Boat Covers Advice for New Boaters

boat covers advice

Your boat gets exposed to some horrific conditions. Keeping it looking great is a massive challenge!

We all take great pride in our boats and love to see them looking their best, but let’s be honest, maintenance and repairs are nowhere near as much fun as being out on the water. What we want to do is minimize the time spent doing chores, and maximize our time spent having fun.

This is where a good boat cover can make a lot of difference, but only if you buy the right one.

You see, it’s not a simple purchase to make. You have to choose the right size, fabric, fittings… The list goes on and on.

We are here to help you all new boaters who are looking for the perfect boat covers. As you read through this post, you will begin to understand and appreciate the differences between different covers, and how important it is to buy something suitable.

Bayliner Boat Covers

All boats require maintenance, and keeping them looking good is a constant challenge. Protecting your boat from damage by fitting a good cover can save you a lot of time and expense.

Every boat has a unique shape. In order to keep out the dirt, water, rodents, and harmful UV rays, you need to find a cover that fits the shape of your boat as exactly as possible. The good news is that it should not be difficult to find a custom fit cover for any Bayliner. Although a custom fit can cost more, getting the right shape is so important that this little bit extra will be money well spent.

Problems can arise if you have made some modifications that affect the shape. Being a large company, finding an authorized Bayliner dealer to advise you should be easy.

You will probably find that there are several options available that are designed specifically for your make and model. Generally speaking, this will be a choice of different fabrics and colors. There is no ‘best’ fabric. What’s right for you depends on your situation and needs. Some fabrics such as polyester are more waterproof than others, but breathability is also important to prevent the buildup of condensation. The other main difference is strength. Not all covers are suitable for use when towing on a trailer, and not all come with tie-down straps. The level of waterproofing, breathability, and trailering suitability should be clearly stated. If not, then shop somewhere else. After finding the correct shape, these are the factors that determine what you should buy, and it’s important to get it right.

Canvas Boat Covers

Choosing a cover for your boat is never an easy decision. First you have two find the correct size and shape, then you have to think about the material. At first, it may look like a simple choice between plastic and canvas, but it’s not, because there are many different types of canvas available.

There are three main factors to consider:

  1. The weave. This can be either plain or duck, and determines how close the fibers are to each other. Duck is a tighter weave than plain.
  2. The material. This is usually cotton, polyester or a combination of the two. Cotton is a natural fiber that can stretch or shrink. It is very breathable but not completely waterproof. Polyester does not stretch, is not breathable and offers much better waterproofing. Polyester is also more color-fast than cotton which can fade if left in direct sunlight. Being a natural material, cotton is also more susceptible to mold and mildew.
  3. Coatings. These are usually applied to make the canvas more waterproof and increase its lifespan. Most coatings only last a couple of years and then need to be renewed.

You should make sure your cover comes with a suitable frame or support poles to prevent puddles of water forming. It’s also important to have some way of attaching the cover to your boat, usually with ropes or straps.

The canvas versus plastic sheeting debate is sure to rage on in the boating community for years to come. What is vitally important, is that you have a quality cover that:

  • Must be the correct size and shape to give a snug fit.
  • Must be water resistant while offering ventilation and breathability.
  • Has to be in good condition with no rips, tears or holes.
  • Should be secured properly.

Custom Boat Covers

For many people, their boats are the most prized possession that they own. Spending time on the water is a real joy, and provides many warm memories. In fact, just looking at your boat can produce quite a buzz. This is where care and maintenance comes in. You want to keep your boat looking its best, something to be proud of. A good cover is vital. It offers protection from bad weather and harmful UV rays that can cause terrible damage. Clearly, you want the best protection you can get. A custom fit cover that has been tailor-made for your boat is as good as it gets.

The main advantage of custom covers is that they should fit perfectly. The whole point is to keep out dirt, water and even rodents, so you don’t want any gaps! Semi-custom covers usually offer a fairly close fit, but they tend to be either a little too large, or slightly too small. Being too small is obviously a problem, but being too big is not ideal either. What do you do with the excess? Usually you end up folding it over and tucking it in, which can be difficult and takes a lot of extra time. It also looks untidy, and can trap moisture which leads to the growth of mold and mildew.

