How To Repair A Boat Cover-Your Ultimate DIY Guide

If you are a boat owner, a boat cover is one of the most important accessories to have. Why? Well, it’s simply because it helps protect your boat from dust, dirt, UV, and many other things. In other words, it keeps your boat intact when not in use. But the question is, what should you do if there is a hole or a tear in your boat cover and you don’t want to buy a new one? Should you Patch it? Sew it? And if so, How?
Here is your ultimate DIY guide on how to repair a boat cover so that you can get a few more years out of it!

What Causes Damages to Your Boat Cover, And How to Prevent Them?

Here are some of the most common ways to damage your boat cover and how to prevent them:

  • Mouse holes: Mice love burrowing in warm places for shelter in the winter. Prevent mice from damaging your boat cover by storing mothballs in your boat and rolling up your boat cover. Don’t leave it on the floor.
  • Hailstorms: Hailstones can easily tear through a boat cover! The only way to prevent this is to store your boat somewhere safe.
  • Continuing using the cover when it’s damaged: It may seem obvious, but if a seam splits or a zipper breaks, get it repaired! It’s easy for small tears to expand into large ones over time.
  • Fishing lures: Fishing lures snag easily on covers! Use caution when casting and reel in slowly if your line snags on something.
  • Improper use of zippers or snaps: One of the most common ways people damage their covers is by improperly using zippers or snaps—especially when they are cold or wet!

To prevent damage to your canvas, check the storage area around your boat and make sure that there are no entry points for rodents to gain access. You need to keep your canvas safe from hailstorms and snag lures and ensure you zip it well.

Also, check under the boat and make sure that there aren’t any entry points there either. If you do see signs of rodent activity, then you may want to take some precautions, such as sprinkling peppermint oil around the boat or even using a trap to catch them.

Should You Repair Your Boat Cover vs. Replace It?

Your boat cover has seen better days—but is it time to replace it, or can you repair it? The good news is that, in most cases, you can probably patch it up instead of shelling out for a new one.

If your boat cover has a few tears, check whether they’re along a seam. If so, all you have to do is reseal the seam with a sealant like Aquaseal and then re-sew the loose stitches. Suppose you’ve got holes in the fabric itself; repair them with some Tenacious Tape (the iron-on kind). You can also use this iron-on tape if your cover’s seams are starting to come apart.

In case your cover has a few rips but nothing too severe, use duct tape to patch them up. Duct tape is cheap and easy (and even waterproof), which makes it a great option for quick fixes.

How to Repair Canvas Boat Cover

If there is a clear split in the fabric, then you will want to use a sewing machine. If your issue is more of a worn or frayed area, then consider patching. Check out the video below to see how to sew properly a boat cover.

Sewing Machine

If there is a split in the canvas that can be sewn together, this is your best bet. Use a sewing machine to stitch the two sides of the fabric together. If you do not have access to a sewing machine, you can also hand sew using an overhand stitch or whip stitch.


If the hole in your canvas cannot be easily sewn together, most people recommend patching it. Choose a patch material that matches your canvas as closely as possible. You can find patches that come in a variety of colors and patterns, making it easy to find one that will match your cover. You can also use another piece of excess canvas from another project if it matches well enough. Or you can use a Tear-Aid® Type A like it’s shown in the video above.

How to Repair Seams on a Boat Cover

Here are three simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Cut the Thread

Use a pair of scissors to cut the old thread holding the seam together. Be sure to leave about an inch of thread at each end so that you can grab it with tweezers later.

Step 2: Remove Old Thread

Grab an end of the old thread with your tweezers and pull it out from between the two pieces of fabric. The goal is to remove all the old thread, leaving only the two pieces of fabric to be stitched together.

Step 3: Line Up Edges

Line up the two pieces of fabric so that they are in the position they will be in when stitched together. Make sure their edges are aligned straight, and that there is no excess material on one side or another.

Repeat Step 3 for each seam you need to repair on your boat cover.

How to Replace Grommets?

When the grommets that hold the snap toggles on your boat canvas start wearing out, you might think it’s time to replace the whole thing. But if you can sew and have access to a hammer, you can make a simple repair for about $10.

Step 1: Measure the old grommets and purchase new ones in bulk from a fabric store. You can also buy them online (search for “snaps and grommets”).

Step 2: Cut the old one off using a wire cutter, then pull the old snap toggle through the hole.

Step 3: Hammer in the new grommet so that it sits flush with the fabric. Make sure to wear eye protection because little pieces of metal may fly up as you hammer!

Step 4: Repeat as necessary until all of your snaps are replaced!

How to Repair Snaps in a Boat Cover

Does your boat cover have snaps that are broken or missing? No need to worry: Replacing them is a quick and easy process. First, check the existing snaps. If they’re simply loose, you can repair them using a snap kit. If they’re missing or broken, you’ll need to replace them with new ones of the same size and color. You can buy snap kits at most boating supply stores.

To begin, clean the area where the snap will go. Then remove one piece of the snap from the kit and put it in place on top of your canvas. Next, take a socket (or tool) and push it through the canvas and over the snap piece until the socket is flush with the snap piece (you should be able to see it through the hole). Then, simply pound it in with a hammer until it’s firmly attached to the canvas.

Repeat this process for all of your snaps—and then go out there and enjoy your newly-repaired boat cover!

