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Boat Cover Selection Guide

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Common Questions about Boat Covers

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 environment, storage situation and travel conditions – then the boat cover fabric itself. Here are some common questions about purchasing boat covers.

Why Buy a Boat Cover?
A boat cover will protect the topsides and interior of your boat from weather as well as reduce moisture or sun damage coming in from the environment. The number one enemy of the interior of boats in the off season is moisture, second only to damage that sun can do. In addition, boat covers, covered with Ultra Violet coating, can prevent the harsh rays of the sun from causing damage to your boat.

Which Boat Cover is best for my climate?
If your boat is stored in a moist environment you will want to choose a fabric that is breathable like an polyester or acrylic that has not been coated, but rather, had treatments applied to the thread itself, sometimes referred to as solution dyed. A cotton fabric is the most breathable, yet the least durable fabric and not water resistant. If your boat will be subject to lots of rain, look for a polyester or acrylic fabric that has been coated with a moisture resistant compound. For boats that are subject to lots of sunlight, look for a boat cover fabric that has been treated with UV coating.

What if I can't find the cover that describes my boat?
If you don't see a cover description that matches your boat, you may have to choose a semi-custom boat cover. You will need to know the general shape of the boat (e.g. bay fisherman or a v-hull shaped boat), plus the dimensions of the beam and length of the boat. To do this:

  1. Measure your boat's centerline length (straight measurement from bow to stern) NOTE: Do not measure up and over the windshield, this is a straight line measurement.
  2. Measure your boat's beam (at its widest point, usually near mid-ship).

Do not select a boat cover unless the description exactly matches the year, make, model and any additional significant description of your boat. Unless otherwise stated, boat covers will not fit modified boats with aftermarket accessories or boats with t-tops, ski/wakeboard towers or radar arches. If you have some doubt here, please contact us. The cover may be available, but not posted on our web site.

Are all boat covers able to be trailered?
Not all covers are trailerable. To travel down the highway with a boat cover on your boat, the boat cover needs to be snug enough so that the cover does not flap, with the straps secure, to prevent flapping, The boat cover itself should be built from a material that is durable enough to take the extra stress of travel.

What about a cover for my motor?
If purchasing a Boat Cover, unless otherwise stated, the motor hood cover needs to be purchased separately. Westland offers universal motor hood cover and center console covers and motor hood covers by specific engine model. If purchasing a Taylor Made boat cover, unless stated in the description of the boat cover, the motor hood will have to be ordered separately as well. Shoremaster offers motor hoods, including hoods for mounted trolling motors, to be sewn-on at the time of order. Make sure that you order the hood from the same boat cover manufacturer at the time of ordering to match your boat cover's fabric.

What about a cover when I am mooring?
It is recommened that you don't cover the swim step of your boat when mooring. For Shoremaster Boat Covers, you can specify in the reference box at checkout if you want the swim step covered and if you want the rope to come together in the stern, port, or starboard sides.

Can my boat cover be used for mooring?
Nearly any cover can be used for mooring. Some manufacturers, like Shoremaster, offer the option of replacing a draw cord with shock cord. There will be tie down loops, but you don’t use those in mooring. A vent pole is a good idea to keep the cover up to encourage light rain to drain.

Do I need to purchase straps for my cover?

  • Taylor Made offers 8 straps with each custom cover. If you have a larger boat, you may want to order more straps.
  • Westland provides 12 straps with each custom order.
  • ShoreMaster straps are sold separately and are not included with the cover.

Does the boat cover have snaps like the one I have?
None of the boat covers that are built ‘aftermarket’ have snaps. The original snap cover that many bow riders have or the cockpit covers that snap to the boat are only available from the manufacturer – and generally are not available after the boat design is out of production.

Do I need anything else for my boat cover?
We highly recommend that you purchase a support pole and vent in order to help prevent water from pooling and to allow moisture to escape from your boat.

If my boat cover doesn't fit, can I return it?
Boat Cover return policies vary between boat cover manufacturers. All covers are made at the time of order and are therefore considered custom orders. Westland Custom Boat Covers, (Exact Fit) are non-returnable unless there is a manufacturing defect. Shoremaster charges a 20% restock fee on any returned boat cover; however, they can often work with you to modify the cover so that it will fit to your boat properly. Taylor Made Exact Fit Boat/Custom Boat Covers also carry a 20% restock fee. You can find the full return policy for all boat covers here.

 

Learn About The Different Boat Cover Fabrics

 

Boat Cover Quick Installation Instructions

Different Cover Fits & Detailed Installation Instructions

Need more information on comparing covers between different manufacturers? Read this boat cover article.

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