Fully Waterproof Boat Covers: The Pros and Cons

Fully waterproof boat covers are a great way to protect your boat from the elements when it is not in use. High-quality waterproof covers can dry your boat in heavy rain, snow, sleet, and high winds.

This guide explores the benefits and drawbacks of fully waterproof boat covers in depth to help you determine if they are right for your boat and needs. With an informed choice, you can get a cover that keeps your boat sheltered for many years while staying comfortable and accessible when using it.

The Pros of Fully Waterproof Boat Covers

Fully waterproof boat covers provide maximum protection from the elements. Some key benefits of waterproof covers include the following:

  • Keeps your boat completely dry. A high-quality waterproof cover will prevent any moisture from penetrating. Rain, snow, fog, and flooding cannot get in when the cover is properly installed and sealed.
  • Protects from UV damage. Exposure to sunlight can fade and deteriorate boat materials and finishes over time. A waterproof cover blocks 100% of UV rays to help maintain the appearance and integrity of your boat's exterior.
  • Keeps debris out. Waterproof covers form an impenetrable barrier against wind-blown debris, dust, leaves, dirt, and other particles that could scratch, stain or otherwise mar the surface of your boat.
  • Insulates in cold weather. Waterproof covers sometimes include an insulated lining for added warmth. The insulated barrier helps prevent heat loss from the interior of your boat in cold climates.
  • Long lifespan. High-quality waterproof covers are built to last for many years with regular use. They provide comprehensive coverage for prolonged periods of storage or seasonal use.
  • Peace of mind. Knowing your boat is fully protected from the elements gives you peace of mind that it will be in like-new condition whenever you uncover and launch it again. There are no anxieties over leaks, water damage, or weathering.
  • Can increase resale value. Keeping a boat in pristine condition under a waterproof cover, especially for collectible or classic boats, can help maximize the resale value when selling. There is no weathering or damage to detract from the boat's appeal.

Waterproof boat covers safeguard the boat all the time, in any weather. Waterproof covers cannot be beaten for comprehensive protection, and the security of knowing your boat is fully sheltered.

Sun Protection Waterproof Boat Covers

Cons of Fully Waterproof Boat Covers

While waterproof boat covers offer significant benefits, there are some important factors to consider regarding their potential downsides:

  • Higher cost. Waterproof covers tend to cost more than breathable covers. The high-quality, durable materials and advanced waterproof construction come at a premium. The initial investment may be hard to justify for smaller or lesser-used boats.
  • Difficulty venting. Since waterproof covers prevent moisture from escaping, they trap heat and excess humidity buildup. This can lead to issues with condensation, dampness, and even mould growth during storage or weather extremes. Some airflow and breathability are usually needed.
  • Reduced accessibility. Waterproof covers are designed to form an air- and water-tight barrier, so they can be more difficult to put on and remove for quick access to the boat. Tight-fitting covers may require more time and effort to unwrap and re-cover the boat each time it is accessed.
  • Too warm in warm weather. While insulation provides benefits in cold months, it can make a boat excessively warm during hot summer weather under a waterproof cover. Excess heat and sunlight exposure under the cover may cause the interior temperature to rise to uncomfortable or damaging levels over long periods.
  • Does not breathe. Fully waterproof covers do not breathe, so moisture cannot escape even when conditions change. If the weather changes from wet to dry, moisture trapped inside the cover cannot escape and evaporates, leading to excess buildup. Breathable covers handle variable conditions much better.
  • Prevents airflow. The airtight seal of waterproof covers prevents any airflow needed for cooling in some climates or seasons. Without airflow, the temperature inside the cover is not moderated and can get significantly too warm to be comfortable.

While waterproof covers shield the boat very effectively, their ability to keep air and moisture in can be equally problematic depending on conditions. When considering possible downsides, weigh how much--if any--breathability, ventilation, and airflow are important for your situation. With the pros and cons evaluated, the choice of cover can be optimized.

Yellow Waterproof Boat Covers

Understanding Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

Waterproof and water-resistant are often used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between the two. A water-resistant cover is designed to shield from light weather and splashes, but is not fully sealed or without sealed seamed. It will still allow some moisture to penetrate over time with prolonged exposure. A waterproof cover, on the other hand, has sealed seams, zippers, Velcro closures, and stitching to prevent any water from getting in. The materials are fully bonded and sealed for 100% waterproof protection.

Waterproof covers use special waterproof breathable fabrics and membranes that are completely impermeable. They will keep out rain, snow, and sleet and fully submerge a covered boat in the water. Only a waterproof cover can ensure maximum protection from the elements while providing full insulation. Water-resistant covers may work for short-term coverage, but for long term outdoor storage, only a high-quality waterproof boat cover will keep moisture away and prevent weathering or rot. For boat owners wanting the best protection, waterproofing is the only option.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Fully Waterproof Boat Cover

Several important factors must be considered before purchasing a fully waterproof boat cover. First, determine how you use your boat and how long it will be covered. Covers for seasonal or occasional use will have different requirements than long-term storage. Second, check your local climate and weather. Extreme or variable weather conditions may require additional features like insulation or UV protection.

Third, consider the size and type of your boat. Covers must fit properly to work as intended, so make sure options are available in the size you need. Some covers have extra features for specific boats, like bass or pontoon boats.

Fourth, evaluate your budget. While high-quality waterproof covers provide value, the upfront costs can still be significant, especially for larger boats. Make sure the expense fits within your budget while still meeting important requirements. There are options at various price points, from basic to premium.

Fifth, examine the specific features and benefits of different covers like UV resistance, insulation, heat vents, easy on/off, etc. Decide which features are must-haves to achieve the right balance of protection, breathability, and convenience.

