Boat Cover Material is the Only Thing Standing Between Your Boat and the Weather!
So Which one is Best?


Highlights

  • Different Boat Cover Materials for different types of boat covers.
  • Common Boat Cover fabrics, pros and cons.
  • Have an unanswered Question? Ask it here!

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Boat Cover Fabric is maybe the most discussed subject in any custom marine canvas shop.

Everyone wants to know, which one is best?

Which boat cover fabric makes a waterproof boat cover?

The answer to that question is . . .

It depends on what type of boat cover you are building, where you are living and how you plan to use that cover.

How's that for a confusing answer?

Let me try and clarify why different applications do better with different fabrics.

Let's do that by looking at common covers you might be interested in.

Cockpit covers, full covers, mooring covers, and boat covers that completely snap or tie down – these covers do better with breathable boat fabrics.

Sunbrella Storage Cover

Courtesy Cover Girl Marine Canvas & Upholstery


Why breathable, because there is not much air flow beneath these types of covers.

The faster air can be released, the dryer the boat cover fabric will stay on the inside. The dryer the boat stays, less mildew growth beneath the cover.

Vents help even breathable fabrics such as Sunbrella stay dryer.

Learn more about boat cover vents visit our boat cover support page

Bimini tops - Sunbrella material is a popular choice for this type of boat cover.

It is a breathable, water resistant boat fabric. However, since Sunbrella outdoor fabric is water resistant and not waterproof, your boat cover may need re-waterproofing as it ages.

Keep in mind that bimini tops do great with all fabrics.

Travel boat covers or covers used to trailer your boat take a whole lot of abuse.

This application is where really tough boat cover fabric shows its value. High abrasion resistance and being breathable is important for this type of cover. If you decide on a waterproof boat cover fabric for your travel cover it should be well vented.


Weathermax 80 T-top boat cover

Courtesy Cover Girl Marine Canvas & Upholstery



The following is a list of popular custom boat cover materials.


All are considered mildew and UV resistant boat cover material.

Some are available on boat covers that are mass produced and for sale online. There are many, many more that are not listed below; we mention the following, because they make up a list of the more popular boat cover materials available.

Here at our shop we are firm believers in making covers out of boat cover materials with a minimum of a 5 year warranty.

Our thinking is that saving a few bucks on boat cover fabric isn't much of a deal at all, if the boat cover ultimately fails earlier. On the other hand we do understand budget plays a part in all purchases.

Top Notch Pontoon Seat Covers

Courtesy Cover Girl Marine Canvas & Upholstery



Acrylic boat fabrics

This group of boat cover fabric is considered a top line choice for boat covers. The reason is its ability to last for years and still look good.

Here is a list of the more common acrylics:

Sunbrella – 10 year limited warranty - The most popular acrylic in America.

Tempotest - 10 year limited warranty - This acrylic is from Italy, Not as many colors as Sunbrella

Recacril– 10 year limited warranty – is gaining popularity as a fine acrylic boat fabric.

Outdura – 5 year limited warranty – is also gaining popularity as a fine acrylic.

Dickson– 5 year limited warranty – a fine acrylic, very popular in Europe.

Sundowner – 10 year limited warranty- made in Spain, not readily available in the US yet.

Pros: Breathable, beautiful, UV resistant, and mildew resistant, available in a huge variety of colors.

Cons: Abrasion resistance is a little weak. Acrylic boat fabrics need to be carefully reinforced. Eventually this fabric will need to be waterproofed again.

Specialty Sunbrella Fabric Products

Sunbrella Plus– 5 Year Warranty – Same as Sunbrella, but treated to make it highly water resistant.

Sunbrella Supreme- 5 year limited warranty- flocking on bottom side (almost feels like velvet) 100 % waterproof. A lovely fabric, and expensive.

Seamark – is an acrylic that is bonded to vinyl. It has a 5 year limited warranty and is 100% waterproof.

Seamark fabric starts its life as Sunbrella, is purchased by the Haartz Company and coated with a vinyl backing.

Seamark is popular with Sea Ray for their bimini and camper tops.

It is an expensive fabric, but desirable for two main reasons. It is 100% waterproof and a perfect match for Sunbrella. This means you can use it for the bimini and camper top making them waterproof, then switch back to matching Sunbrella for the enclosures and canvas for the rest of the boat.

Polyester Boat Fabrics

There are some substantial differences among this group of boat cover material. So for that reason we group the polyesters into three groups . . .

Group 1 - Coated polyesters

This first group, have appearance similarities. There are many polyester fabrics used for retail, online boat covers, and they have similar characteristics. When buying a online boat covers, look at the warranty to see how they stand behind their fabrics.

