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24ft pontoon rebuild maiden voyage

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  • 24ft pontoon rebuild maiden voyage

    Finished project pictures are here:

    Boy what a project this has been. Even though I spent most of the summer months rebuilding this pontoon there are still plenty of little odds and ends to do after the first trip.

    The first was seeing how the paint on top of glassed wood scratches fairly easily.. I can see that I didn't rough up the surface near enough. There was also a spot where a tiki torch dripped on the floor.. this expensive West Marine non skid floor paint bubbled up and came off, as if it has nothing epoxy-wise in it. Funny thing was I never had an opportunity to fill up these tiki torches so they we're fairly empty so it was only a drop or two. Nevertheless, ran into a local who loved the look of the floor and hated her carpet on her pontoon.. said she was probably going to give it a try. I still like the look of the paint and will work around it in other ways.. I plan to build a couple of boxes to put a cooler or 2 in and find some sort of rubber covers for the bottom of a few lawn chairs I bought that will stay on the boat. These are more like patio chairs that don't fold up but are stackable. They have plastic on the bottom and didn't do any damage themselves but a few other things did. Just a precautionary move.

    Had trouble with the motor when we first got there but an adjustment to the idle fixed it. Found that I need a new fuel line with the squeezable ball on it. It worked but it did come unattached once during our trip. I don't know if this was the cause of the motor cutting out a couple of times at one point but maybe, or hopefully, it played a role. It didn't use as much gas as I anticipated which is a nice surprise. I have little over 3/4 of a 6 gallon tank left over. I had filled 2 6gal tanks thinking I would have to buy more while I was at the lake but didn't have to. We didn't go super far on this Lake though, just in case, since we had trouble getting it started when we first got there. We went to Table Rock Lake in Missouri. I've only been there once before, the first time I went the water was super clear and absolutely beautiful. Not so much on this trip since they had had flooding a few weeks before. Nevertheless it's a beautiful place and that part was fantastic. We rented a cabin at a resort and thankfully the owner of the resort helped me put the boat in the water for the first time and get it started so that we could park it in one of the slips.

    The frame that I built so that we can put a tarp over head worked out really well. I simply bought some aluminum square tubing and drilled holes so that I could put nuts and bolts through them so that the roof was removable for travel. It spans the width of the boat and is 12 foot long. I drilled holes so that I could attach it to the fencing for extra stability. It worked like a charm. I spent 100 bucks on the tubing which is by far cheaper than a Bimini top. We put this together when we first got there before we put it in the water and found that it was too tall to go under his dock roof by about 3 inches. I made it 7 ft tall so we wouldn't feel claustrophobic and there would be Breeze to take any heat under it away. I chose a heavy duty tarp with a silver side and a brown side and that was a great decision. It reflected the heat, unlike the smaller tarp i bought for the side. It's still the perfect height.. we just had to loosen the bolts and lean it forward a bit so that we can get it under the dock roof. We simply stood it up each morning and tightened the bolts and put the tarp on once we were backed out of the dock. The extra smaller tarp to drape down while anchored and fishing later in the afternoon worked like a charm too. Well..until I had to cut one of the two anchors loose because it got wedged under rocks on the bottom of the lake. We all know what happens when you only have one anchor to use. Haha I will be buying a second anchor that looks like the other one I have that I had no problems with. The one I lost looks like a U-shaped piece of metal with a pin and ball that moves freely in the middle.

    I found that nuts and bolts work best. Lesson learned there was make sure you have locking nuts, not the standard type. Even though all nuts and bolts that I used were tightened down well, I still lost a couple from the vibration of the boat on the water or traveling.

    The biggest problem I had however was with my 3 passengers. I would recommend picking one person to instruct to help you dock your boat. As you know when you approach a dock you need someone standing in the front of the boat that knows what to do so that you don't crash. Even though your approach is seriously slow it doesn't matter you need somebody standing at the front waiting for you to get there so they can help guide you in and help get you tied up. This is not a one person job..you need help with this part by a mindful individual. Holy moly man.. docking the boat was the most stressful part of this trip for me. I've owned the boat before but never a 24ft pontoon.

