Pontoon boats have become a popular choice for many recreational boaters over the past few decades. They are known for their stability, affordability, and spaciousness, making them an ideal choice for a variety of activities. One of the best ways to add extra protection, comfort, and style to your pontoon boat is to add a hard top. This article will explore the benefits of pontoon boat hard tops, how to select the right one for your needs, and how to install it properly.
What is a Pontoon Boat Hard Top?
A pontoon boat hard top is a metal frame that is mounted on the deck of your pontoon boat, usually at the bow and stern. The frame is then covered with either a canvas or vinyl covering, providing an additional layer of protection from the elements. The hard top also helps to reduce noise and provides additional shade, making it a great addition for anyone looking for a comfortable and stylish boat.
- Sun Protection: The primary reason many boat owners opt for a hardtop is to protect themselves and their passengers from the harsh sun. A day out on the water can quickly become uncomfortable without some kind of shade.
- Weather Shelter: Beyond just sun protection, a hardtop can also provide a refuge from sudden rain showers or strong winds, enabling you to enjoy your boating trip even in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
- Storage Space: Many hardtops come with built-in storage compartments or racks, providing a place to stow away gear or personal belongings.
- Mounting Equipment: The hardtop can also serve as a platform for mounting other equipment, like rod holders, antenna, lights, or even a radar system.
- Solar Panels: Some boat owners use their hardtop as a base for installing solar panels. This is an eco-friendly way to generate some extra power for your boat’s systems or for charging gadgets.
- Safety: In case of an emergency, a hardtop can offer a bit of extra safety. It’s a solid structure that can help protect you and your passengers if things go sideways.
They are designed to be easy to install and lightweight, making them an excellent choice for those looking to add extra protection to their pontoon boat. They are available in various sizes and colors, allowing you to customize your pontoon boat to match your style. It can also increase your pontoon boat’s value by providing extra protection from the elements and making your boat more attractive and comfortable for passengers.
Benefits of a Pontoon Boat Hard Top
A pontoon boat hard top provides several benefits for boat owners. It provides a shaded area on board, protecting you and your guests from the sun and other elements such as rain or wind. It also provides a place to hang items like lights and speakers, allowing you to customize your boat and make it your own.
- Protection from Elements: A hardtop can offer you and your passengers some welcome respite from the sun’s harmful UV rays, keeping you cool and sunburn-free. It can also serve as a shelter during unexpected rain showers or gusty winds, so the party doesn’t have to stop when Mother Nature has other plans.
- Extra Storage Space: Some hardtops come with added storage options, giving you more room to stow away life jackets, fishing gear, or even the picnic basket.
- Equipment Mounting: Want to add some fishing rod holders, solar panels, or even a radar dome? The hardtop’s got you covered. It serves as a sturdy base for mounting all your essential gear.
- Elevated Views: A hardtop can provide a high vantage point which is useful when navigating through crowded waterways or when docking.
- Safety: A well-constructed hardtop can add to your boat’s overall safety. It can provide some protection from falling overboard in choppy waters and in a worst-case scenario, it could even be a life-saving grab point.
- Adds Value: A hardtop can increase your boat’s resale value. It’s seen as a desirable feature for many prospective boat buyers, so it could be a sound investment for the future.
It helps to make your boat more stable in the water by providing additional weight to the deck and reducing sway. It also adds an extra layer of protection against any potential damage that could occur in rough waters.
Protection from the Elements
One of the main benefits of a pontoon boat hard top is the additional protection it provides from the elements. The hard top shields you and your passengers from the sun’s rays, rain, and wind, making your time on the water more enjoyable. The hard top also helps to reduce noise, making conversation and music more enjoyable.
A pontoon boat hard top also adds a touch of style to your boat. You can choose from a variety of colors and styles to match the look of your boat. Hard top gives your pontoon boat a sleeker, more finished look, making it stand out on the water.
A pontoon boat hard top can also make your boat more convenient. The frame provides additional storage space for items such as life jackets, fishing gear, and other supplies. The hard top also protects your boat from birds and other debris, making it easier to keep your boat clean.
How to Select the Right Pontoon Boat Hard Top
The most important factor to consider when selecting a pontoon boat hard top is the size. Make sure that the hard top fits the size of your pontoon boat, and that it is strong enough to hold the weight of the people and equipment that you plan to bring onto the boat. You should make sure that the material of the hard top is durable and weather-resistant, as it will be exposed to the elements while you are out on the water. Check to see if the hard top is designed to be compatible with any accessories that you may have, such as rod holders and LED lights.
The first thing to consider when selecting a pontoon boat hard top is the size. You want to make sure the hard top you choose is the right size for your boat. It should fit snugly and securely onto the deck, without leaving any gaps or spaces.
The material you choose for your pontoon boat hard top is also important. You can choose from a variety of materials, such as steel, aluminum, or a combination of both. Steel is strong and durable, but it is also heavier and may require more maintenance. Aluminum is lighter and easier to maintain, but it is also more expensive.
