How To Cover A Boat With A Tarp

How To Cover A Boat With A Tarp
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When wintertime comes, you need an effective way to cover your boat, so it does not get damaged during those grueling winter months. One of the go-to methods for covering a boat for winter is by using a tarp. Tarps tend to be a decent option because they are usually always affordable.

Sure, you can shrink wrap your boat, use canvas, or get a custom cover made, but those are all super-pricey. You’ve already spent a ton of cash on a boat, so those options may not be very viable for you. Moreover, a plastic tarp works well for both inside and outdoor storage purposes, which is a big bonus as well.

Now, tarps do have some disadvantages, but if you follow our tips on how to cover a boat with a tarp, it should be totally fine. Let’s get to it and figure out how to cover your boat with a tarp for storage.

Steps to Cover A Boat with a Tarp

  1.  Find The Right Size

One of the most important things that you need to do here is to find the right size of tarp, one that can cover your boat from top to bottom. Remember, the tarp needs to be large enough to cover all areas of your boat, but not so large that there is lots of excess hanging off the sides, as excess plastic will catch in the wind and flap around, which you definitely don’t want.

  1.  Covering The Boat

Now that you have got the right size of tarp to cover your boat, it’s time to actually cover it. One thing to keep in mind here is that sharp edges can cause irreversible damage to any tarp, so it’s a good idea to use some cloth or other items to cover or wrap sharp edges before putting the tarp on. Any sharp are needs to be covered, or else the tarp may rip at any time during the winter, especially if there are strong winds involved. Make sure that the tarp covers all major areas of the boat, so that nothing is exposed to wind or moisture from the outside. The whole point is to keep that stuff out.

  1.  Fasting The Cover

The next step you need to follow is to actually fasten the tarp down onto your boat. You always need to fasten it as securely as possible, so that wind cannot get underneath it, loosen it, and end up causing damage to your boat. For the most part, using straps or ropes, crossing them over the boat, and then crossing them under the boat, should be sufficient. Make sure to tie the ropes or straps very tight, so that the tarp cannot flap around in the wind. Now, if you need access to certain parts of the boat, you can always use weighted anchors to weigh the tarp down, instead of tying it. However, anchors can always fail in really strong winds, so keep that in mind.

  1.  Propping Up Low Spots

A really important aspect to remember here is that low spots in the tarp should be propped up. The reason for this is because if there are any low spots in the tarp cover, rain and snow can build up, causing the cover to sag. Eventually, this can cause damage, and then let in snow or water. In other cases, the excessive weight of hundreds of pounds of snow and water can also cause damage to your boat. Therefore, use anything in your arsenal, any kind of pole or prop, to prop up those low points so this cannot occur. Also, remember to use some soft padding, both below and above the prop, because if you don’t the prop may cause damage to the tarp or to the boat itself.

  1.  Some Ventilation

The final thing that you need to keep in mind here is that you should allow for a bit of ventilation under the tarp. Sure, wind should not get in, because it can damage things, but some small holes here and there are ideal. You want some ventilation to take place because if not, moisture will build-up, and eventually cause mold and mildew to grow, which you definitely do not want.


The bottom line is that a tarp is a fine way to cover a boat for the winter, or for any kind of long term storage, but you do need to know what you are doing. Do this wrong, and you could find some serious damage under the tarp come springtime.

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