How to Install a Pontoon Boat Stereo

Explore America's Campgrounds

Many boaters enjoy the comfort of a pontoon boat. Pontoon boats have large open areas that make it easy to move about. Stereo is a convenience desired by most pontoon boat owners. A pontoon boat stereo installation is nearly the same as any boat stereo installation. It is usually easier, however, to find places to mount speakers on a pontoon boat due to the extra interior size of the boat. Installing a stereo is something that most pontoon boat owners can accomplish with common household tools and a marine stereo.

    Determine the location for the speakers. Most pontoon applications will have either two or four speakers depending on the stereo purchased. Some good locations for speakers on a pontoon boat are on the base of the front or rear seating or on the steering console.

    Find the templates that came with the speakers. Use the templates and the permanent marking pen to mark the area that each speaker will be mounted. Cut a hole for each speaker using the cordless drill and the jigsaw. Mount one speaker in each hole using the hardware included in the kit. Attach 12-gauge wire to the back of each speaker and place the wire inside the seating on the boat deck.

    Identify an area on the pontoon boat control panel for the stereo. Mandost marine stereos should be mounted so they tilt no more than 20 degrees horizontally in either direction. This will ensure the CD portion of the stereo operates in choppy water conditions. Use the template that came with the stereo and the permanent marking pen to mark the area for the stereo installation. Cut a hole for the stereo with the cordless drill and jigsaw. Mount the stereo in this hole using the hardware included in the stereo kit.

    Attach the wiring harness that was included in the stereo kit. This harness will attach directly to the back of the stereo and have leads to the speakers, the power source and a ground.

    Drill holes in the boat deck using the cordless drill for the speaker wire that extends from the back of the speakers. Drill an additional hole through the deck at the base of the pontoon control panel. Drill an additional whole near the battery that will be used as a power source for the stereo.

    Route the wiring through the holes cut in the decking to the appropriate locations. Route the speaker wires and attach them to the extensions for the speakers from the wiring harness. Route the positive and ground connection to the battery and attached to the battery according to directions from the speaker manufacturer. Use electrical tape to protect all wiring connections. Use the zip ties to bundle and tidy wiring.

    Turn on the system and thoroughly test all functions of the stereo. If any of the functions of the stereo do not work properly, retrace all wiring connections.

    Items you will need

    • Marine stereo/speakers with included installation kit

    • Measuring tape

    • Permanent marker

    • 25-foot, 12-gauge wire (some applications may require more wire)

    • Electrical tape

    • Zip ties

    • Cordless drill

    • Eye protection


    • Avoid using car stereos for marine applications. Marine stereos are designed specifically to cope with conditions found on the water.


    • Always wear eye protection when using drills and saws.

Gone Outdoors