There are two ways in which you can store your inflatable pontoon boat when you aren’t using it for long periods, for example over the winter months.
There’s a bad way, and a good way.
Storing it for long periods when it’s still inflated is the bad way. The good way, which will probably increase the lifespan of your inflatable or personal pontoon, is to deflate fully it when it’s being stored for the winter of similar long time stretches.
Let me explain why.
Storing Your Personal Pontoon Inflated: The Worst Way
This is bad, and I don’t recommend it for a number of reasons.
Firstly, if you are going to store your inflatable away for the winter, let’s say in your garage, and you decide to leave it inflated, it’s not going to save you masses of time in the long run. Why? Because you will still need to periodically go to it and pump some air in.
Any inflatable boat will start to deflate over a long period of time. Just like a balloon does, air will find a way to escape… nothing inflatable says inflated for ever.
If you don’t keep it fully inflated when it’s being stored away it will potentially become damaged, especially if it’s out of sight and out of mind underneath a cover. It’s not unheard of for tears and rips to occur, for example the weight of the transom could create rips and damage if the tubes aren’t fully inflated.
Here’s a quote I picked up from Facebook in an inflatable pontoon boat owner’s group.
“I left my Classic Accessories Colorado XT in the garage over winter for 4 months, it was fully inflated when I stored it. I’ve just taken the cover off, it’s half-deflated, and now has got nasty holes in it!”
The reason this happened was because the glued-joints and seams in the pontoons had started to separate. The personal pontoon only has its strength when it’s fully inflated with air inside of the tubes. If that starts to reduce, stress can happen, leading to damage.
That guy had some repair jobs to do.
If you are going to store your inflatable pontoon fishing boat inflated, make sure that every week you go and check it, and give it a fresh couple of blasts from your foot pump.
And if it’s on a small trailer, keep it covered with a decent boat cover. You can buy one for not a huge amount of money on Amazon. The Newport covers are affordable and work well with small inflatables.
Storing Your Personal Pontoon Deflated: The Best Way
Based on that, it should be pretty clear. If you want to know how to store an inflatable pontoon boat, clean it, let the air out, roll it up, and then get it stored away properly.
But there are still some considerations to be made.
1. Clean and Dry it Properly
Before storing away for the winter, make sure that you clean the boat thoroughly, and then make sure that it is completely dried out before you roll it up.
I scrub mine down with a natural mild soap and warm water. There is a specialist boat cleaner that you can use called Star Brite. I’ve not used it, but it does have good Amazon reviews.
You can then dry it off with a towel to stop any mold or mildew from developing.
If you don’t do this, you’re in for a nasty surprise when you come to unpacking it after the winter, with mold, insects, and other beasties waiting to be released. Any moisture is an inviting paradise for gunk, so keep it clean and don’t store it away until it’s completely dry.
2. Store it Indoors
Don’t prop it up against the house or leave it in an outdoor shed. If you have a garage that is relatively secure, that’s where you need to leave it.
This will prevent damp and reduce the number of insects and mice that will want to use it as their nest for the winter.
Even better, keep your boat in good order by keeping it in a closet in your house, as that way it’s not out of sight and out of mind, meaning you’re going have a nice and clean vessel ready to use come spring.
Whichever way you do decide to store your personal pontoon, the most important rule is to keep the boat out of the glare of direct sunlight and exposure to the elements, in a cool and dry place.
3. Store It Up Off the Floor
If you do store it in your garage, then have it raised up from the floor. This will help prevent critters from nesting inside of it. For some tips on how to stop mice and rats nesting, read this guide.
I’ve owned my Colorado for a couple of years now, and every winter use the second method above for storage. I’ve never had any problems, and my boat is in exceptional condition.
Protect your investment, keep it well stored, and it should be something that you can enjoy for many years to come.
Handy Hint: If you own a full-size pontoon boat, you might be interested in my tips on how to winterize it.