boat covers buyer guide

Custom, Semi-Custom & Universal Boat Cover

Custom Boat Cover:
Custom boat covers are made for a specific boat model
  • Provides an exact fit for your specific make and model of boat
  • Excellent option for towing on a trailer
Semi-Custom Boat Cover:
Semi-custom boat covers fit a certain style of boat
  • Can fit multiple boats of the same hull style
  • Great option for trailering when properly secured
Universal Boat Cover:
Universal boat covers fit many boat styles in a given size range
  • Fits a variety of boats within a given size range
  • Great storage option, not recommended for trailering unless the fit is fairly tight

Measuring Your Boat for a Cover

How to measure a boat for a cover
  1. You will need to know the centerline length (from tip to tail) and beam width (side to side at the widest point) of your boat.
  2. Measure the entire distance in a straight line without measuring up or around obstacles or by following the curve of the boat. Don't rely on an owner's manual for accurate measurements.
  3. Factor in the dimensions of any additional features that will affect the cover such as a trolling motor, center console, jack plate or aftermarket pulpit, anchor davit, or swim step*.

*If you have a swim step, measure just for the length of the step. You will add this length to the centerline length or keep it as a separate measurement for covers that fit the swim step.

Video Guide: How to Measure Your Boat for a Cover

Fabric Cover Ratings

Fabric Comparison Chart
 Fabric Name
Water Repellency
Mildew Resistance
UV/Fade Resistance
Warranty (years)
Overall Rating
POLYESTER FABRICS SunDura 4 4 5 5 5 5 7 4.67
Sharkskin Supreme 4 5 4 4 4 5 7 4.33
Performance Poly-Guard 5 4 5 4 4 5 5 4.50
Poly-Flex 5 4 5 3 4 4 2 4.17
Mossy Oak® Camouflage 5 4 5 4 3 4 5 4.17
Sharkskin Plus (acrylic coated polyester) 3 4 4 4 3 4 5 3.67
Sharkskin 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3.00
COTTON FABRICS Double Duck (cotton/poly blend) 5 3 3 3 4 4 3 3.67
Boat Duck 5 3 3 3 4 3 1 3.50

Rating Scale: 5 = Premium | 4 = Very Good | 3 = Good | 2 = Fair | 1 = Poor

Best Cover Fabric by Climate
 Cold & DryIntense UVHot & DrySaltwaterHumid
Sharkskin Supreme
Sharkskin Plus  
Double Duck      
Boat Duck      

Boat Cover Support Systems

Keep your boat cover from sagging and collecting snow and water build up that can cause tearing, mold and mildew. Even fabrics recommended for humid environments will need extra ventilation.

Standard boat cover support pole Vented boat cover support pole Strap boat cover support system Hangtyte boat cover support system
Standard Support PoleVented Support PoleStrap Support SystemHangtyte Support System
Adjustable support pole grips the boat deck and cover via snaps or rubber caps Carver: 22"-70" Westland: 30"-57" Adjustable support pole inserted to vents in the cover Carver: 22"-70" Westland: 30"-57" Three-way strap supported by a single pole Support cover using the boat's tower with this clamshell, rope, and ratchet system
Ideal for wet weather Ideal for hot, humid weather Ideal for snowy weather Ideal for wet weather
Multiple support poles required for covers over 14' long Two systems needed for boats over 28' in length Multiple systems may be used for larger boats

Installing Boat Cover Tie Down Straps

How to install boat cover tie down straps
    1. Thread the buckle end of the strap through the loop on the cover from back to front.
    2. Pull buckle end out about a foot and tie with an overhand knot.
    3. Wrap the long end (without the buckle) down around the beam on the trailer from back to front.
    4. Continue to take the end up and thread it through the buckle from back to front.
    5. The strap is now fully adjustable by pulling on the loose end of the buckle to tighten.

How to Clean Your Boat Cover

For Mildew
  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 2 cups warm water Mix and apply to mildew spots, letting it sit for no more than 10 minutes. Scrub with a soft bristle brush and rinse well, allowing the fabric to dry completely.
For General Cleaning
  • ¼ cup Dawn dish soap
  • 1 gallon water Fully wet the fabric and then scrub it down with a soft brush or cloth. Give your boat cover a good rinse, and allow the fabric to fully dry. Get tough spots clean with Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner. Apply Fabric Guard to the clean, dry surface to protect your boat cover from the elements and extend its life.
  • Put in washer and dryer
  • Use powerful cleaners like bleach or detergent