Pontoon covers are awnings designed to protect the surface of pontoon boats from sun, rain, dirt, and other possible sources of damage. They can be made from a variety of different materials and are designed in different shapes and sizes to fit the various pontoon boat styles. Pontoon covers are usually made from one piece of material, though they might include multiple pieces, particularly if the boat has a canopy that extends out from the main body of the vessel. Most covers attach to the boats with snap fasteners, though some also use knots, Velcro®, and other means of attachment. Many make use of poles to support the cover from beneath, thereby ensuring that rainwater does not pool on the surface of the cover.
The most basic types of pontoon covers are single pieces of relatively thick, water-repellent material intended to cover the entire top of the boat. They prevent the floor, seats, and any electronics contained in the console from getting wet and dirty. Some covers, for the sake of economy, come in two parts, as many pontoon boats have canopies that project upward from the boat. The main part of the cover goes under the canopy while the second, smaller part covers the folded-down canopy. In one-piece arrangements, pontoon boat covers need to stretch over the canopy, thereby using more material overall.
Some pontoon covers vary in the manner in which they attach to the pontoon boat. Most have metal snap attachments that connect to snaps around the edge of the boat. While some use only snaps, others require additional modes of attachment such as Velcro®, zippers, or cords for tying knots. These additional attachment areas are generally used to secure pontoon covers at difficult areas, such as by the canopy. While they may provide a more effective means for securing the cover, they also make the process of covering and uncovering the boat, which many people do daily, a more difficult and time-consuming task.
There are also some types of pontoon boat covers available for long-term storage. While some of these are reusable, some are made from synthetic, plastic-like materials that one can heat-shrink to tightly secure to the pontoon. This effectively seals the pontoon, preventing dirt, water, and pests from entering the boat and causing damage during storage. Unfortunately, many such covers can only be used once and must be cut off the boat when it's taken out of storage.