The other advantage of buying tailor-made is that you have direct contact with the manufacturer, and can request an exact color or any other customization that would not otherwise be available.

The only disadvantage is the cost, which is a limiting factor for some people. Whatever you buy, this is a significant investment and you should make sure you get a decent warranty.

Unfortunately, deciding to buy a tailor-made cover is the easy part. Choosing between the different types of canvas and plastics is much harder.

Pontoon Boat Covers

It’s a familiar situation; you love your pontoon boat and want to keep it looking great, but the cleaning, repairs and maintenance are taking up far too much of your time and money. This is where a good cover can make a significant difference. Keeping out the water, dirt and harmful UV rays from the sun means you have to spend less time doing the chores, and can spend more time having fun.

All pontoon boats have one thing in common, and that is some sort of flotation device along the edges. These are usually round tubes or boxes, but they can be old barrels or pipes. They support the rest of the vessel in the water, which can be as simple as just a flat bottomed deck, or as complicated as a houseboat. This wide range of sizes and shapes can make it quite difficult to find a cover that fits well, something that is very important.

A snug fit is important because even the smallest gap could be enough to let water in, or even the occasional rodent. For this reason, getting a custom fit cover is highly recommended.

There are several different fabric options available. Plastic sheeting is very waterproof, but can cause the buildup of condensation. More breathable fabrics such as canvas solve the problem of condensation, but they are only water resistant. If you can afford the best, fabrics such as Sunbrella offer breathability, a high level of water resistance and good protection from the sun.

Sunbrella Boat Covers

Sunbrella boat covers are incredibly popular. This fabric is often described as “the best you can get”, but it’s also one of the most expensive available. Whether it’s worth the cost depends how much you love your boat. Let’s find out what you get for your money.

As the name suggests, Sunbrella offers excellent protection from the sun. In some tests, it has been shown to provide UV protection up to a staggering 98%. Not only that, but the colors simply refuse to fade. Years of research and development has resulted in a range of pigments that can be blended right into the fibers themselves. And there is a lot of choice available. You can pick from a full range of vibrant colors, or stick to the more traditional color schemes if you prefer.

Sunbrella covers are woven, usually from acrylic fibers. This makes them breathable and helps to prevent the buildup of heat and condensation which would otherwise have devastating effects. They also have a high level of water resistance. Although not completely waterproof, they do have a water repellent coating that helps to keep out the worst of the weather. This will need to be renewed every few years.

It is this combination of sun protection, water resistance and breathability that boat owners appreciate, and are prepared to pay for. The cost may be prohibitive for some people, but at least you get a much longer than the average warranty to protect your investment if you do decide that it is worthwhile.

One final tip: Having the best fabric in the world is no use at all if your cover does not fit properly. To make sure you see the benefits, it is best to have a custom fit cover tailor-made for your exact size and shape of a boat, taking into account any modifications or special customization requirements.

Westland Boat Covers

Boats are very classy especially in the water as I’m sure you agree. In as much as they are elegant and give you a cool ambiance when riding in them, they need to be cared for when not in use. The cost of repair is much greater and therefore proper care is essential.

Westland boat covers come in two specifications; the exact fit meant to fit your craft’s specific measurements just like the custom fit would. The exact fit gives a close-fitting shield to your boat, it’s economical as you will be using only what you need in terms of material and expenses. It also assures you of maximum protection to your vessel when it’s not in use. The other specification is the select fit. This kind of a fitting is not as great as the exact fit, it’s a semi-custom fit that requires some special support for maximum protection. Whichever one you choose makes sure that the fittings are up to your standards and meets your needs.

Fabric matters a lot. Some fabrics tend to shrink when exposed in harsh conditions while others tend to lose the desired shape. Westland craft covers commonly use vinyl, cloudburst and sharks skin fabrics. These are some of the very best quality materials used and they only vary in texture and cost. Depending on your budget and specifications you can choose the fabric that suits you most.

