Storing a pontoon boat for the winter is not always an enjoyable experience, especially if you don’t have a trailer.
However, it’s something that every pontoon owner should do to guarantee their boat’s safety till the end of the cold months.
If you leave the boat outside during the winter, you expose it to destructive elements that can cause all sorts of boat damages.
With your boat damaged, you’ll need to have it repaired to be able to use it again.
If you don’t want to incur some repair and maintenance costs when spring arrives, you need to winterize and store your pontoon boat properly.
So, how do I store a pontoon boat without a trailer? Is it even possible to keep it safe and secure throughout the winter without a trailer?
And what happens when I leave my pontoon boat on the ground?
If you do not have a trailer, these questions might be racing in your mind. But don’t worry since I’ve got you covered.
In this article, I’ll show you the four best ways to store your pontoon boat without a trailer.
Can I Leave My Pontoon Boat on the Floor?
You can actually leave your pontoon boat on the floor. However, doing so will bring along several issues to your boat.
Here are the most common damages that happen to pontoon boats left on the hard and cold ground:
When you leave your pontoon boat on the ground, you risk destroying its aluminum tubes. These tubes cannot withstand the huge weight against the hard floor.
Besides the weight, hard floors may have bumps, rocks, and other discrepancies that can eventually ruin the tubes in your pontoon boat.
The process of setting the tubes on the hard ground can also damage the floor and lead to other surface issues.
Weight Distribution Problems
Even if you find the most leveled floor, keeping the boat’s weight evenly distributed is not always easy.
And with the weight distribution issues, your boat could get damaged, especially if you are leaving it for an extended period.
I’ve heard depressing stories of bent decking material caused by poor boat storage.
A pontoon boat parked on the ground is also a great attraction for various pests, from roaches and weevils to ants and spiders.
It gives these bugs an opportunity to get on board and find a location to establish their nests.
If you don’t want to go through the stress of getting rid of bugs from your boat when winter is over, you need to lift it a little bit. This way, it becomes less accessible to the stubborn critters.
Best Ways to Store a Pontoon Boat without a Trailer
While most boat owners will tell you that a trailer is a must for storing a pontoon boat properly, there are actually a number of ways to store your boat when you don’t have the trailer.
However, you need to ensure that you choose a safer method to avoid having to worry about the damages mentioned above.
I’m going to take you through several clever ways to store pontoon boat safely even if you don’t have a trailer:
Use Pontoon Boat Storage Blocks
This is the cheapest solution for storing pontoon boats without trailers. But what are these blocks, and how do they keep a boat safe?
Pontoon boat storage blocks are simply plastic fortified blocks.
Every set contains four blocks, but you can always get a piece or two pairs if need be.
They are designed to lift your pontoon boat from the ground level and ensure that it can safely remain in the position for several months.
The good thing about storage blocks is that they are readily available on marine shops and online stores like Amazon.
Last winter, I used the Attwood 11401 Pontoon Boat Winter Storage Blocks, and they delivered top-notch performance.
If you decide to invest in these storage blocks, I suggest that you carefully follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to avoid deforming the tubes.
Keep in mind that the blocks can still ruin the aluminum tubes if the weight distribution is uneven.
Once you lift your winterized boat with the storage blocks, protect it with a ventilated cover support system to avoid internal damage.
Rent a Dry Storage from a Local Dock or Marina
If you don’t have a trailer and want your boat stored inside, it makes sense to rent dry storage from a local dock.
And if you don’t like the marina you boat from, you can call a few other local ones and see if they can pull your boat to their dry storage areas.
Most docks and marinas have a good boat transport system, including a crane, winch, and track to pick boats from the water and pull them to their dry storage facilities.
So, you won’t have to think about how your boat will get out of the water.
While marina or dock storage facilities can be expensive, they are a great solution for boat owners wishing to keep their boat indoors for the winter and don’t have a trailer.
Nested Boat Stands or a Dolly System for Pontoon Boats
Nested boat stands are reinforced poles designed to hold boats off the ground for proper storage during the winter months.
