Want to know what really gets our goat? When we see a pontoon that costs thousands of dollars without a cover? Surely if you’ve got the cash to splash out on the boat, spending another hundred or two shouldn’t be too big a deal? This is why we have put together a list of the best pontoon boat covers your money can buy.
Without a pontoon boat cover, you run the risk of having your boat age roughly ten times faster than it should. However, despite the clear benefits that a pontoon boat cover provides, many people still fail to use one.
Why Cover Your Pontoon
Okay, so if you’re asking why you should cover your pontoon boat, we’ll happily oblige with the reasons.
Protect it against the elements
While your boat might be water and rust-resistant, constant exposure to changing temperatures can cause it to contract and expand, which could result in cracks. Also the gel coating can only protect your pontoon to a degree, and over time, without a cover, it’s going to oxidize and eventually fade.
Keep unwanted guests out
This might not be an obvious reason, but a cover will protect your pontoon from stray cats, raccoons and other beasties making it their home, especially during the winter months.
Prevent theft and vandalism
A boat cover is one way to keep your pontoon safe from vandals and possible thieves. While it’s not a sure-fire way, it’s definitely a deterrent. If there are two pontoons side by side, one with a cover and one without, chances are the petty criminals will go for the open boat.
Increase your boat’s lifespan
Whether your pontoon cost thousands of dollars or only a few hundred, we’re guessing it was still an investment for you. By covering it you are increasing its lifespan and ensuring it doesn’t depreciate in value.
What to Look for When You’re Buying a Pontoon Boat Cover
Pontoons occasionally come with a cover, but they’re not always the best quality, which is why it’s a good idea to buy one separately. Let’s take a quick look at which features you should keep in mind when shopping around.
This is a no-brainer really. When you’re looking at boat covers, make sure it fits correctly. Retailers usually give you a size chart for ease of reference. Use it if you need to.
Surely the color of the cover doesn’t make a difference? Actually, it does. Bright colors won’t only fade in the sunlight, there’s also the chance of it bleeding into your boat’s upholstery. Go for more neutral colors to prevent this from happening.
Water-resistant vs. waterproof
You do know that waterproof and water-resistant are two different things, right? Most boat covers are water-resistant, which means they reduce the amount of water that gets through, but they don’t stop it. If your pontoon cover isn’t waterproof, and it’s going to be outside in the rain, use a tarp as well.
Mold and mildew resistant
Pontoons, because of the way they’re stored, are susceptible to mold and mildew, it’s a good idea to get a cover with a fabric that has been treated and is resistant to both.
Easy to use
When we ask people why they don’t use their cover, they tell us it’s a hassle to continually put on and take off. We get that, which is why when you’re buying one, it’s a good idea to get a cover with a fastening system that is user-friendly.
Type of fabric
Pontoon covers are available in different materials. You can choose between polyester canvas or pure polyester, for example. Pure polyester usually has a waterproof finish that stops water getting, while polyester canvas can be treated to make it waterproof.
Keep in mind the denier, or thickness, of the cover. The thicker, the better, with top-of-the-line covers being around 600D.
Pontoon Boat Cover Reviews
MSC Trailerable Pontoon Boat Cover
The MSC Trailerable Pontoon Boat Cover might be thinner than some others at only 300D, but it’s as strong and durable. The marine grade constructed cover features a water-resistant coating and will do well protecting your boat whether it’s in storage, on the highway or while you’re mooring it.
It’s UV resistant, won’t get damaged by mildew, and the fabric won’t shrink over time. The fastening system is easy and convenient with quick release clasps, while the sewn-in elastic cord provides an adjustable fit. We like that the cover comes with a sturdy canvas storage bag that keeps it safe when it’s not being used.
The MSC Trailerable is available in grey, pacific blue, and beige and it comes in three different sizes that will protect boats 17 to 20 feet long, 21 to 24 feet long and 25 to 28 feet long.
