As boating season ends for many of us, it’s time to plan for the off-season and winter storage. If you don’t have a heated, indoor place to store it, we highly recommend shrink wrapping to protect your boat from the elements. Shrink wrap is a polymer plastic film with UV inhibitors that shrink when heat is applied and creates a seal much tighter than a tarp.
Please find some helpful pointers to shrink wrap your boat for the winter below.
SHRINK WRAPPING 101
The main reason to shrink wrap your boat is to protect it from weather damage. Essentially the shrink wrap is used as a protective cover for the boat and equipment from potentially harsh weather conditions.
Shrink wrap will help protect against rodents, insects, bird droppings, and dust. The wrap also provides greater warmth which may help eliminate pooling and a buildup of snow, along with the tight seal to withstand high winds.
The biggest benefit of shrink wrapping is the protection it provides during the winter, allowing you to safely get through the next boating season. Additionally, it requires little to no maintenance once installed. Manufacturers produce a variety of colors, sizes, and widths to ensure your boat is properly safeguarded.
The one downside to shrink wrapping is the cost. This type of winter maintenance technique is expensive and can cost a few hundred dollars for a small boat and more for larger boats. On the other hand, you can purchase a tarp at most hardware stores for a fraction of the cost. Keep in mind that while many boaters do use a tarp as protection, this method does not provide anywhere near the same level of protection. We also highly recommend having a professional shrink wrap your boat over using tarp.
For more on boat winterization misconceptions, click here.
WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT COLORS?
All boats that are shrink wrapped for winter require some degree of ventilation. The color of the shrink wrap (white, blue, or clear) will determine how much ventilation is needed. The amount of ventilation required is determined by the boat type and the weather conditions in your specific area.
White shrink wrap gives little heat transference and creates less condensation. Blue shrink wrap is optimal in snowy climates as the darker color produces more heat which allows for less snow to accumulate. Clear shrink wrap is optimal for boats on sale because it makes it easier for potential buyers to see the boat, but it does not create much heat so additional ventilation is required for condensation control.