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Thread: "Best Practice" for boat covers

  1. #1

    Default "Best Practice" for boat covers

    Just got my first pontoon boat. It has a mooring cover. At our marina, I see most pontoons left w/o a cover unless the boat is not going to be used for some period of time. Is that OK? Does rain hurt a boat's upholstery? I suppose that theoretical "best practice" would be to remove/replace the mooring cover after each outing. In my case, I use the boat almost daily; so that would be a pain. I'm trying to figure our what "normal" good care would be. I do use 303 Protectant.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    313

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    If I used the boat almost daily, I wouldn't tarp it. Marine vinyl & carpeting is waterproof & nearly fadeproof. However, vinyl will degrade with exposure to the sun. It's a cost/benefit analysis you'll have to make: is it worth getting your furniture re-upholstered every ~7 years rather than every ~15?

    If it were me, I'd leave it uncovered for the summer & cover it up in the winter. (My boat's in a covered slip so I only put the tarps on when I take it out of the water for maintenance.)
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Live in the Raeford NC area.
    Posts
    71

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    My concern would be morning condensation and if not totally covered from elements....rain and sun.
    We don't live by a lake and our boat is parked out in the open all the time. The morning dew can get quite heavy and obviously when it rains everything gets wet. So we cover.
    Even when we do rent a lake house we take our mooring cover and put it on every night due to the morning dew. Plus, each day left out or used we rub the seats down with 303 preservative. It might be a little overkill but at what these things cost.....it is worth it.
    One point....we no longer use a trailering cover. It was the biggest waste of money we spent on the boat. When we travel to the lakes or home from.....it is uncovered.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    6,220

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    I think I only used the factory cover 2 or 3 times in 11 years. If the boat was under cover ( in the slip) or even when out in the elements for just few days, I just used a tarp and some bungees. Much faster and easier than the heavy factory cover. If left on the water overnight in the open, I just covered the helm with a small tarp to keep rain and dew from getting into the gauges, radio, Etc. Wiped the rest of the boat down in the morning. Seats and carpet were still like new..
    Rick

    St. Louis/Lake of the Ozarks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    654

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    Well we keep the Summit on a vertical lift these days and in winter, after hauling and servicing, I relaunch and store on the lift in the dock.
    So I do use a winter cover supported by a 1 1/2 " PVC pipe frame of my design. So far it works really well.

    In season I leave the boat open when we are at the lake because it is on the lift and not in the water. When leaving though I use the factory mooring cover.
    It is heavy and difficult to install but it keeps the birds and varmints off and out of the playpen area. It is vented and has grommets for support poles but I seldom use the poles.

    Since we don't trailer anymore and keep the boat where we boat, it seemed redundant to use a cover every night and have to install, remove etc. Seems to work for now.
    (Shameless plug goes here) ---> By the way, the StarBrite spray cleaner is great for cleaning the vinyl and seems to preserve the material through the winter.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    97

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocPit View Post
    Just got my first pontoon boat. It has a mooring cover. At our marina, I see most pontoons left w/o a cover unless the boat is not going to be used for some period of time. Is that OK? Does rain hurt a boat's upholstery? I suppose that theoretical "best practice" would be to remove/replace the mooring cover after each outing. In my case, I use the boat almost daily; so that would be a pain. I'm trying to figure our what "normal" good care would be. I do use 303 Protectant.
    If you use it daily and don’t have a security situation (need to keep prying eyes off the goods) then installing/removing the cover every day would be troublesome. I’d cover it in the off-season (winter) and if I were expecting harsh weather. Never cover when trailering unless you want to destroy your cover and your upholstery. Be aware that loose items WILL blow out of the boat if not secured or tied down. I haven’t bought life preservers for many years as I find them along the hiway. ;>)

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