Heavy Duty Waterproof Gray Pontoon Cover
The Heavy Duty Pontoon Cover from North East Harbor is a top pick for a lot of pontoon owners because it ticks all the relevant boxes: it’s well made, using high-quality material, offers loads of protection and is reasonably priced.
The cover is made using a breathable polyester and is 600D. It is both UV resistant and waterproof and will protect your boat from wind, rain, and sunshine. It’s available in five different sizes and will fit pontoons that measure 20 feet, 21 feet, 22 feet, 23 feet as well as 24 feet long.
Trailering is easy, and the quick-snap system means it can be covered in under 10 minutes. The strapping is also adjustable, and it comes with its own storage bag for safekeeping. If you’re on a budget, but still want quality, this is the perfect cover for you.
Brightent Pontoon Cover Heavy Duty
The Brightent Pontoon Heavy Duty Cover is made from 600D woven polyester, which combines durability, and strength, and it is waterproof. The marine-grade boat cover is also UV resistant.
The elastic cord inside the hem of the cover lets you adjust its size for the perfect fit, and the 3 sets of straps keeps it secure. You can choose from three different sizes, including a 20-foot cover to fit a pontoon that measures between 17 to 30 feet long, a 24-foot cover for boats that are between 21 and 24 feet long and a 28-foot cover that will protect boats measuring between 25 and 28 feet.
The Brightent Pontoon cover comes with a carrier bag for safe storage.
EmpireCovers Aqua Armor Pontoon Boat Cover
The EmpireCovers Aqua Armor Pontoon cover is extremely durable, will protect your boat against the most extreme conditions and is quick and easy to put on. Before you get too excited, it’s important for us to mention that it doesn’t come cheap. But in our opinion, it’s worth the asking price.
Unlike so many boat covers, this particular one is made from a 1,200D polyester, which as you know is twice the thickness of some of the best covers around. Even at this thickness, it’s completely breathable, which means there’s more than enough circulation to keep the mildew, mold and damp at bay.
The Aqua Armor cover is also 100% waterproof and will keep out the snow and rain. The elastic hem also ensures no water will get in and the elasticity lets you cover the boat from top to bottom, including any hard-to-reach areas.
It goes without saying that the cover can be put through its paces, whether it’s high-speed traveling or heavy rainstorms.
How To Measure For A Pontoon Boat Cover
To make sure you’re getting the right cover for your boat, you need to measure it correctly. You need to get the length and the width.
The length is measured from the middle of the porthole to the bow, while the width is the widest part, usually the center.
How To Clean A Pontoon Boat Cover
Just like your pontoon needs to be cleaned and maintained, so too does the cover. The easiest way to get rid of mold or mildew is to make a mixture using chlorine bleach, industrial-grade soap, and water, with the ratio 4:2:1.
Using a brush with soft bristles, and the mixture, we suggest you gently scrub the cover and let it sit for around 15 minutes. To rinse, use warm water and let the cover air dry.
All boat covers, regardless of finish or durability, will need to be cleaned at some point. This is because moisture builds up over time and could, ultimately, cause a layer of mildew or mold.
How to Cover a Pontoon Boat for Winter
To make sure your pontoon survives the cold winter months, it’s best you take some extra care covering it up. It might seem a little time consuming, but trust us, the extra TLC will ensure your boat looks as good as new come summer.
Hopefully, you have a brand new cover, as per our list, and your pontoon will be safe from the elements. But if you’re using an old cover, we suggest you repair any holes to prevent rodents getting in. Also, new or old, spray the cover with a repellent to keep uninvited guests away.
You’ll notice covers come with poles. There’s a reason for this, which is to stop water collecting on the cover, and leaking through onto your boat. Prop up the cover and keep an eye on it. If you see water gathering anywhere, get rid of it.
You can shrink wrap your pontoon boat if you like, but any of our recommended covers will do an excellent job protecting your investment until boat season comes around again.
The easiest way to ensure your pontoon serves you well for years to come is by keeping it protected. Our best pontoon cover choices include different needs, likes and even budgets, so there is no excuse for neglecting your boat.