How Much Should A Classic Boat Cover Cost?


How much?

Okay, this looks like one of those lame internet Facebook questions. The answer is rather subjective of course. What material, what size boat, lined? How custom do you want it. The other day Jimmy got a new cover for Scarlet.

Trailer cover

Light weight

All done!

And we were both shocked at the amount it cost. Now, I will say, its got all the bells and whistles. But it got us thinking. Maybe we are not seeing the real cost. So I said I would ask the citizens of Woodyboaterville, What did you spend?

17 ft?, 19ft? 22 ft, 24 ft?

She had two covers when we had her, Fleece lined and a rain cover.

WECATHEMs cover fits like a glove but is as heavy as a rock!

32 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I have found that two covers is what works for both of my boats. A full cover down to the chine for towing in inclement weather (like the one Jimmy got) and a mooring cover that just covers the cockpit. The towing cover is lined with felt at all the touch points to the boat. The mooring cover is light, easy to take on and off and keeps the interior clean and dry.
    As to cost, find a good cover maker that will custom fit to the boat and you will get good value for what you pay.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Quality materials, a heavyweight sewing machine, and a lot of skilled labor. It is something that is going to be expensive if done well.

  3. Flash
    Flash says:

    I was quoted around $7-8/SF when I was looking for a custom cockpit cover for Flash. This was a sunbrella type of fabric with a drawstring and snaps, depending on the area of the boat. Fortunately, the cheap covers from Overtons or Bass Pro worked well as an everyday full weather cover.

  4. Bjorn B
    Bjorn B says:

    Getting a “deluxe” to waterline cover made from a respected upholsterer here in MA for a 17′ barrel for $2300. Fleece lined Sunbrella, reinforcements and openings for cleats, etc. Have no idea how that price compares.

  5. Jim Murdock
    Jim Murdock says:

    Good subject Matt, We do covers in shop and you always want to be competitive. FYI I charge
    $130 per ft for a full waterline Sunbrella cover, with vents, cleat openings etc to suite where it is being docked, dry, wet etc. Muslin covers are good for boat house just to keep spider crap off, they are light and breath. Cockpit covers are the best for the St. Johns river cruise, keeps the birds from crapping on your seat cushions and they can be done without snaps most of the time.

  6. Bill
    Bill says:

    In Western NY, we have several quality Amish fabric shops. I’ve had 3 covers made for 16, 17 and 19 foot Chris-Crafts, all from Sunbrella with fitted fleece inner covers to protect the varnish and brightwork. Cost has been $350 to $550. They sew in vinyl patches where the Sunbrella material comes in contact with sharp edges, such as windshields and vents, and reinforce lift ring and bow areas. Very high quality covers at a good value.

  7. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    The last Sunbrella cover we had made for Yorktown (’57 21′ Continental) was a two piece cover (one for the bow and one from the windshield back) with no lining that cost $1,800.00 ten years ago. The work was quality, but I had to ad a bow in the stern to keep from puddling.

    Matt you are asking us what we paid, but have not shared your costs. Please do so as we would also like to know.

    Sounds like Bill is getting a real DEAL!

  8. Wolfgang
    Wolfgang says:

    So please give us more detail about Jim’s new cover. The material looks different then the usual. Looks like it might be lighter, stretchable, and Fits great. I’m just about ready to shop for a 25 foot custom cover. Plan to do the double layer. Soft and cushy inner cover and light weight water proof outer cover. Thanks

  9. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Maybe rather than telling us the cost you could run a “Price is Right” type contest where the winner gets an All expense paid trip to Reedville including the use of Buttercup for a weekend. (I was going to say Sweet Pea, but thought I should make it somewhat plausible)

    My vote $4,978.00 (must be closest without going over)

  10. Mike & Linda Stevens
    Mike & Linda Stevens says:

    We had a custom ‘Sunbrella’ cover made for our 24.5′ Hacker Craft. It has wear pads at all points on the deck hardware and at the windshield. Also split seams with velcro at the cleats for easy tie-ups on our boat lift. Was expertly done @ $1800.

