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Old 10-30-2011, 01:33 AM   #1
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Default DIY Boat Cover Support System

Well, its that time of year here in NY, time to cover the boat up, heck we're expecting snow tonight, crazy.. Since I picked up my 1995 3200 SCR just this summer, anyone have any cool pics of a diy boat cover support system? I don't do shrinkwrap, I use poly tarp. Yeah, I know, I heard it all before. But shrinkwrap here runs about $575 for a boat this size, just to throw it away in the spring kills me. Blue tarp from Home Depot was $120. I've seen pics of people using PVC (1.5 or 2.0 inches), some go with wood supports. Even if it runs me upto $200 or $250, I'm ahead of the game, and maybe it will last a couple of seasons.

Last year on my last boat I simply just used some wood support poles down the middle of the boat with nylon rope going from front to rear, then side to side, made almost a web. I draped the blue poly tarp over it, pulled it tight. Since the tarp was rectuangular, I decided to trim the bottom of the tarp along the rubrail. Then I got some tarp tape, folded it over the cut edge of the tarp, and set my own brass grommets in the tarp tape the also went through the tarp. The tarp held up pretty much okay except where it chaffed through one of the support poles on the bow. I read a tip where one guy cut an empty anti-freeze container in half and placed the bottom half of the container over the post, this way it prevents chaffing. Some other tips I read was to get pipe insulation foam, slit it length-wise and place over the edges of the windshield, I think that should help as well.

My biggest decision is to go with pvc or wood. With wood, I can unscrew it afterwards and keep it year over year. With PVC, once glued, it's over. And to not glue it, well, that doesn't sound good either. I just think the 1 inch pvc pipes may bend easier to make an arch over the boat from port to starboard. Any suggestions?
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:16 AM   #2
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go with wood......pvc may not hold up to the snow loads.......

let us know how it goes and take lotsa pic's.......I've been watching the weather out there...you guys are gonna get pounded with this new noreaster...



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Old 10-30-2011, 02:25 AM   #3
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Why don't you learn how to shrink wrap your boat by yourself? For our 3000 it cost me under $200.00 for supplies including the shrink wrap 24x65- 7 mil white with two rolls of tape, 6 vents, strapping and 4" PVC for the frame.

Jamestown supply has the gun on sale for $498.00 which has everything you need except a propane tank. That will pay for itself after about three years. It is was fairly easy to do. I had enough left to do our jet ski.

IMHO the tarp method might work, get alot of high winds and snows and that is uaually their downfall. That is my suggest.

Good luck with whatever you do decide with. Whatever it is the goal is to keep your baby out of the elements until next spring.

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:50 AM   #4
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well.....

since i have deprecating item such as a boat, a $148 homedepot 30'x 50' tarp is my solution.

I let the tarp hang into the bow rails with a nice drain hole that gutters the snow and ice off the bow over the side.

I wrapped and tread the eyelets, the boat looks like a blue corset.

All canvas stays on with no rubbing, and the tarp flaps under the boat in the wind for ventilation.

We do get a few 12" snows here, but it blows off the top just as fast, and the bow melts in the first sun.

you can spend $10 to $15 a foot, but seams like gas money to me.

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Old 11-01-2011, 11:14 AM   #5
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Having gone with pvc and wood frames in the past I opted for the proven wood frame made with strapping material three layers thick to offer strength and flexibility. A couple of "T" stands with 45 degree supports at the base of the tee and secured to railings with rope support.A nice large tarp over the top with all bimini and camper canvas and frames removed and stored inside basement. Did install mooring cover to keep cats and squirrels out then tarp over the frame and about 1 ft to 3 ft above mooring cover. Secured both ends and should keep boat well ventilated and snow free for the winter.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:45 AM   #6
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Well, learning my way through this a bit. I built out the frame with PVC pipe. A simple frame with a main line running bow to stern, with support poles, 3 on the bow, one right behind the walk through and one in the cockpit. Ran rope to the rails, fore and aft, all over the place to secure it down. A big blue tarp, that I trimmed so that it just makes the waterline. Bought some tarp tape and taped the cut edges. I didn't have time to set grommet, so I went with tarp clips (big mistake). I opted for 2 7ft zippers and made a door as to get into the boat when needed for winter work. Last weekend here in the northeast, got a pretty decent windstorm 30-40mph winds. So I took a run to see how my cover held up. First, the tarp clips just didn't cut it. They let loose, and half my tarp was whipping in the wind. By son held it down while I tried to tie it down in 40 mph winds. He had fun. I was aggravated. I managed to set some grommets and hold the aft side down, called it a day after a few hours in the windstorm. The storm went through the night, and the next day another run to the marina where I found that the PVC just wasn't strong enough. Once of the T fittings just snapped under the pressure. Luckily, I had enough supports, so it was a quick fix. Its good that March is right around the corner. While we are all thinking about getting the boats prepped for the new season, I'm a bit wiser, and next winter I'll go with wood for the support. As for the tarp, since I trimmed it, I'll see how well it holds up, and either put grommets all around when I take it down, or use it as a template to cut out a new tarp and grommet it. Yeah, I know, why not shrink wrap. Answer. I don't know. I guess, I can deal with a tarp better than a torch.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Yea out here shrink wrap is not an option either, it's way to pricey! I bought a tarp covers online and with the help on some PVC pipes it worked perfect!
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:18 AM   #8
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welcome to the zoo miss hailey.....



