Boat Cover Guide: Everything You Need to Know

How to Choose and Use the Right Boat Cover

If you want to protect your boat from the elements and keep it in good condition for as long as possible, you need an appropriate boat cover. But how exactly are you supposed to choose a boat cover? And how do you use it properly?

What Are Boat Covers?

Boat covers are sheets of material designed to go over the top of your boat, serving as a layer of protection that shields your boat from various external threats. Depending on the type of material used, the cover can protect your boat from water, precipitation, sunlight, vandalism, and even accidental damage.

You can place a boat cover on your boat relatively easily in most cases, using draw cords or other attachment methods to secure the cover to the boat directly. Properly fitted boat covers should cover the boat reasonably tightly, offering full protection to the entire vessel.

These covers are also relatively affordable, especially considering how much protection they grant. It's an inexpensive way to protect your investment.

Advantages of Using a Boat Cover

These are some of the most important advantages of using a boat cover on your vessel:

  • Convenient boat protection. It's not hard to find a boat cover, nor is a boat cover typically expensive. Placing and removing boat covers is also relatively easy and shouldn't take you much time. Accordingly, boat covers are some of the cheapest and most accessible ways to protect your boat from potential damage. With a cover in place, your boat will suffer less damage from the sun, the elements, and various physical threats.
  • Less maintenance. Keeping a cover on your boat also means it will require less maintenance over time. Because you'll be shielding the boat from various external threats, you won't have to do as much work to restore it after dealing with those threats.
  • A longer lifespan. If you use a boat cover consistently, you may be able to prolong the lifespan of your boat. If you get even a few extra years out of your investment, the cover should more than pay for itself.
  • Improved aesthetics. Some boat owners like the idea of using a boat cover because it preserves the aesthetics of the vessel. When exposed to the sun, the paint and colour of your boat can fade – but this effect significantly diminishes if you can block most of the incoming sunlight.

Materials Commonly Used in Boat Covers

These are some of the most commonly used materials you'll find in boat covers:

  • Polyester. Polyester is a synthetic material that’s frequently used in boat covers because it has many desirable features. It's resistant to water, it provides abrasive protection, it shields against UV radiation, and it still offers breathability. On top of that, polyester tends to last a long time and is relatively affordable.
  • Acrylic. Acrylic boat covers are superior to polyester boat covers in a few ways, offering more protection, higher breathability, and resistance to fade. The only real downside is that it's much more expensive than polyester.
  • Nylon and blends. Nylon is another inexpensive material used for boat covers, but while it can save you money, it doesn't offer as much protection as polyester or acrylic. Nylon has low UV resistance and is very light, meaning it's likely going to be damaged in its first few years of use.

On top of looking at materials used in your boat covers, you should also investigate to see how boat covers are made before buying from a manufacturer or supplier. The hems and seams of your boat covers are going to last much longer if they're double stitched or reinforced in some other way. Specific points of high wear, like those over a windshield frame, require even more reinforcement.

Additionally, the draw cords of your boat cover shouldn't be made from elastic. While elastic is very flexible, it's also subject to degradation over time. After just a few years of use, these chords can lose their elasticity and strength, eventually falling apart. Rope is a superior material.

Getting the Right Fit

If you want your boat cover to provide adequate protection, you need to make sure it fits properly. If the cover is too tight, you might not be able to get it completely over your boat, or you may end up damaging the boat or the cover when trying to install it. If the cover is too loose, it may offer inconsistent protection coverage, or worse, it could blow off with a strong wind.

The best way to make sure your boat cover fits is to get one customised for this specific vessel. It's possible to find a good fit by choosing a boat cover suited to a generic size or type of boat, but it's much better to get specific (if you can).

Additional Tips for Using Boat Covers

Follow these additional tips to get even more value out of your boat covers:

  • Follow the instructions carefully. Whatever boat cover you buy and wherever you buy it, you should get detailed instructions for how to install and care for your boat cover. Always follow these instructions carefully.
  • Clean your boat cover regularly. Boat covers aren't immune from damage, so make sure to keep them clean.
  • Invest in better coatings. Special coatings, like UV protective coating, can strengthen your polyester boat covers even further.
  • Always use covers in extreme elements. You should always use a boat cover during extreme weather events, like heavy snowfall, if your boat is exposed to those elements.
  • Secure your cover before trailering. Trailering your boat can run the risk of blowing your boat cover off – so make sure to thoroughly secure it before departing.

Boat covers are most valuable when used to protect an investment you care about. If you’re in the market for a new boat, or if you’re interested in selling your vessel, you’ve come to the right place. List your vessel for sale today or start looking for the boat of your dreams!


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