Ask Andrew: Protecting your boat for the winter

Canvas Cover

Oct 22, 2020

As 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:

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

Neptunus 650F Review

Neptunus 650F 400

By Andy Adams

Over the years Canadian Yachting has had the pleasure of doing several boat review articles on new Neptunus models and we are familiar with the qualities that Neptunus is famous for. They have all been exceptional yachts, but this is the one I would most want to own myself. It’s a personal choice and a matter of taste as to whether you would prefer to have a sedan express model or a flybridge but in my opinion, the flybridge layout offers some wonderful attributes.

We met with Neptunus Managing Director Jan Willem De Jong this past fall to take the new Neptunus 650F out in Lake Ontario. 

Read More


The Other Virgin Islands

Sunset off St John

By Mark Stevens

I was first seduced by the United States Virgin Islands during a ferry ride from St. Thomas to Tortola to begin one of our earliest British Virgin Islands charters nearly twenty years ago.

A perfect sunset off St. John with St. Thomas views for backdrop.

Clearing Pillsbury Sound, surrounded by voluptuous emerald mountains as the ferry sliced through royal blue waters, I was struck by the unspoiled ambiance of St. John, the island gliding past our starboard beam and the irresistible charm of a village called Cruz Bay visible from our quarter stern.

Read More