Shrink Wrap vs. Boat Cover
Which Option is Right for You?
With winter around the corner, boat owners near and far are struggling with the plethora of choices associated with the winterization process. Perhaps one of the most important decisions for sailors to make when it comes to off-season care for their most prized assets is whether to go with shrink wrap or a boat cover. While both options offer adequate protection from the elements, here’s a brief rundown of both products to help you pick the one that’s right for your specific situation.
When it comes to shrink wrapping, there are a couple of possible scenarios to consider. Most owners pay professional shrink wrapping companies to apply the treatment every year, with the cost varying depending on the length and type of vessel. Although the one-time cost of shrink wrapping your boat might seem preferable to the significantly greater cost of a quality custom-fit cover, keep in mind that this is an annual cost that, compounded over several years, may not be as cost-effective as it appears at first glance. While there are a variety of cheaper, do-it-yourself kits on the market, applying the shrink wrap on your own poses fire-hazard concerns and can be significantly time-consuming. Incorrect application may also damage your boat’s exterior and result in costly repairs.
When applied correctly, shrink wrap provides a waterproof protective seal that prevents corrosion and protects wear and tear from the elements. However, it’s also non-breathable, so if any moisture is under the cover upon application, it’s stuck there—and that means mold and mildew that can cause severe damage over the winter months. If you choose to shrink wrap your boat, ensure that vents are installed to allow adequate airflow.
The obvious benefit of opting for a boat cover is that it’s a one-time expense that you can use year after year to protect your vessel. True, it may be a hefty price when compared to the cost of a single shrink wrap, but if you’re thinking in the long-term, it may be well worth it if you plan on keeping the same boat for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the installation process is fairly straightforward when compared to shrink wrapping, providing you with the added convenience of completing the task yourself without having to hire someone else or mess with potentially dangerous equipment.
As long as the cover is secured and supported correctly, it can extend the life of your boat by allowing moisture from rain and snow to run off and protect from any potential sun-damage that could cause blistering. Additionally, most high-end covers are made from a breathable fabric that allows any residual moisture escape, preventing the threat of mold or mildew.