You have the perfect boat, and now it’s time to protect your investment. You want your boat to last years to come and you know a boat cover is critical for making that happen, but with so many options to choose from, how do you know what type of boat cover is right for your boat?
This guide will walk you through the different types of boat covers that are available, the materials they are made from, the importance of quality, and things to consider when deciding what boat cover you need.
The Importance of Fit
Before we discuss the types of boat covers you can choose from, it’s important to understand the importance of fit. Boat covers all fit differently, but the best boat cover will fit your boat in a way that maximizes its protection. Here’s how.
A good fit for a boat cover is precise and secure. It covers your boat in all critical and vulnerable areas, such as the helm, and has a tight, snug fit all the way around it. Look for reinforcement around the boat’s contours and double stitching around seams and fasteners for signs of a quality boat cover as these are necessary for a proper fit.
Types of Boat Covers
There are four main categories of boat covers. Each type of boat cover has its pros and cons, and some are better suited for some situations or specific purposes than others. Let’s start with a quick overview of each type.
Universal Fit Boat Covers
Universal fit boat covers are as they sound, covers that are made to fit a wide variety of boats based on their length and width. They are secured to the boat using adjustable straps or drawstrings. Because it’s a more generic boat cover, it can be a great go-to cover that’s readily available and helps keep your costs down. However, because they aren’t designed to fit a specific type of boat, they typically don’t fit as well as other options and may not offer as much protection.
Semi-custom Boat Covers
Semi-custom boat covers fall somewhere between universal and custom boat covers. They are made to fit a specific type of boat so they offer a better, tighter overall fit than a universal cover, but they do not account for the specifics of your boat and will not be tailored to how your boat may be outfitted.
Custom Boat Covers
Custom boat covers are sometimes called custom-fit covers because they are made to fit the exact measurements of your boat for a tighter fit. This offers the best possible protection from the elements, debris, and animals, but at a higher cost. These may also take longer to get since they may not be readily available or “in stock,” but made-to-order.
Specialty Boat Covers
The most popular specialty boat covers are mooring covers and travel covers.
Mooring covers are a type of storage cover designed to protect your boat while it is being stored, typically off-season and outside in the water. They keep a little space between the cover and your boat to help control moisture but fit close enough to protect it from the sun, rain, dirt, and other debris.
Travel covers are trailerable boat covers that have a snug fit to keep the boat safe while it is being towed. Keeping your boat covered during travel protects it from the elements as well as things like gravel and debris that may hit it while on the road.
Materials and Boat Cover Quality
High quality materials are crucial for a reliable, durable boat cover that will keep your boat protected. The most popular material for boat covers and accessories like bimini tops and t-tops is acrylic for its breathability, UV and water resistance, and quality. Acrylic is especially suited to the harsh marine environment and in hot or humid climates because it naturally ventilates.
If you’re located in an area with a colder climate or frequent snow or rain, however, then you may want to consider a waterproof storage cover. This will need to be manually ventilated to mitigate mold and mildew formation while it is stored because waterproof materials are not breathable like acrylic.
How to Choose a Boat Cover
So, how do you choose the boat cover that’s best for your boat? First, think about what’s most important to you. If cost is a factor, then look for a high-quality universal cover. If you want the best possible fit and the highest quality boat cover, then you want to invest in a custom boat cover. From there, you need to think about what you need the cover for (e.g., storing or traveling), and your area’s climate. This will help you decide what materials you need to look for.
Remember, the important thing is to get a cover that fits your boat! If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a brand representative to ask questions.