When we bought Pegu Club the prior owner said that he didn’t cover her in the winter, so last winter we didn’t cover her either. However, it quickly became clear that the decision put us squarely in the minority of the other boat owners in our marina. Typically this wouldn’t really be a big deal, but we had a boatload (ha!) of snow last winter. We really weren’t crazy about the snow piles that were making themselves at home in the cockpit, so we decided that this winter we would cover her up.
People have a variety of solutions for covering their boats. Some have custom covers made – $$$. I may consider making one for her when my sewing skills are sufficiently developed, but for now a custom cover wasn’t an option. Other people rig up their own system. I have a co-worker who does this, but he’s an engineer and has a frame that is worthy of his degree. We knew THAT wasn’t going to happen. Another option is to have the yard shrink wrap the boat, with an access door if desired. Initially we chose option three. But we really weren’t environmentally comfortable with the fact that all of the shrink wrap ends up in a dumpster in the spring, and it was pretty pricy. Shrink-wrapping our boat with an access door was going to run approximately $475. Ouch. So we used our google-fu to find a great description for building a frame (no engineering degree required), we ordered up a 30′ x 40′ tarp on Amazon, and hit Home Depot for the remaining supplies. That’s how we found ourselves at the marina last weekend constructing our DIY boat cover.
The instructions were pretty simple. Use PVC pipes to build three arches, another PVC pipe for the spine, some 2 x 4’s to support all of it, a plethora of zip ties and duct tape to hold it all together, and an abundance of rags for every possible chafe point.
Putting together the frame only took around three hours, and if we hadn’t chosen to sleep in we could have finished that day. But darkness was falling so we headed home and went back again on Sunday. Of course first we had to make the obligatory stop at Home Depot for more tarp clips – something I had no idea existed before that weekend. What an ingenious invention!
Sunday was just as pleasant weather-wise as Saturday had been (bright sunshine and 40 degrees), so after another three hours of wrestling with the tarp and getting it set up just so, we were all set!
Final cost – $200 all in, and we’ll be able to reuse everything. The tarp will probably only last two or three years, but it was only $90 so it still beats the heck out of $475+ annually for shrink wrap. Plus, we figured it will take us less time to set up next year now that the wooden braces and the PVC pipes have been cut to size.
We drove down to the marina today to see how it was holding up so far, and all is well. The weather forecast for Christmas is for heavy rain and winds so that will be a big test, but the boat is fairly protected in its spot. I also think the 30 tarp clips and the rope tying everything down will help. Time will tell.