<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=874404503831143&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to main content
Olivia Hudak

By: Olivia Hudak on March 17th, 2022

Print/Save as PDF

Prep Your Pontoon Boat for Summer: The Process of Summerizing

Spring is well on its way once again and it’s time to start thinking about getting the pontoon boat ready for the water. There’s just one thing standing between you and your favorite summer pastime. You need to have the boat summerized. This process is the opposite of winterizing the boat, which should have been done before it was put away for the winter. 


Summerizing your boat may seem easy and thoughtless but there are a lot of steps that go into it. Steps that if missed could cause major problems. Problems you won’t want to get stuck dealing with during the prime boating season.


Before you start this process yourself, I want to point out that your dealer is a great resource for summerizing your pontoon boat. Many people find it much easier to have their dealer prepare their boat for summer so they don’t have to worry about it.


But, if you’d rather summerize your boat yourself, follow these directions. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the service team at your purchasing dealership.


Get the Boat Out of Storage

This first step may seem simple and mindless but depending on the situation, you may need to plan ahead. You’re going to need to get your boat out of wherever you stored it for the winter. Depending on where you store your boat, this can be a very easy task or it can take some legwork.


The level of difficulty of this task is determined by where you store your boat and how you store your boat. You may have a pontoon that is sitting outside on the ground instead of on a trailer. Depending on what shape the ground is in at that point in the season, it may be difficult to get a trailer lowered down far enough to slide under the boat. It may also be difficult to get it out of the storage spot because of natural factors such as snow or mud.


For those who store their pontoon boat indoors, you should also be planning ahead for retrieval. In the fall people often drop their boats into the storage area blocking in the boats that were there before them. 


Thus, making it more difficult to get the boat out when spring comes around. If you plan ahead, you should be in a spot that is easy to access and isn’t being blocked by others.  Make it easy on yourself when you put the boat away and remember how important it is to have access to the boat no matter where it’s stored.   


Take the Shrink Wrap Off

Depending on where you store your boat, this step may or may not apply to you. So if it doesn’t, feel free to move right onto the next step.


For those of you who store your boat outside through the winter months, it’s time to get the shrink wrap off of your boat. Be sure to empty any pockets in the wrap that may be full of water. This way you don’t end up tossing gross water all over your boat potentially staining the furniture with any grime that’s built up over the winter.


It’s also very important to be careful while you’re cutting the shrink off of the boat. You don’t want to accidentally scratch your boat or tear into your seats with a knife or any other sharp object that you would use to cut through the wrap. Take your time and pay attention to what you’re doing to avoid such mistakes.


Once you get the shrink wrap off of your boat, be sure to dispose of it properly. There are recycling companies that specialize in recycling shrink wrap and I recommend locating one in your area.


Check the Oil

Before you get ready to drop the pontoon boat in the water, you’ll want to make sure the engine is functioning properly. First, check the amount of oil in the motor. This step is extremely important as it could be detrimental to run the motor with a low amount of oil in it.


A low percentage of oil in the motor could lead to an engine malfunction such as overheating which can cause a lot of damage if not addressed immediately. This could leave you with a hefty repair bill which nobody wants to deal with. 


You’ll also want to check the oil in the engine’s lower unit. The oil in the lower unit is crucial for increasing the efficiency of the motor. It improves the movement of all the components within the engine and keeps them running at peak performance.


This is a step worth taking extra time to ensure the proper functioning of your engine. After the oil is checked, go over the rest of your engine to make sure no animals have made a home under the cover. If everything looks good, it’s time to move to the next step.


Check the Battery

Don’t overlook this step, the batteries are the heart of your pontoon boat. You want to check to make sure the batteries are working well. This will save you from being dead in the water once you launch the boat.


Make sure the batteries are reading the correct electrical load before moving to the next step. If they don’t read the correct voltage, be sure to either replace them or charge them sufficiently.


If you stored the batteries properly, you shouldn’t have any problems. It’s also good to keep in mind that the average lifespan of a boat battery is five years, remember this if you get a low voltage reading. A dead battery is never a great way to start your boating season so nip this in the bud before launching the boat. 


Check All Electronics

Before you’re ready to hit the water, check to make sure your electronics are functioning. For instance, there are many different lights on the boat that you need in order to be in compliance with the law. It is important to check that all those lights are working properly before dropping your boat in the water.


You’ll also want to go over any additional electronics you have on board. Doing so will save you the hassle of trying to fix electronics while out on the water.


Fire It Up

At this point, you’re ready to fire up the engine. Since the boat is still on land and the engine is not submerged in water, I recommend using muffs with a hose or a bucket so that you have a consistent flow of water running through the motor. 


This will allow you to start the engine without burning up your impeller. Burning your impeller by “dry-starting” your boat can cause major problems. Once you have water pumping through the engine, go ahead and make sure everything is working correctly.


This is what you should be taking into consideration during this process; Does the motor sound normal or healthy? Is the motor “peeing” at a normal rate? Can I easily shift from neutral to forward and reverse? Is the steering control working?


If you can check yes to all these questions, you’re in good shape for spring. By checking yes to all these questions you can say that to your best judgment, your boat is ready for the water. Of course, part of owning a boat is the uncertainty that issues may occur. So always keep in mind that problems can arise even if your boat is thoroughly checked out.


Clean Your Boat

Cleaning your pontoon boat is an easy task most of the time, especially if you gave it a thorough cleaning before it went into storage. Even though it is an easy task, it is definitely the one I dread the most. 


I recommend taking the time to clean your boat while it is still stationed on land. This makes it much easier to vacuum and power wash if needed. You can also use this time to wash and wax the panels and scrub down the toons once more before it hits the water. 


While cleaning your boat, this is a good time to check through all the compartments onboard. Go through all the storage space and make sure no animals made a nest over the winter. Check for any damages you may want to repair before launching your boat and make sure you have all the necessary gear on board. Taking these steps will ensure that your pontoon boat is ready before it hits the water for the season. 


Summer Ready

Now that you’ve gone through all the steps to prepare your pontoon boat for summer, you’re ready to launch the boat. It never hurts to double-check that everything is working properly before you make it to the water. 


If your dealer is handling this process for you, make sure to go through the boat before its maiden voyage. Make sure you’ve got all safety necessities on board and your fuel is topped off. 


Summer will be here before you know it and you’ll be more ready than ever to hit the water. If you ever have any questions while summerizing your boat, be sure to reach out to your local dealership. There are professionals that will be able to answer your questions with a plethora of knowledge.

LC (1)


About Olivia Hudak

Avid boater and Barletta Boats team member, Olivia is no stranger to the water. She was on the MSU wake team through college and continues to ride the wake in her spare time.