Not all boat covers are alike. You may think that a storage cover could pass as a travel cover, but the truth is that covers designed solely for storage may not hold up to the wear and tear of highway travel. The three main features that set trailerable marine covers apart from the pack are material thickness, tie down straps, and a secure fit.
One of the first features to consider when you’re looking for a trailerable boat cover is material thickness. The wind whipping at your cover can rip it if the material is too thin. Some manufacturers will tell you that their 150 denier polyester is rugged and durable enough to use as a travel cover. This material thickness may work for storage, but trailerable covers require a thicker polyester.
A 300 denier polyester is a much more durable thickness. It is strong enough to hold up under harsh conditions but breathable enough to prevent moisture damage to your boat. You may be able to save money up front with a 150 denier cover, but 300 denier will serve you better in the long run and will outlast thinner material.
Tie Down Straps
The tie down system varies for each boat cover. Take a close look at the efficiency and protection of your tie down straps. Do they go over the top of the boat, or do they hook into eyelets or loops? Do the straps stretch? Will any metal or buckle parts come in contact with your boat?
Tie downs that wrap over the top of your boat provide secure protection without the risk of a ripped eyelet or hook. If you choose a marine cover with eyelets, make sure they are reinforced, and make sure that no metal parts come in contact with your boat. The eyelet and straps can rub against your boat and scratch it if you’re not careful.
The tie downs should have very little give. A stretchy rope or bungee cord won’t hold your cover on tight enough to secure the cover. If your straps have metal buckles, make sure that the metal does not scratch your boat’s finish. Use at least four full tie downs to secure your boat cover, and secure any loose ends that can flap wildly in the wind or get caught in tires or moving parts.
As you fly down the highway, you want your cover to stay in place. An elastic hem or adjustable elastic cord will ensure that your cover provides complete protection on the road. Measure your boat to get the closest fit possible.
For most universal boat covers, you should measure your boat from bow to stern but NOT over the windshield. For beam width, measure from side to side at the widest part of the boat. Buy the cover that most closely matches the dimensions of your boat. With the elastic or adjustable hem, you can get a custom fit with a universal cover.