Snap on boat covers are a popular option when it comes to covering your boat. However, many people aren’t aware that there are several different attachment methods for snap on covers. Today we’re going to go over the three snap line types as well as taking a quick look at two other attachment methods that are commonly used in place of snaps in boat covers.
Aluminum boats with hidden sides or Pontoons
The type of snap line you will have on your boat is generally determined by the construction, both in regards to design and materials, of your boat. Aluminum boats with hidden sides or pontoons use stainless steel self-drilling tek screw studs for their snap line. Their construction allows this method of snap line installation because there is an interior wall that hides the outer wall.
Fiberglass boats or Wood hull boats
These boats require stainless steel screw studs for their snap line, not the self-drilling tek screws because the drilling head of the self-drilling tek screw ruins the hole, allowing the stud to strip out of the hole easily.
Open Interior boats
Open interior boats, usually fishing boats, require a machine screw stud snap line with washers, locknuts, and acorn nuts. Due to their open interior construction the sharp end of the stud will be exposed if this method is not used. This will lead to injury and damage when people and equipment snag on the sharp points. So, this method, while more expensive, is the best way to install a snap line in open interior boats.
Other Boat Cover attachment methods
There are two other methods for attaching boat covers that are similar to snap on boat covers, J-clips and Stay-put fasteners.
The first method, J-clips, is an attachment method that requires a boat with a built-in channel in its middle rail. The most common place you see this method is in Premier pontoons. You will also see this in some Crestliner boats. It is important to remember that J-clips can only be used in boats that are built with the specialized channel, this is not something that can be added after the boat has been constructed. When installing a boat cover with J-clips you simply pull down the J-clip and slip it into the groove. This method is easier to use than snaps, but is more expensive because the J-clips need to be sewn to the cover which is a more labor-intensive process than installing snaps into a boat cover.
The second methods, Stay-put fasteners, can be added to any boat. This involves a knob that is installed on the boat, similar to normal snap lines, however the knob is larger and plastic with a groove in it to allow the Stay-put shock cord to attach. The Stay-put shock cord is sewn to the boat cover with another attachment knob. Again, while this method is easier to use than a normal snap on boat cover, it is more expensive due to the time it takes to sew the Stay-puts onto the boat cover. This method also allows the bottom of the cover to flap which can lead to water and other debris getting into your boat.
In the coming weeks we will go over two other common instruction methods for covering your boat, tie down covers and ratchet strap covers. In the meantime, happy boating!