A pontoon boat is a worthwhile investment that will bring enjoyment to you and your family for years to come. Maintaining the condition of your boat is important to ensure its long-term durability and appearance. The furniture, boat accessories and gear can last significantly longer with the proper maintenance and care.
What is the simplest and most cost-effective way to protect your boat? That’s easy – a cover. The best covers will act as a solid, protective barrier between your boat and the outside elements. From lightweight to heavy-duty, there are many options available.
While this topic was previously discussed in the article: The Best Boat Covers of 2019, this article specifically covers pontoon boats. We will go over several options to help narrow down the playing field to the best cover protection for your boat.
WHAT A PONTOON BOAT COVER CAN DO
A pontoon boat cover works by wrapping around the exterior of the boat. Many of these polyester canvases work like a tent, with inserted poles that the cover wraps around. The base is often tightened with ropes, buckle straps, or some sort of stretch cord.
What is the point of this type of cover for a pontoon boat?
Consider that, if left uncovered, the inside of the boat would be susceptible to the outdoor elements. Rain, snow, and UV damage can cause irreversible damage to your boat. Keeping moisture out of the boat will also help prevent mildew and mold buildup.
Debris can easily fall into and coat the inside of the boat. Sticks, pollen, dirt, and even nest building insects can wreak havoc on the lining and fabrics inside the boat. Bird droppings are a nuisance that can be avoided by using a cover. Animal droppings can carry harmful bacteria and diseases, so it is best to keep the critters out. A cover secured in place can also protect any equipment stored onboard.
Even though the cover is an extra, upfront cost, the long-term benefits of protecting your boat will pay off. Avoid costly repairs and pay less up front by purchasing a decent cover. Now that you know what a cover can do, it is time to consider a few things before making that final choice.
Things to consider in choosing…
There are so many options to consider when you’re in the market for a new boat cover. We want to help you make the right choice, so let’s make sure you have your bases covered.
WATER PROOF OR WATER RESISTANT
The fabric on many of these covers are treated with a water-resistant coating. This type of coating will act as a barrier, but will not be able to withstand heavy rainfall or standing water. You might want to invest in a cover that can stand up to rainfall if this is a major consideration.
The main two types of material that you are likely to see when browsing for a pontoon boat cover are cotton canvas and synthetic material, like polyester. Synthetic blends are often more protective than their cotton counterparts due to an added layer of acrylic. The extra protection assists in keeping the water out.
To get technical with the material types, there is a durability measurement, called denier. This measurement represents the thickness and stability of the cover. For better protection, thicker covers are better. For a specific number, 600D or higher is typically considered high quality material.
OPT FOR THE BIGGER SIZES
Opting for the next size up will help you avoid struggling with a too small product when covering your pontoon. This is especially true if your boat is in between the listed sizes or on the end of the listed size for the cover.
AVOID BRIGHT COLORS
You may be tempted to purchase a bright and appealing cover. However, do not be tempted by colorful covers. These covers often have a reputation for bleeding into your boat’s upholstery.
BUY FOR YOUR NEEDS
Not all pontoon boat covers are made equal. And, no, we do not mean differences in quality here.
Some covers are made for boats that spend lengthy periods in the water. Others are lightweight and great for storing in a shed or somewhere covered. Meanwhile, others are made to be trailered. Since these covers will need to withstand high speeds/winds, they are often equipped with extra ties and air vents to prevent ballooning.
STORING AND WINTERIZING YOUR PONTOON BOATS
Storing your boat for the winter is a little more involved than slapping a nice cover on and calling it a season.
CLEAN YOUR BOAT
Sounds simple enough, but this process is time consuming. You will need to clean inside and out to prevent mildew, hardened debris, and any food residue that would attract critters. Remove all your gear and extra accessories and give your boat a proper scrub and vacuum. Apply mildew and rust protection, making sure to wait until everything is completely dry before covering.
To protect your engine, you will want to check your boat’s manufacturer guide. Most will follow these steps: Disconnect the battery and/or drain the engine, spray fogging oil into the carburetor and all around disconnected spark plugs, empty the gas tank to about ¾ full and fill the engine with propylene glycol based antifreeze, ensure all valves and seals are shut off, and change oil and oil filters as well.
