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Sizing Boat Covers & Tarps


Boat Covers and Tarps:
Getting The Right Fit




You already know (or you wouldn't be here) that a boat cover or tarpaulin reduces the possibility of damage by adding a barrier of protection around the boat during transport and storage.

All boats are designed with materials to protect the boat and its interior from saltwater and rain.

But only a quality boat cover can guard against ozone, UV rays, and dirt which can cause irreparable damage to marine electronics, wiring, and upholstery.

Even with the best indoor boat storage, there is no immunity from insects, mice, and dirt.

When shopping for your cover, don't be too quick to pick the first option that you're your brand and size. Whether for a ski, bass, or pontoon boat, there are three general fit and style types of boat tarp covers to be considered

Boat Cover Styles

Universal Fit:- Often called a boat or marine tarp, a universal boat cover is sized to fit a fairly wide range of boat styles and sizes. Fitting is generally loose, and requires straps or tie-downs to hold the boat tarp in place. For basic mooring and storage, this is the simplest and lowest cost option.

Custom boat covers: Made directly from measurements taken on a specific model of boat, these are the best you can get. Custom boat covers are perfect for trailering, storage, and mooring. Getting the perfect fit assume your boat has not been altered from the way it originally came from the factory.

Semi-Custom fit: Designed to match hundreds of boat models, a semi-custom boat cover is tailored to fit specific "styles" of boats such as Tri-hulls, Deep V's, or Pontoons. Semi-custom designs come in progressive lengths of 1 foot increments. As the cover length increases, the beam width would tend to follow suit.

The snug, tailored fit of the custom and semi-custom boat covers keeps out more harmful elements, and makes them more stable during heavy wind and rain than a standard boat tarp cover. Less fabric movement also means much less abrasion against the finish of your boat

Storage location is a very important factor when choosing a boat tarp. Be sure the material is durable enough to withstand extreme cold weather changes of Eastern and Midwest states. UV protection is also important in prolonging the beauty of seats, and instruments in the sun belt states.


Sizing Your Boat Cover

When measuring your boat, use a non-stretching tape (such as a steel tape) to be sure you have accurate dimensions. It's a good idea to take your own measurements, even if you have the manufacturer's specifications.

1. Finding the Centerline Length - Measure from the tip of the bow to the center of the stern

2. Finding the Beam Width - Measure the widest point of your boat. Be sure to include the rub-rail..

3. Add 1 foot to the centerline length if your boat has rails exceeding 6 inches in height. Add one foot to the centerline length for trolling motor. If you have any extensions (swim deck, platforms, etc.), add their length to the centerline dimension if you want these extensions covered.

Boat tarps and covers are available from a variety of reliable online merchants. We've got more information on boat covers and their suppliers on the pages below.


More Boat Covers Information

For More Information:

Boat Cover Fabrics: A quick guide to the main choices in boat cover materials.

Boat Covers: A quick guide to the main choices in boat covers.

Portable Boat Canopies: Consider using a vehicle canopy as a boat tarp alternative.


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