How To Store Pontoon Boats Without a Trailer
Leaving your pontoon boat adrift in the water for extended periods, especially during winter, is a surefire way to invite trouble. In fact, there’s a good reason why industry experts recommend dry docking your pontoon when extended periods of idleness are expected. And this is where a trailer can come in handy.
Look, during the winter months, frozen water and ice can wreak havoc on the aluminum hull. The harmful bacterial growth and scum build-up could develop there, compromising your vessel’s integrity, leading to costly repairs and shortened lifespan.
But what if you don’t have a trailer? How can you ensure your pontoon boat remains safe, secure, and free from damage without one? Let’s explore some alternative options you may want to consider.
Effective Ways to Store Your Pontoon Boat without A Trailer
Here are some innovative strategies to consider:
Using Pontoon Boat Storage Blocks
One of the reliable and safe storage options you can try is using pontoon boat storage blocks. These are reinforced plastic blocks that come in a set of four and are designed to elevate your vessel off the ground, effectively protecting it from damage caused by contact with the earth.
A good example of pontoon boat storage blocks is the Attwood 11401-4 Pontoon Winter Storage Blocks. It is a popular choice for this type of storage solution.
The good thing about these blocks is that they offer a universal fit, making them compatible with various pontoon makes and models.
However, it’s important to note that improper weight distribution on the blocks can deform your tubes.
So to avoid mishaps, be sure not to space the blocks too far apart and consider purchasing an additional set to support your boat.
Using Boat Stands/Dolly System
Another alternative storage solution for your pontoon boat is a boat stand or a dolly system.
As the name suggests, Boat stands are vertical pole structures that support your boat, while a dolly system uses wheeled dollies to cradle the underside of your pontoons.
The biggest challenge with these storage options is getting your boat onto them.
So if you struggle with this, consider reaching out to your marina and see if they can assist you with their crane to lift your boat out of the water and onto the stands or dollies.
It’s good to note that once you’ve set your boat onto the stands, you’ll need to keep it in place for storage, as they are not easily movable.
Renting a Marina Dry Storage Space
If you’re looking for a convenient but pricey way to store your pontoon boat without a trailer, you can always rely on the dry storage facilities offered by your local marina.
This might not be the most affordable option, but it’s certainly one of the most secure, especially if you want to keep your boat in top condition for years.
Try to contact several marinas in your area and compare their rates to find the best deal.
Once you’ve found the one that suits your budget, the marina staff will handle everything. They’ll use a crane or other equipment to hoist your boat out of the water, put it on a trailer or some dollies, and then transfer it to the dry storage facility.
Of course, you’ll need to factor in the cost of transportation and other fees, but if you’re willing to invest in your boat’s upkeep, this is a choice worth considering.
After all, you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.
Renting A Covered Slip
Consider using a covered slip if you’d like a budget-friendly yet secure storage option for your boat. This option offers protection from the elements and can keep your boat safe for a short-term period.
While it may cost slightly more than open-air slips, the added protection is worth it.
Plus, if you don’t plan to leave your boat for an extended period, a covered slip may be cheaper than renting a dry storage space.
How To Get Your Pontoon Out Of The Water Without A Trailer
Getting your beloved pontoon boat from the water without a trailer can seem daunting, but don’t fret. You can hoist your vessel out of the waves and onto dry land with creativity and careful planning.
Here are a few tried-and-true methods for getting your pontoon boat out of the water, even without a trusty trailer by your side.’
Hire Someone with A Trailer
You can always contact your fellow boat owners at the marina and request their assistance. If you’re lucky enough to have friends willing to help, they might do it for free! Alternatively, you could always offer them a friendly fee for their services.
Additionally, your marina may provide this service as part of its offerings. Alternatively, private companies specialized in this task are also worth checking out.
Consider Using Rolling Skid/Ramp
If you’re looking to haul your boat out of the water and the shore has a gradual slope, you can use a ramp.
However, be cautious as this method has been known to cause damage and puncture tubes. It’s important to take it slow and steady to ensure a safe and successful haul.
Tips to Keep In Mind When Storing Your Pontoon Boat Without A Trailer
Here are some additional tips for storing pontoon boats without a trailer.
Consider Using a Sheltered/Enclosed Storage Location
Naturally, it’s a good idea to keep your pontoon boat safe from the harsh elements of nature, particularly when storing it for an extended period like winter.
A covered or enclosed space can be a great option to protect it from rain, snow, and other elements. This could be a garage, shed, or carport with a roof and walls.
