Choosing a winter cover for your boat
Shorter days, cooler temperatures and colorful trees signal an end to boating season, meaning, it’s time to prepare your boat for winter.
Americas Boating Club (United States Power Squadron) recommends the following winterizing of your boat to ensure a safe, worry-free winter and a trouble-free boating season next year by protecting your boat’s systems and gear from freeze damage.
Whether you store your boat in or out of the water, you’ll need to decide how to cover it. You’ll want to protect from snow, ice and UV rays all winter long. If you do the job on your own, you have three basic cover types to choose from.
- Plastic tarps: The least expensive option, plastic tarps only last a season or two, tend to flap in the wind and rarely fit properly.
- Canvas tarps: Although canvas tarps are more expensive than plastic, they’re heavier and flap around less in the breeze. Longer lasting, they may be good for four or five seasons. However, the additional weight means you’ll need to construct a solid frame to support it.
- Fitted covers: You can find pre-fitted covers that provide an exact match for many popular boat models. Although even more expensive, they fit the best and tend to last the longest.
If you don’t want to cover the boat yourself, you have two options that involve hiring professionals. The first involves finding a canvas company to design and build a custom-fitted cover. Although expensive, this option provides the best protection for your boat and can be reused year after year.
The other professional option involves hiring a shrink-wrap pro. Shrink wrap, a polyethylene with UV inhibitors, shrinks when heated to create a much tighter seal than anything you could make with tarp and ropes. Not only does that seal keep the weather out, but it also doesn’t stretch or tear like tarps do after a few months in the elements.