Canopy covers are an absolute must for anyone that is looking to avoid any sun damage or weathering of any portions of their boat. These covers, when installed correctly, protect your boat’s seating and electronics from the wind, rain and constant beating down of the sun. Covers come in a few different styles depending on what type of lift you have. Most lifts have either a pitched style canopy frame or a lower profile frame. Finding out what brand and model of your lift is the first and most important part of buying a new cover. No one wants to order the wrong one, have it ship out and then find its the wrong size because the customer didn’t take the time to measure correctly and is not looking at having to cover shipping costs to get the item returned and the correct one shipped back out. When in doubt measure twice, or three times!
The best and most common aftermarket material styles on the market are designed by ShoreTex Fabrics. In almost every situation an aftermarket canopy is cheaper and will last just as long. Many times you are just paying for the logo of the manufacturer when you buy a OEM cover (original equipment manufacturer).
The first and most common material is the classic heavy duty vinyl. These style canopies are built to last and while it is quite heavy at larger sizes can still be installed by one person using proper technique. You want to place the roll at one end of the frame then roll it down the bows until it is laid out lengthwise. Then you will open it up to cover the width and attach your hardware to the frame. This can be a big job with the all vinyl option but what you have to deal with in extra weight is made up for by the fact that the extra weight helps hold down the corners of the cover if you are in a high wind area which many people are. These canopies if cleaned and rolled up and put away properly each winter will last 10 years or more if well taken care of. The classic vinyl is a no-frills heavy duty design, completely waterproof and built to last, never a bad choice. These canopies are often the most economical choice being up to 20% cheaper than other materials.
The other material that many people are really enjoying these days is the WeatherMax fabric design. These canopies are a dyed fabric coated in a HydroMax finish to resist the weather. The biggest selling points of this material are that it is only 25% the weight of a traditional vinyl canopy make a much easier installation and removal experience for the owner. Being a fabric you get a richer color choice that has less shine than the pure vinyl look. The WeatherMax has more of a matte look to their color choices. These canopies are great for someone planning on doing their canopy themselves every year or anyone getting older and looking for something a little lighter and easier to deal with.
Whatever style you chose just remember a canopy will save you money and wear on your boat that will far outweigh the price of the canopy. They are a must for any serious boater.