapsible Buckets
From towing toys to the beach, to providing comfort for that seasick family member, a bucket provides endless benefits for boat owners. But the reason why it isn’t typically on a boat is because of the logistics - those things are hard to stow away. Good thing collapsible buckets became a thing.
Designed to fold away into a small, flat disk when not in use, a collapsible bucket or two can find tons of purpose on your boat. Some designs even take it a step further by providing you with lasting durability, or by offering unique shapes and sizes to match your distinct needs.
We like both the Wakeman Outdoors Collapsible Wash Bin and UST FlexWare Strong Collapsible Bucket.
13. Waterproof Heavy-Duty Bag
It’s always a challenge to find a safe place for fresh clothes and towels since most of the different areas on your boat are probably going to get exposed to water and moisture one way or another. That’s why lots of families just deal with having to change into clothes that are damp or cold.
The easy solution to that problem would to simply use a heavy-duty waterproof bag. These bags feature tough, resilient material that prevents moisture from penetrating through. Some of them can be pretty spacious, and even protect your clothes and other essentials if they accidentally fall into the water.
We recommend this Waterproof Dry Bar by Earth Pak.
14. Life Jacket Storage
No pontoon boat should ever be without life jackets for the family. But because a life jacket can be pretty bulky, they can take up significant space in seat storage or a center console boat storage. So to make sure those jackets find a safe place without eating up storage area, it helps to make use of your vertical space.
Life jacket storage solutions that mount to your bimini or pontoon top can help clear up significant storage area. But more than just keeping things like life jackets, these unique bags can also hold an array of other items like flippers, snorkels, goggles, and other swimming essentials.
Check out the SavvyCraft T-Top Life Jacket Storage Bag.
15. Ziploc Bags
There are a ton of different ways that you can use a basic ziploc bag while you’re on-board. From storing food to keeping clothes dry, these nifty plastic bags should always find a place on your pontoon. Some of them are even designed to seal in freshness, making them ideal for a fresh catch out on the lake.
Some ziploc bags are pretty spacious, great for clothes, towels, and other sorts of beaching essentials. And because you can wipe them down to clean them, you can use them as much as you need to until they give out.
We recommend Ziploc Freezer Bags to keep your snacks fresh or these XL Ziploc Storage Bags for clothes or towels.
16. Pontoon Storage Blocks
Designed to hold your pontoon in place on land, pontoon storage blocks make for a smart storage solution for one reason - they’re stackable. These blocks can be stored as a single stack, making them perfect for space savers looking to minimize the amount of room they use up.
Made from durable PVC material, these blocks provide stable support that holds up your boat off of the ground when it’s on land. They’re also lightweight and incredibly easy to install, making them a total no-brainer for low-maintenance boat owners.
Check out the Attwood Brunwick Pontoon Storage Block Set.
17. Picnic Organizer
Cluttered cutlery clanging around in a bag with plates and other dining essentials can be tedious to carry around. Good thing there are better ways to stay organized with utensils and plates. A picnic organizer is an essential that any boating enthusiast should have at the ready.
Fitted with pockets, compartments, and elastic bands that keep all of your dining necessities in place, these kits can also conceal full sized plates, table napkins, bottle openers and more. They also come in smaller sets to cater to just two, if you’re heading out with just your best bud or special someone.
We highly recommend the Picnic Set Camping Silverware Cutlery Organizer by TAIBID.
Get Organized with Bright New Pontoon Boat Storage Ideas
Your pontoon doesn’t have to be a cluttered mess every time, and these pontoon boat storage ideas prove it. With the right storage solutions, you can find a place for all of your essentials to keep your boat in tip-top shape even with the whole family in tow. So maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the stressful disarray and finally invest in a bunch of storage and organizing essentials to help you maintain the relaxing vibe throughout the entire trip.