A boat lift does a lot of heavy lifting, literally—it keeps your boat up and out of the water when you’re not using it, which protects it from wear and tear over time. Water isn’t the only hazard on the average shoreline, though. You also have wind, debris, rain, and other weather conditions and environmental factors. Keeping your boat lifted out of the water is a big part of protecting it from damage, but it won’t help when a storm blows through overnight and damages your boat.
A high-quality canopy cover is the best way to supplement your boat lift’s protective powers. It helps keep your boat clean, dry, and protected from all angles when it’s not in use. Before buying your boat lift canopy, here are some things you need to know.
Measuring for a Canopy Cover
As long as you’re purchasing your canopy frame and cover from the same manufacturer and in the same size, they will likely fit together. If you’re buying from different manufacturers, looking for a replacement cover, or the size information isn’t available, you’ll have to measure four areas:
The overall frame length
Inside width of the frame
Length of the side rails, not including the end caps
Outside width of the frame
These numbers are your canopy dimensions and will help you pick the right size. Always double-check measurements before you buy! When you’re looking at your canopy cover options, choose one with deep sides that protects from wind, water, and leaves. Rounded ends and canopy skirts will also offer extra protection.
Canopy Cover Material Options and Construction
The ideal boat lift canopy is durable, lightweight, water-repellent, and resistant to mold, mildew, abrasion, and ultraviolet light. It will also come equipped with bungees or a way to attach it securely to the frame so that it doesn’t blow away or shift when the weather gets rough. A vented canopy cover will give air somewhere to go during strong winds and storms and adds to durability by reducing the chances of ripped seams or broken bungees. These vents will also help air circulate through the cover, which does wonders for inhibiting mold and mildew growth. Top coated vinyl is a highly protective, durable, and waterproof option that resists marine hazards like mildew and UV light well. However, coated vinyl is very heavy; fabric materials like WeatherMax are lighter but not quite as water resistant, and there are middle-of-the-road options like HarborTime that strike a balance between the two.
Folding and Storage of a Canopy Cover
No matter what material you choose, folding a canopy is like folding a giant fitted sheet—you’ll want help. Ensure that your canopy is clean and dry before removing it from the frame and laying it on the ground. Fold it over like a sleeping bag, smoothing it out as you go and tucking in ends, corners, and ruffles for curved covers. Tightly roll up the folded cover, pressing the air out until you get to the end, and make sure to keep it in a dry, safe place.
If you still have questions about your boat lift canopy or need installation advice or other recommendations, a local waterfront dealer can help.