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  1. #1
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    Default Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    I am going to be putting up my boat for the cold snowy months here in Michigan.
    Since our boat will be stored outside, I was looking for some recommendations on what type, or brand of cover I should use.

    BTW...kinda' sad that the summer is over....

    Thanks!!!
    Brian

  2. #2
    Lieutenant NelsonQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Old Tyme

    I'm simply building a support frame out of 2 inch PVC piping and a heavy tarp from Walmart. This worked well last year on my old boat and it survived a year with a total of 14 ft of snowfall
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  3. #3
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    The taller you make the pvc frame, the steeper the sides will be and the snow will slide off. One boat I attach the cover to the trailer frame with bungies, the other I connect the cover underneath the trailer frame with bungies, one side of the tarp to the other. Depends on the size of the cover how/where you attach it.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  4. #4
    Lieutenant NelsonQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark42 View Post
    The taller you make the pvc frame, the steeper the sides will be and the snow will slide off.
    Good point Mark. My first tarp attempt didn't sit higher than the windshield, and the downward pressure on the windshield almost damaged it. I'll be sure to account for it this year on my new boat as you've mentioned
    2010 Hurricane SS 188 OB
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Wow guys...I never even considered a PVC frame but I like that idea!
    I am planning on building another garage to keep my boats in but that won't happen this year...or maybe next.
    I looked at a couple of those portable garage packages but would get the same thing with the PVC frame and tarp and would certainly be at a lower cost!
    Do you build the frame like a "pup tent" configuration?

    Awesome!! Thanks guys!!!

    Brian

    (14 feet of snow???? Holey Socks!!!)

  6. #6
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    i don't have the snow load problem, but this works great in Fl.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Dont waste your money on one of those portable garages. I bought one last summer to shed my boat in. Worked good till some snow sat on it. Where the poles slid together buckled. I replaced the bent poles w/ pvc pipe for now. I dont know if it will make it for another year in the snow. It was doing good till we had that one big snow storm. You have to keep cleaning the snow off.
    A day on the water is a good day!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Hmmmm, I've heard of people putting innertubes under the cover to help the snow slide off. But, I really like the 2" PVC idea!! I think I'll be going that way, then in summer I can take it apart and store it in the garage.... and it won't go flat on me.

  9. #9
    Lieutenant NelsonQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by One View Post
    Dont waste your money on one of those portable garages. I bought one last summer to shed my boat in. Worked good till some snow sat on it. Where the poles slid together buckled. I replaced the bent poles w/ pvc pipe for now. I dont know if it will make it for another year in the snow. It was doing good till we had that one big snow storm. You have to keep cleaning the snow off.
    Yeah, in our near record breaking snowfall last year (4 inches shy of the record around 14 ft total) I watched several of those portable garages collapse earlier in the season. Also, an 18yr girl was clearing the snow from inside one where her car was parked and it collapsed on top of her and unfortunately she died.

    There are some heavy duty ones out there but quite pricey and still need constant snow removal.

    The PVC stuff will work. TD's diagram shows it perfectly however I'm adding a few extras for the snow (apparently we get more snow in Canada that TD gets in Florida, go figure)
    2010 Hurricane SS 188 OB
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  10. #10
    Chief Petty Officer arboldt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Not sure where in west Michigan you are, but we've been known to have massive snowfall also, but usually it melts in between blizzards.

    You didn't say how big a boat you've got. That could make a big difference.

    If you look at TD's pics, his PVC is braced to the gunwales of the boat. If you've got a lot of snow load, not sure if they'll hold. So... here are some other thoughts as you design your own system.

    The PVC will work, but I'd suggest vertical supports at least every 3'. For the heavy wet stuff in W Michigan, support every 2' might be even better. The inverted 'V' support TD shows is ok -- just use more of it. However you frame it, make sure the side / vertical supports won't slip, slide, or bury themselves in soft ground. Try to support the tarp over the boat to prevent weighty issues on boat components like the windshield, steering wheel, throttle, etc.

    You will want enough tension on the tarp cover to prevent sagging and puddling from heavy snow, ice, and water as they melt.

    You will also want to allow some kind of air movement inside your tarp canopy to prevent a place for mildew to start (see other threads in this forum). It's probably a trick how to do that AND make it weatherproof.

    There are other threads about winter storage of your boat and trailer... many guys recommend blocking the trailer up off its wheels. Others mention varmint-proofing your boat over winter.

    Search this forum, get your ideas, make your plans, and let us know what you come up with.

    I guess I'm quite fortunate. We store our boat in a garage at the lake cottage over the winter.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    [QUOTE=Old Tyme;1845838]I am planning on building another garage to keep my boats in but that won't happen this year...or maybe next.

