Upgrading to a bigger pontoon - Keeping the Vinyl Clean!

SMoore

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To start, been a long time lurker and haven't posted. Appreciate all the good info the forum has to offer.
Sorry if this is a long post, but I want to do everything I can do prevent another reoccurrence from our current boat.
This weekend if timing works out, we will driving 8 hours to purchase a 2014 RCW 2575 Pontoon with a Yamaha 250sho. Super excited as this is a huge upgrade for us.
It has just about every option including the ESP, mood lights, and the nice stainless steel gate/bar surrounding the rear lounges.
Only downfall is the color option of the vinyl which is Ivory. I believe it's the same color as our current pontoon.
I've read countless threads in here and on other forums. I'm willing to deal with it, but the wife is having other thoughts.
Other than the 303 products, what do you guys use that works, preventative wise? I feel we tried every product available but didn't have any success. I believe the problem is the hard South Louisiana heat and humidity. We washed, rinsed, dried, and applied the 303 products. We'd even get magic erasers to get small spots out.
Our current toon, the seats are not exactly the nicest anymore, plus some of the threading has separated. Pics attached.
I spoke with a local vinyl store that specializes in boat interiors. He mentioned the most important thing is to spray down the seats once done to remove skin oils / sunscreen and anything that's been spilt. Ensure it's dry and put a protectant, however he never mentioned a product.
We now have an open garage that's out of the elements and direct sunlight to store the boat which we didn't have before. Our current boat we relied upon the playpen cover with the tension poles. The black covered bled through and discolored the light seats. I also ran a fan but no matter how much we tried, we couldn't keep them clean.
Fast forward a bit, I used Starbrite, Marine 31, and a few other products to get the stains out. I obviously didn't rise it enough to keep the products from tearing up the threads.

I do not want this to happen to our newer toon. We obviously have an enclosed area to store it, and will keep the cover on it.
The boat is 7 years old and the seats are in immaculate shape. I know there are many people here that have attained the same results. Teach me! What am I doing wrong? What do I need to use? I obviously know now to keep the harsh stuff away from the threads.
Thank you in advance if you made it this far!
-Steve
 

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Remediation

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I have used Marine 31 Mildew Guard with great results. In KY, I apply in the beginning of the year and it has worked well. We used to have mold every time we uncovered the boat. Their Mildew remover worked great for our first pontoon. We cleaned the seats and than protected them.
 

Michiman

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Congratulations SMoore and welcome to the family. Fortunately we have a number of folks on this forum that live and boat in the south that might be able to make a suggestion or two. I can say that you should think twice before using that magic eraser as I understand they can damage vinyl. I also have to wonder if part of the problem with your previous boat was the quality of the vinyl as well as its age. BTW, post some pictures when you bring her home!
 

Economy Mike

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I don't know what's in the products you mentioned, but I was told long ago to never put anything containing bleach on the stitching. My last pontoon was 15 years old when we upgraded to our current Bennington, and the threads suffered no damage. Safe boating.
 

BigKahuna

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I don't want to contradict any member on this forum but I want to share what I have done for my boat vinyl for the 12 yrs. that we had our 2275 RL. If we had a bit of mildew I used a diluted bleach solution that easily got rid of the mildew on both the seats/upholstery and the carpet. I never had any problem with the stitching separating or fraying anywhere! After getting rid of the mildew I used probably every vinyl protectant known to man to include some leather cleaners/conditioners. 303 products are excellent but are a bit pricey so I've tried a pretty large variety of products with success. But the main reason my seats/ upholstery looked brand new when we sold our boat was because we religiously covered it!
 

2picky

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I don't want to contradict any member on this forum but I want to share what I have done for my boat vinyl for the 12 yrs. that we had our 2275 RL. If we had a bit of mildew I used a diluted bleach solution that easily got rid of the mildew on both the seats/upholstery and the carpet. I never had any problem with the stitching separating or fraying anywhere! After getting rid of the mildew I used probably every vinyl protectant known to man to include some leather cleaners/conditioners. 303 products are excellent but are a bit pricey so I've tried a pretty large variety of products with success. But the main reason my seats/ upholstery looked brand new when we sold our boat was because we religiously covered it!
I have used a diluted mix of bleach water and car soap on my seats, cover and life jackets. You want to get the smell out of the life jackets fill a large trash can 3/4 full water add 1 gallon bleach and put life jackets in for over night. Next day dump on drive way and rinse really good with water and when dry they will look brand new with no smell. I have never had a problem with bleach as long as you dilute it down and never had it chang the color off the vinyl.
 
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SMoore

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Congratulations SMoore and welcome to the family. Fortunately we have a number of folks on this forum that live and boat in the south that might be able to make a suggestion or two. I can say that you should think twice before using that magic eraser as I understand they can damage vinyl. I also have to wonder if part of the problem with your previous boat was the quality of the vinyl as well as its age. BTW, post some pictures when you bring her home!
Thank you all for the replies!
Trip back from Dallas wasn't that bad as we had great weather. I did have a blow out, and I'm thankful that the trailer had some heavy gauge fenders, otherwise the side of the pontoon might've been damaged.
I cleaned some trouble spots from the drive down. Wasn't as bad as I expected. Went ahead and applied the 3M protector and conditioner the other day before storing it.
I'll avoid any bleach products around the stitching as well as the magic eraser.
As I mentioned this is a different situation this time as I can store this under my lean-to on my shop and keep the sun and weather off of it, while also keeping it covered.
Will probably throw some moth balls in there to deter any spiders / insects from entering, seems a few people have done that in this forum. Depending on how the air flows, might also throw a fan in there to keep air moving.

Overall, I'm blow away with this boat. The storage, construction and handling is such a day and night difference from my old toon.
It has just about every option that it could come with for this year.
Will be messing with props this weekend, as this current one has a bit of damage and is running at 5500rpm. Boat would only reach 35mph, and after looking through multiple threads, it should be in the 40's.
The dealer warrantied all the bimini tops, and full cover. Only other issue was the trim cylinder started leaking after the full inspection before I arrived. Was the first thing he mentioned. Will be received a new trim system in the mail along with the new cover.
 

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Vikingstaff

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Looks awesome. Love your excitement. Bennington sure makes some awesome pontoon boats. Sometimes you don’t appreciate it as much unless you’ve been on some other brands that don’t have the same quality and aesthetic characteristics.
 

lakelifeMN

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Looks like you did really good. Boat looks sharp for its age and you will get many more years of enjoyment out of it. Nice to hear the dealer took care of things for you. Congratulations and welcome to the family.
 

Michiman

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Trailer tire blowout; it's not a question of if, but when. Glad that it didn't cause you too much pain! She's a beauty for sure and thanks for sharing some pictures.
 

lakeliving

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Looks great and I love the floor. We have the same stuff.
 
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