Privacy, Please: 6 Pontoon Privacy Partitions for Discreet Boaters
Men typically don't care too much about revealing some skin (and some men don't have a modest bone in their bodies, even in their birthday suits). But I can tell you that, as a woman, I've asked for assistance from friends to hold up large beach towels while I change more times than I can count.
That's why pontoon boat changing rooms and privacy partitions are excellent pontoon boat accessories. Having one of these is a convenient way to make our modest guests and shy friends more comfortable.
Why and How to Add a Privacy Partition to Your Pontoon
Kids and small children can be bashful, especially around adults who aren't mom and dad. And even more to the point, kids have very sensitive skin. It's probably a good idea to change them out of wet clothes to avoid skin rashes from bathing suits and swim trunks. You may need a changing room or partition for another obvious reason:
Using a portable toilet.
Sometimes we can just hop in the water to relieve ourselves. Other times, not so much. And if you've never thought of keeping a portable toilet on board, check out our pontoon boat bathrooms post, which gives multiple reasons to consider one as well as provides reviews of popular choices.
Privacy partitions are quite painless to set up. They're easy to hang whenever you stop for a dip and a breeze, and they're easy to take down when you're ready to gain speed. You don't have to leave them permanently hanging in the wind beneath your pontoon's bimini.
Most hanging partitions conveniently attach to the bimini with a set of straps. Often times the straps are Velcro and fully adjustable. They fold up to be stowed away in your on-deck storage, and they generally don't take up much room.
There are a few different ways to add changing rooms to pontoons, including outfitting and building a custom changing room. Here's a breakdown of six pontoon boat privacy partitions available for purchase on the market today.
1. Taylor Made Easy Up Partition
Materials: 100% marine-grade polyester
Size: 70"H x 30"W x 30"D
- Full-length double zipper - It used to be made with only one zipper on the outside, rendering it difficult to operate from the inside. Taylor Made must have seen the complaints and has since made an adjustment.
- Hook and loop mounting straps for installing anywhere under both biminis and hard tops.
2. Vortex Privacy Room
Materials: 600-denier, marine-grade canvas.
This material is similar to what's used in pontoon boat covers and biminis, so you can trust that it's very durable.
Size: 69"H x 30"W x 38"D
- White-colored material with zipper access and Velcro straps
- Takes down, folds and stores away easily
- Customer reviews say that Vortex provides great customer service should you have any issues with your product
- Because it's canvas, it's easy to clean with stain remover and a microfiber cloth or scrub brush should it ever acquire the inevitable mildew
3. Carver Changing Room
Materials: Poly-guard, marine-grade polyester and 1" polypropylene straps Size: 60"H x 30"W x 30"D
- Adjustable height (though most pontoons need it to be a bit longer, it only goes shorter than 60 inches, not longer)
- Quick-release buckles on straps that attach to bimini tops
Materials: Letom, similar to canvas fabrics for boat covers
Straight from the fabric manufacturer's mouth, Letom is a polyester solution-dyed textile fabric for marine covers. If Sunbrella fabrics are your preference, go to the NorthStar Products website to special order (with an upcharge).
Size: 72"H x 30"W x 27"D
- I particularly love that this partition comes in multiple colors: Black, blue, burgundy, green, grey and tan. No matter what color your pontoon is, they've got you covered!
- Velcro straps secure to bimini middle bows.
- Heavy-duty zippers - on both the inside and outside of the partition - won't snag.
- Easy to clean with mildew stain remover should it ever get the occasional stain or mildew marks.
- It comes with a 12" x 18" storage pouch, which is a nice added feature I don't see other manufacturers mentioning. If most of these partitions are designed to fold away and store, it would be nice to have something to store it in and keep the dirt and grime away.
5. KingCamp Pop-up Privacy Shelter
Materials: 185-denier polyester ripstop fabric with a 450 mm waterproof rating Size: 74.8"H x 47.2"W x 47.2"D | Folds to 24"D
- I like that this pop-up privacy tent has a bag included. In fact, unlike privacy screens that attach to biminis, you can utilize this screen anywhere you go. If you don't want the privacy screen on the boat, you can put it on land and save space while camping.
- It folds to 24" in diameter and comes with a bag.
- It has a sturdy zipper and hinge door-like entry.
- Four steel pole legs and a center hub add extra support and stability for windy conditions.
- Comes with sandbag and tie-down stakes.
- Roll-up mesh windows provide ventilation for heat and bathroom odors.
- Velcro, removable floor you can conveniently take out to clean or leave out entirely for water runoff during showers.
- Comes in two colors: Blue and green.
6. WolfWise Pop-up Shower Tent
Materials: Waterproof taffeta polyester and flexible steel. Included are four mounting stakes and a carrying bag.
Size: 75"H x 47.2"W x 47.2"D
- Included is a bag into which the tent can be folded and compacted.
- One noticeable difference between these two pop-up partitions is the door. Unlike a swinging hinged door like the one above, this pop-up's door rolls up and ties.
- Comes in two colors: Blue and green.
Overall Thoughts on How to Choose a Pontoon Privacy Partition
The biggest disadvantage I noticed about drop-down partitions is they just aren't long enough. Whether pontoon manufacturers are just slowly increasing the standard height to biminis or whatever the case may be, the longest partition found was 72 inches.
For adults using it as a changing room, seeing someone from the knees down may not be an issue. But if you plan to use it for a boat bathroom, your partition needs will be different. In fact, some partitions wouldn't shield a small child from changing.
Consider the length or style based on your needs. As I mentioned earlier, these partitions aren't hard to put up or take down, so I thoroughly recommend taking them down when not in use.
The partitions do get in the way since they're right behind the driver's view. They can annoyingly block the use of benches for anyone wanting to stay beneath the bimini for shade.
Even though drop-down partitions are specifically designed for pontoons and look more appealing, I think the pop-ups have one bigger advantage: You can carry them anywhere! You don't need to worry about where you're hanging them. You can take them out and set 'em up on the beach or at a campsite.
The disadvantage of pop-up partitions lies on the flip side: They don't attach anywhere! They come with stakes instead of Velcro bimini straps, but you can't stake them down on your pontoon boat decking either. If a nasty wind comes up, you might find yourself swimming after a pop-up partition kite.
So, I'd say that if you plan to use it on deck and without being staked you should maybe rig something out to keep it secure. Pontoon privacy partitions are relatively inexpensive and go up in a flash (get it?).
If you start seeing your shoreside neighbors mooning in broad daylight and want them to show some decorum, buy one for them as a gift! Or heck, drop them a not-so-subtle hint and send them this post.