Best Tarps for Covering Boats

Winter weather has already arrived in some areas with unexpected snowstorms. As the temperatures dip, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your boat. There’s more to winterizing than pulling your boat from the water. One of the main considerations after you’ve taken steps to protect the engine is deciding which are the best tarps for covering boats.

Steps to Winterizing a Boat

Before you cover your boat with a tarp, you need to winterize the engine, fuel tank, and lines. You don’t want freezing temperatures to cause liquids to crack lines, the engine block, or tanks. You don’t want last year’s oil to corrode the crankcase or the fuel to separate in the cold and become gummy. To prevent this, there are five steps to take.

  1. Spray fogging oil to the engine’s carburetor and cylinders in preparation for months of storage. Typically, fogging oil is petroleum-based and helps prevent corrosion. It’s best to add it when the fuel tank is almost empty.
  2. Drain the oil from the past boating season and add fresh oil. Synthetic oil may be beneficial due to its extended life.
  3. Fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer that prevents the separation that can cause the gummy residue to form.
  4. To keep the engine block from freezing and cracking, fill it with antifreeze that is a non-toxic propylene glycol mix. Look specifically for a mixture that is rated to meet the average lows in your area.
  5. Drain water lines to any water tanks and sanitation systems. Add some non-toxic antifreeze to the sanitation system and water lines to protect them from freezing. When you refill the system in the spring you’ll flush the lines out for a few minutes.

Different engines may need additional steps in order to prepare the boat for winter. An outboard motor must be drained of all water prior to storage. You may also need to clean fuel filters and change the oil in the crankcase and transmission or use an oil stabilizer if changing the oil isn’t possible. Once you’ve taken these steps, it’s time to cover and store your boat.

The Best Tarps for Winterizing & Covering Your Boat

Mold and mildew are risks of tightly wrapping a boat for the winter. There are crystal pellets that absorb moisture that will help. The right tarp also helps. Shrinkwrap that is not properly ventilated may lead to rust and mildew. With the best boat tarp, you’ll have years of protection for a much lower price. Plus, the tarp is reusable and won’t add unnecessary plastic to the landfill in the spring.

Before choosing the best boat cover, where are you storing your boat? If you’re storing it inside in a storage facility, protection against ice or snow isn’t as important. Natural duck canvas designed for heavy-duty use would be enough to protect the boat’s finish against dust and dirt. Outside storage is different. It has to be heavy-duty, non-staining, and able to stand up to sun, ice, and snow. These are our top recommendations for covering a boat for outside storage, but one stands out as the absolute best boat cover.

  • 18-oz Canvas Tarps – If you need a durable tarp that allows air to pass while resisting water, 18-ounce canvas tarps are perfect. Make sure the material is 100% cotton and not treated. If it’s treated, it could cause staining.
  • Vinyl Coated Poly Tarps – Vinyl coated poly tarps resist mildew and are waterproof. They’re also treated to provide UV protection. The tear-resistant design helps with durability. Providing you’ve secured the tarp with bungee cords and/or rope, the wind is not going to cause it to rip and tear.
  • Iron Horse Tarps – Our first choice for the best tarp for boat covers is Iron Horse. Iron Horse polyester tarps allow air to flow, do not stain, and are built to last years. You won’t find a plastic or chemical odor from them either. For a boat cover, you won’t do better than Iron Horse.

Chicago Canvas has a wide selection of Iron Horse polyester tarps. Grommets are applied approximately 2′ apart to properly secure the Iron Horse tarp to your boat using bungees or rope. Choose from seven colors and get the polyester waterproof tarp in sizes as small as 5 by 7′ or as large as 30 by 30′. If that’s not big enough, don’t worry. We can customize the Iron Horse tarp to meet your needs.

We offer free custom quotes online through live chat, by phone, or by filling out a quick form at Chicago Canvas. Our specialists are happy to discuss the best tarp for your winter boat cover.