Boat Cover Material…Which One Is Best?

Video best material for boat covers

The answer is . . .

What boat cover material you use depends on what type of boat cover you are building, where you are living, and how you plan to use that cover. Remember that your boat cover material is the only thing between your boat and the weather!

Below you will find . . .

  • The fabrics we offer in our store.
  • A list of the most common boat cover fabrics and their attributes to help you decide what is important to you.
  • Some of our favorite fabrics listed at the bottom of this page.

Add vents to your boat cover to help the boat stay dryer inside!

The faster that air can be released from your boat cover, the dryer the boat cover fabric will stay on the inside. The dryer the boat stays, the less likelihood of mildew growth beneath the cover.

Our Fabrics

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  • All boat cover materials are considered mildew and UV resistant.
  • Some materials listed below are available as boat covers sold in stores and online. There are many more that are not listed. We mention these because they are the more popular boat cover materials available.
  • Here at our shop, we are firm believers in using materials with a minimum of a 5 year warranty.
  • We think saving a few bucks on boat cover fabric isn’t a deal at all if the boat cover ultimately fails early. However, we do understand budget plays a part in your decision.

Most Common Boat Cover Fabrics and their Attributes

Acrylic boat fabrics

This group of boat cover fabrics is considered a top line choice for boat covers.

The are top line because of their ability to last for years and still look good!

  • Sunbrella – 10 year limited warranty – The most popular acrylic in America.
  • Tempotest – 10 year limited warranty – This acrylic is from Italy and uses Teflon Extreme finishing giving double protection from water and oil stains. Also treated with Hi-Clean giving it an impenetrable barrier.
  • Recacril– 10 year limited warranty – Gaining popularity as a fine acrylic boat fabric.
  • Outdura – 5 year limited warranty – Also gaining popularity as a fine acrylic.
  • Dickson– 10 year limited warranty – A fine acrylic, and very popular in Europe.
  • Sundowner – 10 year limited warranty- Made in Spain, not readily available in the US yet.
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Best Uses: Storage covers, tops

Strengths: Breathable, beautiful, UV resistant, solution dyed, colorfast, clean-ability and mildew resistant. Available in a huge variety of colors.

Weaknesses: Higher price, abrasion resistance is a little weak and lighter colors soil easily. Acrylic boat fabrics need to be carefully reinforced. Not waterproof and will eventually need to be waterproofed again.

Specialty Sunbrella Fabric Product

  • Sunbrella Seamark – An acrylic that is bonded to vinyl. Has a 5 year limited warranty and is 100% waterproof.

Seamark fabric starts its life as Sunbrella, is purchased by the Haartz Company, and is coated with a vinyl backing.

Seamark is popular with Sea Ray for their bimini and camper tops.

Seamark is an expensive fabric, but desirable for two main reasons. It is 100% waterproof and a perfect match for Sunbrella.

This means you can use it as a waterproof fabric for your bimini and camper tops, and switch back to matching Sunbrella for the enclosures and canvas on the rest of your boat.

Polyester Boat Fabrics

There are some substantial differences among polyester boat cover material. So for that reason we group the polyesters into three groups . . .

Group 1 – Coated polyesters

This first group has appearance similarities.

Polyester boat cover material is often used for store bought and online boat covers.

Retail manufacturers may have their own brands of coated polyester fabrics and they are generally not available in the aftermarket.

So when buying an online boat cover, look at the warranty to see how they stand behind their fabrics. This will be very important in judging the quality of the boat fabric.

  • Aqualon – 5 year limited warranty
  • Aqualon Edge – 7 year limited warranty – New in 2016, has superior heat reflection and heat reduction beneath the cover. It’s Perfecta Marine technology makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics. We are very excited about this fabric and the heat reduction characteristics.
  • Aqualon Edge SOFT – 7 year limited warranty – This new fabric is really making waves with its Perfecta Marine technology that makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics AND it has a soft, non-woven, fuzzy backing to boot! This backing makes it a great light-weight fabric to use against things such as boat and car covers and other things you want to protect.
  • Harbor Time– 5 year limited warranty
  • Harbor Time Edge – 7 year limited warranty – This fabric is similar to Aqualon Edge, but has a tougher polyester fabric on top. It’s Perfecta Marine technology makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics and it works best for those tougher jobs and industrial applications.
  • Top Gun – 5 year limited warranty
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Best Uses – Storage Covers, Tops and Shade fly’s

Strengths: Strong, abrasion resistant, good UV resistance, available with soft liners for delicate surfaces in a mid price range. Easy to work with, looks good, easy to clean, mildew resistant, tough, highly water resistant.

Weaknesses: Possible de-lamination, possible color transfer, stiff in cold climate, low breath ability in coated products , some fading over time. Some crazing over time. (Crazing shows up as thin white lines on the fabric caused by folding or creasing the fabric.)

Group 2 – Vinyl Coated Polyesters and PVCBest Uses – Storage Covers, Tops, Trim for enclosures

This group provides some popular boat cover material choices for the high end group of boaters.

  • Herculite Riviera – 5 year limited warranty
  • Stamoid – 5 year limited warranty. Tough, beautiful, and more expensive.

Strengths: Very easy to clean, cool to the touch in very hot weather, tough. Very long lasting, waterproof, excellent clean-ability, high UV resistance, and dimensional stability. Done right it makes a beautiful boat cover.

Weaknesses: Not Breathable, stiff in cold weather, and higher cost.

A little more difficult to fabricate with due to the lack of stretch (can show more wrinkles depending on the skill of the fabricator).

Group – 3 Solution dyed Polyesters

This boat cover material belongs to a new generation of polyesters.

Top Notch – Heavier than Sunbrella, but looks nearly the same. Extremely tough and abrasion resistant. Makes a great travel cover. Not for home sewing machines. 8 year warranty.

Surlast – 3 year limited warranty – Popular 3 year polyester for manufactured boat covers.

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Strengths : All group 3 fabrics are strong, UV stable, dimensionally stable, attractive, breathable, highly water resistant, and make beautiful long lasting covers.

Weaknesses: Even with the improvements in longevity, they still don’t outlast the acrylics.

Nylon as a boat cover Material?

Nylon doesn’t hold up well in the sun, so the answer is no, unless you get it for free and make it for free. Don’t waste your money!

Do we have a favorite Boat Cover Fabric?

Yes we do….and of course this is just our opinion!

We like any type of Acrylic such as: Tempotest and Sunbrella. Nothing beat an acrylic for longevity. Blacks, blues and greens outlast other colors in the acrylics.

We also like:

  • Aqualon Edge- 7 year polyester, because it stays 30% cooler than all the rest, even in dark colors.
  • Harbor Time Edge 7 year polyester- when you need a heavy weight polyester that stays 30% cooler.

These are also awesome fabrics:

  • Riviera – 5 year
  • Stamoid – 5 year

These are exceptionally long lasting boat cover materials and so easy to clean. If you use these fabrics, you should have a fabricator whose skill level is fairly high; this type of fabric requires a little more expertise to obtain that high end look we all love.

Be Sure to Check Out All of Our EZ-Xtend Boat Zipper Products!!

EZ-Xtend Boat ZippersEZ-Xtend Boat TrackEZ-Xtend Drip Shields

Please come visit me at Cover Girl Marine Canvas & Upholstery to see some of our awesome work!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>