Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Ideas

Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Ideas | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

February 7, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Some of the best pontoon storage ideas include: using cinder blocks to mount the boat, covering the boat on a trailer, using storage blocks, keeping the boat in the garage, renting a stack storage space, or renting a covered marina slip space.
  • Renting a storage space at a marina or storage facility costs between $20-$200 per foot.
  • Always winterize the boat before putting it away for storage for the winter months.

Pontoon boats are more vulnerable during the winter months. We recommend considering some of these winter storage ideas to store them safely.

Here are seven pontoon boat winter storage ideas worth considering

  1. Use Cinder Blocks To Mount The Boat In The Driveway
  2. Keep The Boat Covered On A Trailer
  3. Rent A Boat Storage Unit
  4. Try Pontoon Boat Storage Blocks
  5. Put The Boat In The Garage
  6. Rent A Stack Storage Spot
  7. Rent A Covered Marina Slip

Pontoon boats must be stored in winter storage to protect the engine, interior, hull, etc. The way the boat is stored will vary depending on the boat owner’s budget and plans during the off season. We have found seven of the best pontoon winter storage ideas and plan to explain what proper pontoon boat storage looks like.


Table of contents

7 Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Ideas

Winter can be a difficult time when it comes to taking care of a pontoon boat. The cold weather and wet conditions are not ideal for storage because of the potential wear and tear they can cause.

It’s best to take the necessary steps to ensure our pontoon boat stays safe during winter. After testing various techniques, we’ve decided these are the best pontoon boat storage ideas.

Anytime we store a pontoon boat outside, added winterization steps are required to protect the boat. We will also explain some of these steps.

1. Use Cinder Blocks To Mount The Boat In The Driveway

Anybody who wants to save money and keep the budget low can use cinder blocks to raise the boat off the ground. In the winter, pontoon boats should never remain on the ground because of snow, ice, and potential infestation.

This is a cheaper alternative to buying a trailer or plastic storage blocks. However, we’ll need a way to lift the boat and place it carefully on the blocks. They also should be spread out at each corner and ideally 2-4 set in the middle underneath the boat.

2. Keep The Boat Covered On A Trailer

Anybody who owns a home with a driveway or a backyard can use their trailer to store the boat. A reliable cover and trailer is a smart way to avoid spending extra money on a storage location.

Instead of keeping the boat indoors, we can use our driveway or backyard as a storage space to keep the boat for the winter. The trailer protects the undercarriage of the boat from damage, while the cover keeps the interior safe.

The pontoon cover should use a support system or a PVC pipe to support it. This makes it impossible for the cover to sag or rip from the snow.

3. Rent A Boat Storage Unit

The ideal option is to keep the boat inside during the winter months. But it costs more money for a spot with enough space, so it’s not an option for everybody. One way to do so is by renting a boat storage unit.

This can be done at a storage facility or with the marina. But not all marinas offer a fully enclosed storage unit. Some only have a roof but no walls, so the boat is still exposed to cold temperatures and should be fully winterized.

4. Try Pontoon Boat Storage Blocks

Pontoon boat storage blocks are the more expensive but safer alternative to cinder blocks. The boat is lifted on top of them and supported slightly above the ground to keep the hull protected and intact.

Remember to always evenly spread the weight of the pontoon boat on the blocks. There should be two or three on each side of the boat. They are easy to install with no tools required either.

5. Put The Boat In The Garage

Homeowners with an oversized garage have the option to store their pontoon boats here as well. First, take measurements to see how much room is available for storage and whether the pontoon can fit inside.

Next, decide whether the boat will be on blocks or a trailer. The garage usually needs more space to lift the boat on top of a set of cinder blocks or storage blocks. For this reason, the trailer is the best option for easy removal in the future too.

If this isn't an option because the boat is too big or the garage is too small, consider some of the other winter storage ideas we’ve listed.

6. Rent A Stack Storage Spot At The Marina

If we have the budget, storing the pontoon at a stack storage facility at the marina makes sense. They have the equipment to handle everything, and we know the boat will be stored safely and lifted off the floor.

This is one of the most expensive options, but they hold the pontoon boat for us until spring. They will also remove the boat from the water and haul it to the facility for us.

7. Rent A Covered Marina Slip

Next, we can also rent a covered marina slip. These marina slips have a roof, and the boat typically remains in the dock, but it’s lifted out of the water.

Any pontoon boat using marina slips as a storage space still needs proper winter storage techniques like cleaning the engine, etc. This is also a more expensive storage method, and the boat is still exposed to extreme temperature changes.

Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Tips

Before you store a pontoon boat for wintertime, it’s essential to take the time to winterize it properly. This multi-step process includes covering the boat and preparing critical components like the engine and fuel tanks for the cold weather.

User A Waterproof Boat Cover

We recommend always storing a covered boat during the winter. This is common practice regardless of where the boat is kept, but a cover is essential if the boat is outdoors.

Before covering the boat, spray the engine to protect it from rust and corrosion. This is an excellent solution for long-term pontoon boat durability.

Prepare The Spark Plugs

If the plan is to store the boat in a place where it is cold, like outdoors or in a garage, the spark plug holes need to be sprayed with fogging oil. To do this, first, remove all of the spark plugs.

A can of fogging oil is cheap, and once they get removed, we have easier access to the spark plug holes in each piston. Remember also to disconnect the spark plug wires.

Add Fuel Stabilizer To The Gas Tank

When a boat is in storage with gas in the fuel tank, it’s vulnerable to cold conditions. This is because, after 1-3 months, the ethanol content will oxidize untreated fuel left in carburetors.

Add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to avoid wasting fuel by dumping it. This preserves the gas for up to 24 months and eliminates the risk of oxidation inside the fuel tank.

Try Shrink Wrapping The Boat Instead

Some people prefer to pay to shrink wrap each winter season instead of investing in a durable, high-quality cover. Over time, the shrink wrap storage method will cost more, but as boat owners, we never have to spend time putting the cover on.

Upfront, this is a cheaper alternative. But after 2-3 years, the shrink wrap method becomes more expensive. Check the boat’s owner’s manual to get the exact dimensions, if required. We’ll need to know our boat size and storage location.

Remove The Boat’s Battery

The boat battery is a critical component that quickly wears out when exposed to harsh winter weather. We prefer to remove the battery from the boat and store it in a warm and safe location.

When the battery is left in freezing weather for 1-3 months, it will have problems starting up when the winter ends. This would force us to buy a new battery.

Replace The Oil Filters

When storing pontoon boats for the winter, it’s recommended to empty the oil and replace it with fresh oil. When doing so, we can also change the oil filters so it's kept in storage with brand-new ones.

Changing the oil can reduce the risk of corrosion or rust build up in the oil tank.

Remove All Gear From The Boat

Removing any loose gear from the boat for the winter. This includes fishing rods, tackle boxes, food, drink, clothing, and other fishing gear.

Storing the boat when it’s as clean as possible ensures no insect or rodent infestation.

How Much Does Proper Pontoon Boat Storage Cost?

Pontoon storage costs vary depending on how we store the boat. For example, keeping the boat indoors costs about $50 and $200 per foot.

It’s much cheaper to rent an outdoor storage space. This costs between $20-$50 per foot, so we recommend consulting with the local marina about available storage spaces and the estimated cost.

It’s free to keep the boat at home. But we may need to buy equipment like cinder blocks, a cover, and a trailer.

Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Ideas
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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