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What are the Best Winter Boat Covers?

By John Funk, October 18, 2022

Once winter arrives, most boat owners tend to abandon their boats as the weather is less than perfect for boating activities.

To prepare your boat for the upcoming winter season, there are several things you need to do to make sure your boat is in tip-top shape for when you head out onto the water. Winter boat covers are an absolute necessity for boat maintenance. There are several options when it comes to winter boat covers and making the right choice can be a bit overwhelming.

Benefits of Using Boat Covers in Winter

  • Boat covers repel water and defend your boat from damaging weather situations like rain, snow, hail, wind, and sleet. They also deter mold and mildew damage.
  • A top-quality boat cover can protect your boat’s paint job against friction damage and scratches. It keeps your boat clean and ensures that your paint remains new for a longer period of time, thereby ensuring that its value depreciates much more slowly.
  • An effective boat cover prevents snow or ice from getting formed at the bottom of your boat, thereby preventing any kind of rust.
  • A high-quality cover will keep condensation out during freezing temperatures, ensuring complete protection of your boat.

Types of Winter Boat Covers – Which One Is the Best?

We all love the snow-white tranquility of winter, but your boat’s interior does not. It will become a breeding ground for smelly mold and mildew unless you cover it using a high-quality boat cover. Remember, the first line of defense against weather, animals, plants, mildew, and debris is a winter boat cover.

Let’s look at some basic types of boat covers. Some are standard-sized boat covers, while others have a custom fit.

Plastic Winter Boat Covers

  • Plastic boat covers are the most affordable option and you can find them at major online retailers with quick delivery.
  • Plastic boat covers usually come in standard sizes, so they may not fit snugly, leaving your boat susceptible to wind, water, and animal damage. A strong wind or storm can easily tear up a plastic winter boat cover or even cause it to get blown away.
  • While purchasing a plastic boat cover, you should look for marine-grade plastic with UV protection. If your cover does not have this feature, you may as well wrap it up in trash bags!
  • Even when investing in a marine-grade plastic cover, there's only so much it can handle. Plastic covers tend to be overly large, causing the grommets to tear off, and there will be several areas where tie-down ropes have chafed and thinned.

Canvas Winter Boat Covers

  • Canvas boat covers can be purchased as generic model sizes and are a big step up from plastic covers as they are custom-made specifically for your boat.
  • Each boat has a unique design, and custom canvas boat covers are made to fit your boat’s unique design. There will be fewer gaps for critters to squeeze through and wind will have a tough time lifting the cover up and off your boat.
  • Compared to plastic covers, custom canvas boat covers are much stronger and can stand up to falling debris. They also offer much better water resistance.
  • Custom covers provide a snug fit, ensuring that the ropes and grommets, or anything else that might otherwise get whipped about in wind, will cause minimal damage to your boat's bright work and fiberglass.
  • A heavy-duty custom canvas boat cover fits a variety of boats including v-hulls, tri-hulls, and runabouts.
  • Cost is a major concern when it comes to custom-fit covers, as they tend to be expensive and may not be affordable for many boat owners.

Shrink Wrap Winter Boat Covers

  • A big advantage of using a shrink wrap winter boat cover is that it conforms precisely to every curve and corner of your boat.
  • Shrink wrap boat covers provide excellent moisture control and water resistance.
  • Shrink wrap boat covers are so suction-tight that they provide excellent protection against rodents, insects, and even dust particles. The material used for shrink wraps is non-abrasive and will never chafe or scuff up your fiberglass.
  • If you are looking for a cover that is specifically designed to shed water and even the heaviest snow loads, marine shrink wrap is your go-to option.
  • When shrink wrap boat covers are installed with vents, they become very effective to control the growth of unwanted mold and mildew.
  • A major drawback of shrink wrap covers is that you will not be able to reuse the wrap in the following year, so you will have no other option but to throw it away. However, if you find a recycling center to dispose of it, you can consider yourself lucky.
  • Shrink wrap boat covers aren’t an affordable option for many boat owners. However, in recent years, it has turned out to become an easy DIY project and you can get the job done yourself by getting your hands on the necessary tools, thereby helping you save expenses. You can also hire professionals to provide shrink wrapping for the off-season, and this is something that is widely offered at the marinas

Composite Fabric Winter Boat Covers

  • Composite fabric winter boat covers come in different shapes and sizes and are made of top-quality fabric that is mold and mildew-resistant. The sewn-in ventilation system prevents water from seeping into the interior.
  • The multiple layers of fabric ensure complete protection of your boat, even during harsh winter conditions. Due to its construction, polyester fabric provides great resistance to water, snow, and ice, saving you money on replacement and expensive repairs. An increased softness along with superior protection is a valuable combination.
  • Urethane-coated marine-grade polyester provides high durability and ensures that the covers are resistant to wear and tear, and abrasion.
  • These boat covers are an ideal choice for long-term indoor and outdoor storage as they are durable and made from heavy-duty fabric materials. These heavy-duty boat covers are designed in such a way that they will not stretch or shrink over the years, thereby providing superior protection to your boat.
  • The covers are stretchable, making it easier for boat owners to apply and remove the cover as and when needed. The strapping system also helps you to cover your boat quickly and easily.

Important Tools to Ensure Best Protection

Even though pricing is an issue, we can say that custom-fit covers are the better option when compared to other boat covers. This is mainly because of their superior quality and fitting that help them in providing great protection to boats. Additionally, investing in some crucial tools will be helpful in combating the elements effectively, thereby providing comprehensive protection to your boat.

Propping Up Marine Support Poles

  • Setting up a few support poles beneath the canvas not only adds air circulation but also keeps your cover from developing pools of water.
  • Marine support poles are important, since otherwise your cover could collect a pond and the water can saturate canvas or break down plastic, resulting in wet flooring. A wet floor can lead to mold and mildew build-up.

Investing in a Dehumidifier

  • A refillable dehumidifier container that uses pellets made of activated charcoal helps to keep musty odors away.
  • Usually, iron will start to rust when the relative humidity exceeds 50%, and this is where a good boat dehumidifier can be very helpful.

Using Bimini Boot Covers

  • Bimini tops are a great option for those who are looking for overall protection from the elements without being limited to a fully enclosed boat.
  • A Bimini boot is a cover for the Bimini top when it is collapsed and it helps in protecting the Bimini fabric and also keeps it from flapping in the wind when not in use.

The Advantages of Using Semi-Custom-Fit Seal Skin Boat Covers

While custom-fit covers can be considered a better option, can we call them the best considering the high pricing point? What if you have the option of buying a cover that does almost everything that a custom cover does but at an affordable price? Wouldn’t that be great?

At Seal Skin, we offer a wide range of semi-custom-fit boat covers. Our semi-custom fit boat covers have a lower pricing point when compared to custom covers yet they provide about the same level of protection as a custom cover. Our semi-custom covers are designed and shipped quickly, unlike custom covers that could take a very long time to get delivered.

A semi-custom cover provides much better protection when compared to plastic covers. Unlike plastic covers, they are not overly large and they provide a snug fit since a semi-custom cover is made to fit your boat’s unique design.

Our covers are not just affordable and available but also reliable, as they leave sizable gaps for water vapor to escape, thereby preventing mold and mildew build-up. This smartly designed feature makes our Seal Skin boat covers the ideal option for protecting your boat.

You can call us at 800-915-0038 during our office hours (Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST) and we will help you find the right boat cover that fits your needs and budget. We will also help you if you have any questions about our products, shipping policies, and exchange/refund policies.

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