Boat Cover Options

A conversation among Whalers
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:17 am

Boat Cover Options

Postby gubernaculum » Sun May 09, 2021 11:40 am

For a cover [for a 1987 OUTRAGE 22] I give me opinions of the following vendors:
  • Wm. J. Mills & Co. Products
  • Carver
  • National boat covers
  • a local artisan
There appear to be few [other] options available.

Here are my own assessments of those four sources:

Wm. J. Mills & Co.
I don’t really need a mooring cover, and don’t like the idea of drilling holes for the hooks either. Wm. J. Mills & Co. have an excellent reputation. The bow rail goes through their cover. [I am ] unsure of cost. I assume their boat cover will cost more than [$1,200 --please always indicate costs using the dollar sign symbol, and use commas to separate thousands from hundreds]. Some posts in c.2010 indicated [$1,100] for a cover for a MONTAUK 17. Wm. J. Mills & Co.covers are made in [Greenport, New York].

[The cost] for a CARVER-brand cover is [$1,125] from CARVER [or $910] from Boat Covers Direct. [I am] unsure why there is a price difference. A website says you get [Glen Raven Mills SUNBRELLA fabric] or [a fabric sold under the trade name OUTDURA, a competitor to SUNBRELLA from a different mill] depending on supply, and also remarks “custom” fit. [These covers] go over the bow railing and create more windage [on the boat] and more wear [on the cover], but possibly [these covers create] better water protection for bow rail screws. These covers are made in South Carolina.

National Boat Covers
[Boat covers from National Boat Covers are] much cheaper [than other boat covers] and are “semi custom fit”.[These covers] cost $650 for [Glen Raven Mills SUNBRELLA fabric], have a 10-year warranty, and a 30-day fit guarantee.

Local Artisans
I like my local artisan but don’t want to wait [for them to make a cover].

Q1: Has any reader bought a cover from National Boat Covers?

Q2: Have I missed any providers other than the four listed above?

Give me your opinions.

BACK STORY: My cover for my [1987 OUTRAGE 22--please always four-digits for year and include the model length designator in addition to the basic model] has finally given up the ghost. It came with the boat and appeared to be custom fit and of unknown age.I’ve patched it so many times it looks like a quilt, and now I’m even getting tears along my sewing lines. My [1987 OUTRAGE 22] stays on a boat lift in the South Carolina lowcountry. I rarely tow the boat on the highway. I’m able to hang weights or run straps to hold a cover down.

User avatar
Phil T
Posts: 2198
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:08 pm
Location: Was Maine. Temporarily Kentucky

Re: Boat cover options

Postby Phil T » Sun May 09, 2021 12:21 pm

1992 Outrage 17
2019 E-TEC 90
2018 LoadRite 18280096VT
Member since 2003

Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:10 am

Re: Boat cover options

Postby roundle1979 » Sun May 09, 2021 1:51 pm

Mills has a great reputation but [the prices are] expensive.

I have a semi-custom trailer cover from Carver that came with my 2004 Nantucket 190. I do not believe the fabric is Sunbrella. The fabric is one of their cheaper alternative materials. This cover may have been purchased by the previous owner in 2011. The Carver cover is holding up well. I used the Carver cover as a winter cover this past year. The Carver cover did a good job of keeping off rain and snow. I will probably get a few more seasons out of it.

Fig. 1. Boat cover with straps to trailer.
boatCover1a.jpg (25.54 KiB) Viewed 3204 times

Fig. 2. Boat cover without pole.
boatCover2a.jpg (15.69 KiB) Viewed 3204 times

ASIDE: After washing the Carver cover in a commercial washing machine with Ivory Snow detergent, Borax, and a dose of fabric softener, I applied several coats of [Aerospace 303 brand fabric treatment].
Last edited by roundle1979 on Mon May 10, 2021 4:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
2004 Nantucket 190 w/ Mercury Optimax 135

Posts: 1444
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Boat cover options

Postby Jefecinco » Mon May 10, 2021 10:09 am

We have also had excellent products and service from Carver. I tried their Sundura fabric for one cover to save weight so it would be easier for me to handle. I later replaced it with a Sunbrella cover which I decided was superior. If you buy a Carver cover I recommend you buy additional hold down straps as they will eventually need replacement due to UV damage. I also recommend a couple of their excellent vents to prevent condensation leading to mildew.

