Boat Covers for the Fall & Winter – and years to come!
September 10, 2009
In most areas of the country, the summer season of boating is drawing to a close. Protect your boat with a new boat cover from Go2marine; all major boat cover manufacturers are covered here! At Go2marine, we would like to share some ideas and information to help you choose and use your boat cover… lest your cover end up like this sad picture.
There are a number of things that can be done to extend the life of your boat cover and the ability to protect the investment in your boat. You will need to make choices for a cover based on your local, environmental and storage conditions – then on the boat cover fabric.
Not all fabrics are equal. There are four main factors that affect how durable, waterproof, breathable and stable the boat cover fabric is. The following factors affect your choice of selection.
- Poly/cotton (65/35) blends are the least expensive fabric, typically, they are warranted for only a year.
- Polyester is often a mid to top range fabric, typically followed up with a three or five year warranty depending on the fabric weight.
- Acrylic is the top end material, usually only in heavier weight fabrics (9 0z. plus).
The industry standard for a marine fabric is the venerable Sunbrella marine fabric, with the Pacific Blue being the single most popular color in marinas everywhere. All boat cover manufacturers offer either Sunbrella or Sunbrella equivalent fabrics.
- Fabric weight is measured in ounces per square yard.
- The weight of the fabric is often (but not always) telling of both the warranty and lifespan.
- Heavier fabrics are in the 9 oz. range, lightweight fabrics are in the 6.5 oz. range.
- How tightly woven the fabric is will indicate durability – a tighter fabric will last longer.
- How big the weaving threads (thread count) are will also indicate durability – the smaller the threads for a given weight will produce a more durable fabric.
- A 9 oz. tight weave fabric will last longer than a 13 oz. course weave fabric.
- Of interest here; Marine or Pacific Blue (a middle blue) seems the most stable color.
- Reds and Yellows fade faster and wear out sooner than other colors.
Boat cover manufacturers and their fabrics: Manufacturer – Fabric Name, Material, Weight and Warranty.
Top of the line fabrics are represented by:
- Taylor Made – Ultima, Polyester, 7 oz., 5 year.
- Westland – Sunbrella, Acrylic, 9.25 oz., 5 year.
- ShoreMaster – Prism, Polyester, 9 oz., 5 year.
- Carver – Poly-Guard, Polyester, 8 oz., 5 year.
Middle range fabrics are represented by:
- Taylor Made – Hot Shot, Polyester, 6.25 oz., 5 year.
- Westland– Sharkskin, Polyester, 6.5 oz., 5 year.
- ShoreMaster – Sunburst, Polyester, 6.5 oz., 3 year.
Where you store your boat and the environmental conditions it is subjected to will affect the life of the cover. How you set up the cover for storage with one of the many options, will also effect the usefulness and longevity of the boat cover.
Taking the dockside example above, there are a number of things that could be done to help the boat cover do a better job…
Get a pole. The single cheapest way to prop up the cover and prevent water pooling while also offering ventilation is with a vented pole assembly. They are incredibly easy to install in any cover, in virtually any location.
Get a strap system. This is useful for the large cockpit expanse on most boats and will prevent the huge, tearing puddle that can happen. Mounts at four corners connecting at the center with a pad on pole arrangement.
Get some Bows. It is hard to beat a system of Boat Cover Bows with their matching Sockets for keeping the cover arched. This is the most foolproof way to keep the boat dry and it gives you a fighting chance against snow.
Remember: Choose the fabric for the cover that will last the best for your application. If the boat is stored outside, year round, tailored or subjected to harsh conditions then a Top of the line fabric is what you want. If your boat is stored under a carport, on a lift and you are usually good with handling the cover, get the middle range line of fabrics. Lastly, if you are just looking for a “dust cover” to protect your boat while stored, then the base poly/cotton cover will work fine.