Winter Tarp Tactics

Use these techniques to make sure your tarp stays in place during winter storage and protects Mom's Mink until the dogwoods bloom.

1) Sharp Thinking
Sharp edges, corners and protrusions wear holes through tarps in no time flat. Prevent this problem by covering those sharp edges with strips of old carpet remnants or rags, and use duct tape to secure them in place. Common problem areas include windshield frame corners, burgee poles, rocket launchers and antenna mounts.

Winter Tarp Tactics

2) Security Measures
Crossing lines under the boat or lashing to a trailer works, but getting into the boat for winter projects will be troublesome. An alternative method that maintains easy access is to fill one-gallon jugs with sand and hang them from the tarp's grommets. When you need to get inside the boat, just lift a jug or two to remove the tension and duck under the cover.

3) Proper Propping
A tarp needs propping up in low spots, or it'll hold water, sag and rip. You could build a frame, but that's overkill for many boats. Telescopic poles work well to prop up small areas, though you may need to reinforce the tarp to prevent ripping. Another solution is to use a stepladder, placing it on the deck to support the low spot.

Bonus Tarp Tips
-Stretch an XL cotton T-shirt over outboard cowls to protect their glossy finishes against abrasion from fluttering tarps.

-A battery-powered AM radio left playing and tuned to an all-talk station will deter critters from moving in for the winter.

-Make sure the tarp has good ventilation, or mildew can become a problem.