There are a lot of things you need to buy when you get a new boat, some of which are not even used when you are on the water. A boat cover is one of those things that you may not have realized would be an added expense. Boats vary a lot in both size and shape, and you are going to have a hard time finding a boat cover that fits well enough to be effective.
The boat manufacturer might have a cover to sell you designed especially for your boat, but if you have bought a used boat or if you want to save some cash on boating accessories, making your own boat cover is a good option. To begin, you’ll need to take some measurements of your boat.
How to measure your boat
You need to get a clear picture of the measurements of your boat in order to make a boat cover of the right size and shape. Start by making a representation of your boat on paper with enough room to mark your measurements, then follow these steps:
Measure the stern at its highest point, which could be the rails or the stern itself.
Measure the width of the windshield.
Measure the height of the windshield from the peak to the rub rail.
Measure the widest part of the bow.
Measure the heights of any other features that create high points that need to be accommodated.
Once you have all of these measurements, you can go buy the fabric for your boat cover.
Choosing the right boat cover materials
Now that you have an idea of measurements you can start amassing the materials you need to make the boat cover. The place to start is with the right boat cover material. You should be using a marine quality material that is designed to stand up against the elements, particularly water. The most popular boat cover material is Sunbrella.
You will also need a sturdy sailmaker thread and #18 needles, as well as a sewing machine that can handle sewing the marine fabric in layers, as well as across seams. Most of these will be straight, so you don’t need to know how to use all of the features on the sewing machine before beginning.
Even if you already know how to sew, practice with some remnants of this material and practice spool of sailmaker thread before you try to piece together the blank for your boat cover. You’ll want to be able to work a straight seam, sew over seams, and sew layers.
Cut and sew the fabric into the right size and shape
The very size of most boats are impossible to fit to shape on the first try. Before you worry about shaping and fitting the boat cover, start by just getting the fabric cut and sewn together into a blank that completely covers the boat with some overhang for seams. Sunbrella marine fabric comes in two different sized strips, and it is a good idea to get a few extras just in case you missed some measurements.
Hem along the edges to create a pocket for the cord. Wind the cord through the pocket and secure it by tying down with grommets.
Having a boat cover is really important, especially during off seasons. Your boat needs to be protected from the elements whenever possible to lengthen its life and reduce maintenance costs. Even if you are storing your boat in indoor storage, a boat cover helps keep out pests and other debris. By making your own boat cover, this is a necessary expense that every boat-owner can afford.