Check Your Winter Storage Set-up

Did you take the lazy way out of wintering your toon? This winter, you'll pay for it.

Snow Covered Pontoon Boat

Dan Armitage

If it doesn’t snow where you live and boat, you can stop reading now. Unless, that is, you just want to gloat over those of us who DO boat in a latitude that features classic winter weather and all the frigid flotsam that comes with it.

Remember that guy I ridiculed a few blogs back for double-bagging his pontoon boat with multiple plastic tarps for the off -season? (Read: Common Mistakes With Boat Covers.) He's a fellow member of my local pontoon boat owners club – and talk about gloating. Among the 100 or so members' pontoon boats stored on foam blocks ashore, which were prepped for the winter by owners who did everything from nothing at all to double-shrink-wrapping their craft, are a few examples of what not to do protect a pontoon boat from the winter elements.

These half-assed attempts to cover their craft with cheap blue plastic tarps and bungee cords may have cut the mustard during the non-winter of 2012, but not this season. The combination of low temperatures and high winds conspired to create ice dams and ‘cicles with razor-sharp edges that shred any fabric that hasn’t been blown to ribbons by winter breezes that have been relentless compared to the conditions across much of north North America we experienced a season ago.

So while my fellow doomsday-prepper pontoon owner relaxes in the clubhouse, feet propped before the roaring brick fireplace with a steaming mug of schnapps-laced hot chocolate in his fist, he smugly watches a steady stream of middle-aged men drive in to the club grounds, trudge over to their snow-bound boats, slump their shoulders, throw their hands into the air, turn and try to follow the impressions of their footsteps back to their car for the frosty ride home to tell an equally frosty spouse that “everything’s fine” with a boat they are afraid to revisit until after the Easter thaw.

Even as we vow to “do it right” next year, we plop down on the couch to clip coupons for bargain “off season” buys on cheap blue tarps from the latest Harbor Fright ad.

Happy winter.