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  1. #1
    Seaman
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    Default PVC frame to support boat cover

    I need to build some type of frame/support to hold up a tarp over my boat during the fall and winter. I have tried different things for the past few years and always wind up with puddles on the tarp. Anyone have any ideas on what the best design would be?My boat is a 20' cuddy with bow rail and o/b. I plan on using a blue tarp probably 15x30 from home depot. The boat is a 1990 so I really didn't want to spend money on a real cover.thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Cadet
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    Jun 2003
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    I made mine from 1" PVC tubing and tee fittings.I used an inverted T configuration to stabilize uprights spaced about every four feet. The uprights plugged into tee fittings with tubing between to form the ridge line. make the uprights high enough to produce a fair slope in the tarp from the ridge to the boat sides to shed snow. Leave about three feet extra tubing overhanging fore and aft. Run ropes from the ridge to the trailer frame (like rafters) to keep the tarp from sagging. Drape the tarp over and arrange it to leave a small opening fore and aft to allow ventilation but still keeping out rain/smow. I used a large silver/green heavy duty poly tarp from my local marine place. It held up to last year's nasty Maine winter just fine.

  3. #3
    Cadet
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    Green Bay Wisconsin
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    sunbird - I have been refining my system over a period of 10 years now. I have had PVC pipes break during a snowstorm twice. I now use 1.5" dia. pipes and do not cantilever more than 24". On my 17 foot bowrider I have a 1.5" pipe that runs down the centerline from bow to stern. There are three vertical supports. I have three arched pipes running port to starbord. They are 3/4" PVC.The main thing I want to stress is strength - it is a real pain in the ***** to try to fix after it collapses in a storm. If you send me your email address I can send you a better description and ever a couple sketches.Jeff in Wisconsin

  4. #4
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Ankeny, Iowa, Sun Valley Lake, Iowa whenever possible:)
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Hey, Hangman Jeff: Your information would be very helpful to me if you feel like sending a few more e-mails.My 1993 Chri Craft gets inside storage, but I am considering storing my pontoon boat outside this year. Strictly a matter of economics. Charles Webercharlesw_1998@yahoo.com

  5. #5
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Funny, I was thinking about doing the same thing..roughly. My windshield (17' tri-hull) has rather sharp pointy corners to it.. so I intend to have a center 'pipe' running bow to stern and bowing down slightly on each end. At the windshield I'll put in a side-side frame which should also help keep the center pole stable.As far as size and breakage, try to use schedule 80 pipe...! It's a fair bit tougher than schedule 40.Anybody have any pictures of a setup like this?

  6. #6
    Cadet
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Oops. I said I used 1" meant 1.5" but Sch 40. If memory serves me (the frame is stored in to overhead of my garage) I had 4 uprights with the one at the stern being an inverted u to go over the motor cover. I have mine high enough to stand under when in the boat (I'm 6') so there is enough slope to the sides that snow doesn't even stick but slides right off, even the wet sticky stuff.The uprights (on the centerline of the boat) go into the top of a tee with pieces of tubing in the other two openings of the fitting and running athwartships.

  7. #7
    Lieutenant Commander Boatin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Hangman...would appreciate it if you could send me some of your info as well, especially interested in the side to side arch and how they are attached, thanks very muchbobhill@ca.ibm.com

  8. #8
    Chief Petty Officer gewf631's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    hangman, add me to the list gewf631@yahoo.com braindead0
    My windshield (17' tri-hull) has rather sharp pointy corners to it..
    Same problem on my 18' Starcraft. I purchased some 2" (I think) 90-degree elbows, and cut-out about 1" of material, in an "L" shape. These now fit nicely over the sharp corners, and are much easier on my cover - I keep 'em in the boat when not in use.

  9. #9
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Canton, Ohio
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    I purchased some 2" (I think) 90-degree elbows, and cut-out about 1" of material, in an "L" shape.
    I was considering the same, good to hear it worked for somebody... haven't tried it yet. I was thinking about simply making a frame that holds the tarp away from the corners... and gives the tarp kinda a hip-roof shape...

