Our skin isn’t the only thing that takes a beating under the summer sun! When left unprotected by a canvas cover, your boat upholstery and interior can begin to fall apart. For the new boater, this may come as a bit of a shock. After all, shouldn’t a boat be able to handle the sun?


Unfortunately, while marine flooring and vinyl are made to handle the sun and the weather and not degrade as quickly as interior fabrics, they are still susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays.  Continue reading for a brief overview of how the sun is damaging your boat, what to look for if you’re concerned about sun damage, and what you can do about sun damage.

How does the Sun Damage my Boat?

Marine fabrics are damaged by the UV light that the sun emits. While the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs around 33% of this light, the remaining UV light damages your vinyl interior at the molecular level. The damage occurs in the material itself as well as the chemicals that create the color in your boat’s vinyl. Heat can also spark chemical reactions that lead to the same thing. While marine vinyl is inherently resistant to UV light, it will still degrade over time without protection. It just takes quite a bit longer than it does with non-UV resistant fabrics.


Common signs of sun or heat damage to your boat include:

●        Change in coloration. If your vinyl boat upholstery isn’t as vivid as it once was, UV rays and heat are to blame. Heat causes things to fade out, but sometimes boat upholstery that was originally neutral-toned will suddenly turn pink! This can be caused by a chemical reaction in the glue that holds your boat upholstery together or a specific strain of bacteria.

●        Cracking. Because UV rays and heat damage the structural integrity of vinyl, repeated exposure can cause it to, quite literally, crack under pressure.

●        Drying out. UV light and heat cause the oils and conditioners imbued in your marine vinyl to evaporate over time, this leads to your vinyl drying out.

How Do You Fix Sun Damage?

In many cases, once sun damage is done, there isn’t much you can do to fix it. There are some products and DIY methods that can help mask the damage sun has done to your upholstery, however they are not restorative and can sometimes hasten the degradation of the vinyl. Trying to fix sun damage yourself is simply a drain on your time and money. Once your boat has been damaged by the sun, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to replace your upholstery.



Protecting your boat’s interior is the best thing you can do to protect your investment. Here at Canvasworks, we regularly see 20 year old boats with immaculate interiors because the boat has been covered with a high quality cover over its entire life. We also regularly see 5 year old boats that have never been covered that need to have their interiors replaced due to sun damage and improper care. These products are an investment upfront, but they are well worth it when you consider the money you are saving by not having to replace your boat’s interior. You may spend $1000 on a high quality, custom boat cover, but that’s cheap compared to spending $8000 on a full interior replacement.

Need Boat Upholstery Replacement or a Canvas Cover? Contact Canvasworks Today

No matter your sun situation, Canvasworks can help! We manufacture both custom boat covers and replace boat upholstery. To find out more about our services, call 320-559-0165 or drop us a line at sales@canvasworksincmn.com.