It’s been nearly 8 years since Dave sent me an email for a pontoon boat he saw on Craigslist. The 1987 Manitou pontoon boat was already on its second set of furniture. The carpet and deck were were in rough shape, but I thought it was good enough for 2-3 more years. I bought that boat, and dropped it into Thayer Lake on May 20, 2007. Since then it’s taken countless trips around the lake, been hauled to Torch Lake, Elk Lake, Lake Skegemog, Intermediate Lake, Clam Lake, and Lake Bellaire. It’s toured the Grass River and Torch River. It’s been a reliable and economical friend, so now it’s time to restore it.
Since I planned a complete restoration, I didn’t cover it during the winter. The carpet is almost completely worn, the wood deck is spongy, the horn no longer blares and the lights have corroded connections. I’ll save only the aluminum frame work and the engine. Everything else is being replaced.
So far I’ve placed 27 orders for parts. The new decking will be sealed with a 2-part epoxy and should outlive me. The “super premium 24 oz cut pile marine grade boat carpeting” is much better than original. A new wiring harness will connect to new LED lighting (no bulbs to replace). There will be enough USB ports to charge 4 cell phones concurrently, with cables for standard MicroUSB (all non-Apple) phones and Apple iPhones. New bench seats with UV-resistant material will provide ample storage. The steering and throttle systems will be new, too.
Parts started arriving last week. Most seat cushions are on back-order for 2 weeks. The most difficult work will be removing the old decking. Once the deck is removed and the new deck is installed, the project should move quickly.
The original engine runs well, but is a bit loud at full throttle. I can’t justify the expense of a new outboard engine, so this motor will have to do for now. To ensure that the engine looks good to, I’ve ordered a replacement decal set for the exact model year and size of engine. The engine cover will be sanded, primed and painted before the decals are applied.
If all goes as planned, we’ll be able to squeeze another decade or more out of this little boat.