Aqualon – 5 year limited warranty

Aqualon Edge - 7 year limited warranty - New in 2016, has superior heat reflection and heat reduction beneath the cover.   We are very excited about this fabric and the heat reduction characteristics. 

Harbor Time- 5 year limited warranty

Top Gun– 5 year limited warranty

Sure Last – 3 year limited warranty – Economy polyester

Pros: Easy to work with, looks good, easy to clean, long lasting, mildew resistant, tough, highly water resistant.

Cons: Some fading over time. Some crazing over time.


Group 2 – Vinyl Coated Polyesters and PVC

This group provides some popular boat cover material choices for the high end group of boaters.

CY4EZ ™ - 5 year limited warranty

Riviera – 5 year limited warranty

Stamoid - 5 year limited warranty tough , beautiful and more expensive.

Breakwater X - 10 year limited warranty.  PVC coated polymers.  Super reliable long lasting fabric.  Similar to fabrics used on stadium roofs.  Easy to clean and beautiful.  

Pros: Very easy to clean, cool to the touch in very hot weather, tough.

Very long lasting, waterproof. Done right it makes a beautiful boat cover.

Cons - A little more difficult to fabricate with due to the lack of stretch (can show more wrinkles depending on the skill of the fabricator).


Group – 3 Solution dyed Polyesters

This boat cover material belongs to a new generation of polyesters.

Weathermax 80 - Light weight , stronger and more abrasion resistant than sunbrella - Can be sewn on a home sewing machine - 10 year limited warranty.

Top Notch 9 -  1 oz. heavier than Weathermax, sews and looks great, but if your looking for light weight, try Weathermax. 5 year warranty.

Top Notch – Heavier than Sunbrella, but looks nearly the same. Extremely tough and abrasion resistant.  Makes a great travel cover. Not for home sewing machines.  - 5 year warranty.

Pros: All of these fabrics are strong, UV stable, dimensionally stable, attractive, breathable, highly water resistant, makes beautiful long lasting covers.  

Cons: None that we are aware of..



What about Nylon as a boat cover fabric?

Nylon doesn't hold up well in the sun, so the answer is no, unless you get it for free and make it for free. Don't waste your money!


Do we have a favorite?

Yes we do, and of course this is just our opinion.

We like any type of Acrylic.

We also like Top Notch, Top Notch 9 and Weathermax, as really tough long lasting boat materials. These are our boat cover material picks for your everyday canvas.  Were pretty excited about Aqualon Edge and looking forward to trying it for it's cool to the touch ability and increased longevity.

We also love CY4EZ, Riviera, and Stamoid and Breakwater X. These are exceptionally long lasting fabrics and so easy to clean. If you use these fabrics, you should have a fabricator whose skill level is fairly high; this type of fabric requires a little more expertise to obtain a that high end look we all love.

Do You Have a Question You Would Like to Ask About Boat Cover Material?

We'd like to help you find a solution! You just might be able to help someone else trying to solve the same problem. Please include your email address. I may choose to contact you directly with an answer!

What Questions Have Other Visitors Asked?

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

I hear that seamark dries out and cracks within a few years. What can you tell me about that? 
Purchasing a new boat enclosure and deciding between sunbrella and seamark.

Sunfish cover.  
I'd like to buy or make a cover for my Sunfish sailboat. It sits in a cradle out in the water and I want to keep leaves, bird poop, and dirt from getting …

Boat covers Bimini. Fly ridge covers 
Vinyl covers with flock type backing. How to clean off mould from the flock ie. inside part of Bimini on fly bridge. Wiping it off makes it a bit better …

Top gun fabric UV resistance and cleanability 
I am looking at"new" 2016 2017 North river boats that are on dealership lots We have had a lot of rain in Eugene and the 2016 has significant mold …

will color transfer from Sunbrella to boat cushions or gelcoat?  
My shop made a boat cover of black Sunbrella. The customer insisted on black and now same customer claims the black color from the Sunbrella is transferring …

Should an enclosure for a pontoon boat be made of 100% waterproof material or breathable material? 
The enclosure on my older pontoon boat needs replacing and I am not sure if it is best to use a fabric that is waterproof or breathable. I like the idea …

what material should I use for my total boat cover? 
I have a 435 Everglades with a fishing tower. The boat is kept in a storage facility and the fork lifts emit a black exhaust residue that settles on …

How do I tell what material my Bimini top is made from. 
I purchased a used boat with existing Bimini top and cover but I don't know how to tell what they are made of for retreating.

