A guide to boat covers

A guide to boat covers

Your boat is not a cheap investment, so you want to protect it and get as many boating years as possible from it. Boat covers are an essential, and economical, buy that all boaters should consider.

Protecting your boat with a cover, whether you are mooring, storing or dry-docking, will extend the life of your boat. Boat covers are easy to use and designed to protect your boat from the elements. If you tow your boat, the sun and road spray can add to the deterioration of the exterior of your boat.

Boat covers come in many shapes and sizes in a variety of materials. Most boat manufacturers will tailor a cover that fits the make and model of your boat. With so many different styles of boat covers and materials to choose from, you'll be able to find a boat cover that suits your needs. Whether you have a ski boat, fishing boat, sailing yacht, or power boat, protecting your boat with a boat cover is essential.

Basic points to look for

  • Is it form fitting - made to fit the profile of your boat?
  • Does it fit to the boat’s waterline - the cover should be made to come approx. 20” above the waterline?
  • Is it reinforced at the stress points - such as point of bow, windshield, transom?
  • Can your boat cover breathe - to avoid mould and mildew your new boat cover must breathe adequately and not trap the moisture in your boat?

Here’s our tips for the buying the perfect boat cover:

There are three main styles of boat covers – custom, semi–custom and universal.

Custom covers are specifically designed for the make and model of your boat. There are two types – snap-on and tie–down. The tie-down style accommodates the boat's size, shape, and options, with reinforcements at critical wear points. Custom covers should fit like a glove on your boat.

Semi–custom covers are designed to fit various styles of boats, such as bass, deck, runabouts and ski boats. So, one semi-custom bass boat cover may fit different makes and models of boats. Semi-custom covers fit looser, with more fabric to accommodate size differences between different models.

Universal covers are cut to fit a wide range of boats - one-size-fits-all. Also known as “shower cap covers,” universal covers are best for dust cover use.

Boat covers come in a range of fabrics - cotton, mixed blends, polyester and acrylic. Choose the fabric that is best suited for the elements it will be exposed to.

If your boat is stored in the sun, you will need a cover with UV protection. Boats stored in humid areas will need a breathable with mildew protection. And boats that sit in the snow or rain, the strength and weight of the fabric will be your biggest consideration.

When buying your boat cover, make sure you have the dimensions of your boat. Measure from the tip of the bow to the centre of the stern. To find the beam width, measure the widest point of your boat.

Think about how and where your boat cover will be used. Not all covers are suitable for trailering, mooring or storage. You will find some covers are made for multiple uses and can be very versatile. If you’re not sure of the suitability of a cover, ask the manufacturer for a recommendation.

Tips to increase the life of your boat cover:

  • Don’t allow water, snow or leaves and sticks to sit on boat covers
  • Always tie boat covers securely
  • Allow boat covers to dry thoroughly before folding for storage

Before winter creeps us on us again, think about purchasing a boat cover. And remember, the best cover for your boat will depend upon the type of boat, how long it is left unattended, where it’s stored and the elements your boat will be exposed to.

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