There is a considerable financial investment involved in buying a boat, and a boat cover is a necessary accessory to help protect that investment. Faced with rain or snow conditions, precipitation can begin to pool up on the cover, stretching it out of shape, weakening it, and eventually causing a hole. Boat cover supports, however, will help extend the life of the cover. Boat cover supports work by tenting the cover from below and holding it taut so water will always run off.
Bow-Type Boat Cover Supports
Bow-style boat cover supports are thin planks of fiberglass or wood cut a few inches wider than the boat. They are set into sockets placed opposite each other along the inside of the boat. The width of the planks and the angle of the sockets keep the support bowed upward and will keep the boat cover taut. Sockets can be permanently mounted on the inside edge of the boat, or some manufacturers sell connectors that clip onto the boat rail and hold the planks, with no assembly required. Adjustable-length planks are also available in case your needs change.
Boat Cover Support Poles
A boat cover support pole is a simple extendable device that stands on the floor of a boat and can be adjusted to the right height to keep the cover taut. Some poles can be reduced in size to as small as 20 inches or extended to 60. Most boat cover support poles are constructed from aluminum with a rubber foot, and a cushioned tip that will hold up the cover without damaging it. However, some boaters have recommended reinforcing the boat cover where the tip of the pole touches it. A cover requires two or three poles for best support.
Boat Cover Support Systems
Boat cover support systems use one pole in the middle of the boat to support the center of a large “X” of webbing. The ends of the webbing have hooks to attach to the bow and stern without scratching. When the webbing is attached and tightened, the tension supports the boat cover. The cover is not stressed too much in any one spot, so it should not need reinforcing.
While a boat cover keeps weather out, it also has the ability to trap damaging moisture inside. For this reason, some boat cover support systems come with a venting mechanism. A plastic or metal collar is attached to the cover for the pole to go through. The pole, which is ventilated, then pokes up through the collar and opens to outside air. If choosing this type of vented system look for a pole that has a cover over the tip to keep water from getting into the boat via the hole.