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Old 05-09-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamanati View Post
Well, its that time of year here in NY, time to cover the boat up, heck we're expecting snow tonight, crazy.. Since I picked up my 1995 3200 SCR just this summer, anyone have any cool pics of a diy boat cover support system? I don't do shrinkwrap, I use poly tarp. Yeah, I know, I heard it all before. But shrinkwrap here runs about $575 for a boat this size, just to throw it away in the spring kills me. Blue tarp from Home Depot was $120. I've seen pics of people using PVC (1.5 or 2.0 inches), some go with wood supports. Even if it runs me upto $200 or $250, I'm ahead of the game, and maybe it will last a couple of seasons.

Last year on my last boat I simply just used some wood support poles down the middle of the boat with nylon rope going from front to rear, then side to side, made almost a web. I draped the blue poly tarp over it, pulled it tight. Since the tarp was rectuangular, I decided to trim the bottom of the tarp along the rubrail. Then I got some tarp tape, folded it over the cut edge of the tarp, and set my own brass grommets in the tarp tape the also went through the tarp. The tarp held up pretty much okay except where it chaffed through one of the support poles on the bow. I read a tip where one guy cut an empty anti-freeze container in half and placed the bottom half of the container over the post, this way it prevents chaffing. Some other tips I read was to get pipe insulation foam, slit it length-wise and place over the edges of the windshield, I think that should help as well.

My biggest decision is to go with pvc or wood. With wood, I can unscrew it afterwards and keep it year over year. With PVC, once glued, it's over. And to not glue it, well, that doesn't sound good either. I just think the 1 inch pvc pipes may bend easier to make an arch over the boat from port to starboard. Any suggestions?
Yea, I agree if you are in new york you should use wood, instead of PVC, PVC might not hold up since it snows quite a bit out there, I honestly dont think there is anything wrong with using Poly Tarps for covering your boats, i use it every winter and it's never failed me
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:06 PM   #10
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Last year the PVC definitely did not hold up. This year (a little wiser I hope) I made it out of wood (2x3). The tarp is your regular blue poly tarp, 30x50, that I got from tarpaflex.com for about $55. I decided to spend some time and trim off the excess, especially around the bow. I used tarp tape on the cut edges and put in my own brass grommets where I trimmed the tarp. It did take me a while, as the tool I had to set grommets required me to hammer them in, not something I would do against the side of the hull. So it was pull it down to ground level, set grommets, refit the tarp, cut some more kind of day you get the picture. Well, at least now I have a somewhat fitted tarp, and future tarps I can do at home first by laying them flat on my property, placing the fitted tarp over it as a template, and do the work while its on the ground.

The 2x3s are attached, butt joint, with some 1/2 inch plywood I had and deck screws, and the vertical beams sit on a small section of plywood as well. In the spring time I plan to remove the plywood braces and install metal braces instead, with screws on one side of the butt joint and a bolt/washer/wing-nut on the other side, it will make it easier to reassemble next winter. I screwed in some eye hooks to run the lines that hold the beams in place. These are fastened either to cleats, or the bow rail. At the front of the bow, I angled it down a bit instead of running straight across and then straight down like I did in the aft section. Again, in the spring time, I'll probably 45 that 90 degree joint at the aft section. The rope I used is polypropylene, don't use nylon as it will stretch and will get loose over time.

So the poly tarp doesn't rip or chafe on the beams, I got some pipe insulation from a local hardware store, the kind that is split already lengthwise. I wrapped the top part of the beams with the pipe insulation and some duct tape to hold it in place. Made the tarp slide very easy over the support structure (except where it got hung up on the rear 90 degree butt joint from time to time). All in all, its a pretty good fit. On the outside, places where the tarp had some excess, I folded it over, and taped it flat. Normally, a canvas cover would have seams at those places. Since I had set grommets all around, I was also able to pull even the folded over sections down pretty tight by going sideways a bit. To get into it during the winter season for some of my projects, a added a tarp zipper for about $10 on the back, it sticks very well and zips up nice and shut.

Since its poly tarp, it wont breathe well like a canvas cover would. And shrink wrap has vents one could adhere to it, but there isn't anything for poly tarp, so humidity is a concern. Instead of buying a bunch of DampRid products, I made my own. DampRid is effectively calcium chloride, the exact same stuff is found in your typical snow/ice melt. To make one of these, you need a 5 gallon pail, a 1 gallon pail, and a dowel, 3/8 or 1/2 inch. Drill a bunch of small holes in the bottom of the 1 gallon pail for the water to drain into the 5 gallon pail. Drill from the inside of the pail, not the outside, as this will make the water drain a lot easier. Holes around an inch or so from the top of each pail to push the dowel through, then fill the small pail about halfway with snow/ice melt. A 40lb bag of snow/ice melt cost me $8 at the store, enough to do 6 pails and have quite a bit left over.

I placed two of these pails in my cabin, two on the bow, one in the bilge, and one in the cockpit. All port windows, cabinets, etc are open as to allow whatever air gets in there to circulate. I figured my project here ran about $100 for the tarp and grommets, maybe I can get a couple of seasons out of it. The frame was about $30, of which is reusable. The pails I had most of them, but another $10 for the smaller ones, and $8 for the snow/ice melt. $30 for the rope and about $10 for the pipe insulation. All in all, about $200 which most of its is reusable, not bad compared to a one-time shrink-wrap my marina would charge for about $550.
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