You are using your boat daily or leaving it outdoors without the boat cover on and wondering whether it is okay to leave the boat like that (without the cover on)? Or should a boat be covered all the time if you aren’t using it?
Covering a boat with a boat cover is not needed for every boat. Boats that are kept outdoors exposed directly to external environments (sun/rain) need a cover, but boats kept in enclosed storages don’t need one. Still, it’s a good practice to cover your boat if you aren’t going to use it for days.
Whether to cover your boat or not depends on where you will store the boat; if you are storing the boat in enclosed storage (in the garage or elsewhere), there is no need to cover it. If you keep it in just covered storage (not enclosed) or outdoors or in the water, etc., the boat cover is essential.
However, if you go boating daily, you need not cover the boat if you keep it in enclosed storage (inside the garage or elsewhere). But if you keep the boat outdoors, it depends on the weather (if the weather is good and no signs of wind or rain or snow, and insects, you probably don’t need to cover your boat daily).
Still, it is good practice to cover your boat if you keep it outdoors. Sometimes your boat could become home to many small insects or creatures if it is left uncovered for days. If that’s the case in your region, you better cover the boat even for a night.
One of the essential steps to do before covering the boat is to ensure that there is no water inside the boat and try to keep everything dry. Otherwise, the water could evaporate, causing any mold or mildew. So, it is essential to ensure there is no water inside the hull if you cover it (for longer periods).
Check this short helpful video on how to cover your boat entirely and adequately.
A quick pro and con comparison of covering the boat will evoke all the elements, and from that, you can decide whether you should cover your boat or not. Here are the pros and cons of covering a boat with a boat cover.
The pros of covering the boat
Covering the boat will prevent dust & debris
Covering the boat will prevent dust & debris from settling on your boat, and that is one of the main reasons to properly cover your boat if you are leaving it for more extended periods (week or more). Later it will be a mess to clean the dust or debris that are resided on the boat.
The wind causes the residing of dust or debris on your boat, so cover the boat properly if it is a windy day. And make sure that it is covered entirely and properly so that the cover won’t become loose.
However, if you are leaving for a day or two, you need not cover the boat if there are no tiny little insects, and the weather is good, no sign of wind or rain or snow (at that time) in your region. However, it is good practice to cover the boat (taking that 5 or 10 minutes is worth it).
Covering a boat will protect the boat from rains
Covering the boat protects the boat during rains, but you should make it waterproof tight by using waterproof covers to protect it from rains. However, the rainwater will not sink the boat, but in heavy rains, there is a possibility. Later it will be a mess if you didn’t cover the vessel.
If the water gets collected inside the boat due to bilge pump inefficiency or the scupper (drains) plugged due to any debris, it will spoil the interiors and seats if you leave it like that for extended periods. You can prevent all of this by covering the boat during rains, especially by waterproofing it.
And it is a good practice for every boater to remove the boat from the water when it rains and properly waterproof (covering) the boat, which will protect the boat from rains.
Covering a boat will secure the boat from sun rays
Covering the boat will guard the boat against the sun’s harmful UV rays, and this is another main reason why you should cover your boat. Sun (UV rays) will break down the pigment in the gel coat and cause your boat’s color to fade to a dull shade of its former self, making it unattractive.
They can also cause the outer surface to turn chalky and deteriorate your gel coat over time. Unless your boat is stored indoors (inside the garage) or appropriately covered, it is very difficult to stop UV light from affecting your gel coat, which deteriorates and fades the boat’s color.
So, cover the boat properly by using assured boat covers if you are storing it outdoors so that the sun rays will not damage your boat. Covering the boat will also prevent any delicate parts from cracking due to the sun’s rays (like seat covers, personal belongings, etc.).
Covering a boat will guard the boat against snow
Winter is on its way. If you live in snowfall regions, you’ll get snow, ice, and freezing rain during the long non-boating season. If your boat is stored indoors, you probably need not cover it, but you’ll need to cover it if it is stored elsewhere other than indoors (like outdoors).
