Cover Me Gently
By: Mark Romanack
The author prefers covers that snap to the gunwale of the boat. Covers that come down over the side tend to collect dirt and grime that can damage the boat finish in short order.
Every fishing boat deserves to be fitted with a travel and or mooring cover. Without a cover it takes next to no time for a boat to start showing signs of aging. The weather can and does destroy a boat’s finish, the carpet and/or other floor covering, seating, electrical connections and a host of other issues. In short, Mother Nature is one bad Mama and no boat should be exposed to that kind of abuse.
A boat that is treated to a quality cover is going to look great and function as designed for many years. Should selling the boat become necessary down the road, a covered boat is going to fetch far more return on that investment than a boat that was allowed to go uncovered.
OVER THE COUNTER COVERS
A host of manufacturers produce covers that are designed to fit a multitude of boats. Buying one of these covers is like ordering shoes without ever trying them on. The end result might work out, but chances are this one size fits all philosophy is going to lead to disappointment. Because over the counter boat covers are unlikely to fit over accessories such as electric motors, kicker motors, sonar, etc., investing in one makes little sense.
MANUFACTURE OEM COVERS
Many boat manufacturers offer semi-custom covers designed to fit specific models. Normally the travel cover is sold as part of a complete “canvas” package that will likely include an enclosure, drop curtains and aluminum frame work.
While a factory supplied cover is way better than an over the counter cover, chances are the materials used are going to be “middle of the road” quality to keep the sticker shock down.
Some boat manufacturers produce highly credible travel covers and others produce what can only be described as shoddy canvas work. Before agreeing to the cover a boat manufacturer is pushing, make sure to check one out to confirm the quality before laying down the hard earned cash.
Not long ago I ordered a factory cover for a new boat. When the boat was delivered, it already had scratch marks from the canvas wearing on the sides of the boat. In part this was due to a poor fit, but the material used was also abrasive enough to create issues.
A fishing boat is an investment that deserves the protection of a quality travel cover.
CUSTOM BOAT COVERS
Custom boat covers are built to fit like a glove. Typically these covers are not only made from higher quality materials, the workmanship is far better and the longevity makes them more than worth the cost. Custom covers can be built to give reinforcement to high wear areas such as the corners of the windshield, around the electric motor, the boat corners, etc.
Just as important, custom covers feature venting systems and support poles that allows condensation to escape, eliminating mold and mildew issues. Heck, a custom boat cover can even be made to match the boat’s color, so the rig looks as good going down the road as it does on the lake.
In recent years I’ve purchased several custom covers from Brad’s Custom Covers, LLC out of Newaygo, Michigan. The benefit of working with a custom canvas guy is not just the quality of the workmanship provided. In my case, I’ve had special features added that help reduce highway stone chips. I also like that Brad’s Custom Covers sews in loops along the canvas edge to make it easier to stretch the cover and get the snaps secured. This seemingly simple feature is priceless when trying to put a cold boat cover onto an equally cold boat! That goes double if your hands are also cold!
Custom fit covers like this one from Brad ‘s Custom Covers increase the value of a boat while keeping the boat in top condition.
SUMMING IT UP
The price of fishing boats these days, just about demands that they are fitted for a travel and mooring cover. The cash outlay for a custom cover will seem like the best investment you ever made a few years down the road when that beloved fishing boat still looks showroom clean.