How to Repair a Pontoon Leak

by Jennifer Thompson
Repairing a pontoon leak can mean the difference between staying afloat and going under.

Repairing a pontoon leak can mean the difference between staying afloat and going under.

Small punctures and pinholes in pontoons might not be immediately noticeable, but can still cause you to take on enough water to cause problems. Eventually, water in the pontoons can cause increased gas consumption due to the extra weight. Steering can also be affected due to the weight distribution becoming uneven. It can also cause the boat to sit too low in the water, and potentially to go under. Thus, it is good to repair pontoon leaks early on, before a small enough issue becomes a much larger one.

Clean the area of and around the leak thoroughly.

Sand the area to give the repairing compounds a good surface to stick to. It should not be too smooth, but should not have rough edges.

Fill small punctures with putty, according to its directions. Allow the putty to cure, then sand it to smooth. For areas with pinholes, mix putty with prepared epoxy sealer to a rollable consistency, and then roll and/or brush it to cover the area.

Wait for the putty and epoxy to dry. Sand it to roughen the surface slightly. Apply a coat of epoxy sealer over the area with a brush and/or roller, and wait for it to dry before proceeding.

Cover the area with a coat of no-sand primer and allow it to dry according to its instructions. The primer and paint for fiberglass hulls works in this instance because you are covering the putty and epoxy, not the metal.

Paint the area with a coat of fiberglass anti-fouling bottom paint. Allow it to dry.

Items you will need

  • Self-hardening plastic metal (putty)
  • Epoxy waterproof sealer
  • 18, 24,or 36 grit sandpaper
  • No-sand fiberglass primer
  • Acetone
  • Fiberglass anti-fouling bottom paint
  • Disposable non-foam rollers
  • Disposable paint brushes
  • Dust mask

Warning

  • Depending upon where the leak is located on the pontoon, it may be helpful to use jacks, wenches and other equipment to take the pontoon off of its trailer (in the absence of a boat lift), and to put it on a stand for easy access. This can be a big job, and can also be dangerous, so extreme caution is recommended. If at all possible, repair larger boats while on their trailers.

About the Author

Jennifer Thompson started editing for her own online business in 2001, then began online editing and writing for others in 2005. Her articles have been published with "Sportsman's News" on Fox News and for a number of other successful ventures.

Photo Credits

  • Arthur Tilley/Creatas/Getty Images