Sixth, consider the additional costs. While the cover itself is important, remember there may be additional expenses involved with purchasing and using it, like storage fees, moving equipment, installation hardware, etc. Ensure all costs-not just the cover-fit within your budget if transporting, moving, or storing for the long term.

Seventh, read reviews from other boat owners. Look for reviews of covers you want to learn about real-world quality, durability, ease of use, breathability, and warranty support from other customers with similar boats. You want a cover that provides the benefits as advertised. Reviews can validate the pros and cons you identify.

With the right factors evaluated, you can choose a waterproof boat cover that protects your boat while meeting important needs around cost, features, ease of use, breathability, and convenience. Proper protection and performance at an affordable price are the goals when selecting the cover that is right for you.

Waterproof Boat Covers with snow cover

Maintenance and Care Tips for Your Fully Waterproof Boat Cover

  • Inspect seams and seals regularly. Waterproof covers rely on well-sealed seams and joints to keep water out. Check seams and seals around the edges, openings, and any repairs routinely for signs of damage, tearing, or separation and re-seal or re-seam as needed to maintain waterproof integrity.
  • Remove trapped moisture and condensation. Fully waterproof covers prevent moisture from escaping, causing condensation to build up inside the cover over time. Remove any trapped moisture or standing water to avoid mould growth, dampness, and a musty smell developing under the cover. Use a wet/dry vacuum or sponges to suction out excess moisture.
  • Treat mould or mildew promptly. Even with prevention, some mould or mildew may appear inside the waterproof cover or on the boat's surface. Treat any spots with a mould or mildew remover before they appear to avoid further spread. Kill existing mould, then determine and fix the source of excess moisture to prevent regrowth.
  • Apply re-proofing or re-sealing treatments. Waterproof coatings and seals can break down with use and weather exposure. Apply recommended re-proofing treatments like waterproofing sprays, wax seals, or polyurethane according to the cover manufacturer's schedule to maintain water resistance. Re-seam or re-seal any areas where seams or seals have come apart.
  • Ensure tight and secure fastenings. Waterproof covers rely on Velcro, buckles, snaps, straps, and other fasteners to securely close up the entire cover when installed on the boat. Ensure all fasteners remain securely fastened when the cover is on to prevent openings that compromise water resistance. Replace any damaged or deteriorated fasteners.
  • Allow for airflow on hot days. When possible, undo some of the fasteners around the edges or sides of the cover on very hot days to create a slight increase in airflow. This can help prevent overheating under a fully waterproof but non-breathable cover. But still, maintain water resistance by not opening up the cover completely.
  • Wash and re-treat as needed. Waterproof covers will still get dirty over time with use. Wash covers with soapy water and reapply waterproof treatments as directed to maintain a water-resistant protective barrier, especially after washing. Without re-treatment, water resistance will decrease.

Proper care and maintenance are essential to maximizing the effectiveness and longevity of fully waterproof boat covers. Following these best practices will keep covers waterproof and prevent issues, allowing them to shelter your boat for many years. Full waterproof protection can be sustained with regular inspection, treatment, and re-sealing.

Boats with Blue Waterproof Boat Covers

Professional Installation and DIY Options

Installing a boat cover provides an opportunity for both professional installation services and a DIY project. There are pros and cons to each approach to consider.

Professional installation provides several benefits. Professionals have the proper equipment, training, and experience to install covers quickly and securely for maximum effectiveness. They also often provide warranty coverage if any issues arise shortly after installation. However, professional installation tends to cost more due to labor fees. It also requires scheduling the work around your availability and needs.

Installing a cover yourself saves much money on labor costs since it is a DIY project. You can work at your own pace on a schedule that suits you perfectly. However, the job may take longer and be more difficult than anticipated for an amateur. There is also a greater chance of mistakes that compromise the cover's fit, seal or security if you are not experienced with boat covers. Self-installation also voids any warranty coverage.

The ideal solution depends on your situation, skills, time availability, and risk aversion. Professional help is often worth the investment for high-value or complex cover installations. For simple, low-cost covers and with some mechanical experience, DIY installation can save a lot of money and prove perfectly satisfactory. Sometimes, a hybrid approach using professionals for key tasks or areas may also work well.

Some additional things to weigh in deciding between professional and DIY installation include:

  • Cover type - Basic breathable covers are often easier to DIY than thick, insulated waterproof covers.
  • Boat size - Larger boats typically require more time, equipment and skill to cover properly, favoring professional installation.
  • Securement type - Installation of permanent bolts, straps, or frames may be beyond DIY comfort for some owners. Velcro or snap-on covers can often be DIY installed with less difficulty.
  • Experience level - Those with mechanical boat experience may feel more comfortable taking on installation themselves versus novice boaters. Start with DIY on smaller projects to build up experience.
  • Risk tolerance - How much can you afford to risk in terms of mistakes, poor installation quality, or compromised cover effectiveness? Those who are afraid of higher risks often favor paying professionals for the job.
  • Warranty importance - Professional installation is typically required to maintain coverage if warranty coverage is meaningful. For some, this alone makes it worth the investment.

Ultimately, you must weigh all factors and go with the approach that provides the desired outcome at a cost you can accept. Whether hiring a pro or rolling up your sleeves for the work yourself, get the job done right for the protection, security, and peace of mind you need for years to come.


Fully waterproof boat covers provide unmatched protection from the elements when properly installed and maintained. From high-end waterproof covers to breathable tarpaulins and everything in between, explore your options thoroughly to find a balance of effective protection and ease of use that is right for you and your boating activities. If you are considering fully waterproof boat covers, please feel free to visit our website!

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