Save your boat from the ravages of nature with a well-fitting boat cover. Phil Sampson picks out 6 of the best options on the market right now
Every marina has one – that sad and sorry looking, covered-in-algae-and-seagull-poo boat tied up forlornly at the end of the pontoon. It doesn’t necessarily mean the vessel is unloved, but it does show it is not being cared for properly.
In many instances, especially when it comes to smaller craft, a simple off-the-shelf boat cover would keep the harsh marine environment at bay and fix the problem for just a few pounds.
But a quick web search reveals there are a multitude of options and choices out there, which leads us to the question of what kind of cover is right for your boat?
6 of the best boat covers available right now
Ready made, model-specific boat cover
Available through Amazon, we’ve included this cover – which is specifically made for Jeanneau Merry Fisher models 605, 695, 795 and 895 – as an example of a ready-made boat cover; similar products for other marques are also available.
This particular one is made of heavyweight 240gsm (grammes per square metre) polyester which is tear- and water-resistant and UV-coated to help prevent cold cracking.
It’s supplied with a 6mm braided rope encased in the hem and a rope rachet for tightening the cover around the hull. Offered in grey or black, the price you pay depends upon the model type.
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Boatworld premium boat cover
Justifying its ‘premium’ tag, this cover is constructed from 7.5 ounce, 600 denier, PU-backed, solution-dyed polyester – which is claimed to be breathable, water-repellent, and mildew- and UV-resistant.
Inside, there’s a soft felt lining where the cover sits on the windscreen – a nice touch in our book – and two integral air vents sewn into the cover to allow air to circulate without, hopefully, letting any water in.
Designed for sportsboats of between 20-21ft in length and with a beam of up to 8.5ft, it is suitable for both inboard and outboard-powered boats.
One option worth considering here, as with any other cover of this type, is a telescopic cover support pole. These keep your cover standing taught and are great for preventing puddling.
Yeakoo trailerable boat cover
Marketed as an all-weather product, Yeakoo’s cover has been designed for speedboats, runabouts and fishing craft from 14-22 feet.
To cover that spread of sizes, three options are available; 14-16ft, 17-19ft and 20-22ft. This is a heavy duty cover designed to provide maximum protection by way of its 600 denier, anti-UV, anti-aging Oxford cloth.
A good fit on the trailer is assured by the included fully adjustable, quick-release, buckle and strap system. An elastic cord drawstring around the bottom hem keeps things tight and tidy and further aids protection, either while the boat is on its trailer or being stored outdoors.
17-19ft speedboat cover
Typical of myriad budget-priced offers available through eBay is this generic cover designed for 17-19ft speedboats. Despite its modest price tag, this cover certainly has its attractions, not least of which are a free storage bag and a three-year warranty.
It’s made from 210 denier Oxford fabric, which promises protection against rain and dust, and features an elastic hem with an integral cord and lock.
Four straps with quick release buckles are provided to wrap around the boat to help keep the cover in place once fitted. Available in royal blue only, this cover is definitely priced to go.
Offered by chandlery chain Force 4, this dinghy cover carries the company’s own branding – and as they are happy put their name to it, that should indicate it’s a decent quality product.
Available in four sizes – 230-260 cm, 260-290 cm, 290-320 cm and 320-360 cm – the range covers a large proportion of the dinghies on the market today.
The product’s 280gsm premium grade woven polyester fabric is breathable, waterproof and UV-resistant. It’s suitable for both round- and square-bowed inflatables and can also be used to cover an outboard if fitted.
Lastly, and importantly, this cover can be used while towing the dinghy at speeds of up to 60km/h (37mph).
Yoleaby universal kayak cover
The lowest priced item on our list is also the smallest; a universal kayak cover from Yoleaby, which can be found on Amazon.
Although it can hardly be considered expensive, it’s nonetheless made of a sun-reflecting, waterproof, dust-repelling 210 denier polyester material – and it has a pretty pattern too!
Inside, the cover has a waterproof, UV-resistant silver lining. There’s an elastic drawstring around the base which pulls tight and locks into place.
While this is a lightweight boat cover, it’s likely to be more than acceptable for many kayak owners, especially given its small size when folded down, making it convenient and portable.
How to choose the right boat cover
When choosing a cover, the key parameters to bear in mind are price, fabric and fit. In terms of cost, while there are a number of high-end offerings out there – such as the Merry Fisher cover we review below, the majority of products in this market sector are moderately priced, so much so that replacing them every few years is unlikely to break the bank.
Fabric is an important consideration, and here the choices range from heavy duty marine grade cloth through to vinyls of various types and grades. The key considerations are to opt for a fabric which is waterproof, UV-protected and durable.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But buyer beware; is a sub-£20 cover claiming to be the best thing since sliced bread really going to give the protection your pride and joy deserves?
Our third factor, fit, is crucial. A secure fit on the trailer is an obvious consideration, but even at home on the drive the British weather is more than capable of unleashing some pretty unpleasant winds – and should one of those tear it loose, your cover will relish its new lease of life as a kite as it merrily flaps off into the distance! Here’s our pick of the best boat covers to consider.
For awnings and biminis for sailboats, check out Yachting Monthly’s guide to keeping cool in the sun.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.