Pressure Washing Your Pontoon Boat

Give it a high-pressure spray down before stowing your 'toon for the winter.

Pressure Washing

Dan Armitage

This is about the time of year when ‘tooner’s who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line put their boats to bed for the winter. If the boat has been kept in the water for the season, at a dock, mooring or on a stake, chances are the logs have accumulated a layer of algae below the waterline. Anyone who has pulled their pontoon after a season afloat and allowed that mud-infused slime to dry has experienced how exposure to the air turns the crud to concrete – and how hard it is to remove once it’s been allowed to set-up.

Exposed to the air, the crud on your tubes turns tough real fast.

Veteran members of the pontoon boat-owners club that I belong to prepare for their annual October “pull-out” day by having a power washer primed and standing ready to give their logs a high-powered cleaning as soon as their boats are on blocks. They realize that minutes matter between the time the boats are pulled and the sludge starts to harden, and even time their take-outs based on when the power washer is available and ready to take on the task the moment the boat is out.

This is no task for an electric power-washer; a gas-fired model offering at least 2500 psi of water power is required to remove a season’s worth of muck. If you can’t justify the $250-plus price tag for a new power-washer (Sears has a Craftsman 2500 psi model on sale now for $258 at, consider splitting the cost with a fellow boater or two and share the rig. They come in just as handy in the spring when it’ll be time to clean the decks of a winter’s worth of grime and are great for removing mold, cleaning carpet and flooring and performing other topside clean-up duties through the season.