How to Prolong the Life of Your Cover

There are some things you can do that will help extend the life of your cover. It’s best to keep your cover clean and dry while in storage and make sure to rinse it off with fresh water after use, especially if it’s been in saltwater. You can also spray it with a cover cleaner or soap and rinse it off before storing it.

If your cover gets dirty beyond just washing it off with water, you can use a cleaner or soap and brush or sponge and gently scrub it clean. It’s important not to use strong detergents or chemical cleaners, however, as these may damage the fabric. Always apply a 303 Fabric Guard after cleaning it.

You should store your cover loosely folded in a cool, ventilated area so that air can circulate around the seams. This helps prevent mold from forming on your cover. Always remove any dirt from the seams before folding up and storing. Never store a wet or damp boat cover! This is how mildew forms, which will damage the fabric and reduce its lifespan.

How to Protect Your Boat Cover?

A boat cover protects your boat from the elements when it is stored and not used. The cover also keeps it clean by keeping out dirt, leaves, and other debris. The boat cover can be made of a variety of materials; some are waterproof, and others are more breathable.

The type of material used for each type of boat is influenced by factors such as the cost of the fabric and the location of the boat. Some boat covers are designed to protect boats from rain, snowfall, and extreme temperatures. Others are made of more breathable materials that help the boat to withstand heat and humidity. If a boat cover is going to be used on a daily basis, it should have some type of UV protection as well.

Here are some things that you can do to protect your boat cover:

  • Use a lotion or cream on your hands before you touch your cover. This will make it easier for you to remove stains without damaging the material.
  • If you have an outdoor cover or one made from vinyl, use a protective spray before removing any dirt or debris that may have settled on the fabric.
  • If you have an indoor cover, use detergent and warm water on a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt.

What Is a Suitable Thickness for a Boat Cover?

When it comes to boat covers, it’s all about finding the right thickness. The most common thicknesses are 8, 10, 12, and 14 ounces. If you go too thick, you’ll have a heavy cover that will not perform as well in high wind conditions. If you go too thin, it may be more easily torn or ripped by wind-borne debris.

The best rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight material that will give you the durability you need for your specific climate and conditions. In areas with lots of debris and/or strong winds, heavier-weight materials are recommended. A boat cover should also be water-resistant or waterproof and UV resistant.

Your boat cover should fit snugly on your boat so that it does not flap in the wind but is not so tight that it puts undue stress on the seams. It should also never rub against or touch the hull or gel coat of your boat as this can cause damage over time.

What Is the Most Durable Boat Cover?

If you’re shopping for a boat cover, you’ll want to get the most durable one you can. While polyester covers aren’t as durable as nylon or canvas, they are the least expensive option. Polyester is a good choice if you plan to store your boat indoors and you’re on a budget.

Nylon is the next step up from polyester, but it’s still relatively lightweight. Nylon covers are more durable than polyester and offer better protection against sun damage and mildew, but they still won’t stand up to the elements as well as polyester covers do.

Canvas is the most durable fabric choice for a boat cover, but it’s also the heaviest option. Heavy canvas covers will protect your boat from UV rays and water damage, but they can be cumbersome to handle and may require a support system for installation. When shopping for a boat cover, consider how often you’ll use it and where you’ll store your boat when it’s not in use: indoors or outdoors. Your answers will help determine which type of material will be best for you.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now can see how repairing your boat cover is an easy process, with very little loss of the material or original craftsmanship. What’s more, there is no reason why you should have to replace your entire cover just because there is even a minor repair needed. You can save a few dollars when all is said and done without sacrificing the overall quality of your boat cover.

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4 thoughts on “How To Repair A Boat Cover-Your Ultimate DIY Guide”

  1. Hi Daniella,
    I’ve never had a boat, no wonder because I’m getting sick each time I am on a boat on the ocean…but I love the sea. Wouldn’t the easiest way to store your boat in a little house on dry land? You wouldn’t need a boat cover, or do you still need it? But probably, that’s too expensive, huh? I think it’s fascinating to repair a boat cover with duct-tape or by sewing it together on the broken parts, because I like doing things myself and saving money. I couldn’t understand the other part with the grommets, because I wasn’t able to translate the word grommet into my language. So, maybe you could tell me what a grommet is?



    • Hey there,

      Yes, even if you store your boat in a dry place, you still need a boat cover to protect your boat from dust and dirt and anything that could destroy it.

      A grommet is a sort of eyelet placed into the fabric that serves as reinforcement to prevent the cover from getting torn when there is pressure on it.
      I hope it helped. And if you have any other questions, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to assist. Thank you for your comment, and I wish you a lovely day.

  2. This is very educative. I never thought this type of damage on a boat cover can be simply sorted out with thread and needle without looking for experts and paying so much for it. I am not a boat owner but I learned something from this article. How to fix some minor issues by DIY without always wasting money on a handyman. I can also apply the same process to fixing a torn cloth/ dress.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey there,

      I am glad you learned something from this article, and I hope it will help you fix your boat cover if you ever get a tear or a hole in it. I am not an expert in stitching, but I guess you can do the same with clothes. You just need to use a more gentle needle:)
      Thank you for your comment, and if you have any questions, please let me know. I’m always happy to help. I wish you a wonderful day!


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