There are those who sail all year round, beyond any change of season, constantly chasing temperate climates. And there are those, on the other hand, who really can't help but send their boat into hibernation with the arrival of autumn and the colder temperatures. However, the garaging operation should not be taken lightly: this is, in fact, the moment when you have to take better care of your boat, so that you can count on an efficient vehicle ready to be used for the coming year. Even before covering the boat with the most appropriate boat cover, therefore, you have to get to work, cleaning the hull with the high pressure washer, sanding the keel and protecting it with the appropriate antifouling paint. Then there is the meticulous cleaning of the deck, checking and inspecting the anchor, chain and windlass, not to mention monitoring the belts, bands and hoses in the case of motor boats. Finally, after all this meticulous work, the time comes for the cover, with the nautical tarpaulin that will keep it safe throughout the winter. But what are the best boat covers? What are the types to choose from? In this short guide we will see together which is the most suitable nautical tarpaulin according to your concrete needs. Why use a boat cover? Our e-commerce of nautical accessories couldn't certainly do without dedicating an entire category to boat covers: there are really too many pitfalls that threaten our pleasure craft to leave them without any suitable nautical cover. But what are, concretely, the threats that we are going to fight effectively with boat covers? The list is not short: it starts from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which in the long run lead to the appearance of unsightly discoloration spots, and it goes on to the salt that corrodes the materials, to the sand that is deposited everywhere, to the rain that brings rust, to the molds, and finally to the many and too many little presents that the birds that fly over the ports leave on our beloved boats. And do we really want to consider the power that a simple boat cover can have in diverting the attention and the gaze of those who, wandering around the docks, are looking for something to steal or simply to ruin? The boat cover, in short, is not a habit, but a real necessity, against the atmospheric agents and not only. And this is valid both for the boat simply moored and for the boat pulled ashore, as well as for the boat which is loaded on a trolley to be taken home. All boats, it is well known, are bound to age, and all of them have a periodic need for maintenance. This is not, however, a good excuse to accelerate this inexorable process, leaving the boat completely unprotected: for this reason, buying quality boat covers suitable for your pleasure craft is a must. We are talking about a minimal expense, if compared to the benefit that these objects ensure. But how to choose the best product?
How to choose boat covers? Let's start with the right measures
As we will see below, there are boat covers of any size, as well as covers for inflatable boat and so on. Before buying one, in any case, it is necessary to take the exact measures of your boat. It is true that the famous universal boat covers are very adaptable, and it is true that everyone has well in mind what are the measures of his boat. But it is also true that an extra 10 centimetres can make a boat cover unserviceable, and that for the storage cover it is necessary to calculate any protruding elements that are not usually taken into account in the overall dimensions, i.e. any console or windscreen. Generally speaking, however, there are three measurements to bear in mind when purchasing a boat cover, i.e. the overall length and width of the hull, as well as the maximum height of the cover (taking into account rollbars, etc.). Once the measurements have been taken, when in doubt about which boat cover to choose, it will always be the case to opt for the biggest model, being very careful to respect not only the dimensions, but also the shapes of the boat. A cabin boat, for example, will not be able to wear the same tarpaulin as a dinghy or an open model.
