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Selecting The Right Boat Cover
Seating & Covers
What type of cover do you want?
Storage vs. trailering:
Storage covers are made to
fit loosely and are best used for protecting boats at
anchor, at the dock or when stored on the trailer. They
range from a simple blue tarp to a framed canopy
(essentially a portable garage made from metal tub-
ing and fabric) or a mast-up mooring cover for a sail-
boat. Trailer covers, on the other hand, must have
a snug fit and reinforcement in high-wear areas to
withstand the rigors of traveling at highway speeds.
Basic universal fit
These generic covers are convenient and inexpen-
sive. They're trailerable, but are made more for a
quick trip to the lake than a cross-country journey at
70mph. Models are available in one color only, with a
broad fit range of two or three feet of boat length. The
selection, beginning with the most affordable styles:
Gray 6.25oz. Hot Shot
grade pigment-coated polyester fabric, with no pocket
for the windshield, and no reinforcing patches at the
corners. The hem cinches tight using the stretchiness
of a sewn-in shock cord.
Upgrade to a cover with the
same great 6.25oz Hot Shot
ter fabric but with more features. Eclipse covers are
designed with a unique tie-down system that spreads
tension evenly over the cover surface, have sewn-in
vents and are shipped complete with a storage bag
and support pole.
Semi-custom covers for a better fit
Semi-custom covers are designed to fit several makes
and models of boats with the same hull style. If you
own a bass boat, the same model fits a Crestliner,
Lund, Alumacraft or Starcraft. One size fits your Mas-
tercraft or Correctcraft competition ski boat. A more
forgiving liberal fit accommodates size variations.
Custom covers for the best fit
A custom cover made just for the year, make and
model of your boat, and designed to cover its in-
dividual accessories, will fit like a custom-tailored
suit. It costs the most, but is the easiest to put on
and remove, is the best for trailering and will last
the longest. There are thousands of patterns avail-
able: for example, a cover is available for a 1996
Bayliner 1850 Capri SS with a transom-mounted
swim platform and 6" to 18" bow rails. If you own a
one-of-a-kind boat or your boat has a lot of unusual
options, you may need to have direct measurements
taken by a custom canvas shop. They can build to
your specifics, but this kind of cover will be the most
costly, and may take substantially longer to receive.
Which fabric to choose?
Boat cover fabrics need to be
the right combination of breathability and water re-
pellency-to keep rain water out, yet allow trapped
water vapor to escape. They also need to be UV- and
mildew-resistant. Tensile strength and abrasion re-
sistance is especially important in trailer covers as
they withstand the rigors of the road. Few materials
perfectly meet all the requirements, but coated syn-
thetic fabrics come pretty close to the ideal compro-
mise. Cotton and polyester blends won't last as long
as synthetic fabrics, as natural yarns simply don't
have high resistance against mildew and UV light.
Pigment dyed polyester fabrics have a good strength
to weight ratio and are an excellent choice because
it is strong and breathable, yet it repels water and
stands up to UV radiation. A good yet economical
choice when choosing a synthetic fabric is Hot Shot
an acrylic-coated polyester. Two other popular, du-
rable and practical choices are urethane-coated,
solution-dyed polyester fabrics such as Ultima
solution-dyed acrylics like Sunbrella
, both of which
are breathable, stain-, UV- and mildew-resistant and
shed water well.
ric is the chosen fabric. It represents the best com-
bination of features, performance and price. This
rugged acrylic-coated polyester is available in six
colors. If you own a traditionally built wood boat, this
fabric is a good choice, but to help control wood's
expansion and contraction, these owners may want
to also install extra vents in their covers, such as the
Taylor Boat Vent II (Model 5378575).
are available in Hot Shot
and 7oz. Ultima
urethane-coated polyester. The most
durable and UV-resistant material, Ultima
is the best
choice for hot and humid climates, and is available in
six colors. Custom covers, regardless of fabric, include
sewn-in reinforcements at all wear points and use 1/4"
nylon rope in their hems, with adjustable Rope Lock
tensioners. All the covers, both semi-custom and
custom, ship within five working days, so there is no
extra wait for the best quality cover.
What color do you want?
Colors and dye:
We recommend dark colors,
which at first may sound surprising. But the higher
amount of dye in dark materials increases a fabric's
UV resistance and contributes to its longevity. Blue,
black and green last longer than white, tan or red.
Of course, darker colors also absorb more heat, and
transmit it to whatever is under them.
What measurements do you need?
To buy the right cover from West Marine, match up
your boat as closely as possible to the hull style pic-
tures in our catalog or on our website. Next, take
a tape measure to determine the beam width, the
widest distance across the boat in a flat line. Re-
peat the same process to determine the centerline
length, the overall length of the boat measured in a
flat line between the farthest points forward and aft
you want to have covered. Allow for options like bow
pulpits, swim platforms, etc., but don't measure over
them-keep a flat, straight line. Covers are offered in
one-foot length increments.
What's the easiest way to order?
If you own a production boat, check the
on our website. With it, you can find
custom and semi-custom covers. Note the Taylor
part number and match it to the Model number, or
call 1-800-BOATING to order.
Avoiding common mistakes
Make sure you include all the equipment you want to
cover in your measurements. If the cover is too big,
it will sag under the weight of rainwater, which col-
lects in the low spots. Oversized covers also billow
in windy conditions, increasing the risk of snagging
and tearing on sharp objects. If the fit is too tight,
seams and fabric are subject to disproportionate
stretching, which also leads to damage.
Boat cover care
The snugness of the cover is the single most im-
portant factor for ensuring a trouble-free boat cover
life. Each and every tiedown loop must be securely
tied to the boat or trailer using rope, shock cord or
straps. Note: If tying off to your trailer, the boat must
also be rigidly fastened to the trailer. Before tight-
ening, the cover must be properly supported and
padded. Protect the sides of your boat from hooks
or buckles that may scratch the finish.
If using shock cord, be sure it is heavy enough so
the cover does not billow when trailering. Fabric
straps must be resistant to sunlight and exposure.
Be careful using ratchet-type tighteners. They can
place undue stress on the cover and shorten its
useful life. Wash your cover with mild soap or deter-
gent. Shake out dust, use a garden hose to rinse off
dirt, or use compressed air for stubborn dirt. Do not
use a scrub brush, put into the washer or dryer, use
bleach or harsh astringents. Line dry.
Selecting The Right Boat Cover
Easiest way to order?
Which fabric to choose?
Every day, most boats endure a cycle of tempera-
ture and humidity changes, from cool and damp
nights to hot, dry bright sun. This expansion and
contraction, wet-dry daily cycling, occurring even
on days with the best boating weather, takes a toll
on gelcoat and wood brightwork. Add salt air, pol-
lution, dirt, rodents, bird droppings, the occasional
hailstorm and who knows what else, and your ex-
pensive, prized possession is under siege. That's
why a good boat cover is so important. A modest
investment in a cover prevents faded and oxidized
gelcoat, bleached and cracked wood, mildew
and mold. It hides valuable equipment from theft,
because what's out of sight is out of mind.
What type of cover?
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