Pontoon boat accessories are necessary in order to get the most out of your pontoon adventures. These accessories may include anything from the addition to portable grills, easy to set up bars, cup holders, and more. In fact, pontoon boat accessories are so crucial, that when searching for your perfect pontoon boat, always figure in a bit more with regards to pricing, to cover the costs of any necessary accessories. We also realize that the market is stuffed to the brim with accessories for your pontoon, so in order to help you out, we've compiled a list of 10 items which are among the first you should consider. However, every boater is different, with different needs, so it doesn't hurt to ask around as well.
For some, the first item to purchase for their pontoon is a bimini boat top. A bimini is simply a top that you install onto your pontoon, that protects you and your passengers from the sun and rain. Bimini's come in a variety of styles. Styles include bimini's in both hard or soft tops, with colors to match your boat. Regarding soft tops, take care to purchase from a brand that provides you with a tough and durable fabric, such as Sunbrella marine grade fabric, which is stain, UV and fade resistant.
2. Dock Lines
When it comes time to secure your pontoon to a dock, you use a dock line. While a dock line isn't a fun accessory, it is indeed, one of the most necessary. You'll find that people have their own preference regarding materials. Bungee dock lines are preferred by many pontoon owners over the traditional, double braided nylon lines when it comes to short term tie-ups, as they absorb shocks. However, if you're thinking of docking a boat for a long term stay, or in an area that's prone to wind and storms, then traditional nylon is probably a be a better choice.
3. Pontoon Boat Cover
One of the very first purchases pontoon boat owners make is that of a dependable pontoon boat cover. After all, you've probably invested a pretty penny with the purchase of your pontoon, as well as any accessories, so it makes sense that you take the time to learn how to best protect your investment from the elements. These covers protect your pontoon from unnecessary wear and tear, so take care not to go cheap on it. Finally, pay attention to the Denier number. This represents the thickness of the fabric. The higher the Denier number, the better it is when it comes to protecting your pontoon. In general, a pontoon cover with 600D or 600 Denier is pretty good.
4. Floating Key Ring
Losing your keys at home is bad enough, but losing them while on the water? That's a nightmare. Enter the floating key ring, an absolute must have pontoon boat accessory for anyone who spends time on the water. There are many brands of floating key chains, with some being better than others. But, suffice it to say that you should look for a floating key chain that can hold at least 5 or 6 keys with ease, and be composed of a bright, visible, reflective material. Any metal parts should be made from high quality, corrosion resistant stainless steel. No matter which brand of floating key chain you buy, please test it out at home before you take it out on the water, to ensure that it does indeed live up to the brands hype. Also, take note of how many keys it can hold and how long it stays afloat.
5. GPS Navigation System
Whatever you do, don't leave home without a top of the line, marine GPS navigation system, especially if you are new to boating. A good GPS navigation system, such as the Garmin Striker 4, is there to guide you, as well as give you an idea of the underwater terrain, which is especially useful if you're in shallow water. While it's still recommended that you learn basic marine navigational skills, the GPS has all but eliminated that need altogether. If a marine GPS is new to you, then look for one that's well-respected among boaters. Search reviews and view videos to ensure that you'll choose one with an easy to read display screen, and with a user interface that matches your skill level.
6. Pontoon Fender or Bumper
Pontoon boats need as much protection as you can give them, such as a good quality pontoon cover. One of the best pontoon accessories to buy, which will definitely protect your boat from damage are fenders or bumpers. Let's face it, when docked, you're pontoon will be thrashing about with the waves, crashing into the dock as well as other boats. Pontoon fenders help prevent any damage resulting from such activity by coming between the boat and whatever surface the pontoon risks colliding against. When looking for fenders/bumpers, start with dock bumpers, side fenders, fence saver fenders, and corner bumpers. Some are inflatable, while others are padded, but all will help keep your pontoon from damage due to collision.
7. Air Pump for Inflatables
While practical accessories are at the top of the list, there is much to be said for something that adds to a bit of fun as well, and inflatables are a big part of any water adventure. Inflatables include anything from toys for the kids, to air mattresses. In fact, did you know that one of the coolest hacks for pontoon owners is to bring an inflatable mattress on board, place it in between pontoon seating to create a bed? A good air pump will be easy to use, have an easy to read display, and an automatic shut off. Also, look for one that is versatile so you can use it for home use as well. So look for one that comes with a variety of nozzles, and is easy to store.
8. Waterproof Bags or Dry Bags
There's no contest here when it comes to spending money on this pontoon boat accessory. Waterproof bags, or dry bags as they are also called, protect your personal items from becoming water-logged during your travels. Waterproof bags come in a variety of styles, from large duffel bags, to smaller dry bags. While you might shrug it off, because you already have a waterproof backpack, know that a dry bag is much better. Dry bags can be submersed in the water, and still protect your valuables, whereas a backpack might not. If you plan on carrying your phone and pocket book, then look for a dry bag that comes with additional, waterproof compartments.
Purchasing a spotlight for your pontoon might not seem like a necessary must have pontoon accessory, but in the end, you'll be glad that you did. Spotlights serve to function as a source of illumination after the sun goes down. This assists you with everything from navigation to enjoying some well earned, evening party time with friends. Most pontoon spotlights are small, so they can be stored on board easily when not in use. If you're a newbie, then perhaps look for an LED spotlight with a rechargeable battery, that's also submersible. Under no circumstances take an average, clip on reflector lamp to use as a spotlight, as they are not waterproof and can cause electric shocks. Only use a high quality, marine spotlight. One that's waterproof, and floats in case it drops into the water is a good choice.
10. Portable toilet
Hands down, one of the best pontoon boat accessories is a portable toilet, or porta potty. After all, who wants to constantly head for shore whenever the urge strikes? By adding a porta potty to your pontoon, you can enjoy as many glasses of that fabulous, homemade ice tea without worry. Once you've selected your portable toilet, then a privacy enclosure should be next on your list. Pontoon privacy enclosures come in a wide variety of styles, such as drop down curtains which attach to your bimini, to a standard camping shower tent. Most are inexpensive and will definitely makes your guests feel more at home on the water.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith