Boat Cover Vs. Shrink Wrap – What is Better

If you have your own boat, you do not have to worry about renting a boat each time you go out to sail. If you think that having a boat is only for rich people and you cannot have one, that is just not true.

boat cover vs shrink wrap

However, the fact is that if you own a boat instead of paying for rentals, you will be saving a lot of your money and your time and skipping the hassle.

If you have a boat, you will need to care for it and protect it from various elements. You might know that during winter, boat owners do not sail.

But doesn’t a boat undergo damage while keeping it untouched for a whole season? Well, it does, which is why owners who care for their boats cover it up to avoid any damage.

Why Covering Your Boat is Important

If you already cover your boat for the protection, it is good for you. You are taking the right measures to protect your expensive investment. However, there are a lot of people who do not consider covering their boat and suffer.

So if you have decided to cover your boat and have reached this article for a wise choice, then you are in the right place. Covering your boat not only keeps your boat safe from the elements, but it also has many benefits. Here we will discuss some of those benefits, as well as what you should consider.

When you decide to secure your boat by covering it, you are not only making sure that your boat will look good when sailing on your next visit, but you are also decreasing the likelihood of water pooling on your boat.

The quickest way any material degrades is when water sits on it. While covering the boat, you need to ensure that the boat cover of your choice leaves no part of the boat exposed, so it does not collect water or create pockets.

For that, you need to choose a long-lasting cover and tie-down to extend the life of both the boat and the cover.

The most important and most logical benefit of covering your boat properly is the protection of the boat. Covering will also help in cutting down the cleaning time and preserving the value of your boat.

You need to maintain the boat even if you are selling or just passing the asset to your family. Some of the other benefits are:

  • Preventing sun damage
  • Repelling moisture
  • Avoiding pests
  • Increase the life of your boat
  • Maintaining the shine and finish of the boat
  • Increasing the life of your boat

Major Options for Covering the Boat

Before winters, boat owners usually struggle in choosing the right way to cover their boats for the off-season.

Sailors have to make the most important choice in order to make sure that during the off-season, their most precious and prized asset stays safe, is whether they should go for bat cover or shrink-wrap.

As both the options assure reasonable protection from the elements, we have decided to go through both the products, so you have a clear idea of what option is best for you.

Boat Cover

The most important benefit of covering your boat with a boat cover is that you can use it from season to season. This means that you are investing, unlike the single-use shrink wrap.

It is more like a one-time expense in order to protect your vessel. The boat covers may cost you more than other covering materials, but it will give you a long time benefit.

If you are willing to keep your boat for the foreseeable future, paying a high price is well worth it. If you purchase a good quality boat cover, it can last for years.

Boat Cover Vs. Shrink Wrap – What is Better 1

When your boat cover is properly supporting your boat, it will extend the life of your boat as well as avoid water and snow from falling inside. A nice boat cover will protect your boat from sun rays, keeping the boat new and shiny.

These covers comprise breathable fabric, which means that it allows any moisture on the interior to escape and works as a water repellant. Breathable fabric is also essential as it protects your boat from any mold or mildew.

Moreover, as compared to shrink wrapping, the installation process is also straightforward. Even you can complete the task of covering your boat without hiring an expert or messing up with potentially dangerous equipment.

Even if you are willing to sell the boat, a good cover will add up the value and increase the price of your boat. So buying the best boat cover can end up in a good deal for you.

Disadvantages of Boat Cover

If you are storing your boat outside with mooring or snap covers, this can cause several issues. If you are buying snap covers, you should know that these covers do not protect the outside of your boat. So your boat will face partial exposure throughout the winters.

Some boat covers cannot keep your boat clean or seal up your boat completely. Covers may also fill the snow, ice or water on top and leak inside the boat. When this boat cover tears, you need to replace such an expensive cover, which can be costly.

Shrink Wrap

The scenario of shrink-wrapping varies among different boat owners. You need to pay every year to shrink-wrap your boat, and the price depends on the length, type, and dimensions of the boat.

Shrink-wrapping costs less than high-quality custom or semi-custom boat covers, but you should keep in mind that you have to pay every month for the shrink-wrapping.

Shrink-wrap covers are waterproof if applied properly. These covers ensure that rain does not enter inside the cover and destroy the boat. However, these covers are non-breathable.

This means that if the moisture is under the shrink wrap, it cannot leave and stays trapped. This stored moisture can cause mildew and mold, and eventually, it damages the boat seriously if you do not take care. If you are installing shrink wraps, you need to install vents to enable proper breathability.

Most boat owners pay professional companies to shrink-wrap. These companies follow the treatment before the season every year. The cost of installing depends on the type and length of the vessel.

You should know that these shrink-wraps may seem less costly but consider applying it every year for a few years and comparing it with the amount you will pay for boat covers. You will clearly see that shrink-wrapping isn’t as cost-effective as it looks like.

However, there are various options of shrink-wrapping that are cheaper, and some kits are available for applying them by yourself. But these options can be a potential fire-hazard and consume a lot of your precious time.

You cannot also risk your expensive boat as applying the cover incorrectly can damage the exterior of your boat, costing you a lot for repairs.

Recommended Reading: How Long Does A Viny Wrap Last In Saltwater?

Disadvantages of Shrink Cover

This is true that most of the people choose shrink-wraps, but we should also consider the disadvantages before making a choice. The major drawback of shrink-wrapping your boat is the cost of installation.

You have to hire an expert and pay them around hundreds of dollars. The prices depend on the shape and size of the boat. Let’s look at the alternative and assume that you are renting indoor storage for your boat throughout the winter.

The monthly storage fee that you will be paying will almost be equal to the shrink wrapping cost. Still, you need to worry about finding a storage place that is clean and free from rodents and pests. In many places, it is hard to find a place that you are happy with.

Another disadvantage that you need to consider is that once you shrink-wrap your boat, you will not be able to use the interior until you completely remove the cover.

You should also know that shrink wrap is not re-useable. Once they install the cover, you need to cut it open in the summer or spring when you want your boat to be ready. This means that you need to pay the installation charges every winter once you un-wrap the cover.

You cannot use it next time. So paying for expensive installation charges every year will eventually cost you more.


Shrink-wraps are very common among boat owners as people consider the cheaper option for protecting their boats as compared to a high-quality cover.

However, we suggest that you should go for boat covers and do not worry about the money. If you are spending thousands of dollars on a boat and not spending a few more dollars in protection, it does not make a sense.

You should go for high-quality protection, increasing the life of your boats and its parts.