Tarpaulins for transport boats
Generally speaking, transport tarpaulins, which are usually more robust and thicker, constitute a separate universe. Their task, in fact, is not only to protect the boat from atmospheric agents and ultraviolet rays, but also to resist the air currents generated by road transport and, above all, to the stresses of the undercarriage. These are, therefore, more wraparound covers with greater reinforcements and a more marked presence of straps so as not to play tricks during movement. Unlike transport covers, the simpler boat covers designed for storage are less wraparound and softer. Universal, standard and handmade boat covers In many cases, when you buy a boat, you are already supplied with a standard cover, which is usually made of polyester. The possibilities of customization are reduced to zero, but it should be emphasized that usually these boat covers have good performance, both in terms of protection of the vehicle and in terms of resistance over time. Then there are the universal boat covers, produced in various sizes and in various models, which can therefore be used for any type of unit: from the cabin boat to the tender, passing through the motorboat, there is no limit to fantasy. There are extremely simple models, designed exclusively for indoor mooring, but there are also other models that have nothing to envy to the standard models, which are therefore perfectly suited to protect boats moored outside during the winter season. There are also universal boat covers that can be used to safely wrap boats during road transport. Custom boat covers are another matter entirely, and they can be divided into two categories: there are industrial custom boat covers and artisan custom boat covers. Needless to say that, in the latter case, the boat covers can get to have the quality and precision of a tailor-made suit, with a whole series of options otherwise unthinkable. In fact, we are talking about the most different colours, transparent doors and windows, as well as peculiar shapes for the protection of on-board devices which, with any other protective cover, would absolutely have to be removed. It also goes without saying that the prices for this solution are extremely high. More accessible, but in any case much higher than those of the already mentioned universal boat covers, are the prices of industrial customized covers. In this case, in reality, it is not a question of real customization, since the tarpaulins are manufactured to cover a specific boat model (therefore, there is no possibility of requesting special inserts or additional shaping). It should be noted that, given the generally high price and low demand, industrial custom tarpaulins are available for a limited number of boats, typically the best-selling ones. Boat storage tarpaulin: which material to choose? On the market it is possible to find boat covers made with the most different materials: the choice must obviously be made on the basis of the concrete use you want to make of the cover, which must have different characteristics if it is thought for the outside or for the inside. Generally speaking, for a boat that will spend the cold season outside, it is necessary to look for a perfectly waterproof and breathable material, able to resist to the tears caused by the wind and able not to let filter the harmful ultraviolet rays. In addition to all these characteristics, you need a material that is not too heavy, so that storage operations are not too heavy and uncomfortable. As most people know, the tarpaulins that sufficiently meet all these requirements are made of synthetic fibres: the material that is most popular is in fact polyester - which, not by chance, is used by the nautical world for a wide range of products, from technical ropes onwards. Polyester, however, is not exactly cheap. If you want to spend slightly less, you will have to buy a boat cover made of polyvinyl chloride, i.e. PVC. In this case, however, you won't be able to enjoy the same performances guaranteed by polyester. Above all, breathability will be lacking: it follows therefore that, with PVC boat covers, there is a real possibility to find oneself with a boat covered and 'attacked' by condensation. Another disadvantage of this cheaper material is its weight, which makes covering operations slower and more tiring. It is practically unthinkable, in this case, to cover in an easy way a boat of important dimensions if you do not have any help.
Not only the cover: straps and supports
The different sheets are fixed in different ways. In some cases, you simply rely on elastic cords which, running along the edges of the boat cover, make the fabric adhere to the upper part of the keel. This, obviously, is only the first and basic fastening system. In many cases in fact there are also some more or less long belts sewn directly to the limits of the cloth (in the case of the nautical cloths for the transport there are generally some very long belts, thought for being stretched along all the hull and to assure so in highly stable way the cover during the moves). Other elements such as webbing, zips and Velcro fasteners also help to tension the cover. But that's not all: if you park your boat outdoors, you also have to think about rainfall, which can put a strain on even the best boat cover. It is therefore necessary to prepare special telescopic supports - or parallel handicraft systems - to keep the cover tight and to create the necessary continuous slope towards the outside, so that, after rainfalls, water pockets do not form, which in the long run can deform and even damage the boat covers.
Not only boat covers: engine covers, mainsail covers and other accessories
The nautical covers are conceived to cover the boat, or better, the hull. Whoever decides to keep the outboard motor attached even during storage must therefore equip themselves with an appropriate motor cover: it would be absurd to cover the hull and leave such a delicate and fragile element uncovered. By doing so, among other things, it will be possible to protect the outboard also in those moments when the normal boat cover is not expressly used. In the same way, special mainsail covers are also available on the market, designed to cover and protect the sails at any time. Their application, as sailors well know, is very simple: you just have to unroll the fabric along the boom and fix it with the special straps. In our e-commerce, we offer other nautical protective covers for the most varied needs. In the case of small armchairs, for example, it is advisable to always have a special waterproof cover ready, so as to be sure of always having a dry seat when in use and to protect its fabric. In this page you can also find all the necessary tools for a quick, easy and satisfactory laying of the boat cover: here you can buy the telescopic pole to stretch the cover to perfection, the practical two-blade knife, the indispensable straps, the strapping pliers, the brass and nylon supports, the self-adhesive plastic air intakes, the PVC studs and many other accessories to perfect your work. Our goal is to make your garaging operation not only fast and pleasant, but also safe: the better your boat will be covered, the greater your satisfaction will be in spring, when you can finally undress your boat and go back to sailing!