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Spring Boat Cover Care

posted on 02/16/2010

Spring is not that far away, so I have been looking around the net to see what info other sites offer about boat covers and the maintenance that should be done after you pull your boat out of storage.
I must say I'm surprised at how much the ghost writers know. It is quite obvious that they have done their research but they do leave out some important information.
Now I'm not going to bore you about why you need a cover in the first place. Most people that own a boat know that already but if you want to hear why, leave a comment and I will go through the points in a later post.

OK, so your boat has been in storage for a few months. Whether it was in a shed or outside, that cover has been collecting dust and dirt the whole time. The first thing to consider is if you want to clean the cover up a bit. Some materials, like Top Gun (an almost indestructible coated polyester fabric) or the like dont really need cleaning unless there is noticeable ugliness hiding the color.
Most fabrics will need to be at least washed with clean water and a soft brush. Sunbrella, Marine Vinyls, Cotton Ducks and Poly-cotton Ducks can all benefit from this.
No matter what material a cover is made of it is best to at least hose it off and let it dry.
I cant keep count of how many customers bring something in for repair that has never even been brushed off resulting in higher repair costs and shorter fabric life.

Dirt laden material cannot be run through a sewing machine without damage to the parts underneath the bed of the machine. The material has to be cleaned by the shop doing the repairs or by the customer. I don't mind getting paid for washing a cover but it would save allot if was clean before it came in.
Material that is never cleaned will not last as long due to dirt acting as an abrasive in between the fibers, especially for a cover that is used for travel.

If your cover is starting to get beyond the two year mark it is time for a good cleaning and treatment of water repellent. Depending on the fabric the cover is made of, cleaning techniques can vary widely. So do your research before using Simple Green or Soft Scrub (yes, someone actually did use it) and ruining the material.
Most water repellents state what they should be used on and do a fairly good job keeping water at bay but care following instructions must be exercised or it wont work for long.
If you would like to know of some good cleaners and repellents, just ask and I will steer you in the right direction.

Keep in mind that a small amount of maintenance can extend the life of a cover for years. I have seen 10 year old covers that only looked a couple years old. I have seen 5 year old covers made from very good fabric that are past their usage life. So at least hose and brush that cover off every Spring and you will get more life out of it.




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