How To Waterproof A Boat Cover

How To Waterproof A Boat Cover
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So, you have a fancy boat that you love dearly, but of course, you cannot always be out on the water with it. When you are not using the boat, you need to cover it up to protect it from the rain, the sun, and other elements too. To do this, you are probably going to be using a canvas boat cover. Now, canvas boat covers are fine in theory, but they do have some issues.

Simply put, the same things that can damage your boat, such as sun, hail, rain, and extreme temperatures, can also negatively impact your boat cover. One of the biggest issues is water, with many boat covers still leaking to a certain degree, and many can get waterlogged too. Therefore, you need to waterproof your boat cover. How to waterproof a boat cover is what we are here to figure out right now.

First – Clean The Boat Cover

Before you start waterproofing your canvas boat cover, you do actually have to clean it, funny enough, you will be using water to do this! You will want to use some warm water, some mild detergent made for canvas, and a soft brush too. The aim here is to remove all stains, dirt, grime, and other things which should not be there.

You do need to clean your boat cover first, because when you waterproof the boat cover, if it has dirt and stains on it, you will be covering those up and really grinding them right into the fabric. It’s like painting over rust, just because you cannot see the rust does not mean that it’s not there.

Keep in mind that you want to use warm water for this, not hot water, as hot water will damage the canvas. Once you have cleaned off all stains and dirt, you need to let it air dry. Do not attempt to use any kind of heat to dry the boat cover, as this may cause more damage, or shrinkage at the very least.

Waterproofing – 2 Methods

What you need to know here is that you have two main choices when it comes to waterproofing your canvas boat cover. You can use wax for waterproofing, special canvas wax, or you can also use a specialized waterproofing spray. Let’s talk about each of these right now.

Using Wax

Using wax to waterproof a boat cover is usually the go-to method, as it is the most reliable way of waterproofing a boat cover out there right now. Here, you will need to get special waterproofing wax for canvas boat covers. You have to spread the canvas out over a flat and even surface, so everything is exposed. Use the block of wax to apply the wax to all areas of the boat cover.

 Make sure to cover all areas and attempt to do this using concentric circles. For any hard to reach areas, like corners and welts, break off small pieces of the wax to rub it in. This is a very reliable and fairly long-lasting method for waterproofing boat covers.

Using Spray On Products

There are also many spray-on boat cover waterproofing agents out there. Something to keep in mind here is that you do want to get a high-quality waterproofing spray; ideally one specifically intended for canvas boat covers.

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you need to avoid any products that contain either silicone or alcohol, as both will totally ruin your canvas boat cover.

Yes, you do need to follow the directions on the waterproofing spray in theory, but generally speaking, these usually all involve spraying on a fairly healthy layer of it, then letting it air dry for a few hours.

Once again, just like for wax, do not attempt to use a heat source for drying, as this will also cause problems. On a side note, when using a waterproofing spray, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, so you don’t inhale too many poisonous fumes.


As you can see, waterproofing a boat cover is really not that hard at all. First off, just be sure that you clean the boat cover properly, so you don’t end up making a mess and embedding dirt into it. After that, you need to choose whether you want to use a waterproofing wax or a spray-on method. The wax is the more reliable way to go, and more long-lasting too, but the spray is much easier to work with.

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