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Pontoon Seat Accessories

Pontoon seat accessories serve a variety of purposes including making pontoon boating easier, safer and more fun. Materials used to manufacture pontoon seat accessories include polyurethane, stainless steel, aluminum and other durable products. Most accessories are functional and fill specific needs, like cup holders. Cup holders are very simple products that keep drinks stable and spills at a minimum. Pontoon seat accessories can be much more complicated, like fish finders for pontoon fishing seats that tell you where the schools of fish are located.

Pontoon boats used primarily for fishing may have a number of pontoon seat accessories that make fishing more productive and organized. Fishing rod racks keep the rods in order and safe from breakage. In addition to protecting the rods, fishing rod holders protect passengers from being hurt by unsecured rods. Offshore fighting belts wrap around your waist and help to hold your fishing rod in place as you fight to control large fish. Other types of gambrels, or fishing pole stabilizers attach to boat seats and anchor the pole while the angler is landing a fish. Live bait tanks keep your baitfish fresh and out of the way.

Paddle keepers, fire extinguishers and life jackets are all important pontoon seat safety accessories. Keeping each of these items nearby, but not underfoot increases the safety factor of pontoon boats. Pontoon seat accessories include not only the specific safety products and other gear for your pontoon boat, but also the means of attaching the gear to the pontoon boat deck or pontoon seats securely. A variety of hardware is available to secure tables to decking, to secure fishing pole organizers to the boat and to make your pontoon sport boating a more enjoyable experience.

Navigation lights have very specific safety rules that must be followed to alert other boaters to your location in the water, and to let them know what direction your pontoon boat is going. Red navigation lights must be installed on the port side and green navigation lights on the starboard side. White navigation lights are placed on the masthead. This configuration allows other boaters to locate your boat in the dark, and to stay out of your boat's path. Anchor lights are white and indicate that your boat is at anchor and not moving, so oncoming boats know to go around it.

Pontoon seat accessories include rope lighting. This type of lighting follows the outline of pontoon furniture and the edge of the boat. The lights guide you safely on the boat in darkness. Pontoon boat accessories that are not securely fastened to the pontoon boat should be stored in a locked container while the boat is docked.

Manufacturing Pontoon Seat Accessories

Materials used to manufacture pontoon seat accessories typically are often similar to those used in making pontoon bench seats, include polyurethane with stainless steel or aluminum hardware. The versatility of polyurethane allows it to be used to create any number of products that are durable, inexpensive and lightweight. Stainless steel and aluminum hardware are the preferred materials for use on pontoon boats because of their resistance to rust and durability.

Molding polyurethane to create pontoon seat accessories can be accomplished by the injection molding process, which begins with polyurethane granules melted in a barrel. As the polyurethane melts, it is pushed into a metal mold of the end product and is rapidly cooled. When the polyurethane beads have conformed to the mold and been cooled, the plastic product is removed from the mold and inspected.

The second popular process to mold polyurethane into pontoon seat accessories is the rotational mold process. In this process, the mold itself is filled with dry polyurethane granules. The mold is heated as it rotates, so the melted plastic evenly coats the mold. When all of the granules have melted and coated the inside of the mold, it is cooled. The finished product is removed from the mold and inspected to make sure plastic has filled all areas of the mold.

Larger, less-complex pontoon seat accessories work well with the rotational method, resulting in high quality, low cost products. Intricate parts do not work well because the rotational method does not use force to push the plastic into place. Only gravity is used to move the liquid plastic into each area of the mold. Intricate molds are difficult to fill in this manner.

Both the injection and rotational methods may produce products with flash, or burrs, from plastic seeping through seams where the edges of the molds are joined. The burrs are removed to create a smooth finish before adding hardware or building the final pontoon seat accessories.

Preventing Damage to Pontoon Seat Accessories

Pontoon seat accessories, like pontoon furniture, are exposed to damaging agents that can shorten the lifespan of the accessories. UV rays, wind and water are three of the most damaging elements for pontoon boats and accessories.

The sun's UV rays affect vinyl at the molecular level by causing oxidation. Protectants that are applied to the vinyl surface wear off with each exposure to UV rays until little or no protective properties are left. Treating vinyl pontoon seat accessories with additional protective coatings replaces the UV protection and stops the oxidation process. It is important to renew the protective coatings multiple times during the boating season to minimize the negative effects of oxidation.

Wind whips debris at high speeds, and can cause the sand and other flying objects to damage anything in its path, including vinyl. Covering pontoon seat accessories with protective vinyl fabric covers can minimize the damage done by windblown debris. When docking for a short period of time, individual seat covers are used to protect pontoon furniture. Longer docking periods require more complete coverage, like a boat cover or mooring cover. All parts of the pontoon boat are susceptible to UV and wind damage including carpeting, railings and other non-furniture items.

Water damage can be caused by pools of standing water or by any sort of continual dampness like wet towels. Stagnant water encourages growth of mold and mildew and wears down protective coatings. Eventually the integrity of the vinyl is compromised when the elements break through the vinyl surface. Cracks in the vinyl or worn seams can allow water to enter and damage upholstery foam.

