What Is The Best Material For Boat Covers? – Your Ultimate Guide!

Whether you store your boat inside or outside, a boat cover is a must-accessory. When choosing a boat cover, you want to be sure it will hold up for many years and protect your boat thoroughly, and keep it in good shape for years to come. 

There are different types of materials, and to make the right choice for your needs, it would be best to know what to look for.

So in this article, you’ll find an ultimate guide about what is the best material for boat covers and some helpful tips.

The Top Material For Boat Covers?

Acrylic and vinyl-coated polyester are incredibly durable as well as water-resistant and UV-resistant, making them the top choice for boat cover materials.

Types Of Materials


Although expensive compared to the other fabrics, it’s considered a top choice for boat covers and boat bimini tops when made correctly. Acrylic is super strong. It withstands UV and mildew incredibly well while remaining breathable.


  • WithStand UV
  • Breathable
  • Available in a large variety of colors
  • Mildew resistant
  • Water-resistant


  • Expensive
  • Can be vulnerable to abrasion if not reinforced
  • Not waterproof and will need to be re-waterproofed once in a while.

Coated Polyester

Coated polyester is also very strong, UV-resistant, and highly water-resistant. This fabric is easy to work with and easy to clean, making life simpler. Despite being an excellent material, it has some weaknesses. For example, the coating can separate over time, and crazing can appear on the fabric when folded or creased.


  • Highly water resistant
  • Very sturdy
  • Looks good
  • Easy to clean
  • Good Sun resistance


  • Can encounter delamination issues.
  • Tend to get stiff in cold weather
  • Not very breathable
  • Can fade over time
  • Crazing can show in the fabric when folded.

Solution Dyed Polyester

This type of fabric does a better job of repealing water than acrylic. But, on the other hand, it’s less breathable and thus more prone to mold issues. It’s also less UV resistant and fades quicker.


  • More water resistant than Acrilyc
  • Strong and durable
  • UV resistance
  • Breathable
  • Adapt to temperature change


  • Less durable than acrylic.
  • Less UV and mold resistant.

Vinyl-Coated Polyester

This is one of the most popular and affordable boat cover materials.

It’s easy to clean. It’s extremely robust and water-resistant. The downside of vinyl-coated polyester is that it’s less breathable than other materials and tends to fade over time.


  • Affordable
  • A popular choice amongst boaters
  • Extremely water resistant 
  • Robust
  • Easy to clean


  • Not as breathable as the other materials.
  • Tend to fade over time.


Nylon material is not durable and doesn’t withstand UV well. As a result, it will quickly fade after prolonged exposure to the sun. 

In addition, it’s not very breathable, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. In other words, it’s not the best option unless you want a temporary boat cover for cheap.


  • Not expensive
  • not the bad option for short-term protection


  • Lack durability
  • Lack breathability
  • Poor UV resistance
  • Very lightweight

Most Popular Boat Cover Materials


  • Sunbrella
  • Tempotest
  • Recacril


  • Top Gun
  • Harbor Time
  • Aqualon
  • Top Notch
  • Weathermax
  • Stamoid

Factors to Determine The Quality of the Material.


When looking for boat covers, you’ll see the word “Dernier” or “Ounces” in the details of the product, which describes the thickness of the material. 

The higher the Dernier, the more robust, rougher, and more durable the material. And vice versa, the lower the Dernier, the more sheer, silky, and soft the material.

So, for example, 1,200 D will be heavier and provide more protection to your boat than 600D. And, of course, a 300D will be lighter and will give less protection than a 600D.


If you often put on and remove your boat cover, you might consider a lighter-weight fabric. It will be easier to handle. If durability is your top priority, then a heavier-weight material will be the best option.


According to boat cover retailers, dark boat covers with a high amount of solution-dyed are more durable and provide a higher UV resistance. On the other hand, a dark color will absorb more heat than a lighter color.

However, many manufacturers that specialize in boat covers suggest choosing a Sunbrella black cover when keeping a boat in the sun because it has a high level of breathability and UV resistance and doesn’t tend to retain heat.

They also say that coated polyester material fades more quickly and traps heat inside more since it doesn’t breathe well. So it makes sense that if you use a dark coated polyester cover in high temperatures, your cover will fade away faster over time, and your boat will get very hot.

In short, for a coated polyester cover, you would want to choose a light color, and for Sunbrella material, a dark color. If you don’t want to take too much risk in choosing the color, gray, green, and silver do a great job repelling UV and protecting the boat, no matter the weather conditions.

The good thing about lighter color covers is that they reflect the sun better, which helps keep the boat cooler. On the other hand, light colors tend to show dirt and stain more than dark color covers and can yellow with time – although birds dropping are extremely visible on dark boat cover colors.