You should also consider the features you want in your pontoon boat hard top. Some hard tops come with additional features, such as built-in storage compartments, speakers, and lights. If you plan to use your pontoon boat at night, you may want to choose a hard top with lights.
You should consider your budget when selecting a pontoon boat hard top. Hard tops can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the size and features. Be sure to shop around and compare prices to get the best deal for your needs.
How to Install a Pontoon Boat Hard Top
Installing a pontoon boat hard top is a fairly straightforward process, but it’s important to take your time and ensure that all the parts and pieces are installed correctly. Begin by gathering all the necessary parts and materials including the hard top frame, mounting hardware, and any other necessary items. Lay the hard top frame out on the deck of the pontoon boat and secure it with the mounting hardware.
Make sure all the mounting hardware is securely fastened, and then check the placement of the frame to make sure it is centered and level. Once the frame is in place, add the roofing material to the frame, followed by any additional hardware like windows or lights. Once all the pieces have been added and the frame is secure, the hard top is ready to be enjoyed!
Tools and Supplies
Before you begin installing your pontoon boat hard top, make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies. You will need drill bits, screws, bolts, washers, and a wrench. You may also need additional tools, such as a ratchet, a hammer, and a screwdriver.
Preparing the Boat
Once you have all the necessary tools and supplies, you can begin preparing the boat for installation. Start by removing any items that may be in the way, such as furniture or other accessories. You should also clean the area where you will be installing the hard top and make sure it is dry.
Installing the Frame
You can begin installing the frame of the pontoon boat hard top. Start by attaching the frame to the stern and bow of the boat. Make sure to use the appropriate screws and bolts, and be sure to tighten them securely.
Attaching the Cover
Once the frame is in place, you can begin attaching the cover. Start at the stern and work your way to the bow, making sure to line up the edges of the cover with the frame. Use the screws and bolts to secure the cover in place, and be sure to tighten them securely.
Maintenance and Upkeep
A pontoon boat hard top will require regular maintenance and upkeep to keep it in good condition. You should inspect the hard top periodically for any signs of wear or damage, and make sure to keep it clean and free of debris. If you notice any cracks or other issues, you should repair them as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Additionally, you should make sure to check the screws and bolts periodically to make sure they are secure.
In addition to regular maintenance and upkeep, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind when using a pontoon boat hard top. Make sure the hard top is securely attached to the boat, and check the screws and bolts periodically to make sure they are still tight. Keep the hard top clear of any items that could interfere with the boat’s performance, such as fishing rods or other large items. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and be aware of the weather conditions.
Advantages of a Pontoon Boat Hard Top
A pontoon boat hard top is a great addition to any pontoon boat, offering a variety of benefits. It provides additional protection from the elements, making your time on the water more comfortable and enjoyable. It also adds a touch of style to your boat, and can provide additional storage space and convenience. With the right hard top, you can enjoy your time on the water in comfort and style.
- Protection from the elements – provides shade from the sun and shelter from rain and wind.
- Increased privacy – helps to limit the visibility of passengers and their belongings from onlookers.
- Enhanced storage – provide additional storage space for items such as fishing gear, life jackets, and other essentials.
- Increased stability – adds additional weight to the pontoon boat which helps to reduce rocking and other movement in choppy waters.
- Improved sound system – can provide a platform for mounting speakers, amplifiers and other audio equipment.
- Added style – can add a sleek, modern look to your pontoon boat.
compared to boats without a hard top. It provides protection from the elements, such as rain, wind, and sun. This is especially important if you are out on the water for extended periods of time. The hard top also provides additional storage space and makes the boat quieter, reducing the noise from wind and waves. It increases the boat’s stability and helps it stay afloat if it takes on water. It also adds an extra layer of security while on the water, as it is more difficult to break into than boats without one.
Can I install a hardtop on my pontoon boat myself?
While it’s technically possible to do it yourself, it’s generally recommended to have it professionally installed to ensure it’s done correctly and safely. However, if you’re handy and have some experience with such projects, you might be up for the challenge — just make sure you follow all instructions and safety guidelines.
Does a hardtop add a lot of weight to my pontoon boat?
A hardtop can add some extra weight to your boat, but how much depends on the material and size of the top. It’s important to ensure your pontoon boat can handle this additional weight without affecting its stability or performance. Always check with your boat manufacturer or a marine professional before adding a hardtop.
How do I maintain my pontoon boat hardtop?
Hardtop maintenance primarily involves regular cleaning to remove any dirt, salt, or bird droppings that could damage the finish. If it’s a fiberglass top, it may also need to be waxed periodically to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Regular inspections are also recommended to check for any signs of wear, loose fittings, or damage. A well-maintained hardtop can serve you for many years of fun-filled boating.
A pontoon boat hard top is a great way to add extra protection, comfort, and style to your boat. It provides additional shade and protection from the elements, and can also provide additional storage space and convenience. When selecting a hard top, make sure to consider size, material, features, and price. If You want something else consider buying playpen cover. Installing a pontoon boat hard top is a relatively simple process, but make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies before you begin. With the right hard top, you can enjoy your time on the water in comfort and style.