If the boat isn’t covered in winter, snow that falls on your boat melts when the sun shines and becomes ice that is hard to remove and builds up and on. The water that melts will go inside the vessel and could cause (any) severe damages if that water couldn’t get out through drains or blige.
At this time, simply covering the boat might not be a good solution. It might also require a boat cover support system so that it can withstand the heavy snowfalls better. So, covering the boat will protect your boat against snow (well) during winters (however, it could be a nightmare for wooden boats).
Covering a boat will guard it against tiny insects
Covering your boat will prevent all the little insects and creatures from settling inside/on your boat. However, if you live in areas where there are no insects, you probably need not cover the boat, but you need to make sure the weather is good, with no sign of winds or rain, or snow.
Covering the boat will also keep the animals, birds, etc., from residing in/on your boat. But, you need not worry about that if you are leaving the boat for a day or two without cover. So, if the weather is good and no insects around, it is OK to leave your boat uncovered for few days (only).
These are the five main pros of covering the boat. However, if you are leaving it for a day or two, you need not cover the boat if there are no tiny little insects, and the weather is good, no sign of wind or rain or snow (at that time) in your region. More than that, you need to cover your boat.
The cons of covering the boat
Covering a boat isn’t good for long-term storage
Covering the boat isn’t good for long-term storage because it needs to be checked regularly (once every week or so). Anything could happen for a covered boat if you leave it for a long time (like the cover could become loose, or any debris can settle over the cover, etc.).
If you are keeping your boat at your eyesight (near your home or elsewhere near), it is fine because you can check it regularly (daily). Otherwise, it could be a problem. Checking it regularly once every week or so will be good to go.
Ventilation could be a problem if the boat is covered for extended periods. Polyethylene material (which is used in most boat covers) doesn’t allow airflow. Condensation could be a problem, resulting in causing mold or mildew due to the trapped moisture inside.
To prevent mold and mildew inside the boat, you need to select a boat cover with vents capable of releasing any air that may build up inside the vessel over time. If vents are not an option, you need to look for other cover materials.
Keep everything dry before covering it for extended periods. If water is present in the hull, it could evaporate over time. If the cover has vents, it is OK because the water vapors will escape through the vents. Otherwise, it will cause mold and mildew.
After taking the boat out of the water, just leave it for some time and remove all the water inside the hull and the bilge area (if any). Then wait for an hour or two and then start covering your boat. Now mold and mildew occurrences are less.
Should you cover your boat every night?
Covering the boat every night is not required if it is kept indoors. But if you are keeping it outdoors, it’s good to cover it; however, the cover is not required if you keep it only for shorter periods and if there are no signs of bad weather like heavy wind or rain or snow and no insects around.
Sometimes, your boat could become home to many little insects or any creatures. So, if that’s the case near your home, it is best to cover the boat even for a single night. So, if you are storing it outdoors, covering it or not depends on the weather and external conditions.
However, if you are keeping it indoors, the cover is not required. If the environment is good outdoors, it is OK to leave the boat uncovered for shorter periods. But for longer periods, it is highly recommended to cover the boat. And make sure that you are not leaving any traces of water inside to prevent mold and mildew.
The key takeaways
Covering the boat is not required if it is kept indoors, like in enclosed storage or a garage. But the boats that are kept outside exposed directly to external environments (sun, rain, snow, insects, etc.) need to be covered. Still, it’s a good practice to cover your boat if you aren’t going to use it for days.
If you are keeping the boat indoors, you don’t need to cover the boat. But, if you are keeping it outdoors and thinking not to cover the boat, it is OK as long as if there are no signs of bad weather (wind, rains, snow, etc.) and insects. If it is kept indoors, you need not cover it at all.
You need to check all the external conditions that may hurt your boat if it is kept outdoors without a cover. Otherwise, it would be best if you were prepared for everything that could happen to your uncovered boat kept outside.