Can I reupholster the seating on a pontoon boat with acrylic dyed fabric? 
We would like to reupholster all the permanent seating on our pontoon boat. It is currently upholstered with marine vinyl, however I am interest in using …

where can I get real cotton canvas for a sail cover? 
I need to make a new mainsail cover.

I see no mention of Vortex material. Good? Bad? 
Just ordered a mooring cover made of vortex. Will i regret it?

WeatherMax 80 vs Sunbrella 
What is the weight of each per yard or whatever relevant size? On the Weathermax80 website it indicates a 10 year warranty for Weathermax 80. Is that …

Can a pontoon cmaper enclosure be made with Sunbrella 
I bought a new pontoon boat in 2013. Had a full camper enclosure made, they used Sure Last. The boat is stored inside in winter. The enclosure had 20 …

Heavy vs light for a 41' sail winter cover? 
Looking to make a winter cover for a 41' sailboat. Considering materials. Topnotch and Topnotch 9 seem to be the front runners. It's going to be a lot …

What is your opinion of Poly/Cotton covers? 
Looking for a cover that would be used only when boat is parked on trailer in yard during boating season. Would go cover entire boat down to rub rail …

What can I do to prevent water from entering my boat? 
I have a Baja 240 Islander. This is a 24 foot long open bow boat with 7 foot wide by 4 foot long (approximately) vinyl cushion covered engine compartment …

How do you stop the puckering on Weathermax seams? 
Weathermax seams are puckering on our cover as its sewn -the fabric looks great but when sewing across the weave the fabric puckers. Sewing with the weave …

learning how to make a boat cover 
My son wants me to make a boat cover. Do you have any suggestions on learning how to do this and what is the best type of sewing machine to use? Thank …

what about shark or seal skin covers? 
trying to decide on the product to buy looking at all options and you did not mention these products?? These are fabrics the manufacturers use and …

Is there a snap available where one piece of Sunbrella can be snapped over another.  
I would like to eliminate the rain water running down the windshield and leaking into the bow of the boat. I believe what you are talking about is …

l cleaned my boat covers and now they are sticky to the touch. How do I resolve this?  
I cleaned my boat covers to remove mold and mildew stains. I had to use some bleach. They came out looking pretty good, but are very sticky to the touch. …

What fabric do you like better Weathermax 80 or Aqualan? 
I make pontoon covers just looking for better options. Thanks Mike Hi Mike, I've had this question asked twice this week, so it must be important. …

I have mildew/mold on my boat curtains and around my boat windows, do you have any suggestions on how to treat this problem? 
Mildew/mold problem on my boat I see you ordered a few different products Tina. I like your choices. Iosso mold mildew and stain remover is very good …

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Have you ever heard of a boat cover scratching or wearing paint off (AwlGrip) from a boat's topsides? 
I am trying to choose a fabric for a winter storage cover for a 44' newly-painted painted sailboat. I'm scared that a fabric could chafe and mar the (very …

How do you treat old canvas that is no longer water resistant? 
Canvas on my 24' Sea Ray Sun Deck is no longer water resistant. I want to treat the canvas with the best product for making the canvas water resistant …

Fabric tarp restore color 
Hello We recently purchased a used 2000 Kennedy pontoon paddle boat. The seating plastic is fine but the tarp and Bimini tarps are faded. Paddle boats …

Which material for dinghy cover 
I need material 13` 8" x 6` 8" for making a dinghy cover. Which fabric do you reccomend ? What would be the cost to supply & send ? I would most likely …

Can boat covers that can be used in heavy snow fall areas 
I need to cover my boat so that snow won't get into it. This area of NY usually shrink wrap the boats. After paying for it 3 times, you baught a fairly …

can you wash a marine grade polyester fabric boat cover 
can you wash a marine grade polyester fabric boat cover without losing the waterproof quality ?? Thank you There are two types of polyester boat cover …

I have a bass buggy 18 ft 2000 year 
The mooring cover is in good shape but the forest green color has faded badly the size of cover is 16x10 how can I restore the color to somewhat darker …

Non Moving Boat Cover 
What if I promised never to use my boat cover for towing or moving at all. Are there lighter weight materials that would last as long or longer? Lighter …

Need a new trailering cover for my '89 Thundercraft Nova.  
I am on the hunt for a new boat cover for storage/trailering. I still have the original canvas cover, but its no longer any good .I've called local places …

Pontoon cover dropping blue dust on the boat  
I have a Two year old 24' Tahoe cascade pontoon boat it came with a blue cover. This is the third season for the cover. It is leaving blue Dust all over …

Boat cover 
A friend of mine is looking for some type of fabric or something that while he is out to sea fishing with his kids or something he can cover the front …

