Remember the Pixar movie “Up”?
It’s so wonderful how the main character is able to float away to a foreign land in his house.
While he was flying—not sailing—this adventure movie had boating enthusiasts everywhere, myself included, getting excited at the thought of setting sail on a boat that they could actually live in.
Many boaters dream of the liveaboard lifestyle.
But it doesn’t just have to be a dream.
Honestly, there are no bounds to what your pontoon can become with the right parts and accessories.
What a Pontoon Can Become with the Right Parts and Accessories
Mats & Arne Architects designed Sweden’s very first floating hotel using only the best pontoon parts and accessories.
Named the Salt & Sill, the pontoon houseboat was constructed by the shipyard SF Marina in 2008 and is now frequented by guests from all corners of the globe.
Stretching six meters in length, the longboat features three main sections: a bridal suite, a conference venue and a sauna. With 23 rooms, a rooftop pool and a deck that offers immediate Baltic Sea access, it’s safe to say that this pontoon has revolutionized the world of pontoon design.
That’s pretty impressive for a pontoon.
The Potential of a DIY Pontoon
The Salt & Sill just goes to show you how creative you can get with your pontoon. With the right parts and some imagination, you can tweak and upgrade your pontoon however you want.
Update the deck, add a new deck railing, construct a second floor, put together some rooms inside a cabin—heck, why not take inspiration from the Salt & Sill to create your very own houseboat?
Converting a basic pontoon into a “floating home” is ideal for someone who wants to uncover new waterways whilst embarking on an excursion. It’s an even better option for someone who wants to enjoy the freedom of living on the water, whether the lifestyle is enjoyed on a cruising or non-cruising houseboat.
From spending more time with loved ones to using a pontoon houseboat as a setting for perfecting your hosting skills, I think everyone should be able to use their watercraft for all things pleasure and leisure.
Buying pontoon parts and accessories to perform DIY tasks means that you can transform a plain pontoon into a recreational haven.
Why Learn About DIY Pontoon Projects
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of learning basic pontoon DIY:
- Save costs of hiring a handyman
- Dedicate time to your craft
- Extend the life of a pontoon
- Express your creative ability
- Boost the resale value of your watercraft
- Know how to manage problems, should they arise unexpectedly.
Approaching pontoon design with a do-it-yourself attitude is something that will benefit you in more ways than one.
I highly recommend investing in top-quality pontoon parts and accessories not only to express your personality, but also to maintain your boat and keep it looking/working brand new.
When you consider how much money this could save you in the long run, it’s certainly worth conducting basic DIY to improve the boat’s appearance and functionality.
The Pontoon Parts and Accessories You Need for a DIY Pontoon Transformation
I have many boat-loving friends who have made the clever decision to use their houseboat as an investment.
One of them even promoted their Bali-based party speedboat service by inviting customers to enjoy a relaxing free trip on their converted pontoon after the shenanigans were over.
This, I thought, was a brilliant way to market their service, all the while providing guests with a chance to wind down on a renovated craft set amid magnificent islands and a volcanic backdrop!
A pontoon houseboat can also be used for wildlife watching, commuting or even a change of lifestyle in a new location.
However, it’s important to remember that your choice of pontoon parts and accessories will depend on a number of factors, such as whether the boat will be motorized or kept stationary and, of course, how you intend on using the vessel.
It’s possible to achieve a DIY pontoon transformation if you renovate a boat with the following pontoon parts and accessories:
- Custom Boat Bedding — You’ll want to have a comfortable bed to get a good night’s rest after a day of boating and especially if you plan on providing floating accommodation for potential guests. Rynkel Marine, E J Schrader Mattress Company and Nauteriors are three brands I recommend if you’re searching for personalized cushions, custom mattresses and tailored mattress toppers.
- Cooking Equipment — Everybody loves a marine BBQ and even more so if the feast is prepared with ocean-plucked fare. When you install cooking equipment, you’ll never have to leave your vessel to dine (unless you want to), providing you with the convenience of onboard cooking.
Keep in mind that boat cookware is different to the cooking options you might find for a typical dry land home. The grills and cooking grates you buy ought to consume minimal power with maximum output and ample storage. Consider dual-purpose cookers that either run off propane, like West Marine’s FORCE 10 range, or equipment that uses no more than 12 volts.
- Safety Features — When you’re selecting pontoon parts and accessories for your DIY houseboat, don’t forget about safety. Fence railings, an emergency position indicating radio beacon (check EPIRP price on Amazon), bilge pumps and life jackets are must-have pieces of equipment for any pontoon houseboat.
- Tabletops and Seating — Since you’ll probably be doing a lot of entertaining on your houseboat, tabletops are an essential pontoon accessory. Think about which type of function(s) would best suit your boat, such as fixed, foldaway, folding, adjustable or hydraulic.
Folding and adjustable tables will ensure you have plenty of room for guests, whereas fixed cockpit tables will add a stylish touch. Top manufacturers of boat tables include ARC Marine, Detmar and Atep Italia.
- Technology — The latest boat technology can provide weather forecasts, nautical movement tracking and even improve fuel efficiency. Planning to use the pontoon for fishing or exploring new territory? If so, a GPS tracking system would come in handy. Thermal imaging cameras, joystick steering and automatic positioning systems will make your voyages much more pleasurable.
- Eco-friendly Products — Going down the eco-friendly route is always a good idea. A wide range of electrical products are on the market nowadays, including electronic ignition systems, electrical panels, electric toilets and even electric anchors!
Choose your engine and engine parts wisely to get maximum fuel efficiency and lifespan. The 24-foot Endeavor Green Electric Hybrid is a low-pollution inboard electric motor I recommend.
- Conveniences — Last but not least, the conveniences are really what make a pontoon more than just something that gets you from A to B. Climate control, cable and a WiFi connection and are just a few accessories you can introduce for an effortless expedition. It’s also a good idea to welcome onboard entertainment in the form of pontoon boat games!
Finding a Dealer for Pontoon Parts and Accessories
For all of you canal-cruising people out there, I suggest you devote some time to finding a reputable dealer of pontoon parts and accessories, rather than diving in and buying from the first dealer you find.
If you want to save money on delivery, opt for a local dealer. Browsing the web for reviews will not take long, but it will help you to separate the good from the bad. When in doubt, check out what the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has to say.
I’ve compiled a list of top manufacturers and resources that you can feel confident about buying quality marine products from:
Should you be keen to make your boat stand out, don’t underestimate the power of customization.
Dealers that can customize pontoon parts and accessories will focus on quality and sustainability.
Investing in local artisans also means that you can bypass global distributors and wholesalers, thus allowing you to learn more about where the product was made, where the materials were sourced from, what working conditions the product was made in.
In the end, you’ll be grateful you hunted down your own parts for your prized possession.
Bethan Rose is a full-time wanderluster, traveler, and digital nomad with 7 years of experience in the freelance writing world. Based in Bali, she can be found using hammocks as an office for content curation when she is not cruising around Indonesian waters on surf and power boat charters.