Oct 22, 2020

Canvas CoverAs the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at marinas and yacht clubs about the merits and disadvantages of winter covers, tarps and wraps.

First, why cover your boat at all?

Three main reasons:

1) To prevent snow, rain, water and moisture from penetrating the corners, crevices, edges and cracks and freezing and expanding – causing more problems and compounding damage.
2) To keep the boat secure – prevents unwanted intrusion of humans and animals
3) To keep the boat clean and moisture free – inside and out

Essentially, covering a boat in the off-season is a protection of your investment.
What are the options for covers? There are a few – lets talk about the pros and cons of each:

                              Pro                                                                                Con
A Tarp:                  Inexpensive                                                                   Tend to fray and leak
                             Easy to find                                                                    Not reliable
                             Easy DIY                                                                        Tough to secure
                                                                                                                    Not fitted to the boat
                                                                                                                    Not long-lasting

A Custom Cover  Very secure                                                                     Expensive
                            Fitted to the boat                                                             Custom
                            Very durable
                            Good for many seasons

Shrink-wrap        Secure                                                                             Can be costly
                           Fitted to the boat                                                              Only 1 season use
                           Durable                                                                            DIY with equipment
                           Can be DIY

Cover FrameThere are options for every budget – but consideration should be given about the best way to protect your boat based on budget and ease of use.

Shrink-wrap is extremely popular – it’s cost-effective, durable and serves to protect the boat well. There is no shortage of contractors who can perform the work. Alternately, shrink-wrapping can be a DIY project – but requires a bit of prep and investment in both materials and tools/equipment.

Tarped BoatsA custom cover can’t be beat in terms of durability and longevity. The only drawbacks are availability and cost – proper lead time is needed to arrange the creation and fitting of the cover, and return on investment may not be seen for a few years.

Tarps serve their purpose on a budget – but should be carefully fitted, tied and secured.

Happy prepping for the off-season!








Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Look for Andrew’s Winterizing tips on page 50 of October Canadian Yachting!