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Every boat owner is familiar with the expense involved in maintaining a vessel through season after season on the water. One of the easiest ways to minimize your costs is to invest in a boat cover. A good cover protects against weather damage, bird and rodent droppings and the devastating effects of salt air. It also hides expensive hardware from prying eyes and ensures that your vessel looks good on the trailer, in the storage shed or at anchor. In this article, we look at the best universal and semi-custom fit boat covers available.
Best Overall: MSC Heavy Duty 600D Waterproof Boat Cover
The MSC Heavy Duty Waterproof Boat Cover is the ultimate all-rounder. Made from 600-denier marine grade polyester canvas, it receives rave reviews for its ability to withstand all types of weather. A double polyurethane coating increases the cover’s water-resistance. It’s also mildew and UV-resistant, and won’t shrink or stretch even after prolonged exposure to the elements. It can be used for mooring, storage and trailering, thanks to the included adjustable straps and the elastic cord sewn into the bottom of the hem.
Together, these features allow for a close-to-custom fit. The straps also boast handy quick-release buckles. Choose from six different models, designed to fit a range of boat lengths and beam widths, including V-hull, runabout, tri-hull and pro-style bass boat shapes. Similarly, the neutral gray color is intended to complement any paintwork or decals. When you’re not using the cover, store it in the included drawstring canvas bag to keep your boathouse looking shipshape. The cover comes with a limited three-year warranty for added peace of mind.
Most Trailerable: iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover
Available in gray, blue or tan, the iCOVER Trailerable Boat Cover is specifically designed to withstand high winds on the freeway. A heavy-duty elastic cord sewn into the hem combines with integrated buckled straps to allow for a tight fit. The bow, windshield, stern and other stress points feature reinforced panels; while the seams are double-stitched for extra strength. Rear air vents on both sides of the cover also help to reduce wind pressure while trailering.
The same vents come in handy when storing your boat, by preventing the cover from tearing during high winds and minimizing condensation build-up. Whether you opt for 300-denier or 600-denier marine grade polyester canvas, the polyurethane-coated cover is UV and mildew-resistant. It’s also impressively easy to clean and comes with its own storage bag and instructions. Select the correct length and beam width to fit your V-hull, tri-hull, runabout or bass boat requirements.
Best UV-Resistant: iCOVER Silver Reflective Boat Cover
Those living in particularly sunny climates may prefer iCOVER’s Silver Reflective Boat Cover. The cover’s silver coating offers added protection from harmful UV rays - which can fade your boat’s gelcoat finish and fabrics, crack your timber and plastic fittings and make the rubber on your fuel hoses brittle. Essentially, the more UV rays you block, the longer your boat can go without requiring expensive repairs.
The fabric is marine grade polyester canvas, which is also waterproof and mildew-resistant. The cover is intended for storage, mooring or trailing, with reinforcement panels and double-stitched seams to help reduce wind pressure on the road. It also boasts dual rear air vents. Choose from a range of different lengths and beam widths, then use the adjustable quick-release straps to secure the elasticated hemline snugly around your boat. The cover comes with a storage bag and instructions.
Best for Center Consoles: Classic Accessories StormPro Center Console Boat Cover
The Classic Accessories StormPro Center Console Boat Cover provides the additional space needed to protect your center console from the elements as well. It’s made from 600-denier marine grade polyester canvas and earns praise from reviewers for its heavy-duty feel and five-year limited warranty. You can use it for long-term storage, or for travel on the highway.
Your purchase includes a storage bag, trailering straps and a cover support pole. The latter helps to prevent the cover from becoming stretched or damaged by water pooling on top of it. The hem is elasticated for a snug fit, while the adjustable straps connect to integrated quick-release buckles. There are four different length and beam widths to choose from, all of which come in a smart charcoal color that adds to your boat’s overall aesthetic.
Best for V-Hull Runabout & Bass Boats: AmazonBasics Boat Cover
While several of the covers on this list can adapt for V-hull runabouts and bass boats, this AmazonBasics Boat Cover is specially made with these styles in mind. There are three sizes to choose from: a bass boat cover for boats measuring 16 to 18.5 feet; and V-hull runabout covers for boats measuring 17 to 19 feet and 20 to 22 feet, respectively. All covers are made from 100 percent woven polyester in a sleek light gray.
They’re durable, waterproof, easy to clean and boast well-placed vents for preventing mold build-up. Adjustable straps make them equally suited to outdoor storage or trailering. Reviewers like the fact that the straps are designed to fit underneath the trailer, thereby protecting the paintwork on your hull. Your purchase includes a limited one-year warranty.
Best for Hard-Top & T-Top Boats: Budge Boat Cover for Hard-Top & T-Top Boats
Specifically designed for hard-top and T-top boats with a maximum beam width of 106 inches, the Budge Boat Cover ranges in size from 16 to 18 feet, and from to 24 to 26 feet. It’s made from 600-denier marine grade polyester and is both UV-resistant and 100 percent waterproof. Taped seams provide extra protection from the rain, hail or snow, while vents prevent mold and mildew from growing underneath the cover in humid conditions.
A shock cord hem creates a semi-custom fit (which reviewers state is still roomy enough to allow for the differences between various boat styles). The sewn-in straps feature quick-release buckles and make the cover safe for trailering to and from your chosen launch site. Choose yours in an unobtrusive shade of blue or gray.
Best for Tenders & Dinghies: Benflyworld Inflatable Dinghy Cover
The Benflyworld Inflatable Dinghy Cover is ideal for tenders, dinghies, and inflatables measuring up to 11 feet long and five feet wide. It also fits tenders with low consoles (but not windscreens). The marine grade polyester is slightly lighter than most of the others on this list, but that also helps keep the price down — handy if you have to purchase a cover for your primary vessel as well. Nevertheless, the polyurethane coating offers an impressive level of water-resistance. Amazon reviewers not that the cover's fabric could be denser, but that it works as desired.
Best Budget: Goodsmann 150-Denier Boat Cover
The Goodsmann Boat Cover is the most affordable option with a positive review rating. It’s made from 150-denier marine grade polyester, making it a lightweight cover best suited to mild weather conditions. A heavy-duty cord sewn into the hemline helps to provide a secure fit, while the included rope and stretch cords can be attached to the hem’s integrated D-rings to keep the cover in place. The cover also features double-stitched seams and fabric reinforcements at the bow and stern. Choose from four different models to suit a range of boat sizes and styles.