5 Weekend Upgrades for Your Pontoon Boat

5 Weekend Upgrades for Your Pontoon Boat

Congratulations, you arguably own the coolest boat on the water. Many feel that nothing is more dependable, durable or flexible than the pontoon boat. I personally feel the same. 

The best part is that flexibility factor. You can literally change it into a new boat every year or even every weekend if you want.

If you've owned a pontoon boat for any time at all, as I have, you've probably seen your same base boat model built out in many different ways. In this way, pontoon boats are no different than your favorite American muscle cars.

All of your work makes it uniquely yours and it will always be that way. Your boat is a representation of all your interests and joys. Are you a scuba diver like me? Are you a fisherman? An explorer and survivalist? 

I'm sure that your boat reflects this. If it doesn't yet, it should. After all, your boat supports you in all your other outdoor activities.

It is your primary tool for getting there and back again. While the projects mentioned in this article may not be perfect for everyone's boat and style, they should serve to give you some good ideas.

At the very least, the projects will let you know the options that are available for your boat. We all want to be different and look cool. So, let's get on with it.

1. The Grill

Okay, so you have the party boat. If there is one thing a party needs, it's food. The first weekend upgrade I ever made was a grill.

Magma is just one company that produces these, but it is the one I recommend you start with as they have a whole diverse line of marine-grade grills. These grills can be either charcoal or gas, and you can choose according to your own preference.

Magma Charcoal Grill

Regardless of which brand you choose, you'll see that most marine-grade grills are corrosion-resistant and offer various mounting options. If you already have fishing rod holders on your boat, this is often a convenient mounting location.

Fishing rod holders are the best things ever! Even if you don't fish, they come in handy for all sorts of things ... like cup holders and cutting board holders.

If the grill you select doesn't have this built-in mounting option, you can purchase a separate mount, like this quality Magma mount.

Magma LeveLock All-Angle Adjustable Fish Rod Holder Mount (Gourmet Series Grills Only), Multi, One Size (T10-355)


If you don't have fishing rod holders but instead have rails, many grills can be found to mount on the rails of your boat. And again, there are always separate rail mounts that can be purchased and attached. See this single, round rail mount and this dual horizontal rail mount, both offered by Magma.

Magma Products T10-590 Dual Horizontal Round Rail Mount, 1-1/2 inch Rails, Multi



Either way, many mounting options offer quick releases so that you can remove the grill when it is not in use. Additionally, many grills also have collapsible legs so that the grill can be used on a table or the ground when not attached to your boat.

Make no mistake about it, people get hungry even when they are alone on the water. I know I do. A grill is always a popular and quick weekend project for your pontoon boat. This is especially true if you like to tie off to other boats on the water and make your party even bigger.

2. The Tunes

BOSS Audio Systems MCK1440W.64 Marine Package Includes MR1440U Single-Din Marine AM FM CD Receiver with Detachable Face, 2 Pair 6.5 Inch MR6W Marine Speakers, MRANT10 Antenna


Yeah, I know, your boat probably already has a radio. However, there are tunes, and then there are Boss Audio tunes. We are Americans after all. When it comes to music, we don't go halfway.

This is a favorite area for me! Here, of course, the options are limitless. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that all equipment is not created equal. These tunes are floating in water and exposed to sun, rain and, of course, your friends.

Don't go shopping for equipment at an auto parts store if it's for your boat. You're gonna want to locate equipment that will hold up to the harsh environment that you'll be installing it in.

This means water-resistant, if not waterproof, UV-resistant and anti-corrosion components from your deck to your speakers. When I say "deck" here, this does not mean the deck of your boat. We're talking about the head unit for your audio empire. However, while these are the basics for all components of the system, it's still not the total system these days.

Today, the options are limitless. From satellite radio to iPod connections to amplifiers and subwoofers, you have it all available to you. If you like to be on the water but not hear the water, or if you just want to let everyone know you're coming, then play it loud.

 Featured Boat Care Product

     Boat Soap breaks down dirt and grime above and below the deck. It's 100% biodegradable and won't harm the marine environment. 

 Check Price on Amazon - Better Boat's Boat Soap rinses away residue-free for a sleek and shiny finish. Simply suds up and spray down with a hose and nozzle.  

3. The Power Inverter

Rally Marine Grade 400W Power Inverter with USB Charging Port and Map Light (7637)



Well, we've done it now, and it may be obvious I'm techy. We opened Pandora's box when we started talking about electronics. It doesn't stop with your tunes.

That's why the next item is important to me since I always have more gear. Now, I can see some of you looking at me like the RCA dog and asking, "what is a power inverter?"

To put it simply, your phone, iPod and notebook computer, among other equipment, are made to be plugged into a wall, not a boat. So, a power inverter is just a device that wires into your boat's electrical system to give you real outlets.

This is great for many reasons, but one of the biggest is not needing to run extension cords everywhere. Extension cords not only give you something to trip over and create a safety hazard, but they just don't look very nice. However, never forget that your power inverter is also an electronic device, so it needs all the same considerations as your tunes.

My top choice for a reliable power inverter is the Rally 500W marine grade option, which comes with a few handy features for avid pontooners. I'm not sure what it's going for these days, but you can check the current price on Amazon here.

4. The GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 547xs 10Hz GPS/GLONASS Receiver without Transducer



Let's face it, you know you get lost. I've been there. Guys don't like to ask for directions. When you're on the water. it's kind of hard to pull over at a gas station, buy a six-pack of beer and ask another guy for directions when your girlfriend isn't looking.

This is where a Garmin GPS comes in handy. The Garmin GPSMAP 547 is my personal recommendation. It's loaded with useful features and pre-installed maps for adventurous pontooners, and the installation instructions are clear as day. It's certainly a manageable weekend project.

Whether it's a dive spot, fishing spot or your favorite hangout, the GPS can make sure you find your way back when you stumble upon something cool in the water.

Additionally, if you want to find places you've never been before, it's a whole lot easier with GPS and coordinates as opposed to just wandering around like Moses in the desert. But maybe you could part the Red Sea. That would be cool.

Of course, if you do get lost, at least you have tunes and a grill now. Take care with installation, follow the instructions every step of the way and pay careful attention to the best practices for installing marine electronics.

5. The Battery Charger

All that power for our electronics has got to come from somewhere. On a boat, it comes from your battery.

By now it should be obvious that electricity and water really don't mix, so this is a component you really need to take care of. Additionally, if your boat sits for long periods of time without the engine running this can, of course, end with a dead battery.

That's why we're rounding out this list with an excellent battery charger from Battery Tender. This has saved my butt more than once!

It's a pretty simple device, but it saves you a lot of work and heartache when you have been neglectful of your boat. Quite simply, all you have to do is plug it in when you get back to the dock. Leave it plugged in until it's time to go again.

It will keep your battery charged without overcharging, and it only takes a few seconds every time you hit the dock to make sure your boat starts when you need it next.  

Well, there you go, friends. This is my list of five weekend upgrades for your pontoon boat. Try making these simple upgrades to ensure that your pontoon adventures are the best they can possibly be.

Your pontoon is meant to be fun, functional and durable. Everything listed here is meant to make this your boating reality. Happy boating to all!