  11. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    If you’re having a travel cover made or modified, I recommend having reinforced tie down tabs installed not grommets in the cover itself that will rip out from wind force. The tabs (similar to Jimmy’s) can be replaced. We had a cover maker sew in reinforced material then sew in tie down loops (like ratchet strap material). We had the undercover (Evolution III?) made for travel but didn’t last, it was soft to protect wear points but couldn’t stand up to wear. I would recommend moving quilts from Harbor Freight, about $13 each to be thrown over the bow, stern, windshield, deck and hatch as a possible solution. Saw that used on Red Arrow and that owner could afford whatever, the quilts stayed in place with a snug travel cover and were replaceable

  12. Matt
    Matt says:

    I have kept the price of the cover out of the story so as to keep it objective. I will say, the price was a tad shocking.. High? But its been some time since I had one made. WECATCHEMS was not cheap either. I can say this. The material cost for Jimmys cover alone was $780.00

  13. Matt
    Matt says:

    I will reveil the cost at the end of the day. And stay tuned for the KNOT investigation results. I have upped my prescription on Zoloft..

  14. briant
    briant says:

    The good thing about owning a one off custom boat that never will win any award…is that I don’t need a stinking cover.

    After towing the girl all over Oregon and Washington since 2006 and having in that time only had a rock chip kill one half of the windscreen. I ain’t gonna worry about a few rocks chips or bug splats.

    At just $96 to replace the windscreen and paint being cheap…it is far easier on my wallet than a pricey cover.

    Sometimes it is nice being the serf.

  15. Tom
    Tom says:

    1956 25′ Chris Craft Express. Sheer line/Transom/Sunbrella mooring cover. $975! Caught the upholstery at a slow time (November/needed money). He swore me to secrecy to not reveal price. Got lucky! Don’t think it would happen again.

  16. Alan A
    Alan A says:

    19′ custom cover, Sunbrella Supreme which has a fleece liner adhered to the inside side. reinforced at all corners , cleats, cinch rope along the bottom, etc. I always tow with my cover on and this one has logged well over 10,000 miles, 5 years old now and is holding up very well. $1800. money well spent.

    • MarkE
      MarkE says:

      Being a Newb to the wood boating world, but having plenty of cars, I hate car covers. They are heavy and tend to make me think twice about using the car, which is not good. But a boat the sits at the lake, even in a boathouse I guess needs covering. For our FG ski boat I boat a generic cover, but it doesn’t cover the sides. Is this really needed for a wood boat or is it good enough for just the top. I don’t have nor do I want a 21 coat varnished shoe boat. Love them but don’t want to own one. Just want fun and ease of use. Recommendations please.

  17. Jerome
    Jerome says:

    Talk about great timing. Just got my cover yesterday for our 17ft deluxe. Sunbrella with the felt backing for bad weather travelling & also a dust cover for the shop. Have all the bells & whistles included. 1800.00 CD. Good covers are not cheap but are a good investment when you consider what they protect!!!

  18. Matt
    Matt says:

    The cover done for Jimmy on a 24 Spotsman was. $3,995 The material was $780 so 3,200 was labor. It seemed rather high, but is it?

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      Darn I knew I was going to be 1K high once I hit send.

      I think it depends a lot of the part of the country you are in. I suspect a double cover like that would be that price around here. All about supply and demand.

  19. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    I have Sunbrella covers for my Lyman, Swift and PennYan. I went to U-Haul and they sell thin moving blankets for about $6 each. You can double over that material and sew it on a regular sewing machine. My wife and I sewed 2 together, laid them over the boat, traced a line about 8″ below the rub rails and then cut the cover about 2 ” below those lines. We folded them over and sewed them forming a pocket for a drawstring. I use those only if I have to tow the boat and they go under the Sunbrella.

  20. Dennis ryan
    Dennis ryan says:

    Wow! Great conversation, Joel Terbruggen and I have fit 200 covers to a variety of wood and glass vintage boats. We have talked teck to folks at sunbrella, tried Spanish imports and set up towing covers for gorgeous 30 footers. We have learned that the fleece lined sunbrella can be slightly abrasive to varnish, Sunbrella without the vinyl liner is not rated for 70 mph wind. Our boats are always towed naked unless you have a cotton like flannel cover with a fitted canvas cover, with tie downs to sinch the cover tightly. Canvas has a good wind rating. Yes, reinforced corners pads, cleat slits, proper hemming, plastic buckles, darts, snaps, the whole custom monte. Don’t forget pole chimneys if needed. Just like the boat, much thought and care. Price? $120 to $150 per ft depending on what is made.

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