Should you wrap your boat cusions in plaice before covering them with Sunbrella fabric? 
I am recovering boat cushions with Sunbrella fabric. Would you advise covering the foam cushions with plastic first? If so, what would you use to secure …

Why do you not list Sunbrella as one of your favorites? I am considering having a cover made locally and was going that route. How do I know I am getting Sunbrella? Thank You 
Full Pontoon Boat Cover for summer use. I have had issues with previous 2 covers building up moisture underneath. Sunbrella is a great fabric, in fact …

Tyvek covers? 
Tyvek is advertised for car, RV and aircraft cargo covers. No mention of boat covers. What is the reason for this? Has anyone tried using it for boats? …

Top Notch - 'Marbling' problem. 
I am a licensed aircraft engineer and custom aircraft cover maker from the UK and specialise in making light aircraft covers and engine intake/exhaust/storage …

is sun-dura available by the yard anywhere? 
Would like to buy sun-dura to make a bimini top, but cant find it for sale Melanie, Sundura is a boat cover material being offered by Carver boat covers. …

30 yrs ago boat canvas was white and had snaps. The material was a thick but soft material. Usually see it used on some saddle bags for motorcycles. What is it and is it available anymore? 
Just looking for something that was very soft and pliable that they used to make boat bimini tops out of. What was it and is it still available? You …

I have a 20x30 Tan Canvas tarp that I am thinking of using to cover my white 19' center console. Will using this stain my hull? I have the boat under a dry storage area. 
I installed a bew T Top and my Sunbrella cover will not fit. I have a large 20x30 tan canvas tarp that I am using as a cover and would like to know if …

Is there a light colored fabric that will live long in the tropical sun? 
We carry a plastic Walker Bay dinghy upside down on our deck. It is ruined from sun exposure, we have replaced it with new and want to cover the new dink …

good day. we need to replace the travelling cover for our Fazer boat.  
Is ripstop 400 UV a suitble material for boat covers No ripstop is not a suitable fabric for boats. The sun will ruin it in no time. If your looking …

Sunbrella boat cover and soaking wet carpet 
Seeking your advice: Our boat is always tied up at the dock, 24/7, with the mooring cover on and snapped in place. And the carpet inside is always soaking …

What do u know about 1200 Superior Guard?  
Im trying to find a cover for my 25ft Pontoon boat. On line I found something called 1200 Superior Guard sold by: BuyMarineCovers.com. Says its Rugged …

can i use marine vinyl to drape and protect my cushions 
Im just looking to drape a material over our new front bow rider cushions to protect from SO FL elements. Boat is 15 yrs and just redid all cushions. …

I am looking for a mold and mildew resistant material to cover pontoon boat seats 
I cover my seats with blankets. I use boat heaters also. I am looking for a mild and mildew resistant material to have fabricated to my pontoon cover. …

reinforcing material 
What is the black reinforcing material around the inside edge of my pontoon boat cover. I would like to sew a 3 inch piece all the way around because …

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1999 Crest DL pontoon 25ft snap on boat cover 
Hello, We have an 1999 Crest DL Pontoon 25ft. We are looking for a snap on cover in a waterproof fabric. Do you provide samples of these fabrics mentioned …

Where can I buy these fabrics in bolts 
Custom cover for a back patio. Need canvas to drape over a pagoda. Feel free to contact me directly, I 'm in Buford GA Cover Girl Marine Canvas …

Do I need to have a tent-like cover on my pontoon boat? Or will individual covers for the furniture do as well? What about the carpet? 
I just bought a used pontoon boat with a brand new tent-like cover with snaps and poles. It is a major effort to take it off and, especially, to put it …

15 ft 8 jon 
I bought a 1648 mt lowe jon boat I have installed a 36 inch shaft minnkota bowmount trolling motor on front side of boat would tell me what heavy duty …

Pipe rap  
What type of material would you recommend I use to make Bimini top pipe raps protect my new isinglass You could match the boat cover material you have …

I am planning on making a boat cover using Top notch 9. What type of material should I use for reinforcing potential wear spot on the cover. 
I am planning on making a boat cover using Top notch 9. What type of material should I use for reinforcing potential wear spot on the cover. Hi Gerry, …

Thread Quality 
What is the BEST thread for sewing Sunbrella fabric for a boat cover / Bimini top? Hello Mr. Couch, Bar none the best thread is Gortex lifetime thread. …

Best material for covering a restored wood baot 
Have restored a 1932 Hacker. 12+ coats of varnish. The current HackerCraft mfg recommends Surelast for a boat cover. I have a new Sunbrella but they …

