Covers and Tarps
Shrink-wrap isn't your only option, however. You can also have a fitted cover made for your boat. It won't be cheap, but it should last many years if cared for properly. You'll want to take the same preparations you would for shrink-wrapping, i.e. padding sharp objects.
Many people with fitted covers also place a tarp over the cover, tied securely down. These usually are the common blue tarps, which are both inexpensive and disposable and allow snow and ice to slide off easily while protecting the real cover from feathered friends.
We've all seen plastic tarps covering the boats in our boatyards. Available in a variety of sizes and three different materials, most are sheet plastic with a reinforcing grid fused in. The blue tarps are the most common, cheapest, and shortest-lived. The white tarp is a step up, while the silver/black tarps are the top performers; while still reinforced plastic, they typically hold up for several years because of their improved resistance to UV.
This article originally appeared in the September 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.