The use of household cleaning products can shorten the lifespan of pontoon seat accessories. Some harsh cleaners, like bleach, should not be used on vinyl. Products like kerosene, gasoline or acetone strip the protective layer from the marine vinyl, as do silicone-based protectants. Very stiff or metal brushes will tear the surface of the vinyl and make it susceptible to other damaging products. Extremely strong power washer sprays can damage the surface of the vinyl. Lacquer solvents and dry cleaning fluids remove the protective layer and can actually damage printed patterns on the vinyl. Waxes can contain dyes or solvents that can damage the coating. Use only marine-grade cleaning products with soft cloths or brushes. Thoroughly rinse all surfaces to remove traces of detergent.

Taking Care of Pontoon Seat Accessories

As with other types of polyurethane, the lifespan of pontoon seat accessories can be greatly increased by following simple cleaning and preventive maintenance processes. Taking good care of vinyl can increase the lifespan of your pontoon seat accessories.

Clean all pontoon seat accessories regularly with marine-specific cleaners. After washing, rinse well, but not with a power washer. Power washers have extremely powerful sprays and could damage the upholstery. After rinsing, apply protective spray coatings to the accessories. Marine protectants block harmful UV rays and keep polyurethane surfaces from oxidizing.

Keep pontoon seat accessories dry and remove any debris. Clean spills as soon as possible, because even the most innocent-looking substances can stain or damage polyurethane. Food, drink, makeup, sunscreen, gas and oil can all damage the pontoon seat accessories.

Get into good habits to prolong the life of your pontoon seat accessories. Clean up when you dock for the night, including removing spills, tree pollen and other debris. Cover the pontoon boat to protect the pontoon seats and accessories from UV rays. At the end of the boating season, clean boat seats and boat seat accessories, then store the pontoon boat in a covered location.

Cutting Edge Pontoon Seat Accessories

Pontoon seat accessories have expanded since the pontoon boat first became popular in the 1960s.Depending on the size of the motor, you may be able to enjoy wakeboarding or waterskiing. Other water sports include inflated gear that can tow one or more people behind the pontoon boat. Floating sunglasses, water shoes and inflatable buoys all add to the fun of pontoon boating and are great pontoon seat accessories.

Floating waterproof packs or dry bags are perfect for keeping electronics dry. Other pontoon seat accessories include pumps designed to wash your pontoon boat, food coolers that float and even collapsible changing rooms.

Pontoon seat accessories can be found in local marinas or boating good stores or anywhere you will find pontoon seats for sale. A wide selection of products is available during the summer months in department stores, particularly in stores that are located near large bodies of water or boating communities. Online auctions often have pontoon seat accessories that pontoon owners or online vendors are offering for sale. Closeouts and outlet store products can be obtained for reasonable prices in online auctions.

The online auctions describe the pontoon seat accessories for sale and list a minimum price that will be accepted. The vendor also lists the cost of shipping and any other associate costs. Some vendors place one or two items up for auction and sell the rest of their products at Buy Now prices. Buy Now prices are higher than auction minimum prices, but are often a very good deal. Check vendor ratings and customer satisfaction ratings when purchasing from online auctions. Be very cautious when purchasing large-ticket items. Keep documentation of all interactions with the vendor.

Pontoon boat web sites are the modern day department store for shoppers. Extensive types of pontoon seat accessories can be located on pontoon boat web sites. The sites often have forums for owners to speak with each other. Additionally, boaters can speak with web site employees to ask questions about pontoon seats and products and to clarify what they need to purchase for their pontoon boats.

Online marine vendors carry pontoon boat accessories and often have extensive selections of safety products. Personal flotation devices are essential equipment to have on board a pontoon boat. State and federal laws require that each person have ready access to a life jacket and that the jacket is easy to put on. Some pontoon seats, notably those with closed cell upholstery foam, can be used as personal flotation devices. These smaller, heaver cushions do not sink, unlike the larger seat cushions that are more comfortable and lighter.

Check with your local state regulations for the laws governing the use of personal flotation devices in your area. Some requirements include life vests that keep you floating on your back, life vests for children, inflatable life vests and those with specific weight restrictions. Confirm you have all the necessary personal flotation devices before you take your pontoon boat on the water. In addition to life vests or jackets, personal flotation devices that are attached to a rope and can be thrown to a person in the water are required in some areas. When it comes to safety equipment, just meeting the minimum standards is not enough. Keep your passengers and family members safe by having all of the appropriate safety gear on board, by making sure everyone knows where it is and how it works.

Even family dogs should have life vests for large bodies of water. Dogs are very good swimmers, but if they fall into the water far from land, they can become exhausted.

Other pontoon seat accessories for safety include fire extinguishers. Confirm you have fire extinguishers that are capable of putting out all types of fires. Have the extinguishers tested each year to make sure they are in working order. Keep fire extinguishers attached to the pontoon boat within reach and make sure your passengers know how to use them.