What to Look For: Boat Covers

Cover up to keep your boat looking new.

Whether custom-made or off the shelf, boat covers are a better-looking, better-fitting option than tarps for protecting your investment, whether storing the boat for the winter or keeping leaves and clutter off the deck between outings. Unlike shrink-wrap, they’re also reusable time and again. But all boat covers are not created equal.


Double-stitched seams rate most durable. Flat-felled seams eliminate raw edges, reducing wear. Demand weather-resistant threads like UVR-treated Dacron, or Tenara, from the makers of Gore-Tex.


No more bungee-cording a blue tarp to your boat. Materials like 300-denier nylon better resist the elements. Also try polyester duck for durability or acrylic fiber silicone for water resistance.



An elastic draw cord sewn in around the hemline provides a snug fit. Combined with tie-downs that fit over the cover, these prevent the cover from blowing off when trailering or in high winds during storage.

Related: Three Things to Know Before Buying A Boat Cover


It could be as simple as a console cover, a cockpit cover attached to the gunwales and windscreen, or a full cover that helps protect not just the interior cockpit but also the topsides from exposure to the sun and other elements.



Look for metal or Delrin grommets and rings, which will see few ill effects from the constant beating inflicted by sunlight. Loops formed by heavy-duty nylon webbing stitched to the cover are also a good choice.