Dolly systems for storing pontoon boats come with several wheels and a U-shaped surface that cradles the base of the boat’s tubes.
You can invest in these boat stands or dolly systems to store a pontoon boat properly, as there are models built specifically for pontoons.
The only problem with using dollies and boat stands is that you’ll need to have someone haul the pontoon from the water.
You can ask your marina to crane your pontoon into your dollies to be able to move it around and keep it off the ground.
If you are using boat stands, you need to set them in the place where you intend to store the boat since they don’t have wheels to move around.
Rent a Covered Marina Slip
If all you want is to store your boat for only a few weeks or a month and have no other storage options, you can rent a covered slip.
Once you rent a marina slip, be sure to cover your boat as the slip may not effectively keep bugs away.
However, you should expect to pay more as covered marina slips are pretty expensive to rent. But you can still get an economical deal, depending on your location.
I don’t recommend this storing strategy for any boat owner who intends to leave the boat for months as it may not offer great protection against inclement weather.
How Do I Get My Pontoon Boat Out of the Water?
If you don’t have a trailer, getting a pontoon boat out of the water can be quite a challenging task. Luckily, you can still do several things to get your boat to the storage space.
Pay Someone with a Trailer to Haul the Boat for You
You can hire someone with a trailer or benefit from private companies that hoist boats from the water at a small fee.
If you have a friend who owns a trailer, renting it would be your best bet.
You can also ask them nicely to do it for you at a far more affordable price than what you would pay a marina to pull your boat.
Make a Rolling Skid or Ramp Platform
For boat owners who cruise in a lake or river with an incline or beach, you can try some skids made from plywood parts and PVC tubing.
This method requires much caution as it’s easy to puncture aluminum pontoons. You don’t want to make an expensive mistake when trying to cut costs.
Q: How Do You Block a Pontoon Boat for Storage?
A: Place the storage blocks beneath the welds of the pontoon boat. Most blocks come in a sturdy design, and you can help you get your boat off the land with less hassle.
When placing the blocks, you need to ensure that your boat’s weight is distributed evenly for extra strength and stability.
Q: How Do You Store a Pontoon Outside?
A: To store your pontoon outside, you need to find a way to lift it off the ground to avoid damaging the tubes or bending the decking.
You also need to cover the boat against outdoor elements. There are several options to cover your boat, from waterproof canvas covers to shrink-wrapping the whole boat.
It would also help to use cheap wood or PVC pipe to build a trap frame that will shed water, ice, and snow, as these elements are inevitable during the winter.
Q: How Do You Get Your Boat Ready for Winter Storage?
A: To get your boat ready for winter storage, you need to haul it from the water to the space where you plan to store it.
Then fill the fuel tank to eliminate air. Keep in mind that any air left in the gas tank will condense during the cold months.
When the air condenses in your fuel tank, the water will get into your gasoline. It will also cause corrosion in the tank.
The next thing you want to do is prepare the engine for long-term storage by removing the old engine oil.
You also need to remove the spark plug wires and spray fogging oil through the holes before installing new spark plugs.
Then add fresh oil and detach the battery cables. Your boat engine should now be ready for winter storage.
Cleaning the boat thoroughly is also crucial for storage to remove any grime, algae, mold, and salt that could result in corrosion.
Get rid of any foods and drinks and put some rodent poison to prevent infestation of such critters from your boat.
Lastly, support the boat and cover it to prevent damage caused by snow and other outdoor elements.
When storing a boat without a trailer, you may be tempted to leave it sitting on the ground.
However, this is not always a good idea as it exposes pontoon boats to adverse weather conditions, which could damage the essential parts like the tubes and deck.
There are several good options for storing pontoon boats, and they don’t have to be very expensive.
Whichever storing method you choose, be sure to winterize your boat and cover it well to keep it safe throughout the winter.
If you want to rest assured that your boat is secure and cut down the hassle of towing it to the storing space, it might be time to invest in a trailer.
Pontoon boat trailers are absolutely worth it. And you can get a second-hand boat trailer at a relatively affordable price.