Proper ventilation, adequate protection from the elements, security and price are important considerations when storing a covered boat, states Boats.com. Boat covers should be made from material that allows enough air circulation to keep the craft ventilated. This helps prevent excess condensation, which can result in mildew growth. A properly attached cover cannot be torn away by wind, rain or snow. It is also less likely to scratch the gel coating of most fiberglass boats.
Plastic tarp tied over a framework is the cheapest method of covering a boat. While the low price is an advantage, most tarps generally only last for one season and must be replaced after they deteriorate. Additionally, high winds may wear out a plastic tarp quickly, especially if it is not firmly secured to the boat. The metal grommets on a tarp can potentially scratch a boat's hull if the tarp flaps in the wind.
Fitted canvas covers must be laid over a wooden, metal or plastic framework before being attached to the boat or the jacks. Canvas covering lasts longer than a plastic tarp, and it allows plenty of ventilation while still offering protection from the elements. However, the framework may be time consuming to build and difficult to store. Custom-fitted canvas covers are also usually more expensive than plastic ones.
Some owners store their boats in shrink-wrap at a boatyard. A technician covers the boat in plastic, then applies heat to shrink the plastic to fit. Many owners prefer this method because plastic covers provide good protection from the elements and are convenient. However, shrink-wrapping can be more expensive than other methods. Additionally, the plastic cannot be reused, while canvas covers may last for up to a decade.