Choosing The Right Boat Cover
Whatever type of boat you own, a boat cover is an important way of protecting your investment. Boat covers are typically not used while the boat is underway, whether racing, cruising or sport fishing, but they help to protect your boat while it is sitting at the dock or at a mooring. Boat covers are also important to use when towing a boat while traveling, or when putting a boat into winter storage. Even if you are going to shrink-wrap your boat for winter in a snowy climate, a cover provides an additional degree of protection and insulation.
Boat covers generally fall into one of three categories: custom, semi-custom and universal. A custom cover is made specifically for your particular vessel. If you have a custom-made boat, of course, this is the type of cover you will need. Custom covers are also made for specific makes and models of boats.
Semi-custom covers are made for a class or style of boat. They may not always be as snug a fit as a custom cover, but should give adequate protection. The main reason you want to use a cover is to protect your boat from weather, be it snow, rain or hail; to protect it from debris that might be windborne or thrown up by traffic; and a cover can also help to protect your boat from sun damage, which can cause cracking and fading of surfaces.
Universal covers are covers that come in various sizes and may be slightly adjustable for a snugger fit. Like other categories of covers, these come in a variety of durable marine fabrics. Less expensive versions may be made of plastic and may resemble tarps. Some covers have plastic windows; while you shouldn't use your cover while you are under way, a cover with windows lets you keep dry at mooring during a storm, or keep a bit warmer when docked on a chilly day.