Pontoon boats have become very popular with pleasure boaters. Most owners get their money’s worth by using their boats as often as possible, making it critically important that they receive routine and periodic servicing and maintenance throughout the year. While pontoon boats are relatively inexpensive to operate, routine maintenance can become costly, but nowhere near as expensive as repairs that may become necessary if you do not perform routine maintenance. Face it. Your life could depend upon the operational integrity of your boat. It’s important that you understand what maintenance is necessary and what steps you must take to ensure that your boat is always in peak condition. New owners should create and maintain a checklist that covers all maintenance tasks an a schedule of when they should be performed.
Inspection and repair of operational components
The most important maintenance is inspection and testing of your outboard motor. This inspection should be conducted annually. Spark plugs should be checked and replaced if necessary. Engine cylinders should be checked for density and solidity. The water pump should be replaced annually, the lower unit of the boat should be pressure tested, and the oil should be changed. The fuel lines should also be checks for cracks, and all fittings should be lubricated. By conducting these routine tests and replacements, you will ensure you’re your boat operates properly and save money on repairs caused by wear and tear.
While inspecting and maintaining the motor is critically important, inspecting the boat for damage is of equal importance. Boats acquire leaks through stress and minor collisions with underwater objects. Leaks to the pontoons should be repaired immediately. Even small amounts of water leakage into pontoons can increase boat weight and affect performance including speed and fuel efficiency.
Leak detection and repair is difficult for the amateur. Specialize testing and repair equipment is often required. It’s best to have a professional perform these tests and repairs. One easily recognized indication of a leak is noticing that one pontoon sets lower in the water than another. It’s extremely important that you have your boat checked for leaks at least once every two years, even if you do not see any evidence of leaks.
Inspection and repair of accessories
In addition to the critical components like motors and pontoons, boats are also made up of a large number of accessory parts like railings, seats, ladders, furniture, etc. Each part has a function, and when it is missing or not operating the comfort and enjoyment of your pontoon boat is lessened. These accessory parts need to be maintained in proper condition to ensure that your boat’s life and performance are maximized.
Times will arise when an accessory item may need repair of replacement. Replacement parts are readily available in the marketplace through dealers and the Internet.
Always buy your replacement parts from an authorized dealer to ensure that the part is of good quality. Cheap knockoff parts may look good but fail to last. Always check with the dealer to ensure that you benefit from any warranties offered for critical parts.
One important class of parts that see a great deal of wear and tear and often require replacement is boat seats. Nothing ruins a good cruise more that sitting for an extended time in an uncomfortable seat.
There are many websites that offer accessory replacement parts at good prices. Unless you are familiar with the source and its commitment to quality, you might be well advised to buy replacement parts from the official website of your pontoon boat manufacturer. Your pontoon boat represents an investment. Ensure that your boat gives you optimum performance and serves you well for a long time by proper care and maintenance.
A word about pontoon boat lifts
It’s fitting, when discussing repair and maintenance, to discuss the importance of pontoon boat lifts. To ensure long life and optimum performance, it is important that a pontoon boat be held above the water when it is not in use. Pontoon boat lifts are designed specifically for this purpose, and perform its function with considerable ease. They are also of great benefit when cleaning and repairing the underwater surfaces of the boat.
Without a pontoon boat lift, you must depend upon finding an available dry dock or you are forced to dock the boat in the water, often in murky, dirty water around the docking area. Pontoon boat lifts ensure that this never happens. Depending upon the boat lift design, the pontoons are supported on either two or on three padded racks. These boat lifts have leveling legs which are adjustable to enable easy setup at different depths. Many models are operated electronically, some with remote controls.
When selecting a pontoon boat lift, you must first consider capacity. Make sure that the lift is designed to easily support is worse than having no lift at all. When in doubt, ask your pontoon boat dealer for advice. It is equally important that the selected lift be durable. It is a needed expense, and you want it to provide service for the life of your boat and beyond. Ensure that the lift can withstand the high humidity normally encountered. Ensure that the frame is waterproof and rustproof. Ask other pontoon boat owners for advice. Having and using the right pontoon boat lift can go a long way toward extending the life and pleasure experienced with your pontoon boat.