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Covering for winter


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Greetings gentlemen

I will be covering my 18' open bow boat and storing it outside for the winter.

1)My plan is to install wood, aluminum or fiberglass slats to support the cover.

2)Cushioning the sharp windshield edges with tubing insulation.

3)Laying a tarp over all of that.

4)Installing a Sterns 4 year warranty cover over the top of that.

Doe you see any issues or oversights with my plan?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!


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You don't want it totally air tight.

Make sure you have some pitch to the boat. Nose way up. I jack my rear axle up to get weight off the tires and use a 12" cinderblock & 4x8 under my fully extended front wheel. Also pull the drain plug out. Moth balls will keep cats & other critters out of it.

When we get a good day in Jan, Feb & Mar, open up a corner to let some fresh air in. Some guys put a piece of vinyl over the tires to keep sunlight off of them. Insurance companies advise trailer owners to put a lock & chain through the wheels to the frame.

I use reinforced 2x4s to support the tarp. When the snow flies, use a soft bristle broom to remove some (but not all) snow build up. Don't let a foot of snow accumulate on it. When it turns warm that snow will be very heavy.

Make sure you remove radio, fish finder, battery, any liquid crystal display item & disconnect speedometer cable if it's water pressure activated. (Blow back through the tube to remove water)

Lastly, don't park it under a tree that may lose limbs! Insurance will cover it but it's a pain in the A$$ fixing/replacing stuff.

Tom B.


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Good stuff above - one thought though is - be careful of moisture/condensation between the tarp and cover leading to mold. As Tom stated - don't make it too air tight.


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Sounds like a good plan, Red, including all the suggestions above. One thing I would definitely remember to do is ensure the lower unit is down so any water drains out and doesn't have a place to freeze. I place Damp Rid moisture absorbers inside my boat. It collects moisture in a small container and it's large enough to last all winter. West Marine carries them - white container.

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I cover mine with a tarp and 2x4 frames that I made. I took saw horse brackets and added 2 x 4's to then. These are my upright supports. I then put 2 12' 2x4's together to make 1 24' 2x4. I place the 3 supports equally down the middle of the boat. Place the 24' 2x4 in the supports and screw them in. I also put carpet on the bottom of each 2x4 to keep it from damaging the boat. Drap tarp over it and tie it tight to the trailer. I had to put carpet on the corners of the windshield and other corners. It was really cheap and kept all the snow off. I made it 5 seasons with the same tarp and framing.

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PVC worked fine for me; (3) corner joints, and (9) 4' sections (3 make up ridge, 3 legs on each side, each cut to fit). Then I pull a thicker silver tarp tight with bungies to my trailer every other grommit. I wrap the ends of the PVC with foam to prevent it from scratching.

Back the trailer up onto 2x6s, pull the plug, pour antifreeze in the aerator, and tilt trailer up until the outboard is 3" from the ground.

I've learned to save my canvas cover for the rainy seasons. 2 years ago I had a puddle develop unattended during one of the january thaws on a 1yr. old $200 cover. It froze, and ripped a 6" hole in it. Tarp cost me $15 and pulls tight to allow snow / water to glide off. Plus, leaving the bow and stern loose allows air flow, resulting in alot less mildew cleanup in the spring.

Not sure if its right for everyone, but it works out good for mine.

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