Keep Your Boat Clean and Empty
As much as you want to take all your belongings everywhere, sometimes it’s not practical, especially concerning pontoon boats.
Before storing your vessel, remove all personal items, including fishing gear, life jackets, and any other items that could be damaged by the elements or stolen.
Not only does this make it easier to store the boat properly, but it also keeps pests out and simplifies the sealing or covering process.
Remember To Keep Your Boat Covered
To shield your pontoon boat from the wrath of outside elements, it is wise to employ a nautical veil or a boat cover, for that matter.
However, it is not enough to slap on any old cover; it must be tailored to the right size for a snug fit, ensuring it is firmly fastened and ready to take on whatever the weather throws.
Remember To Remove The Battery For Winter
It’s also important to ensure your pontoon boat is winterized before storing it away. One crucial step in this process is to remove the battery and give it a full charge to prep it for the upcoming season.
Note that an idle battery left out in the cold can quickly lose its charge and wear down over time, leading to frustration and disappointment when you’re itching to hit the water again.
So, take the time to charge and protect your battery properly. This way, you’ll be all set and ready to go when the sun returns and the water calls your name again.
Can You Leave Your Pontoon Boat on The Ground
Leaving your pontoon boat on the ground may be technically possible, but it’s certainly not the best choice.
This is because there’s a plethora of problems that arise from parking your vessel on the cold, hard earth. Here are just a few:
First, you’re leaving your boat exposed to the elements, which can lead to damage and deterioration over time.
Second, the hull could become damaged from the pressure of resting on the ground for an extended period. And let’s not forget the risk of critters making a cozy home underneath your boat!
Furthermore, leaving your boat grounded can make it challenging to perform maintenance or repairs. It can also make launching the boat back into the water challenging and potentially hazardous.
So, while you could leave your pontoon boat on the ground, it is not recommended. Instead, protect your investment and preserve your vessel by finding a proper storage solution that keeps it off the ground and out of harm’s way.
Here are some major problems associated with leaving your boat on the ground.
Those sleek and sturdy aluminum tubes that make up your vessel’s frame may seem unbreakable, but they’re not designed to sustain immense weight against the hard ground.
In addition to this, parking your boat on concrete floors can pose another set of problems. The surface may be riddled with bumps, divots, and rocks, which can damage the tubes over time.
Even setting the tubes on the ground can lead to cosmetic issues like dings and holes if done carelessly.
Moreover, improperly supported pontoon boats can also be vulnerable to the elements, leading to damage and deterioration over time.
This can result in costly repairs and maintenance down the line, not to mention a shortened lifespan for your beloved boat.
So, to ensure your pontoon boat’s longevity and structural integrity, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to support it properly.
Don’t let your boat become a victim of the elements or carelessness. Give it the support it needs, and you’ll be rewarded with many seasons of smooth sailing ahead.
Leaving your pontoon boat bare on the ground can make it more attractive to opportunistic critters searching for a cozy new home.
Some experts speculate that leaving your boat on the ground removes the initial height barrier, making it more accessible for crawling pests.
It’s like rolling out the welcome mat for any critters looking for a new residence.
And let’s face it; once these critters make themselves home in your boat, they can wreak havoc on the interior and exterior alike.
The damage can be significant and costly to repair, from gnawed wiring and chewed upholstery to droppings and other unsightly messes.
So, to avoid unwanted critters setting up shop in your pontoon boat, take the necessary precautions.
Keep your boat off the ground and properly stored, and seal any potential entry points. Don’t let pests make your boat their new home.
Weight Distribution Issues
It’s good to note that even ground that appears level can still pose a significant risk to your beloved vessel.
This is because a pontoon boat’s weight distribution is a delicate balancing act requiring a level foundation.
Even the slightest tilt or unevenness in the ground can cause the boat’s weight to shift to one side, leading to potential warping and bending of the decking material over time.
This issue can become even more troublesome when leaving your pontoon boat on uneven ground for an extended period.
The prolonged exposure to improper weight distribution can cause significant damage, compromising the boat’s structural integrity and leading to costly repairs.
Ensuring that your boat is safely stored during the winter is crucial. While leaving it on the ground might seem easy, it can lead to damage caused by the elements.
Luckily, there are plenty of affordable storage options available for pontoon boats. Just remember to winterize your boat and cover it for maximum protection properly.
Investing in a pontoon boat trailer can also provide peace of mind and simplify storage. Second-hand trailers are reasonably priced, making them a worthwhile investment for any boat owner.