    The last lesson I learned was that I do not care for big water.. big water and lots of boat traffic means big waves. The boat held up really well mostly due to the fact that I have large pontoons but man talk about some bouncing around! What's cool about this was even with huge waves nothing on the deck moved.. coolers and tacle boxes stayed in place.. I have to attribute this to the non skid floor paint I guess. Where I'm from there are plenty of lakes but they're all fairly small compared to Table Rock Lake, which is huge!

    All in all the trip was a success. Everything that I did to make this boat as waterproof as possible paid off. Any bait drippings were easily washed away with a bucket of water ..and the water just rolled off.

    I have to say though.. today is the first day back from my trip and it's been the most relaxing of the entire Adventure. Lol

  • #2
    While a second person is nice it's not necessary, you need to learn your boat more and become comfortable handling it. I have a 22ft toon. While it is smaller than yours it's not that much smaller and my inlaws use to have a 24 I drove all the time. Just go a little slower and use the wind to your advantage. I can easily dock by myself and not crash the thing into the dock? Just coast or let the wind or current float you the last little bit to the dock don't power into the thing.


    • #3
      I agree. When you get used to driving the 'toon, you spot "stuff" quicker, anticipating how the boat is going to react, and what you need to do to put it where you want it. That will all become second nature.

      Regarding "help", some people are hopeless. An example is having somebody jump off the front of your boat onto a dock - pushing the front of the 'toon that you're trying to dock away 6 feet. Geez, thanks for the help! Maybe next time you'll have a rope in your hand?

      I generally ask that people (guests) stay seated until the boat is docked. It is nice when you have an experienced boater with you though. Even then, you still can't always trust them though! My wife of 10 years (I've been boating nearly 40 years) is still nearly hopeless when it comes to such things, totally unable to predict the effect the wind conditions will have on the boat during docking, as well as loading & unloading on to a trailer. She has learned not to jump off the front of the boat though!

      Best advice, if you need a hand, discuss your plan just prior to needing it.....


      • #4
        EXACTLY... Could not have been stated better. My wife and I are new to pontoons but not boating. After almost 10 years boating together she still cannot anticipate and expect what I am about to do in any given situation. Even though my methods rarely change, as we have very predictable boating conditions where we live. Once in a great while it changes, but it is mostly the same every time we go. As much as I love my wife, my first mate, she just doesn't get that launching NEVER changes. Anchoring changes with wind and tide. And loading is based on conditions. You have to be prepared to do it yourself, if need be. Have you ever heard the saying "if you want something done right, do it yourself?" Over the past 30 years, I have been on the water by myself countless times in as many different types of boats. I never relied on someone at the ramp to help. You do what you have to do. God forbid this situation, but what do you do if you have a two-person crew and one person is incapacitated for one reason or another?
        Last edited by ronward; September 7th, 2017, 01:15 PM. Reason: Added thought


        • #5
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          I can imagine handling this boat on my own later. On my first trip however I expected a hand. Especially after saying numerous times hey guys I'm nervous about this because I've never done it before I'm going to need a hand... I got much better on the second day but still, I do expect a little common sense in general. It didn't help that we picked one of the busiest holiday weekends to take her out for the first time. Some of the Waves we experienced were enormous. I'm a calm Fisher person with no need for speed, I get no thrills from Risky situations. Lol this is why I wanted a pontoon in the first place, for stability. Either way, it didn't sink so there's that. Ha!

          I was also nervous about getting the boat back on the trailer for the first time but we did that without any help and it went very well. I have the trailer that goes through the middle of the pontoon and I'm thankful this trailer came with this boat. I've read that some people feel uncomfortable with it riding so close to the ground but I had no problems whatsoever with that.