  10. #10
    Petty Officer 1st Class dhud64's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    I have a fish and ski boat. My answer is simple- I install front and rear bass seats on their pedistals then lay a 20' 1x4 acroos seats and wind shield, tarp it and works fine!

  11. #11
    Cadet
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    Green Bay Wisconsin
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Charles W, Boatin Bob, and Ed F - you have mail.Also someone else mentioned the sharp corners of the windshild - I use those foam tubes made to insulate water pipes. They are each three feet long and about 3" in diameter, with a slit down them. I cut them to length and stick them on the windshild frame and a couple other brackets that could otherwise tear the tarp.Jeff

  12. #12
    Captain
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    hangman can you shoot me a copy too?Thanks.rspencer2k @yahoo.com

  13. #13
    Chief Petty Officer gewf631's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    braindead0 here's a picture of the PVC that I use to protect the corner. Turns-out it's 1.5" PVC. Hangman, thanks for the diagram.Got to ask the question guys, is this design all that different than the wood or fiberglass bows that one can purchase? They're only about $15 each, are easy to store, and accomplish roughly the same thing. These things are available here at iBoats, hopefully this link works. Regardless, here's a picture

  14. #14
    Cadet
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Ed - I tried those wood and fiberglass bows when I first got my boat. I tried several different manufacturers. One type had wood bows with an adjustable clamp - well it slipped so I drilled holes and bolted it together. THen I tried a cut to length fiberglass bow - about $30 each. That was alot better. There were still a couple problems - one, the tarp sags between the bows filling with snow - there is no center "spine"; second, the whole thing collapsed one night. I think one bow collapsed starting a chain reaction - collapsing each of the others in sequence.If you do go with them - get alot of them. I think I would need about 12 of them for my 17' boat. I see you are from Chicago, so you get alot of snow and wind - it is amazing how much pressure it puts against the tarp.- just my 2 centsJeff

  15. #15
    Cadet
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Ralph - I tried sending you a copy. It didn't go through at first so I removed the space between the "2k" and the "@" It looks like it went through nowJeff

  16. #16
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    The nice thing about building your own is that if you do your job right, it'll fit perfect and provide the absolute best protection.

  17. #17
    Chief Petty Officer gewf631's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    There was a similar discussion over at the BoatingABC board earlier this month. Here's a link to that discussion (with pics) Hangman, I'm almost wondering if the wood/fiberglass bows wouldn't be good for the seasonal use, then secured with a spline (rope, notched PVC) for the off-season.

  18. #18
    Cadet
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Ed - that may work.I guess alot depends on how your boat is set up and whether or not you wantto drill holesJeff

  19. #19
    Rear Admiral lakelover's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    Thanks for the great idea! Thanks to this post, I made a simple utility boat cover support with 1 1/2" PVC pipe. It breaks down into 6 pieces for storage and it only took about $20 and an hour and fifteen minutes.
    I've learned from Sages, and I've learned from Fools.

    My project (with index): 1964 Starcraft Jet Star

    Completed condensed version: The Permanent Vacation


  20. #20
    Captain bubbakat's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    outstanding looking job lakelover that will get the job done

  21. #21

    Default Re: PVC frame to support boat cover

    I have one hundred feet of 1" pvc that I made an elaborate frame out of mostly because I can't find a cover that works for my skinny 16' jon boat. But with the frame, I have solved the problem and I can store all my salt water gear in there like a little shed for my summer salt fishing equipment. I also have a 16' javlin fish and ski boat that I keep covered with a sunbrella cover, I keep my seat riser poles in the front and rear pole holes and I made a single one piece 2" pvc frame that has one 45 degree bend in it for the front near the windshield. I just slip it on the seat poles and it keeps the tarp with positive run off.

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