Boat Cover Material...Which One Is Best?

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I wonder which is the best fabric

The answer  is . . .

What boat cover material you use depends on what type of boat cover you are building, where you are living, and how you plan to use that cover. Remember that your boat cover material is the only thing between your boat and the weather!

Below you will find . . .

  • The fabrics we offer in our store.
  • A list of the most common boat cover fabrics and their attributes to help you decide what is important to you.
  • Some of our favorite fabrics listed at the bottom of this page
Sunbrella Storage CoverSunbrella Storage Cover

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Add vents to your boat cover to help the boat stay dryer inside!

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


Our Fabrics


Sunbrella Marine Fabric 6060" Sunbrella Fabric
Sunbrella Marine Fabric 4246" Marine Fabric
Sunbrella Plus Marine Fabric 60Sunbrella Plus 60
Weathermax 80
Marine Fabric 60Weathermax 80 Marine Fabric 60"
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Sunbrella Binding 1Sunbrella Binding 1"
Sunbrella Binding 3/4Sunbrella Binding 3/4"
Top Gun Marine Fabric 60Top Gun Marine Fabric 60"
Top Notch 
 60Top Notch 60" Marine Fabric
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Top Notch 9 Marine Fabric 60Top Notch 9 Marine Fabric 60"
Top Notch 1S Marine FabricTop Notch 1S Marine Fabric
Breakwater X Marine FabricBreakwater X Marine Fabric
Stamoid Marine FabricStamoid Marine Fabric
Top Notch 9 Marine Fabric
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Weblon Regatta Yacht FabricWeblon Regatta Yacht Fabric
Textilene 80 Solar MeshSolar Shade Mesh
Boat canvas insect meshInsect Mesh
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Aqualon Edge Marine Fabric 60Aqualon Edge Marine Fabric
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Aqualon Edge SOFT Marine Fabric

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Weathermax 80 T-top Boat CoverWeathermax 80 T-top Boat Cover
Top Notch Pontoon Seat CoversTop Notch Pontoon Seat Covers


  • All boat cover materials are considered mildew and UV resistant.
  • Some materials listed below are available as boat covers sold in stores and online.  There are many more that are not listed. We mention these because they are the more popular boat cover materials available.
  • Here at our shop, we are firm believers in using materials with a minimum of a 5 year warranty.
  • We think saving a few bucks on boat cover fabric isn't a deal at all if the boat cover ultimately fails early. However, we do understand budget plays a part in your decision.

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Most Common Boat Cover Fabrics and their Attributes


Acrylic boat fabrics


This group of boat cover fabrics is considered a top line choice for boat covers.

The are top line because of their ability to last for years and still look good!

  • Sunbrella – 10 year limited warranty - The most popular acrylic in America.
  • Tempotest 10 year limited warranty - This acrylic is from Italy and uses Teflon Extreme finishing giving double protection from water and oil stains.  Also treated with Hi-Clean giving it an impenetrable barrier. 
  • Recacril– 10 year limited warranty – Gaining popularity as a fine acrylic boat fabric.
  • Outdura – 5 year limited warranty – Also gaining popularity as a fine acrylic.
  • Dickson– 10 year limited warranty – A fine acrylic, and very popular in Europe.
  • Sundowner – 10 year limited warranty- Made in Spain, not readily available in the US yet.

Strengths: Breathable, beautiful, UV resistant, and mildew resistant. Available in a huge variety of colors.

Weaknesses: 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 also expensive.
  • Seamark – An acrylic that is bonded to vinyl. Has a 5 year limited warranty and is 100% waterproof.

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

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

Seamark and Sunbrella Supreme are expensive fabrics, but desirable for two main reasons. They are 100% waterproof and a perfect match for Sunbrella.

This means you can use it as a waterproof fabric for your bimini and camper tops, and switch back to matching Sunbrella for the enclosures and canvas on the rest of your boat.


Polyester Boat Fabrics


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


Group 1 - Coated polyesters

This first group has appearance similarities.

Polyester boat cover material is often used for store bought and online boat covers.

Retail manufacturers have their own brands of coated polyester fabrics and they are generally not available in the aftermarket.

So when buying an online boat cover, look at the warranty to see how they stand behind their fabrics.  This will be very important in judging the quality of the boat fabric.

  • Aqualon – 5 year limited warranty
  • Aqualon Edge - 7 year limited warranty - New in 2016, has superior heat reflection and heat reduction beneath the cover. It's Perfecta Marine technology makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics. We are very excited about this fabric and the heat reduction characteristics. 
  • Aqualon Edge SOFT - 7 year limited warranty - This new fabric is really making waves with its Perfecta Marine technology that makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics AND it has a soft, non-woven, fuzzy backing to boot!  This backing makes it a great light-weight fabric to use against things such as boat and car covers and other things you want to protect. 
  • Harbor Time- 5 year limited warranty
  • Harbor Time Edge - 7 year limited warranty - This fabric is similar to Aqualon Edge, but has a tougher polyester fabric on top.  It's Perfecta Marine technology makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics and it works best for those tougher jobs and industrial applications.
  • Harbor Time Edge SOFT - 7 year limited warranty - Coming soon!  This new fabric is similar to Aqualon Edge SOFT, but has a more rugged polyester fabric on top.  It also has the soft, non-woven, fuzzy backing and has the Perfecta Marine technology that makes it 30% cooler than other fabrics. This fabric works better for those tougher jobs where a stronger fabric is needed or for industrial applications. 
  • Top Gun– 5 year limited warranty
  • Sure Last – 3 year limited warranty – Economy polyester

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

Weaknesses: Some fading over time. Some crazing over time. (Crazing shows up as thin white lines on the fabric caused by folding or creasing the fabric.)

 


Group 2 – Vinyl Coated Polyesters and PVC

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

  • Riviera – 5 year limited warranty
  • Stamoid - 5 year limited warranty. Tough, beautiful, and more expensive.
  • Breakwater X10 year limited warranty. PVC coated polymers. Super reliable long lasting fabric. Similar to fabrics used on stadium roofs. Easy to clean and beautiful.  

Strengths: 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.

Weaknesses:  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 you're 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.

Strengths : All group 3 fabrics are strong, UV stable, dimensionally stable, attractive, breathable, highly water resistant, and make beautiful long lasting covers.  

Weaknesses: Even with the improvements in longevity, they still don't outlast the acrylics.

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Nylon as a boat cover Material?


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 Boat Cover Fabric?


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

We like any type of Acrylic such as:  Tempotest and Sunbrella

We also like:

  • Top Notch 
  • Top Notch 9 
  • Weathermax 80 - for such a lightweight fabric, it is a really tough, long lasting fabric. 
  • Aqualon Edge- because it stays 30% cooler than all the rest, even in dark colors.
  • Harbor Time Edge - when you need a heavy weight polyester that stays 30% cooler.

These are also awesome fabrics:

  • Riviera
  • Stamoid 
  • Breakwater X

These are exceptionally long lasting boat cover materials 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 that high end look we all love.


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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...

unsure of best material 
I have a Gregor Sea hawk II 18' center console outboard that I leave year round in Baja CA. Very little rain, but lots of sun, and very strong winds. …

aqualon edge vs weathermax 80 vs top notch 9 
I'm trying to figure out which would be the best all around boat cover material. Aqualon and top notch 9 are similar in weight where the weathermax is …

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.

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 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 …

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 …

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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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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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 …

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 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 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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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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 …

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 …

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 …

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