Who said that being practical means it has to be dull and boring? You can add color for that fashionable, elegant and sophisticated look. With a wide variety of colors available you can design it to match well with the vessel’s color such that they blend in well and a marvel to look at. You can be more creative as to mix up the eight great colors available and give it a unique touch of creativity. Go wild for a relaxed change and break the monotony of single colors.

All in all, if you are looking for quality workmanship, exclusive designs and perfect fit covers look no further than Westland. Here you’ll find some of the best because they know the real value of protecting your pride and joy. Regardless of your craft’s size, weather conditions or any specifications you may be having in mind, you should be able to find what you desire. If you own a trailer craft, they too can get reinforced materials that will provide ample protection to them too.

Get yourself some exclusive and stylish cases and enjoy the longevity for a long while before you have to go back to the shops again.

Recommended Boat Cover Features

The exact boat cover that you buy will depend on your particular situation and needs. These are some general recommendations of what to look out for.

1. A Perfect Fit

This is the most important factor. All covers need to fit well. You don’t want any gaps that might let in water, dirt, or even small animals. Excess fabric can be just as much of a problem as it can flap around in the wind and cause damage. For this reason, a custom fit boat cover is highly recommended, even if you have to have it tailor-made.

2. Waterproofing and Breathability

One of your boats biggest enemies is water, so you want to keep it as dry as possible. Some fabrics are completely waterproof, while others are only water resistant. Unfortunately, keeping water out is not the only thing you have to consider. Any water that is already in your boat needs to be allowed to evaporate, you don’t want to trap it there. This is the advantage of a breathable fabric that will let moisture through, but keep out the worst of the rain. At one extreme you have plastic sheeting which is completely waterproof but offers zero breathability. Canvas, on the other hand is very breathable, but not particularly waterproof. More expensive fabrics such as Sunbrella offer the best of both worlds, being both breathable and highly water resistant.

3. UV Resistance

Rays from the sun can cause colors to fade and materials to deteriorate. Some fabrics such as Sunbrella make a particularly good barrier.

4. Support

A frame or support poles can produce a tent like structure over your boat. The main advantage of this is to prevent puddles of water forming, the added weight of which can cause problems.

5. Reinforcements

When holes finally do appear they are almost always at the corners, or as small rips along the seams and edges. This can be prevented by using double layers of fabric in those areas.

6. Trailer Suitability

For this, you will need suitable straps to keep everything secure. Also, some materials simply aren’t strong enough, so check the label when you buy.

7. Mildew Resistant Coatings

Preventing the growth of mold and mildew will not only keep everything looking good, but also increase the lifespan.

8. A Good Warranty

These usually last between one and five years, and are a good way of knowing how much confidence a manufacturer has in its products.

Boat Cover Care and Maintenance

All owners take great pride in their boats. In order to keep them well protected a suitable cover is a vital investment, but it doesn’t end there. Even the cover needs care and maintenance in order to remain effective.

The most important thing to do is get into the habit of regularly searching for rips, tears and signs of decay. Even the most minor damage can quickly grow in your absence, resulting in an unpleasant surprise when you return.

If you find a problem, don’t ignore it! Replacing the cover will cost you much less than repairing a damaged boat.

It’s difficult to give specific care advice as there are many different fabrics used, and they may have been treated in a variety of different ways. The following are some generally accepted guidelines, but always read and follow any instruction leaflets that came with your particular product.

All boat covers should be cleaned regularly, but never machine washed and avoid the use of detergents. Instead, use plenty of water and a soft bristled brush. Then leave them to dry naturally in a well ventilated environment before folding away. Any trapped water could lead to the growth of mold or mildew, which could eventually spread to your boat.

If your cover has a waterproof coating, then this may need to be renewed every year or two. There are many waterproofing products on the market, but not all of them are suitable. Where possible, take advice from the manufacturer or dealer that supplied the item in the first place.

Knowing that you have taken all the necessary precautions helps to give you peace of mind. You no longer need to worry when leaving your boat unattended for extended periods of time.