Last Updated on September 26, 2022 by Brian Drew

Rather than choosing a normal tarp for covering a boat, choose a fitted cover. Fitted boat covers can be expensive. But they don’t wear away as easily as tarps do. Tarps also come with their limitations. They might be easily damaged by heavy winds or harsh sunlight.

Here are the reasons why you need a cover:

  • As a part of winterizing your boat, to protect it from snow
  • To protect your boat and components from UV exposure and damage
  • To prevent denting, fading, and scratches on your boat
  • Keep dust debris and even animals and bugs away
  • Protect your boat from theft of console units, accessories, and outboard components

Protecting your boat well with the best boat cover would ensure that you have less cleaning to do when you reuse the boat. It would also lead to lower repair costs. An uncovered boat would be subject to damage and repair.

On the whole, this improves the life of your boat. Your boat can be maintained as well as new. This would also be a perk if you wish to sell your boat. A protected boat, with fewer signs of wear, would fetch a better resale value.

Choosing a cover:

Types based on the purpose- storage, mooring, and trailering covers:

Storage covers as the name indicate are for storing the boats ideally in a guarded area. When you store the boat on a trailer or when it is not on the water, a storage cover is what you need.

Since your boat is already out of the water, one risk factor is eliminated. If you are storing it in a covered area, water resistance of the cover would not be a mandatory feature. So you can manage with a lightweight cotton cover.

If your boat is stored outside, then you would have to think about UV protection. Also, the cover should be a tough material that can withstand harsh climates.

Mooring covers are needed for the boats which are docked in water. This would evidently need all the external element protection features. breathable cover can prevent moisture retention.

If you have a trailered boat, then a sturdy trailer able to cover is what you need. They should come with a proper cover support framework. Fitting snugly on your boat, they should also be made of heavy-duty material that can withstand heavy winds.

Types based on the fit- universal, semi-custom, and custom:

Universal fit covers are the most commonly available ones. These are made to suit most boat sizes. These often come with a quick and easy installation process. They are the least expensive type of covers.

For lighter use, for milder weather conditions, these are great choices. Trailering in a lake in a moderate climate would be manageable with these covers. If you are looking for a cover for harsh weather conditions, this is not the best choice.

Semi-custom covers are those that are readily available for specific types or models of boats. Better than the universal covers, these offer a little extra protection. As they are often model specific, choose the one that suits your boat model to get the right fit.

These covers would have room to accommodate and guard your boat accessories as well. They can suit most boats for trailering and mooring.

Are you looking for a cover for a specific make, a particular model to suit a particular weather condition? Custom-fit covers are what you need. Promising the best weather protection, these come with materials to suit the weather they are designed for.

These are the most durable ones when used in the recommended conditions. These are also easier to install and remove.

Choosing the cover fabric material:

Now that you know which type of cover you need, next would be to understand which type of fabric would suit you best. Ideally, you would need a water-repellent cover. Along with this property, if it is also breathable, then the work is done even better. This way, your cover would help protect your boat from rain.

Breathability would ensure that there’s no moisture trapped and retained in the boat causing the growth of mold and mildew. The cover material should also not allow mildew growth on the cover.

If your boat would be standing outside under harsh sunlight, then a UV-resistant cover would be good. Resistance to strong winds is the next feature your cover fabric should possess. A lighter one like a plastic tarp might easily wear off due to excess flapping in winds.

Combining all the above features, choosing a fabric that is also durable would be the most cost-effective choice. A cover that comes with reinforced fabric with extra layers of reinforcement and double sewing on the areas that are under tension would be more durable.

Other features to look for in a cover:

When you know the fabric you want and the type of fit required, your decision in choosing the boat cover would be easy. But then there are covers that come with additional features. These are not all mandatory features. But having these would make the cover a more convenient choice.

Corner reinforcements:

If you are looking for durability, look for a cover with strong seams and reinforced corners. These are the areas that are subject to the maximum strain. Two or more additional layers of the cover fabric in these areas would make sure that these covers last long.

Elasticated hem:

Having elasticated side hems would make the installation of the cover easy. It would also ensure that the cover stays put snugly on the boat.

Tie-down or drawstring straps:

Besides the cover support straps, if you get a tie-down or drawstring system on the bottom portion of the cover, it would be great. This would help hold the cover tightly in place. This comes in handy, especially in windy areas.


Covers are expensive. Even the universal fit ones are more expensive options than choosing a normal tarp. So when you spend so much on a cover, look for one that would last long. One that comes with a decent warranty would be a better value for your money.

Cover support system for the cover’s longer life:

To hold your cover in place and to protect your cover that protects your boat, you need a cover support system. This would make the cover fit even better. This would hold the cover in place so that it doesn’t give away under the pressure of heavy rains or snow.

This way, there would be no rainwater and snow collecting on the cover. This would add to the life of your cover.

Covering” up:

Hope we have covered the basic considerations to keep in mind while choosing a cover. Your boat is built for the outdoors. But then, proper maintenance can add to its longevity. Also, even the strongest of materials would easily wither if subjected to rough weather too often.

This would apply to your boat and the components as well. So if you wish to protect your boat from fading or getting damaged due to weather extremities, choose the best cover today.

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