Now it is time to cover your boat with your pontoon boat cover. Make sure there is some air flow to prevent mold buildup.
Make sure that you update your insurance policy to protect yourself against theft. Depending on where you are storing your boat, you will need to take appropriate actions to prevent vandalism.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Empire Covers Aqua Armor Pontoon Boat Covers brings a top of the line cover to your pontoon boat. This cover is ideal for those who do not have a boat garage to house their boat. This cover protects against most of the elements. It blocks snow, sun, heavy rains and winds. This cover will keep those elements from penetrating to the boat below the distinctive blue cover.
Not only does the Aqua Armor act as a block against damaging weather, it is 100% waterproof. It does not simply repel or resist water, but the 1,200 Denier polyester fabric causes water to bead and drip off. The breathable material will protect against mildew, dampness and musty odors Heavy duty shock cord hem gives the snug fit you desire when traveling with your boat, or if it is sitting in rough wind.
- Reinforced seams and sturdy material
- Quality, 1200D polyester
- Breathable fabric
- Auctor ipsum dolor sagittis
- Some users report leaks after heavy rainfall
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Classic Accessories StormPro has crafted this marine grade pontoon boat cover. Although this cover can cost over $200, we definitely feel that this product is worth it. This boat cover was designed to last and will not shrink or stretch with heavy use. The cover remains durable with heavy use or in heavy storms. The cover is made with high-strength, water resistant polyester fabric. Once in place, the cover has a sleek appearance that adds to its appeal.
The elastic hem, adjustable transom flap, and buckled strapping system will keep this cover in place even during intense winds while duel air vents prevent ballooning. This remains true for high traveling speeds as well.
A definite bonus that comes with the StormPro is the storage bag that comes with the purchase. This gives you a place to store the cover when the boat is in use.
Classic Accessories wants you to purchase peace of mind, not just a product. This is why they make sure that they take care of you after the purchase with quality US-based customer service and a five-year warranty.
- Great for various weather conditions
- Snug, worry-free fit
- Great customer service
- The color fades a bit quickly if left out in the elements
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
The Brightent pontoon cover is easy on the budget, so If you are looking for adequate protection at a great deal, this cover may be right for you. There are two size options along with the adjustable straps, so getting this cover to fit snugly on your pontoon boat should not be an issue.
The material is 240D woven polyester and treated with PU, water repellent, and UV-proof coating. While this is a wonderful cover, it is not heavy-duty when compared to some of the others on this list. One of the benefits to this is that one person can manage to fit the cover on without assistance. It is also easy to fold for storage and washing.
The fabric is strong and works well for short-term storage.
- Budget friendly
- Lightweight and easy to put on
- Surprisingly durable
- Becomes weak and brittle after continued sun exposure
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
You will have your choice of three colors with this MSC Tailorable pontoon boat cover; specifically, beige, blue, or a nice grey. The Tailorable is our choice for a practical cover. Several sizes are offered so you can make sure you get one that fits your boat snugly, so you can travel or store it with no worries.
The durable, marine grade polyester canvas is tough and capable of withstanding strong winds and a variety of natural elements. This cover is specifically designed for both long-term storage and highway travel, so the tough fabric is essential.
No matter the shape of your boat, this cover should adjust to fit it.
- Strong and waterproof polyester
- Dependable for long-term storage
- Fits snugly and is tailorable
- No air vents lead the cover to balloon when traveling
Overall Rating: 3.0/5
Another product from Classic Accessories is the Stellex. This cover is marine grade strength. The classic blue cover looks sharp once fit snugly on your boat. The cover has weather, UV, and mildew protective coatings.
An adjustable transom flap and elastic cord provide a tighter, more custom fit for your pontoon while a rope attaches through D-rings for a tailored fit. A bonus with this cover is that the fabric is 20% lighter, making it easier to handle.
- Great for long-term storage
- Four-year warranty
- Good cover for the price point
- The cover is not durable enough to use while traveling
Year-round considerations for protecting your pontoon boat are essential in its upkeep. A good cover will benefit your boat through each season and all the different elements and challenges that they bring along with them. This means that if you get a quality cover, you can even use it for winterization. Follow our guide and considerations to help choose the best snap-on cover for your pontoon boat. If you have never thought a-boat it, now is the time to keep your investment afloat.