By now, you know that owning a boat is not a one-time investment. From maintenance to storage fees, additional costs can rack up after your boat purchase. But as Minnesota boaters know, it is vital that you protect your boat, no matter what kind, to keep it in prime condition for years to come.


This couldn’t be truer in the winter. Not taking the proper steps to winterize your boat can cause costly upholstery, carpeting, and interior damage, especially if you store your boat outdoors.


But what are the different options for outdoor boat storage in the winter, and how do you know which is the best option for you?


Canvasworks, your custom boat cover experts, has the details on three of the most used methods for storing boats outdoors in winter and provides some pros and cons to each.

1. Shrink Wrap

Shrink wrap is a durable plastic covering designed to keep the elements out of the interior of your boat and is one of the most common methods for outdoor winter storage. Oftentimes your marina will even offer a package deal on winterization, shrink wrapping, and storage.


Otherwise, you can shrink wrap your boat yourself at your home and store it outside throughout the winter.


Pros for Shrink Wrapping

The main advantage of shrink wrapping lies in its convenience, if you’re willing to pay for it. Generally, a shrink wrapping company will clean and winterize your boat, at an additional cost, before shrink wrapping it, which makes your boat ready to use in the spring with little effort on your part.


Additionally, shrink wrapping is effective at sealing your boat from the elements and keeping it in decent condition over the winter.

Cons for Shrink Wrapping

While convenient, shrink wrapping gets expensive, especially if you pay a company to winterize, shrink wrap, and store your boat every year. And it must be done every year. So, while it might save you some time, it hits your pocketbook.


Another disadvantage with shrink wrapping has to do with how it seals. Yes, it does keep winter elements out, but the vents are often too small to allow for necessary airflow. If air can’t easily move in and out, moisture gets locked in and causes mold to grow. Before shrink wrapping was invented, we saw very little mold under upholstery after winter storage, but now we see it regularly.


The biggest disadvantage of shrink wrapping, however, is in the large amount of plastic waste that it creates every year. Since shrink wrap can’t be reused, that volume of plastic just keeps growing, making this the least green option you can do.

2. Tarps

Tarps are also a common way to store your boat outdoors for the winter. You can easily buy a tarp or two from your local hardware or big box store, fit them over your boat, and tie them down with ropes or bungee cords.


Then you can keep your boat stored at home or even up at your lake cabin for the winter.


Pros for Tarps

When using tarps, the main advantage is the cost. Tarps are generally cheap and fairly easy to tie down, though you may have to try some trial and error to get the best fit possible to provide protection for your boat.


Additionally, it’s usually easy to buy a replacement tarp if you rip yours in the process.

Cons for Tarps

Even though tarps are definitely the cheapest short run option for winter storage, you run into several disadvantages when using them for winter boat storage.

The main disadvantage is the poor quality of most tarps. They are not generally meant to withstand the rigors of winter weather and oftentimes develop leaks and tears, completely ruining their original purpose.


This leads to another disadvantage: having to replace your tarp regularly to prevent leakage into your boat. This may be done several times a season, depending on how much snow, ice, and rain you get, or every one to two years, depending on how quickly the tarp wears out.


Additionally, tarps can take quite a bit of work to tie them down securely over your boat. Incorrectly tied tarps can lead to wear and rub marks on your boat or promote mold growth from moisture buildup underneath the tarp.


So, while an inexpensive option upfront, tarps are not a green solution, not especially effective at protecting your boat, and not as cheap as they may seem.

3. Custom Boat Covers

A third winter storage option is a custom-fitted winter storage boat cover that is designed specifically to withstand the rigors of winter weather.


A quality winter storage boat cover, like the ones created by Canvasworks, are constructed out of heavy duty material that allows snow to slide off, while maintaining proper ventilation to decrease the risk of mold growth.


Pros for Winter Storage Boat Covers

The biggest advantage of boat covers designed for outdoor winter storage is in their reusability. Because they are made from highly durable materials, they can withstand snow and Minnesota winters for years, which means they protect your boat for years.


Piggy backing off the reusability advantage are these other pros: greener for the environment and more economical in the long run. Not only are you not adding to the shrink wrap and tarp trash already out there, but you also aren’t paying for winter storage solutions every year, either. You save the environment and your money at the same time.


Winter storage covers are also more effective at protecting your boat than other methods. They are made from materials that have a slickness to them, allowing snow to slide off, and they are constructed with a peak that also encourages snow to slide off the cover.


They are also built to encourage airflow and discourage mold growth.


Depending on the construction and the type of boat you own, you can even get a boat cover that fits several different boats, allowing you to keep the same cover throughout the years as you switch boats.

Cons for Winter Storage Boat Covers

Disadvantages to reusable winter storage covers are few. The main disadvantage is that the upfront cost is more expensive than buying a few tarps. But in the long run, when you don’t have to buy another cover for years or pay someone else to wrap your boat, they are highly cost effective.


If you don’t buy a Canvasworks cover, we can’t guarantee the quality of the craftsmanship. If the manufacturer uses low grade materials or doesn’t build the cover specifically for winter, the cover won’t last as long or protect your boat as well.


So, be cautious about where you buy your boat cover!

Winter Storage Boat Covers Made Right From Canvasworks!

Don’t suffer quality when it comes to your custom winter storage boat cover. Get one made specifically for your boat with the exceptional craftsmanship provided by Canvasworks.


And discover more ways to care for your boat each winter, like proper marine window winter storage or the ideal upgrades to give your boat during the winter.


As your one-stop shop for winter boat covers, SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures, dog training products, and more, you can find exactly what you need to protect your investments and the things you love!


Message us online, call our store at 320-559-0165, or stop by our Cokato location to learn more about how our custom boat cover fitting process works and to see what we can make for you!