How To Cover a Pontoon Boat

How To Cover a Pontoon Boat | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

November 14, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Remove all items and clean the boat's interior to cover a pontoon boat. Then, flatly lay the cover out to locate the bow end and start covering the boat from the bow end to the front.
  • Use tie-down or ratchet straps to secure the cover for extra protection and security.
  • Follow these same steps to prepare and cover the pontoon boat for winter, but consider using a more durable winter cover with more precise measurements to create a tighter fit.
  • It’s important to cover a pontoon boat for UV protection, scratch resistance, reduced storage costs, and better theft protection.

After using a pontoon boat or putting it away for winter, it’s critical to cover it and know how to do it well to protect the boat against the elements.

To cover a pontoon boat, clean up inside the boat and remove any items that could be in the way to puncture the cover. Next, lay the cover out and locate the bow end to cover the boat from the bow end to the front. Pull the cover over the boat and use straps to secure it in place.

Pontoon boats are often used as a way to enjoy the water without the high cost of owning a boat. With past experience, we have figured out the best way to cover the boat, and the steps have been outlined below.


Table of contents

How To Cover a Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are a great choice for anyone who wants to spend their time on the water. They are inexpensive and easy to maintain, but they do still require some upkeep and maintenance.

This includes using a cover when storing the boat away after using it. Luckily, putting a cover on a pontoon boat can be quick and easy. Just follow these steps to get it done.

Clean Up The Inside Of The Boat

First, the inside of the boat should be cleaned and free of any items that could puncture the cover or cause any issues closing up the boat.

We always recommend decluttering the boat before covering it. This includes deep cleaning for any food or drinks as well if time permits it.

Identify Any Sharp Points Or Edges

Next, identify the sharp edges of the boat. All pontoon boats have one or two, and it's critical to make a note of them to avoid the cover from ripping on them.

Locate The Bow End Of The Cover

Now it’s time to get the cover ready. We like to lay out the cover as flatly as possible to identify each end, including the bow end of the cover.

The bow end is the first side we will focus on when putting the cover on the pontoon boat.

Place The Cover’s Bow End On The Boat

After finding the right end on the cover can be placed over the bow end of the boat. Try to secure the straps on this end first, so it’s easier to move the cover across the boat.

Pull Cover Over The Boat To The End

Next, pull the cover over the boat to the other end. Depending on the cover type, straps can be installed during this step or aftward.

Be careful to complete all areas, and try to pull the cover tightly to ensure a proper fit in all areas on the boat.

Get Rid Of Sagging Areas

After the cover is completely over the boat, look for any sagging or uneven areas. It’s best to address these because any unexpected bad weather can cause leaks into the boat if the cover is sagging.

Use The Tie Down Straps

All covers are different, but most use tie-down or ratchet straps. This step is when all straps are used to fit the cover around the boat securely.

Pontoon boats have a larger deck, so it can take some time to do this, which is why we recommend using the straps on the bow end first, so the cover doesn’t move around while pulling on it.

Tie The Straps And Finish Closing The Cover

Finish tying the straps and close up the last area of the cover from the dock.

How To Cover a Pontoon Boat For Winter

When winter approaches, a slightly different approach is required to prepare a pontoon boat for the cold weather. This includes using a winter cover and taking a few extra steps because the boat will be stored away for longer.

Covering a pontoon boat for winter is a great way to protect the boat from the cold and snow. The cover will also help to keep the water from freezing and causing damage to the boat.

To prepare the pontoon boat for winter storage, it needs to be covered with a tarp or protective covering. Use these tips to do it properly to ensure maximum protection and durability.

Take Precise Measurements

For winter storage, the measurements need to be a bit more precise. The cover needs to fit perfectly so the edges can be tighter, so no sagging occurs.

The type of cover will also depend on the measurements. For example, a winter cover needs to be more precise than someone simply using a plastic tarp.

Choose A Cover Based On Storage Location

Before choosing a cover, choose a storage location and pick the cover based on those conditions. Outdoor storage will require additional support compared to indoor storage.

For example, many boat owners can fit it inside their garage while others can only keep it stored in the driveway or backyard.

Take Care Of The Engine And Battery

Depending on the storage location, consider doing something with the engine and the battery to protect both from the cold.

Follow The Same Covering Steps Mentioned

To install the cover, follow the same steps we mentioned earlier. Begin with the bow end of the cover and gradually make the way to the front of the boat while ensuring the cover fits tightly.

Why It’s Important To Cover A Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are very popular because they are easy to maneuver and tons of fun to use. But they also require regular maintenance and care. And this includes covering them after use.

Covering a pontoon boat is important because it provides added sunlight protection, scratch resistance, reduced storage costs, and reduced theft risk.

UV And Sunlight Protect

Covering a pontoon boat is important because it provides excellent UV and sunlight protection. This helps boats last longer to avoid potential damage and fade on the exterior.

Excessive sunlight exposure is not good for a boat. It’s bad for the exterior paint, and after so long, it leads to damage and fading, which can be a costly fix.

Scratch And Damage Resistance

Another reason why putting a cover on a pontoon boat is the smart idea is to protect against scratches and damages. The surface of the boat is susceptible to knicks when it’s left out all the time with no protection.

Reduced Storage Costs

Storage costs can add up quickly, but because it’s so easy to use a cover with this boat, this is a cost that can be avoided.

This is another example of why pontoon boats are so affordable to maintain, making them popular among many who love boating but don’t want to spend too much money.

This means only when winter comes around does the boat need storage. Whether at a paid location or at home, it’s much easier to handle than regular storage after each use.

Reduced Risk Of Theft

Lastly, there is a reduced risk of petty theft on a pontoon boat when it gets covered after use. Without a cover, there is easier access for someone to board a boat and steal things.

A cover makes it more difficult and hides anything that might be valuable left on the boat too.

How To Cover a Pontoon Boat
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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