After you’ve put down the big bucks to furnish your ‘toon, bought all the fishing equipment you’ve always wished for, and even got a big towable tube for the kids, you might think it’s finally time to relax and set sail. However, there’s one more thing you might want consider getting before throwing your first pontoon party – a changing room. Well, in all honesty, calling these pop-up tents or curtains hanging down from your Bimini top ‘changing rooms’ may be a bit of a far stretch – privacy partitions would be a more suitable name. Regardless of that, they will make a world of a difference to your family or friends – especially if you are planning to get into the water at some point. And not only that – there’s a ton of other advantages of having a pontoon changing room.
1. Starting with the obvious – you probably don’t want people in wet swimsuits sitting on your brand-new expensive boat armchairs, do you? A privacy partition would let them change into dry clothes without much effort or fuss. And while you and your fishing buddies might be perfectly fine changing around each other, the ladies and kids might not be as hip to it.
2. Changing rooms are perfect for hiding your pontoon restroom, as, yet again, some guests might not be comfortable answering the call of nature in the very middle of nature, with no protective walls around them. If you’re shopping for a portable toilet for your boat, throw one of these protective curtains in your cart as well – you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run.
3. Changing rooms will usually come with an inner pocket and even a small drying rack. You might think you don’t really need those on the boat, but as changing rooms are usually made of waterproof material, it’s reassuring to know that there is a waterproof spot to keep your valuables away from water splashes (especially if you have children on board.) Your wife will also appreciate having a hidden drying rack right there on the boat – no one likes tucking wet swimsuits into a bag and desperately trying to get the mildew smell out of them once they get home.
Granted, changing rooms are very useful for any boat owner – but we’d be lying if we said they don’t have any drawbacks. Well, for once, they’re extremely lightweight, which makes them very susceptible to being blown off your ‘toon at the smallest gust of wind. You’d have to get a couple weights to fix the bottom to your boat if you’re not using it to hide your toilet. Or you’d have to collapse and re-install it several times a day – which is probably not your definition of a chill day on a boat.
If you’re going for one of those Bimini top curtains, you’re a bit safer, as they are secured to the rails using Velcro straps. However, the wind might still give you a bit of trouble if the fabric the curtain is made of is too lightweight – it would make changing behind it pretty much impossible. If that’s the case, what you might want to do is get a pack of curtain weights and get crafty – and put in more than you’d think you need. Better safe than sorry.
The disadvantages of changing rooms are minor indeed, but here’s a few things you can do in order to avoid these inconveniences:
If you get a pop-up tent for a changing room, make sure you also get a couple of weights to anchor it down safely. Technically, two should be enough, but better opt for four and place them in all four corners of the base.
If you have a Bimini top, we strongly recommend you DIY your changing room. Opt for heavy waterproof fabric, measure the exact length you need for your boat (as some pre-made ones will only be long enough to cover you down to your knees), and add curtain weights for extra safety.
Last but not least, try to go for a changing room with a mesh window. Even though it will still protect everything inside from the splashing water, the mesh window will allow the air to circulate in and out of the tent, letting your clothes dry properly. Needless to say, it will also act like a vent if you use the changing room for the pontoon toilet – need we say more?
Finding the perfect changing room for your pontoon can be pretty tricky – but we really hope this guide helped you at least a little bit. Have fun sailing!