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7 Tips for Choosing the Right Boat Cover

Covers & Tops > 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Boat Cover


Fall is fast approaching. Now is a good time to think about boat storage. Whether storing your boat on a trailer, at a marina, in a commercial storage facility, or mooring, a boat cover is a good idea. Boat covers protect your boat from harmful UV rays, rain and snow, debris and dust, and are a theft deterrent.

Choosing a Boat Cover

Here are several tips to consider when choosing a boat cover, including – style, fabric, size and use. Remember, the cover that best suits your boat will depend upon the type of boat, how much time it is left unattended, where it is stored, the weather elements your boat will be exposed to, and what your plans are for trailering your boat with the cover on.

TIP 1 – Style
There are three main styles of boat covers – Custom, Semi–Custom, and Universal or Tarps.

Custom covers are specifically designed for a year, make and model of boat. Custom covers fall into two types – snap-on style and tie–down style. This tip reviews the tie-down style, which is more common as an aftermarket cover. The cover accommodates the boat's size, shape, and options, with reinforcements at critical wear points. You can expect custom covers to “fit like a glove” on your boat and work well for trailering, storing, and mooring.

Semi–Custom covers are designed to fit various styles of boats, i.e. bass boats, deck boats, runabouts, tournament ski boats, etc. Therefore, one semi-custom bass boat cover may fit several different makes and models of boats of similar size. You can expect semi-custom covers to fit looser, with a more generous amount of fabric to accommodate accessories or small size differences between makes and models. These covers typically have application for trailering, storage, and mooring.

Universal covers are usually cut to accommodate a wide range of boats similar to a one-size-fits-all concept. Also known as “shower–cap covers,” these covers are best suited for light-duty or dust cover use and work well for their intended purpose. However, it’s a mistake to try and use universal covers for trailering or heavy weather protection. Tarps are not recommended as a suitable boat cover.

TIP 2 – Fabric
Boat covers are made in a wide range of fabrics such as cotton, mixed blends, polyester, and acrylic. When deciding upon the type of fabric for your cover, choose the fabric that is best suited for the weather it will face.

Boats stored in the sun will need a cover with good UV protection. Boats stored in humid areas will need a cover made from a fabric that breathes and has good mildew resistance. And for boats that sit under snow or are exposed to heavy rainfall, the strength and weight of the fabric and its resistance to water will be big considerations.

TIP 3 – Size
When purchasing a boat cover, be sure you have accurate dimensions of your boat. To find the centerline length, measure from the tip of the bow to the center of the stern. Add the length of any extensions, such as bow pulpits and transom brackets to the centerline. To find the beam width, measure the widest point of your boat.

TIP 4 – Use
Remember to consider how and where your boat cover will be used. Not every cover is suitable for trailering, mooring, or storage. Many covers are manufactured for multiple uses however, and with the addition of accessories such as tie-down straps and support poles, can be very versatile. If you’re not sure of the suitability of a cover for your intended use, ask the retailer or manufacturer for a recommendation.

TIP 5 – Accessories
There are many boat cover accessories available today. Tie-down kits and extra straps are available to assist with trailering. Boat cover repair kits will help to repair small rips and tears. Boat cover reinforcements help to protect your boat cover from sharp windshield corners, bimini top hardware, and brackets for electronic equipment. And boat cover support poles are a great way to keep snow and excess water from collecting on your cover.

TIP 6 – Care for Your Boat Cover
Taking the following precautions will increase the life of your boat cover.

  • Avoid letting water, snow or other materials like leaves and sticks to stand on boat covers. Using support poles, straps, or bows is a great way to help with this.
  • Always tie boat covers down securely.
  • Add padding to windshields, trolling motors, depth finders, etc. before installing boat covers to avoid tears and rips.
  • Always allow boat covers to dry thoroughly before folding for storage.

TIP 7 – Buy with Confidence
Check out iboats.com for great prices on boat covers. iboats.com has the largest selection of covers from four quality manufacturers. Free Shipping is available on each cover purchase. And for a limited time, purchase a boat cover and save 25% Off Boat Cover Accessories!

Click here to go directly to our CoverFinder and order the cover that matches your boat, climate and price range.

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The information and articles provided in this e–monthly and/or in any publications provided by iboats.com are for general purposes only and intended to help you make better decisions about your boat and boating equipment. Such information is not intended to substitute for instructions from the manufacturer, dealer or marina about your specific boat or boating equipment and iboats specifically disclaims any liability for damage to your boat or equipment arising from your following suggestions in this e–monthly. For more details about your equipment or application, we suggest you contact the manufacturer of your boat or other equipment.

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