Cover vs shrink wrap

Father's Day

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Hello Everyone
Was just wondering if I should buy a good cover or have my boat shrink wrapped every year. I have a 192 tournament so shrink wrap will only be about $200, can probably get a good quality cover for under a grand.
Thanks for your thoughts
 

Keeldad

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My boat has a Fisher canvas cover. Very heavy but nice. Also, they are a great operation to work with, If you’re from the area, you can have repairs or alterations ( I needed an alteration to accommodate a new radar dome) over the summer and they’ll store it for you for a nominal fee. I used to shrink wrap but apparently there is no recycle market for it. It pains me to see mounds of shrink wrap in yard dumpsters every spring.
 

ElyseM

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not for nuttin', but in the old days we cobbled together a 2x4 frame and pulled a cheap tarp over the boat to keep leaves and snow out. at some point, it became necessary to hermetically seal up your boat for the off season.
 
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seasick

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Getting a relatively tight and ponding free cover is easier with shrink wrap if the strapping is done correctly. Painted hulls may not like shrink wrap. I have seen damage to the finish in some instances. Personally I have a custom cover with framing or for one of my boats and custom framing with a large tarp for the other. I like my covers tall and accessible so that during the storage season, I can get into them and do work if needed. My custom cover on my 208 does show some wear and tear but it is 10 years old or so
My larger boat has a tall frame with many ratchet straps. For that I use a large tarp with a lot of tie downs and tarp clips (wonderful things). Note that cheap tarps don't hold up well and probably won't last a whole winter without some tearing and shredding. Heavy duty tarps hold up better but of course can be expensive. ( I buy the heaviest 'cheap' tarp available usually from Harbor Freight.
If you shrink wrap have a zipper door added if you want to get into the boat and have a few vents added to help reduce mold and reduce potential heat buildup. I advise you not to wrap a boat with the curtains installed.
Some folks I know reuse their shrink wrap. On small simple boats that is easier to do than on large ones.

Now for my funny story about shrink wrap. At my boat club, a few years back, some folks complained that somebody was vandalizing their wrapped boats by burning holes in the shrink wrap. I have to admit, it did look like that was the case. In some of those cases, the hole would eventually grow larger and rip apart due to the winds we can get.
It turned out the the holes were indeed burned into the wrap but were due to the hot exhaust from gas powered backpack leaf blowers used by the gardeners! In the late fall and early spring when there were still a lot of boats on land The gardeners would walk between boats to clear the cuttings.
 

DennisG01

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It really all comes down to personal preference and whether you want to spend the time putting the cover on each Fall, removing in the Spring and storing. Count on a couple hours, minimum, for that each time. Both methods can work equally well. Both methods can be setup to allow you to get in and out of the boat over the Winter, if you want.

There are recycling places for wrap - but you have to check around and it may not be conveniently located in all areas. You may have to travel an hour or so sometimes. From a yard's perspective, it's typically not cost productive to that for every customer.

Contrary to what most think, though, shrink wrap CAN be used for at least a few seasons. But this is something that the owner would take on himself - a boat yard is not going to do that.

As a side note... when wrapping boats that are very shiny, a self-stick "pre-wrap" should be placed on the hull side, first, to avoid scratching. It's very inexpensive. For painted boats, an extra pre-caution should be used to avoid moisture getting trapped in the paint - there are simple "stand-offs" that are used to allow air circulation and that solves the problem.

I pondered getting a Fisher cover - instead, between myself and two uncles, we invested in the shrink wrap supplies/tools to do it ourselves. It now costs me about $52 to wrap an overall length of 30'. I've had covers on other boats and shrink-wrapping this one takes approximately the same amount of time as putting the cover one - maybe the wrap takes a bit more, but not much.
 

HookUp

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I split the cost of a ShrinkFast gun with a buddy, bought my own roll of plastic and been shrinkwrapping for the past 10 yrs.
Best thing I ever did - even made a few bucks in the neighborhood wrapping peoples outdoor furniture for the winter.
I use my regular boat cover during the season to keep the pollen, and leaves and general debris out of it
 

seasick

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Good point about the tie to install a cover. It takes me half a day to erect my frame with all the straps and ropes and half a day to get the tarp installed. It takes forever if it is windy:)
Don't forget that there may be things in the way that have to be moved, lowered, twisted etc before the cover can go on. I also use a lot of pool noodles split lengthwise to protect sharp edges.
Is it worth the effort? Probably not but it does keep me off the forums for a few days.
 
