How to Find the Right Boat Cover for Your Boat

Store Your Boat with a Boat Cover

When the weather starts to cool off, we often find ourselves reaching for a coat or a blanket to keep warm and to protect ourselves from the elements. Your boat, arguably one of your most prized possessions, is begging for the same courtesy.

Overton’s Boat Cover Selector Tool quickly finds the right cover for your boat in a matter of seconds. We’ll go over the different kinds of covers below, including how to measure your boat to get the right fit.

Why Cover Your Boat?

A boat cover can protect your boat during the colder months from not only the weather but rodents, bird droppings, dirt, and more. Not to mention when your boat is covered, the chance of theft is lowered significantly — out of sight, out of mind.

So, how do you find the right boat cover for your boat? We’re glad you asked! We have you covered below.

Types of Boat Covers

Boat Cover Types
Image: Shutterstock

Much like that winter coat you find yourself reaching for, boat covers are not a one size fits all. There are options available depending on your needs, wants, and your particular boat. When it comes time to find the right boat cover, there are typically three types to choose from:

  • Universal Fit Boat Covers
  • Semi-Custom Boat Covers
  • Custom Fit Boat Covers

Universal Boat Covers

Covermate HD 600 Trailerable Boat Cover for 20'-22' V-Hull Boat
Covermate HD 600 Trailerable Boat Cover for 20′-22′ V-Hull Boat

Designed to fit based on the measurements of your boat, a universal boat cover is often the most cost-effective way to protect your vessel during the off-season.  Also, a solid option for boat owners that have a boat where a custom fit cover isn’t available, a universal cover can offer a level of protection you’re otherwise left without.

Semi-Custom Boat Cover

Covermate Imperial Pro Euro-Style V-Hull I/O Boat Cover, 18'5
Covermate Imperial Pro Euro-Style V-Hull I/O Boat Cover, 18’5″ max. length

Designed to fit based on the make and model of boats with similar hull styles, a semi-custom boat cover offers a more tailored option for off-season protection. With a forgiving and liberal fit, semi-custom covers can be used across a wide range of boats that share common dimensions and features. It’s the perfect middle-of-the-road option both in performance and cost.

Custom Fit Boat Covers


Designed to fit based on the specific year, make, and model of your boat, a custom fit boat cover is exactly what its name suggests — custom. Like a well-tailored suit when dressing in your Sunday best, a custom fit cover is tailored to your exact boat providing the utmost protection for as long as possible. Hallelujah! The numerous patterns even take into account swim platforms, bow rails, and more. Customize your boat and you can get the cover to match.

How to Measure for Your Boat Cover

While the owner’s manual of your boat may have the measurements listed, it’s always a good idea to take the measurements for yourself — especially when it comes time to find the right boat cover for your boat.

It may sound intimidating at first, but measuring your boat is easy once you know how to do it.

  • Measure the center-line length of your boat. The center-line length is the straight measurement from bow to stern, excluding the motor. Measurements should always include an allowance for bow rail heights, trolling motors, transom platforms, and ladders.
  • Measure the beam width of your boat. The beam width of your boat is the widest distance across the boat measured in a flat, straight line. The widest point of a boat is typically in the windshield area but remember not to measure up and over the windshield.

How to Measure Your Boat for a Covermate Boat Cover

How to Measure Your Boat for a Boat Cover
How to Measure Your Boat for a Boat Cover (Image: Overton’s)

If you’re shopping for a Covermate Semi-Custom Boat Cover, measuring your boat is imperative to ensure your cover fits properly. Follow the measuring tips above making sure to always keep your measurements in a flat, straight line. Measuring up or over areas can lead to a cover that is slightly too big for your boat leading to sagging and improper coverage.

Find the right boat cover for your boat using Overton’s Boat Cover Selector Tool! With separate tools for both semi-custom boat covers and custom fit boat covers, you can find exactly what you need with guidance.

How to Properly Install Your Boat Cover

As with anything, it’s always a good idea to read the instructions provided with your boat cover for detailed information regarding your particular cover’s installation. However, there are a few things common about the installation process regardless of the cover type.

  1. Inspect your boat for any sharp or protruding areas that could potentially puncture your cover. Place a foam pad or cloth of some sort over these areas to avoid damage to your cover.
  2. Locate the front of the cover, generally indicated by a sewn-in tag, and secure that end of the cover first.
  3. Stretch the cover over the sides and center of the boat ensuring that it’s centered and even on all sides. Having a friend or family member to help with this part makes it a quick and easy task.
  4. Attach all tie-down straps or ropes according to the instructions provided with your boat cover.

With its winter coat strapped on tight, your boat is now ready for storage. Don’t forget to stock up on boat cover accessories to help prolong the life of your cover and to further ensure it performs as designed. A boat cover support system, for example, is always good to have on hand in the event of heavy rain or inclement weather to prevent pooling and stress on your cover.

Finding the Right Boat Cover

Taylor Made Cover For Boats With Fixed T-Tops and Bow Rails
Taylor Made Cover For Boats With Fixed T-Tops and Bow Rails

When you are on the hunt for the right boat cover for your boat, keep in mind the type of cover you’re looking for to help narrow down your search. Once you’ve decided between a universal, semi-custom, or custom fit boat cover then the hard part is behind you.

Keep your prized possession under wraps and warm during the off-season. Think of it as a long winter’s nap — a boat hibernation, if you will — that will have your boat ready to spring forth at the first sign of warm weather.

Which type of boat cover do you prefer for your boat: universal, semi-custom, or custom? Tell us why in the comments below!


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