We have had four covers from Carver since 1999 and only the Sundura cover disappointed. Carver kindly allowed a price reduction on the cover bought to replace the Sundura cover. They have excellent customer service.

Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:17 am

Re: Boat cover options

Postby gubernaculum » Mon May 10, 2021 11:34 am

Note: the Carver website doesn’t sell directly, and prices listed there are MSRP.

I have ordered a CARVER cover made with SUNBRELLA or OUTDURA from BOAT COVERS DIRECT for [again, please use the dollar sign to indicate figures that are in US-dollars, thus $911]. The lead time will be 40-days.

I expect the cover I have ordered will be great, and this is based on the two [recommendations] given above [by people who have bought CARVER covers].


ASIDE: Now to make one last repair to my old cover until the new cover gets here.

Posts: 10566
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Re: Boat cover options

Postby jimh » Mon May 10, 2021 12:45 pm

The Glen Raven Mills fabric trademarked SUNBRELLA is the Gold Standard for boat canvas. Vendors who advertise "sunbrella" should be questioned for a clearer description. I suspect some vendors toss around "sunbrella" without really using the trademarked Glen Raven Mills fabric.

Also, I would be leery about placing an order for a cover and leaving the fabric to be determined based on the vendor's choice of suppliers. The fabric is often a significant cost factor in the cover.

Fig. 3. A cockpit cover made from SUNBRELLA fabric in their PACIFIC BLUE color as a custom fit for my REVENGE 22 W-T Whaler Drive boat.
boatCoverSunbrellaPacificBlue.jpg (41.49 KiB) Viewed 3202 times

I recently had a cockpit cover made for my 22-foot REVENGE using Glen Raven Mills SUNBRELLA fabric in their PACIFIC BLUE colors. The cover leaves the foredeck uncovered as it attaches to the fixed windshield. I chose a local artisan to make the cover. The cost was $1,100. I chose the artisan based on my inspection of many boats at local marinas whose canvas looked well made--they were all from the same shop. In my case, the cover was completely custom-fitted and had to be made to match many existing snaps on the hull already installed for other canvas (like a Flying Top, Side Curtains, and a Drop Curtain). There was no possibility of buying something off-the-shelf or something made to a template for a stock model. I left the boat at the artisan's shop for about three weeks. He worked on the cover as time permitted between other larger projects he had already begun.

As remarked, a very good local artisan can have a significant backlog of work. The presence of customers willing to wait months and months to get canvas from a particular artisan represents (to me) an endorsement of the quality of the work that will be done by the artisan.

Posts: 10566
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Re: Boat cover options

Postby jimh » Mon May 10, 2021 4:03 pm

Phil T wrote:Don't forget Westland.

Although they offer boat covers for 93 models of Boston Whaler boats, I did not see any for an OUTRAGE 22.

Posts: 10566
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Re: Boat cover options

Postby jimh » Mon May 10, 2021 4:26 pm


I had never heard of OUTDURA until mentioned here rather obscurely as "outdura." OUTDURA is "the new kid on the block" for marine canvas. It is made by SATTLER Group in Hudson, North Carolina.

SUNBRELLA is made by Glen Raven Mills of Anderson, South Carolina, and has been THE choice for boat fabric for decades

Both these fabrics are woven from strands of what is called solution-dyed acrylic threads. Neither Glen Raven MIlls or Sattler Group make the actual thread material they will use to weave their fabrics. They may be both getting the thread material from the same provider, as there are only one or two actual suppliers of this material. On that basis any difference in the produced fabric would be due to the weaving methods perhaps more so than from the source material, the solution-dyed acrylic threads.

One large wholesaler that sells OUTDURA says they prefer OUTDURA over SUNBRELLA. That seems a rather self-serving statement. If they were selling SUNBRELLA perhaps they'd have a different opinion.

Now that I am aware of OUTDURA, I am not particularly inclined to abandon SUNBRELLA or particularly inclined to prefer OUTDURA. I am quite happy with my boat canvas made with SUNBRELLA.