What is the best WATERPROOF boat cover for outside winter storage?
Russell Boidleau asked:
What Waterproof winter storage cover do you recommend for keeping a boat outside in New England?
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You have several options, depending on the size and shape of your boat, your budget, concerns about the environment and convenience:
You can have your local canvas shop make you a custom cover out of acrylic or polyester. This will be the most expensive in the beginning but over the life of the cover, probably the cheapest. Because you will be reusing it year after year, it will be the most environment friendly.
You can have it shrink wrapped. This will be the most convenient, but the most expensive as it needs to be renewed each fall with new material. If the plastic is not recycled in the spring, it will be the most harmful to the environment.
You can use a reinforced plastic, probably polypropylene, tarp and cover the boat yourself. These can usually be reused for 3 or 4 years before they tear and shred from the winter winds and weather and need to be replaced. They are flat, not form fitting so you need to be creative when covering your boat. Be sure that they are secure at the bottom, either with bungie cords and rope or some people use weights (empty pop bottles, half filled with water and secured with ropes around the grommets at the bottom of the tarp.
Although not many boat owners bother, it’s really a good idea to protect the hull and deck with a coat of polish such as Premium Boat Shine or Sure Step on non-skid deck surfaces and Vinyl Guard on the vinyl seats and bolsters, before putting your boat away. This will seal the pores to prevent dirt from getting ingrained in the gelcoat and more importantly, prevent UV damage and chalking of the gelcoat and vinyl. Not many of the available covers are light proof and will allow UV rays to penetrate and attack these surfaces on your boat.
It’s not a good idea to seal the cover too tightly and allow for air circulation, otherwise you will get mold growing in and on your boat. Use closed cell foam blocks or noodles around the edge of your cover to allow air to blow through. The synthetic polishes and Vinyl Guard also help protect mold from penetrating into the surface, preventing permanent damage and making clean up in the spring a lot easier, if you do happen to get some mold.
Thanks for your question,
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