It makes me physically ill when I drive around town and see so many pontoon boats uncovered in storage. Boats are expensive, and leaving them uncovered means the furniture and other parts of the boat will wear out 10x faster.
But I understand why so many boats are left uncovered–it’s a pain in the neck to put the cover on. I find that I put the cover on much more frequently if I have a cover that’s easy to put on. Frankly, I prefer after market covers to the fitted cover that came with my boat because the snaps on the custom cover take FOREVER to put on.
If you go to a canvas shop and get a custom canvas matching the one that came with your boat and snaps on, it will likely cost around $1,500. At least that’s what I was quoted. You can get one for a lot less on Amazon and they are faster to put on because they just tie on instead of snapping all around the boat.
The other problem with the custom snap kind is that the snaps don’t fit the same in the winter as the summer. During half of the year I can’t even get my snaps to go together.
One Quick Tip for Buying a Pontoon Boat Cover
Don’t be afraid to buy a cover that is a little bigger than you need. The covers I link to below will all fit standard pontoon boats in the given size, but don’t worry if the cover says it fits up to a 24′ boat and your boat is 19′ to 21′, for example. A longer cover means it will often cover the top of the outboard, and also the front of the deck as well. Don’t worry about getting one that is a little too big.
Best 5 Pontoon Boat Covers
My Top Pick: Yescom Pontoon Boat Cover
This is the pontoon boat cover I bought for my boat and it’s GREAT!
There are a lot of reasons to choose this cover as my favorite. The material is really high quality (600d) and has a very water resistant PU coating, which makes the cover last a lot longer. The stitching is also doubled so it’s a lot less likely to see seams coming up at the edges.
Without a doubt my favorite feature about this cover is that it has an elastic all the way around it and buckle straps to go over the top. That makes it a BREEZE to connect up around the boat! I’d guess it takes half the time to put on this cover than the cover that came with my pontoon boat, which makes this a very good choice if you’ll be mooring your boat.
My only complaint with this system is that it could use a few more straps. I think it’d do fine in a wind storm, but I’m a belt and suspenders kinda guy.
The boat cover comes in a nice bag, but I never really use the bag. I just dump the cover in the garage while the boat is out and then put it on as soon as I return home with the boat. But it’s nice to have.
The New Vortex Pontoon Boat Cover is another good option. It is made of similar 600D water resistant fabric, but it seems like the stitching isn’t quite as sturdy. Several reviewers of this cover have mentioned that the seams ripped in short order, but others seem happy with it.
The New Vortex cover also has elastic and straps like the Yescom cover, which makes it quite appealing, but it’s also a lot more expensive.
My complaint about the New Vortex cover is that it doesn’t come down nearly as far on the boat, so it offers less protection to the sides of the pontoon boat.
This one seems very similar to the New Vortex Cover. The fabric is again a 600 denier waterproof material with elastic around the edges and straps.
One nice feature of the North East Harbor is that it has several more straps to secure to the boat. The straps can go under the boat entirely or just under the pontoons.
However, durability again seems to plague this cover. Some people like it but many complain of ripped seams.
#4: Pyle Armor Shield Pontoon Boat Cover
One of the nice things about the Pyle Cover is that it comes in a variety of sizes to fit your boat, but remember that I usually recommend getting one that says it fits a boat a little longer than your boat actually is.
Putting the cover on seems to be a bit slower than with the other covers in this list, but I would say that this cover gives the most “custom fit look” to the cover when on the boat since everything fits a bit more snug.
Another benefit of this one is that it has an extra flap at the back for the engine.
But again, the plague of this cover is complaints of ripped seams.
One Last Tip
Do not keep the cover on your boat while trailering! I’ve read many stories from other pontoon boat captains who kept the cover on and didn’t notice a little corner flapping in the wind while they drove. When they arrived, the cover was torn and the paint was worn off the boat in that spot from being slapped by the fabric at 60mph for a few hours.
Keep the cover off while driving. Keep the cover on when not in use.