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Fishtales

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Comes down to cost. If you can get a decent cover at a good price the reuse factor will save you. You can save shrink, but it does get brittle after a while. A nice white tarp would work as well.
 

Uncle Joe

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I just got tired of the wind shredding my tarp cover every year. A 24 offshore with a hard top is a pain to buy a tarp for and get it to stay on all winter in the boat yard.
Worth it to me to pay $300 and forget about it until spring.
 

Lt.Mike

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I realize that not everyone has the property and space to do this but I put in a Carolina carport to store my boat and camper. I paid up getting the vertical drop roof, the strongest framework to take the maximum wind and snow load.
24x26’ cost me $4,000 and they built it. I just had to level the ground and bring stone as a base.
If you built one just for the boat your looking at half that cost but with the same strength.
I keep a cover bungeed down on my boat just to keep it clean as with the open ends dust and pollen blow through. Rain, snow and ice don’t reach it. I’ve had it for 3 years now and have zero complaints with the product and how well it’s doing it’s job. The only gripe I’ve had is common from carport owners is that it’s typical to wait a long time from deposit to build. For me it was 6 months which is the longest I know of. With it done and in place I am still glad I had it done.
6FAA3A06-323A-4234-A5EA-34D3E75B700F.jpeg
 
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HookUp

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Nice setup Lt Mike.
I wish I had that space. I would have never sold my 71 Monte carlo SS ☹☹
 

Lt.Mike

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Nice setup Lt Mike.
I wish I had that space. I would have never sold my 71 Monte carlo SS ☹☹
Sorry to hear that. The other benefit of the carport is I can work on the boat at anytime.
This is our second home, we have acreage, an oversized 2 car garage and a barn. We searched for a long time for the right place. My wife wanted a dining room and niceties in the house while I homed in on the barn ;)
The barn was of interest because of my car needed a proper home too. Sorry but I’ve had this since January of ‘78.
A7B869A4-41C5-416B-9453-0AD53140760D.jpeg
 

drbatts

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I have been using an off the shelf semi custom cover for both of my gradys for years. It is not as form fitting as the custom fisher cover but works very well in the northeast winters. I built as support system out of wood, its labeled and saved and at this point I can put it together fairly quickly. Because of the wide beam on these boats there is a little gap between the cover and the gunnel midship. Which I actually think helps with ventilation. The cover breathes so I don't have mildew or mold problems. I also has zippered sections to make getting in and out easy. It rolls up and fits in a rubbermade storage bin for the summer. Both covers easily paid for themselves in a couple of years vs. shrink wrapping.
 
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Boosted1

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Drbatts, what brand cover do you have? Sounds like this is exactly what I’m looking for.
 

drbatts

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Carver. I got it from PM winter boat covers. I bought the cover for my previous Grady and my little whaler from boatcoversdirect.com.
 
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jkunze

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not for nuttin', but in the old days we cobbled together a 2x4 frame and pulled a cheap tarp over the boat to keep leaves and snow out. at some point, it became necessary to hermetically seal up your boat for the off season.
Not for nuttin but those old covers failed a lot. Had raccoons get in once years ago & make a nest in the cuddy cabin out of the back to back seat stuffing. Not a great spring memory.
 

jkunze

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I bought a carver cover from
Boatcoversdirect.com for my Whaler five years ago. Sunbrella fabric. Just got one for my 1987 Grady fisherman 204. Perfect fits as they have the patterns for nearly every boat. They’re terrific & cost about 5-600 each. At 150-200 per year for the environmentally horrible shrink wrap I’m saving money if it only lasts a couple of years including summers. Supports can be anything that works to shed snow & rain. Lots of strap loops around the hems too.
 

HookUp

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Sorry to hear that. The other benefit of the carport is I can work on the boat at anytime.
This is our second home, we have acreage, an oversized 2 car garage and a barn. We searched for a long time for the right place. My wife wanted a dining room and niceties in the house while I homed in on the barn ;)
The barn was of interest because of my car needed a proper home too. Sorry but I’ve had this since January of ‘78.
View attachment 16871

A man after my own heart.

Let me guess, you have a shooting range on the other side of the barn. and deer running around too . LOL
 

mmiela

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I shrink wrapped my 226 one year then bought a nice convas cover from boat covers direct. 7C63EC0C-4DDE-4DF7-8AAD-80CF3443CD80.jpeg

Cover cost me $650 shrink wrap was $350 per year.
 

Lt.Mike

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A man after my own heart.

Let me guess, you have a shooting range on the other side of the barn. and deer running around too . LOL
Actually yes. ;)
100% true.
The deer are a PITA !