Common Mistakes With Boat Covers

Don't cover your boat too tight for the winter or you'll live to regret it.

Covered PontoonDan Armitage

When it comes to putting the boat to bed for the season, there is such a thing as wrapping the rig up a bit TOO tight. When I was an outdoors columnist in the Florida Keys I did a story on a well-intentioned Snowbird who, to protect it from the wet summer season as it sat idle while he cooled his heels back home up north, had wrapped his recently purchased trailered boat so tightly in plastic tarps and duct tape that no air could circulate within. Six months later, when the gentleman arrived back in the Keys in the fall and unwrapped his prize possession, he found a garden of mold had formed and flourished in the greenhouse he had built. Every vinyl surface was flush with green fur, the carpeting was black with mold, there were mushrooms sprouting from the rotting wood trim and the cuddy cabin smelled like a swamp at low tide. The boat was a complete loss, and all he was able to salvage was the outboard motor and the trailer.

No matter what the season or latitude, when covering your pontoon boat between uses it is important to allow air to circulate to eliminate moisture buildup. Some boaters go overboard trying to secure their craft too snugly against the threat of rain or snow or critters that they overlook the threat of dampness to their rig, and regret the results they find upon unwrapping.

Use boat covers with air vents or leave space between the cover and the fastening surface to allow air access where it can circulate. The same goes for under-seat compartments and lockers underneath the boat cover, the tops, lid and hatches for which should be left ajar to allow some air to flow to minimize moisture build-up and curb the growth of mold and mildew.

Boat covers equipped with vents allow air to circulate and eliminate moisture buildup under the restrictive wraps.Dan Armitage