How to Cover a Boat with a Tarp

How to Cover a Boat with a Tarp


Usually, when you let your boat take some rest for quite some time around the winter, it’s a good idea to cover it up. While many may opt for some expensive methods to save the boat like fitted covers or shrinkwrap, these are pretty complicated to use, too. A better and more accessible approach can be using tarpaulin to get the job done effectively. To make it an easy task for you, we are going to show you exactly how to cover a boat with a tarp.

Covering a boat involves a few steps that need to be followed carefully.

The following section will help you set up the tarp perfectly for your boat. We are going to explain the steps one by one. Try to follow the steps exactly as we explained to make sure you’re doing it perfectly!

Choosing the Cover

First of all, you need to make sure how you’re going to get a tarp for your vessel. Is it something you want to purchase from the store or online? Or you’re planning to make your own? That’s the very first decision you’re to make.

If you’re going for a purchase, it surely would cost you a lot. Depending on the quality and brand, you may find a befitting price for you if you’re willing to dig deeper into the stores. However, a few searches online may get you some useful tutorials on how you can make your own tarp, too.

Whatever the way you’re getting one, make sure you’re getting it at the right size.

Choosing The Right Size

Tarps come in a variety of sizes. Before you look for one online or in the stores, try measuring your boat first. This will give you a proper idea of what size you need to concentrate on. Some standard covers come in blue color.

These are quite popular and widely used tarps. You can find these covers from 8 X 10 to 30 X 40 sizes. That means you can find one for your boat, for sure. But what if you don’t get one that fits your vessel?

Simple, you custom-make it. Take the measurement of your vessel and ask the producers to make one according to measurement. This may cost you more than a ready-made one, but it will fit your boat perfectly.

Again, if your boat is more extensive than average, you can consider getting more than one tarp and attach one after another to cover it up. That may cost you more, of course, but will get the job done.

Beware Of Sharp Edges

Although the tarps are expected to be of heavy-duty quality, it’s known to most boatmen that this is not truly the case. Tarps are usually meant for soft handling and careful usage. That’s why, when you’re coving the boat with a tarp, you need to be extra cautious about the sharp edges of the vessel.

Keep your eyes on the windshield frame corners and the antenatal mounts on your boat. These are the key sharp edges that can easily tear apart a tarp.

Especially if there is a heavy wind blowing, and you’ve not taken any precautions to save the tarp from these edges. It’s possible that the tarp can be torn in half!

So what do you do? Well, try to cover up those edges with a soft towel or carpets if possible. If you don’t find any of these, try anything that is soft and capable of reducing the sharpness over it.

Keep The Height Even

If you observe carefully, you can see that there are many low spots on your boat. If you’re using a flat tarp, it will not spread out evenly on your boat. There will be some low dips on it. This is not something you need to worry about if there’s no rain or snow.

But in case of snowfall or heavy rain, you can see that the low spots are covered with snow or dripping water. In the worst-case scenario, you may even notice some leaks, too.

So, try using poles in the middle of the boat or in the vessel's low areas. It will prevent the tarp from forming a low spot, and no snow or rainwater can form and damage it.

Make Some Vent Spots

If you’re storing the boat near water or in the water, managing the humidity is a challenge. If humidity can’t escape, you can see mold and mildew can form around the tarp and even cause leaks.

So place some vent spots near the base of the tarp. Wrap some duct tape around the edges of the vents to prevent leakage, as well.

Secure The Tarpaulin

Lastly, make your tarp secured by using cords. Although you can find many boats that have grommets in them, you may not find it for all boats we regularly use. If your boat has grommets, it’s best to use them for tying the tarp against.

You can use the grommets to tie the tarp with bungee cords after you have evenly set the tarp up. These reinforced grommets do not put extra pressure on the tarp and ensure no tearing occurs.

What if your boat doesn’t have any grommet? In this case, you can loop the tie downs beneath the boat. It will hold the tarpaulin securely to its place. This depends on where you’re placing the boat, though.

Again, you can use the anchoring formula, too. Try to hold the ropes against a heavy material on the sides of your vessel. Heavy buckets of cement and sand or hardened cement bags can be some good source of anchoring, too.

Final Words

It’s not that challenging to cover up a boat with tarps. You don’t need to spend loads of bucks on a heavy-duty tarp if you’re planning to cover it for the first time. It’s very much possible to get a good quality tarpaulin at a reasonable rate if you can dig deep.

All you need to make sure is that you’re tying the tarp securely and adequately. Make sure the sharp edges are covered, and no low spot is made. Keep the tarp tied up after the set up with heavy material or against the grommet.

Please spend a few extra moments in tying it up properly. You will surely save yourself from a lot of troubles in the coming days.

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