The thread is as important as the material. If it’s not durable, your boat cover will come unstitched and break, which you want to avoid at all costs. 

So before buying your boat cover, make sure the threat is UV resistant and very strong. Those are the threads you need to look for:

PTFE thread is a sturdy, flexible thermoplastic polymer that is exceptionally strong and UV resistant. It’s more expensive, but also last longer.

POLY/ DACRON thread is also strong and UV resistant but more affordable and less durable.


Breathability is one of the most critical factors when choosing a cover material. If the fabric doesn’t breathe properly, it will trap moisture in your boat, and this can cause serious damage over time, apart from mildew and mold build-up, such as electrical issues.

Note that the higher degree of waterproofness the fabric has, the less breathable it is. So this is something you must consider when buying a boat cover.

Waterproof And Water-Resistant Material.

The two terms look similar, but in reality, there are differences between the two materials.


A waterproof material provides 100% protection against the elements. This means no water, snow, or sun will get through the fabric. Although a fully waterproof cover provides excellent protection, it doesn’t allow air to circulate inside, and of course, this will lead to mildew build-up, which you don’t want. If you opt for a waterproof boat cover, you must ensure they have vents to increase breathability and prevent moisture issues. 

Water Resistant

Water-resistant boat covers are one of the most popular choices among boaters because they breathe exceptionally well and do a great job repealing water and UV rays.

Since water-resistant materials don’t repeal water naturally, they are treated with a special agent to increase their level of waterproofness. Note that this coating agent wears away over time, and it will leak if you don’t treat the material again. To restore the fabric’s water repellency, you must re-waterproof it once in a while with a special agent such as Aqua-Tite or 303 fabric guard. 

Should A Boat Cover Material Be Waterproof?

Not always; it depends on where you plan to store your boat and what weather you encounter.

For instance, if you mainly keep your boat outside in lousy weather, a waterproof boat cover will be the best option. But remember, for good airflow; you must make sure the cover has vents installed. If there aren’t any, you should install them yourself or have a specialist do the job.

If you keep your boat in the garage or outside in the sun, a highly water-resistant and breathable boat cover will be an excellent choice.

Solution Dyed Vs. Pigment Coated?

When looking for boat cover material, you might come across terms like “solution dyed” and “pigment coated”. These terms can actually tell you a lot about the quality of the cover. Solution-dyed means that the color pigment is added to the fibers before they are woven into the fabric. As a result, the color pigment goes all the way through the material, making it more resistant to fading and UV damage.

Pigment coated, on the other hand, means that the color pigment is added only after the fabric is woven. When using this method, the color pigment goes only on the surface and doesn’t fully penetrate the fibers, reducing the UV resistance of the fabric and making it more prone to fading.

In short, solution-dyed is more durable and holds up much better in the sun than pigment-coated boat cover material.

Final Words

In conclusion, while acrylic is an exceptional material for boat covers, vinyl-coated polyester is one of the most raved materials among boaters for the reasons I have stated earlier. However, when choosing a boat cover material, make sure it suits your specific needs. That will be the best choice for you and your boat!

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4 thoughts on “What Is The Best Material For Boat Covers? – Your Ultimate Guide!”

  1. Thank you Daniella for the excellent article over the best material for boat covers, this will be helpful to countless boat owner as the warm weather of summer approaches and folks are leveling up to get back out on the water in their boats!

    I especially appreciate the explanation of both Solution Dyed and Pigment Coated as I have seen countless numbers of these covers fade in color over the yrs and know now from your definitions that it is solution dyed that I want to buy to avoid this phenomenon.

    It also seems that Nylon is the least durable of all the materials listed so I’ll be sure to aim for the acrylic or polyester options. Do either of these options fail in providing the thickness that you would recommend?

    • Ho Joseph,

      Sure, acrylic and polyester come in different thicknesses. But remember, the thicker the fabric, the heavier it will be.

      If you have any questions, please let me know. I am always happy to help.

      Thank you f or the comment and I wish you a lovely day.

  2. My wife and I live in the inland Pacific Northwest and will be buying our first little speedboat next month. We get everything from blizzards to heavy rain to scorching heat up here. 

    Since we have such swings in our weather throughout the year, what factors should we consider when choosing the best material for our boat cover?

    • Hi Matt,

      The factors you should consider are waterproofness, durability, and breathability, especially if you are experiencing lots of changes in weather conditions throughout the year. Sunbrella is a fantastic fabric; boaters love it.

      I hope it helped. Let me know if you have more questions. I’ll be happy to assist.

      Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a lovely day.


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