Preview: Winter Boat Cover Ideas

Now that winter is approaching for boaters living in the northern latitudes, we’ve begun to hear about various ways of sheltering and storing boats during the off season. Here’s an example—a query and my attempt at responding. As we hear more questions, answers and discussions about covering boats, we’ll add them to this post.

Question from Dan:
I have a 1973 73′ Broward motoryacht…the last wood hull that Broward built.

1973 73′ Broward Motoryacht

It is on Long Island and where I’m planning on leaving and winterizing it. This will be it’s third winter north (it has always been in Florida or the islands). I leave her in the water and  well taken care of by knowledgeable people.

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Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

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7 Responses So Far to “Winter Boat Cover Ideas

  • Avatar

    Ben O'Neill says:

    Hi All, I have a 50 year old wooden sloop and live in Brisbane, QLD Australia. In winter next year I want to pull the boat out of the water for 3 months of major maintenance work like refastening the lapstrake planks and much more. The temp will range from about 10 deg C to 25 deg C and the humidity will range from 50 – 70%. Local wooden boatbuilders get very light headed and nearly pass-out when I talk about taking the boat out of the water for that long and often talk about complex daytime watering systems and the boat could die.

    What will happen if I pull it out and just cover it?

    • Avatar

      Tom Metcalfe says:

      Hi Ben,

      I’m just down the road on the Gold Coast and worked recently with a crew to do some major rebuild work on a batten seam constructed river cruiser of about 9 tons and of similar vintage, maybe a few decades more. The boat was on the Tweed Slip for just over ten weeks I believe ( I was involved from a couple of weeks in, and I spent 8 weeks.)
      In short, rot was our nightmare, and we replaced a lot of wood, everywhere, stainless square drive screw fastened and epoxied as dictated by our lead shipwright, We finished this and repainted by beginning Aug.
      The boat once relaunched, did take some time to take up, but has been in operation since that time. Since then I have been aboard three times, on various river cruises (Mt Warning Tours – Spirit of Wollumbin), She trims fine with up to 45-50 pax. Some water in the bilge, but the Capt. says its within limits.
      With your boat being lapstrake, perhaps the drying stresses imposed on the planks as they dry out may not be as problematic as with a carvel constructed craft. The batten seam construction may have assisted here, I do recall splining some seams on the topsides, that has worked quite well so far, in terms of maintaining its fairness.
      Got photos if this helps, good luck and regards.

      Tom Metcalfe – Barefoot Boats

      • Avatar

        Ben O'Neill says:

        Thanks Tom. Great info. How was the boat stored when not being worked on?

  • Avatar

    Daniel Veale says:

    Thanks for all the input. Any ideas of where or who to supply the canvas cover?

  • Avatar

    Dennis Foley says:

    I just built a reusable frame using metal tubing and a product called Kover Klamps.
    I will be covering my boat (Gulfstar aft cockpit 37) with reinforced plastic and I’m going to put a dessicant in the boat. We shrinkwrapped it last winter and there was quite a bit of mold in the boat when we uncovered her. Canvas sounds good, but not in the budget this year!

  • Avatar

    Douglas Tate says:

    Over the last seveal years, we have used shrink wrap on our prior boat, a 1965 Pearson Vanguard. While fiberglass, the boat still needs protection. I had considered a canvas cover, but thought the cost was too big an upfront investment. We kept our boat in Marion, MA, and the cover did protect the boat from snow, rain, ice, etc. However, we always a closed up ambiance in Spring.

    We recently took on a restoration of a Westsail 42 ketch. I have found the canvas cover option to be more affordable than I thought. We’ll pay off the initial investment in 3 years and expect to have between 10 and 15 years of use. The cover will breath and the environmental impact will be so much less.

    While our boats are perhaps the classic plastic variety, they still require similar care that the lovely old wooden boats deserve. I would recommend a canvas cover to shrink wrap hands down. The financial payback is quick, the environmental impact better, and the impact to the boat is much better.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    I’ll be experimenting with a sectioned shrinkwrap cover on our wood, diesel motor boat this winter. It will be constructed in framed sections from the cabin to the stern. Perhaps aft sections can be set aside on the pier on those occasional days when it’s mild enough to go out. Looking forward to it, and if it works out I’ll get a cotton fitted cover like MB suggests. Our sailboat has that, but in Top Gun cloth, for storage on a trailer ashore. That boat is fiberglass.