Pontoon boats are like floating living rooms. They’re comfortable and have a lot of amenities. So when you own one, you tend to grow somewhat attached. Being a floating palace of sorts, you probably want to cover it. And if you don’t, well, maybe you should.
Yes, you should cover a pontoon boat. There are several reasons why it’s a good idea, whether it’s just for the night or for the winter. In this article, we’ll review the goals for and against covering a pontoon boat, when it’s a good idea.
So, you’ve got yourself a pontoon boat (or you’re looking at getting one). These floating living rooms are one of the most popular styles of boats for family boating excursions. They beg to be out on the water, entertaining friends and family.
The interior of the pontoon boat can be quite extravagant. The plush seats made using marine vinyl fabric or other synthetic are features making a pontoon boat similar to a floating living room. This type of upholstery is mold-resistant, water-resistant, and mildew resistant.
With such extravagance inside your pontoon boat, you’ll most certainly want to keep it clean and pristine. There’s nothing worse than having a newer boat with a dilapidated interior.
There are several exceptional reasons why using a cover on your pontoon boat is a good idea.
The three top reasons for covering your pontoon boat are:
- Protection from the elements.
- Protection from the sun.
- Protection from nature.
Protection From The Elements
Your pontoon boat is, for the most part, waterproof. It is the nature of ships; they will get wet. Whether it’s the spray of the surf or jumping out for a cannonball, splashing the boat in your adventures, boats should be able to take a certain degree of wetness inside.
But what about when you aren’t in your boat? The elements can batter down on a vessel with some ferocity, depending on whether you keep your pontoon boat in a marina or not. Most pontoon boat owners do not keep their ships under the roof of a marina.
Some of the most popular sizes of pontoon boats range from 19 to 24 feet in length. In this size range, most pontoon boat owners keep their boats on their property, be it on their trailer and usually in the driveway.
When we’re talking about protecting your boat from the elements, you might think it isn’t necessary. I mean, why try to protect a ship from rain when boats are designed to get wet? Pontoon boats may have a certain level of general resistance to water, but that doesn’t mean the seats won’t get soaked.
Remember that your upholstery, although water resistant, is not waterproof. Heavy rain can still cause a lot of water to seep into the foam for your upholstery. And if that happens, you’ll need it to dry out for a day or two before you can sit on the seats without getting a soaking backside.
The other element that a cover protects from is wind. Now, I’m not saying a cover will stop a tornado from blowing your boat away. But, a cover will help to halt wind-borne dust and debris from blowing into your boat interior.
If you live anywhere near trees and keep your boat in the driveway, you already know what I’m talking about here. Many trees will shed all kinds of leaves, sap, flowers, and so on. These get blown into your boat via the wind. Unless you have a cover, then you have no real tree clean up to do inside the watercraft.
The last element I want to talk about here is the sun. However, it really should have its section.
Protection From The Sun
There’s nothing like the warm sun on your skin how it feels so lovely and friendly, even hot at times. And the sunburn that many people can get is a testament to the strength of the sun’s rays versus our skin. But, it isn’t just our skin that can get damaged from the sun.
Most of us have heard of things getting sun-bleached. Whether it’s an old piece of patio furniture or a dog toy left out in the yard, whatever the item, leave it in the sun, and it will change over time (most things, that is).
With the extravagant nature of the pontoon boats floating living room-like experience, boat owners need to maintain a beautiful appearance when it comes to the interior. Having vinyl or another synthetic upholstery is no exception to falling prey to the sun’s power.
Over time, the interior will get sun-bleached. Whether you have wood, plastic, fiberglass, or other materials inside the pontoon boat interior, all materials exposed to the sun will bleach in time, except for specific metals. But, they don’t generally make the interiors of pontoon boats out of metal, so you’re out of luck there.
Most materials will sun bleach over time. It’s why you should cover your pontoon boat when not in use. Well, it’s one of the reasons anyway.
Protection From Nature
The last and most destructive force we want to protect the pontoon boat from is nature. If you’ve ever seen what a raccoon or rodent can do to upholstery, you know they can be devastating.
I had a raccoon get into a car once from a window left open. There was a bag of garbage from grabbing a bite at a drive-thru earlier, and I had forgotten to close one of the windows. Well, not only did the raccoon rip the garbage apart in the back seat, but it also decided to chew on the back of the passenger seat and defecate in the rear seat. All because a window was left open.
Now imagine what a family of the cute little vermin will do to the interior of your pontoon boat. Okay, you didn’t leave any food, but that doesn’t mean that young animals aren’t playful or want to chew on stuff.
Let’s forget about the more giant raccoons and even the smaller rodents for a moment. Let’s talk about birds. Here in Southern Ontario, where I live, we have a decent amount of birds, and close to the water, there are always seagulls. I think these birds are beautiful, but they are larger birds and tend to drop bombs on items from the skies above. A seagull can drop its poop right on your boat. I swear these birds try to aim too.
Despite the apparent contamination issue, there’s also the chance of salmonella poisoning from the bird poop. So, it isn’t something you want landing on, say your steering wheel where you put your hands.
If you’ve ever had to clean off massive bird poop that has baked in place in the sun, you’ll know that having a $200- $700 pontoon boat cover is worth every penny spent.
Pontoon Boat Cover Prices
Okay, so I mentioned that you could get a pontoon boat cover for between two and seven hundred. Most of the time, depending on the size of the pontoon boat, you can pick up a cover for less than two hundred. Here are a few covers I like, sold off Amazon, in a few different sizes.
18’1” to 20’ Long, Up to 102” Beam
This model of cover by Vortex Direct is not only Amazon’s choice, it’s also got a lot of good reviews from people who have purchased it. The cover is manufactured of heavy-duty 5-year marine canvas.
What I like about the Vortex Direct products are two things. First, the cover comes with a five-year warranty. That’s great for a boat cover. And the company even put their phone number right on their Amazon page. They have customer service with real humans on the other end. It isn’t some company selling garbage manufactured in some far off land. These people answer the phone and offer support. Way to go Vortex Direct. The cover comes fast with express free delivery, and at the time of writing, this cover is less than $300! I can’t tell you exactly because the almighty Amazon doesn’t like me saying the actual price, but it’s a really good price, you’ll just have to go take a look. Then you can see why I recommend it.
20’1″ to 22′ Long, Up To 102″ Beam
No need for another picture as this is just a larger version of the first cover I spoke about here. This one is made of 600D heavy duty waterproof fabric. Again, a 5-year warranty, customer support, and free, fast delivery. And at the time of writing, this cover is only a few dollars more than the smaller size. Another really great deal.
22’1″ to 24′ Long, Up To 102″ Beam
Here is another cover, the same supplier, and the same fabric. Again it comes with Vortex Direct’s excellent 5-year warranty. And at the time of writing, this cover is only a few dollars more than the next size down with fast and free shipping. So tell me, why haven’t you got a cover yet?
Whether you’re parking the boat for the winter or just the weekend, it’s always a good idea to use a cover. Ranging in price from a hundred dollars, all the way up to a thousand dollars, the cover’s cost is far less than the cost of repairing or replacing interior upholstery or other components. A cover is certainly less stressful to remove than baked on bird poop from your boat’s interior. For these reasons alone, it is a wise idea to cover your pontoon boat.
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I would like to thank Ranger Boats for providing me with the main image for this article. Thanks, Ranger, you guys, and gals are awesome! And so are your boats!