    Awesome!! Thanks guys!!!

    Brian

    QUOTE]


    Want to come and build one for me next.
    I think there will be a run on PVC piping and connectors now!

    Does anyone have a good configuration for a pontoon?
    Chris

    Up a river without a DAM lake!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    I am attaching some pics of the pvc frame I built to support a tarp on my boat. This frame is now 5 years old and works great. I don't know what size or style your boat is, but you may be able to get some ideas from this.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by striper2101 View Post
    I am attaching some pics of the pvc frame I built to support a tarp on my boat. This frame is now 5 years old and works great. I don't know what size or style your boat is, but you may be able to get some ideas from this.
    Will that hold up to snow? it looks like you have some weak points at the joints. That would be my only concern with making a PVC frame.
    Chris

    Up a river without a DAM lake!

  14. #14
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    looks like a good frame, i think i would throw a couple of more "T's" in it for support.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    I definitely did not overbuild it, but it works great. I find that as long as the tarp is tight, the snow slides right off. The few times we have had a heavy wet snow and the snow didn't slide off, the frame held the weight with no problem. I just brushed the snow off with a broom and I was good to go.

    Also, to ensure that the joints hold and to make disassembly easier, I drilled a hole through all unions and put a piece of copper wire through the hole and twist it so it cant come apart.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    I make an "A" frame out out wood. First is the regular boat cover. Then a beam running the length of the boat over the windshield and all. 2x2's from the beam on an angle down to 4x4's, which also hold up the beam. The 4x4's are held up by 4x4 holding stakes. Who knows what they are called but menards has em. They are metal and can be driven 2' into the ground. Then a tarp over the whole thing. This top tarp is about 2' over the regular cover. I can open up the ends to let air circ. Brush off after every snow. Held up pretty well to a lot of snow last year.

  17. #17
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    My PVC frame is a little simplier than some of the others. I made two upside down T pieces, then connect them with a horizontal length. The tarp is drapped over it, giving the "pup tent" affect when the bungies pull the cover tight.

    I just got an 11 mil grey tarp from Harbor Freight for far less than the blue tarps from Home Depot or Lowes, and it is MUCH heavier.



    11' 4" x 18' 6" tarp is $23. plus $8 ship.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  18. #18
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark42 View Post
    My PVC frame is a little simplier than some of the others. I made two upside down T pieces, then connect them with a horizontal length. The tarp is drapped over it, giving the "pup tent" affect when the bungies pull the cover tight.

    I just got an 11 mil grey tarp from Harbor Freight for far less than the blue tarps from Home Depot or Lowes, and it is MUCH heavier.



    11' 4" x 18' 6" tarp is $23. plus $8 ship.
    I was just going to ask, I got my harbor Freight sale flyer the other day. ( Found it in the recycle box, wife intercepted and diverted it. I do the same with her jewelry sale mags )

    Anyways, I was wondering which of the tarps to get, I'll have to get a big one to cover a 24 ft toon (its 51.00 on sale - the farm HD ones). I have not heard any one talk about how they cover a toon.

    Thinking of putting saw horses at the ends, and place my extension ladder across to make the back bone. then just rope up and down and the tarp over it. I also remember someone talked about spraying the tarp with something to get the snow and water to slide off.
    Chris

    Up a river without a DAM lake!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    Quote Originally Posted by arboldt View Post
    Not sure where in west Michigan you are, but we've been known to have massive snowfall also, but usually it melts in between blizzards.
    Yeah...Allegan County area seems to get all the snow, storms, winds, etc.
    I'm in Fremont and we sometimes get hit hard.

    I've been looking at all options including inside storage. I do like the PVC idea.

    Thanks for the tips guys! I sure appreciate it.

    Brian

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Boat Cover for Winter Storage

    here in minnesota i made a giant sawhorse to hold the tarp up off my boat. i just bought a pair of those cheap sawhoprse brackets that fold together and when you spread the legs apart they clamp onto the 2x4 top piece. i have 16ft 2x4 for the top. set one set of legs in the stern of the boat and one in the bow. double tarp with 2 blue tarps tied or bungeed. i've been using the same "sawhorse" for about 10 years on 3 differant boats. the legs fold up and go in the storage shed and the 16ft goes in my wood rack under the deck for the summer. a tarp lasts about 2 years. i think the key is getting enough height to slide the snow off. here's another tip for winter storage. a guy from a place that stores boats told me they no longer use moth balls inside of the boats in the winter to keep mice out. they use dryer sheets. i was a little skeptical but i tried in on my boat and tent camper last winter and no mice evidence. he said buy the cheapest i could find and use plenty of them. i used a box and a half for the 2.

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