When it comes to keeping your boat looking great over the years, the key is to understand and use a few basic rules for proper care. Well-maintained boat upholstery will maintain its value and perform well for many years. However, poorly maintained upholstery can end up looking aged and weathered long before its time.


At Canvasworks in Cokato, we specialize in manufacturing high-quality marine products including boat seat upholstery and covers. In this article, our marine upholstery experts break down some of the most important tips for caring for your boat’s upholstery. Follow these guidelines to keep your upholstery looking and performing its best.


1.      Cover and Store Your Boat

Protecting your upholstery from the elements is a fundamental of boating care. Exposure to the sun, wind, and rain will weather your upholstery at a much faster rate than upholstery that’s covered. Using a boat cover consistently will help ensure your upholstery is as close to immaculate as it can get. At the same time, if left uncovered, the upholstery in a relatively newer boat can end up damaged and destroyed.


During the winter, you’ll also need to store your boat in a way that protects it from ice and snow, which can accumulate inside your boat and damage your upholstery. This damage can be compounded by the freeze and thaw cycles Minnesota experiences in early spring and late fall.


2.      Care for Your Upholstery During and After Use

When you’re out on your boat, be aware of the effect suntan lotions and oils can have on your upholstery. Remind any sunbathers on the boat to place a towel over the upholstery so none of these products can damage or stain your seats.


You’ll also need to remember to wipe down your seats after every use to minimize dirt and grease buildup on your upholstery. A soft cloth and water are all you’ll need for wiping down your seats after you’re done on your boat.


3.      Clean Your Seats the Right Way

How often you’ll need to clean your upholstery will depend on how much you use your boat. If you’re out on your boat a few times a week or use it for sunbathing, it will need to be cleaned more often than if you use it only twice a month.


Avoid using household cleaners, bleach, silicon-based products, or automotive products, as these can harm your vinyl. Instead, mix a mild soap like Dawn, Ivory, or Dreft with clean, lukewarm water. Be sure to use only soft brushes and clothes, and scrub your upholstery gently as to not abrade the vinyl’s surface. After dampening the cloth, wipe your upholstery gently, making sure to avoid pooling in the seams before drying with a soft, dry cloth.

4.      Protect Your Upholstery From Harmful UV Rays

The final step in caring for your boat’s upholstery is UV protection. The marine vinyl of your upholstery is embedded with UV protectants. However, they degrade over time. Using a product like 303 (30306) Marine UV Protectant Spray can extend your vinyl’s lifespan. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.

5.      Surprising Cold Weather Concern

Oftentimes people will stand on their boat seats as they’re entering or exiting their boat. In the summer, this isn’t a problem, as long as their feet are clean and you follow the rest of our care instructions. However, this is not the case in the frigid winter months. Like other vinyl upholstery, vinyl hardens in freezing temperatures; when it is stepped on it can easily crack. This is a very common issue we see every spring and is easily prevented by being careful not to stand on your cushions when the temperatures are below freezing.


Contact Canvasworks for Your Custom Boat Seat Upholstery Solutions

Even if you’re diligent in your care for your marine upholstery, it will eventually need to be replaced. At Canvasworks, we specialize in providing Minnesota boat owners with customized, high-performance upholstery.


Whether you’re looking for a custom design in a preferred color or material, or you’re replacing aging vinyl seats, we can help. We combine craftsmanship with the latest technology to create unmatched interiors to your specifications. Visit our gallery online to see what we can do for you, and then call us at 320-559-0165 or contact us on the web to get the flawless marine interior you’ve been dreaming of.