It’s the height of summer and the pontoon and fishing season are once again in full swing. We’ve had more than a year of being cooped up inside, some unable to visit the nearest body of water. But last summer is now just a distant memory. Now, everyone’s making the most of this summer. Make the most of your summer boating trips too, with these pontoon boat hacks, tips and tricks.

1. Keys should always float.

When car keys fall off your pocket and on the ground, you can just easily bend over and pick it up. If you can’t be bothered to bend down, you can even fetch them with your toes or with the closest hooked object. We can’t say the same for the keys on your water vessel. This scenario probably includes getting thoroughly soaked, and a dive to 10 m…if you’re one of the very lucky few. If your keys fall into deep, or murky water, you can say sayonara. Hopefully, you have a spare.

So rule numero uno whether you’re on a pontoon boat or any other water vessel for that matter, make sure that your keys float. It’s all too easy for them to slip out of a shallow pocket and into the water, never to be seen again. To keep keys safe, make sure they’re attached to a key float. You know, like a key chain, except it floats.

One easy and simple DIY is to string together a few wine corks to your keychain, and voila! Don’t forget to check for buoyancy and add as many corks as you need. Otherwise, that’s just contributing to water pollution.

You can actually do these for every small thing on the boat that’s just too important to lose in the water. Cameras, your favorite wrench, maybe, a wallet. But make sure the wallet (and its contents) are waterproofed too.

20ft pontoon boat

2. Making use of the spaces

Gear hammocks are priceless. Maximise the extra spaces in your pontoon boat with gear hammocks. These affordable, compact equipment will not only save you precious deck space, but will actually help you make use of all the inconvenient spaces left  unused on your boat. 

You can store your snacks, fruits, chips and heck, your breakfast too, in these versatile slings. And as the name suggests, your small, lighter boating tools too. This will keep them dry, organized, accessible but not in the way, and far from water.

3. Keeping smaller objects close

Pontoon boat riddled with knick-knacks? Gear hammocks can also be the answer.You already know that you can use them for all sorts of tools. Add a separate hammock in strategic places  for all the trinkets that seem to invade your decks and sitting areas too—sunscreen bottles, (floatable) keys, sunglasses, a flip flop or two. 

On that note, another idea is dropping a few bucks on a small organizer or something like a shower caddy. I mean, as a variation for all the hammocks strung everywhere, a caddy is a good idea, stops smaller things from sliding all over with every bump or wave.

4. Keeping the cooler in place.

Arguably, one of the most important pieces of equipment on board, the cooler is where the beer is. Stop this precious cargo from sliding around your pontoon boat deck and spilling its contents, or worse, falling into the abyss and becoming a gift to the sea gods, with a damp towel. Simply put your cooler atop a wrung out, damp towel and this should keep it still.

If you’re really in for a ride, the boat is dipping up and down and the cooler becomes in danger of tipping or going for a slide across deck, you can always use a bungee cord to tie the cooler into something stable. Which brings us to our next hack.

aluminum boat

5. Organizing flip flops

Kicked off flip flops lying around the deck, these ticking tripping time bombs are not uncommon, especially if there are children on board (but not always). But neither can they (the flip flops) just be stored away in some hidden corner. 

So in addition to putting them into gear hammocks, another hack is to insert and wedge them in between the cooler and the bungee cords that keep it in place. Cords that are wrapped just tightly enough around the cooler are a simple and convenient place to store flip flops. 

Of course, you always have the option to hang a shoe organizer or a dedicated caddy. But unlike the bungee cord that’s already being used, these take up additional space in your deck.

6. Keeping things dry

As every boater knows, water is unpredictable. As you make your way, it’s important to keep things that should be dry, dry at all times. A boater’s dry box will keep your wallet, documents, camera, smartphones, and other stuff dry. Dry boxes are not very portable, though. This is where waterproof dry bags come in.

Want to bring your gadgets in the kayak, jet ski or water with you? Worry not, as waterproof dry bags will help you keep your peace of mind. They’re available in various sizes from 3L to 5L, 10L, 20L, even all the way to 50L and beyond! What’s more, they float! Leave an extra room for air and watch your possessions stay above water.

A bigger version of the waterproof dry bag is none other than, the waterproof duffel bag! They’re bigger, often 60L and above, tough, and durable. You can store more or huge, heavier items inside. Water sports enthusiasts love them because it’s one place to store them all. They also often have traps on both sides for hand lifting, a top handle for hand carrying, and adjustable straps for crossbody carrying.

7. Making a pontoon bed out of your couches.

Install an inflatable mattress to turn your pontoon boat couches into a pontoon bed. After a day of boating, fishing and swimming, it would be great to have a chill, relaxing night, watching fireworks and having a drink. To make more room for the whole family or all the guests to lie down while unwinding, keep an inflatable mattress on board that’s the exact size to insert between your pontoon couches. They’re lightweight, portable and waterproof—inflatable mattresses are perfect!

pontoon boat

There you have it, pontoon boaters, 7 Simple Pontoon Boat Hacks that will Change your Boating Life. Did you like any? Which one are you using on your next boat trip? Do you have any long-held hacks, tips and tricks that you’d care to share with us?

Check our article on Safe Pontoon Boating in the COVID-19 Pandemic!