Boat Restoration - Pontoon Motorboat at SeaPontoon Boat Restoration

Brand new pontoon boats cost between $18,000 and $60,000, depending on features, engine, size, and build quality. Repairing and restoring an old boat may be one of the most affordable ways to get you a new one. While it may not cost much, it will take everything you have in sweat and good old elbow grease. The love for sailing beats the hard work needed to keep the boat in good shape.

Are you planning on restoring a boat? Are you ready to spend grueling hours working on getting it ready for the water? If so, this article is for you. We walk you through everything you need to know about pontoon boat restoration, accessories to decorate your boat, and much more.

Here are the main topics we will consider:

Step-by-Step Guide to Boat Restoration

Boat restoration is a much-complicated task. However, the result can highly be rewarding, considering the boat doesn’t come cheap. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help repair and restore a boat.

Set Up a Workspace

Working on a boat requires a dedicated workspace, preferably close to your home, so that you can pop in whenever you get time to get some work done. If possible, store your boat in a covered space with enough lighting. Another thing that goes without saying is access to water and electricity.

Also, make sure that you have the tools necessary for restoration. It includes ladders, a flexible hose, safety goggles, throw-away goggles, and respirators.

Inspect the Entire Boat

Conduct a visual inspection of the entire boat. Ensure that you do it before closing the sale. It gives you an idea of the work you may have to put in. In addition, you may want to collect information on previous repairs, accidents, damage, maintenance, etc.

However, if you see any of the following, you may want to walk away from the boat unless you have the skills and the money for it.

  • Rot
  • Electrical system
  • Engine
  • Saturated foam core
  • Soft spots in the fiberglass

If you do not know much about boats and are not confident about the necessary repairs, get a second opinion.

Make a Master List of Fixes

Between your inspection and the previous owner’s records, you must have a list of repairs that needed to be done on the boat. Use it to create a master list for restoration purposes.

What seems to be the emergency repairs? What can wait until later? How would you like to personalize the boat? Regardless of the urgency, list just about everything.

Organize the Master List and Prioritize Tasks

It’s easy to find endless tasks on your boat. However, not all tasks are relevant at the moment. Take a look at the master list and prioritize them depending on the urgency. Give priority to the tasks related to structure, safety, and urgency. Then, get the boat in the water, and the rest can come later as the weather permits.

Set a Work Calendar

When do you want the boat in the water? Have an end date for your restoration and work towards. As mentioned earlier, leave the aesthetic works for later when the time isn’t right for sailing.

Get to Work

Now that you have everything ready get to work on your boat. Focus on getting the boat a new life to be on the water again. You have the monsoon and winter season to hunker down in your cabin and work on your boat.

Pontoon Boat Restoration

Pontoon boats are flatboats that rely on pontoons or tubes to remain buoyant. They are also relatively safe and remote chance of capsizing. However, the elements, wear and tear, and the changing season can wreak havoc on the boat.

Typically made of aluminum(frame and pontoons) with a wood deck, you can quickly restore the pontoon boats. Moreover, you can do the restorations right there on the boat, weather permitting, without any need for a workshop. Refurbishing helps breathe new life into the boat.

The following steps can bring a new look to your pontoon boat.


Inspect the pontoons for cracks, split seams, dents, leaks, or holes by which water can seep through. You may require the help of an aluminum welder to repair the pontoons. If possible, add drains at the bottom stern ends. This not only helps to drain the water but also to winterize it.

Remove Old Furniture

Start the topside by removing the old and tired furniture. For a fresh look, the trick is to do the deck, floor, and furniture together. If the cushions and the bases are still in good condition, you can reupholster the seats in an upholstery shop specializing in marine interiors.

Remove the Deck

The deck is vital to your boat’s structural integrity. First, inspect the wood for rot or aging. If there are no signs of rot, you can salvage the wood, repair, and recondition your boat’s finish.

Install New Floor

With the deck ready, you can replace the old carpet with a new one. You can order the carpet online and do the installation yourself with a carpet adhesive.

Install a New Helm Console

You probably spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Therefore, it pays to install a new console complete with gauges, controls, and rigging. In addition, the new steering wheel and a hydraulic cable will make piloting easier and reduce the strain on your arms.

Now is the time for new features like a small windscreen to prevent wind fatigue and a Bimini top to keep the hot sun off the interior.

Ideas and Accessories for Pontoon Boats

Ideas and Accessories for Pontoon Boat RestorationThe shape and structure of the pontoon boats render them beautifully to creative endeavors. Here are a few ideas and accessories to help decorate your pontoon boat.

  • Use vinyl graphics to decorate the side panels of your boat.
  • If you are the one for parties, add a boat bar caddy. Then, you can have easy access to drinks.
  • Under deck lighting can be a fantastic new accessory for your pontoon boat as long as you do not misuse it.
  • Do you regularly fish on your pontoon boat? If so, it makes sense to invest in fishing rod storage to store your pole, rods, and equipment.

Cost of Pontoon Boat Restoration

Considering the boat has a good frame, railing, and pontoons, you have to spend $3,000 on refurbishing your pontoon boat. However, depending on the materials and the work done, the price may go even less.


Boat refurbishing and restoration is much more challenging and complicated than this guide. The original finish of your boat makes a difference in the effort required to complete a makeover. Keep in mind that every job takes four times longer than planned. Unless you are persistent and patient, you cannot see the project all the way through. However, not all boats make for good restorations. While some may not be worth the time and money you spent on them, others have people lining up to pay good money.

No matter how much effort, time, and care you put into your boat, it will end up getting dings, scratches, and other flaws. Hence, it is safer to get the help of a specialist to take the wheel on this one.

Cutting Edge Collision Center LogoSince 2004, Cutting Edge is committed to delivering quality service, quick turnarounds, and the best customer service in the Tucson area. If you or someone you know is in need of having their boat repaired or restored, contact us for your free quote today!

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