Wat is the best outdoor storage boat cover fabric. Water proof , high UV 
I wa confused when Sunbella gave a 10 yr then on the plus a 5 year. Truly what is the best outdoor material for a boat cover. Well it depends on what …

what material do you recommend for making fender socks? 
What is the best material for fender covers? That is a bit of a tough question. Sunbella is thought to scratch your hull over a period of time. Most …

What is the best cover material to use if you are storing a ski boat inside a fully covered boathouse on a lift? 
We are on a lake in Central Virginia, and the summer gets hot with high humidity levels. In this case, the boat cover is primary used to keep the dust, …

What did they use back in the 60's 70's before these new products. for a bimini and enclosure? 
No problem really, just curious. I've been learning to make boat stuff for the last few years in my spare time for myself, not others. So far I reupholstered …

Are you familiar with windstorm brand boat covers? 
Hello Tammy, I have recently acquired my first boat and am looking to purchase a cover for it. Seeing as it's a classic (1978 cobalt I/O Tri hull, …

What product breathes the best? 
I store a deck boat in a carport-like storage facility. I'm having a mold problem on the inside of my covers. I've tried several types. The cover primarily …

what is the best material for towing 
What material is best for towing. Stretch resistance and abrasion resistance in areas where the cover will rub on the gelcoat. Also which fabric will not …

you recommend Top Notch but say that you like any type of Acrylic but the Top Notch listed is coated polyester. That seams to disagree with itself ? 
Find the strongest longest lasting dryest least fading material for a boat cover. Hi Chris, Top Notch is in the polyester family and sunbrella is in …

Mold on coated surface of Sunbrella Plus Oyster 
Our canvas maker installed Sunbrella Plus instead of the Sunbrella we requested. Color is Oyster. After 2 months the coated side of the Plus fabric has …

can i put a 18oz vinyl tarp over my 22 foot boat thats covered to make it 100% waterroof. 
the cover i have lets water in So why not throw a vinyl tarp over it. Hi John, My biggest concern for covering a boat cover with a vinyl tarp is abrasion. …

is a polyester tarp a good choice to toss over a parked pontoon for protection from sun, water, and mildew? 
Just bought a 22ft pontoon with trailer and motor, need an inexpensive cover to protect it from the elements when parked. Live in piedmont NC . Especially …

compact boat cover 
I just purchased a 2007 sea ray 20 ft. sundeck. i am looking for a cover that is light and compact.also needs to be easy to put on at dock (elastic bottom)high …

Your best 2 material picks. 
I need a custom mooring cover for covering a 21' bowrider to the water line. Water proofing not needed since in a covered slip and on a lift. Draw string …

what material do you suggest as covers for seat on a pontoon  
Making my own covers for the seats on our pontoon boat. In general Marine grade cushion vinyl is the way to go with pontoon seats. The darker the color …

Dowco Climashield Plus 
Is this a good Fabric / Cover? Not much info other than polyester using Dowco Colorlok fibers. Hi Mike, Polyesters as a whole, such as ; Dowco Colorlok …

how do 50/50 poly cotton fabrics hold up?  
please see question above? Hi Bob, Poly cotton can hold up very well in the north. Not so great in the south. Back before current fabric making technologies …

How to replace snap studs on boat window 
im in the process of fixing and restoring my boat canopy and the snap studs on the window are either corroded off or loose so i want to replace all of …

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I used a household mold cleaner on my tan canvas Bimini and now the canvas is hard and brittle. Is there a treatment that I may apply to the canvas to restore softness and suppleness to it? Thank! 
I used a household mildew cleaner on my tan canvas Bimini and now the canvas is hard and brittle. Is there a treatment that I may apply to the canvas …

Click here to write your own.

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Missouri

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I found Tammy by her name tag.... sewn to a sailboat cover, in a nearby marina. The boat cover was fitted with such precision, it clearly stood out from the others. In the years since, Tammy has 'dressed out' at least twenty boats for me. She has yet to meet a challenge for which she could not find a creative and effective solution.

Tammy has become a valuable resource to my Boatbutler business, and she has actually created sort of a "cult" following among my customers. Once they see the quality of her work, the choice is an easy one.

I am still grateful for that little tag on that sailboat cover I found nearly twenty years ago."

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Alpharetta, Georgia

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WOW!  I just got the EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers for my canvas and what a simple solution! Thank you for coming up with this.  I am telling my friends about this product.

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We just installed the zipper we received on our sea ray boat canvas- what an incredibly easy experience!  It makes snapping the canvas so much easier with the zipper extension.  Thanks for the crimper & tape - you made everything easy.  We just ordered 5 more longer ones to completely update our canvas.  Thank you so much for your quick response on our first order. 

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